Here’s what we all is west siders have been waiting for, rain! It’s been unseasonably dry and with the low snowpack and rains have caused only spurts or fish into our systems. With rivers coming to a close at the end of this month most anglers were left with having to scrap it out for a few fish.
Once I dropped the kids off I headed up to meet up with Todd B. He has fished here before but was never successful. I had a brief hookup and lost it, along with a small trout that took my egg pattern. Todd also connected with steel and landed a small trout. The river is tea colored and level is dropping with fishermen also hammering the water as many of them were thinking the same thing as we presented our offerings.
Todd however ended up with the short end of the stick or rather fly rod. His line got snagged and when he pulled it, somehow the nail knot broke and the two sections of his Z Axis came apart and became lost into the swift currents. Bummer! Hopefully he’ll be able to get a quick replacement for those sections, but since it was a custom wrapped rod he’ll have to wait and have newly wrapped guides. Bummer. I handed my Predator 8 wt to use in the interim, good thing I have backups! I’ll line. I’ll line up my 5-piece Sage SP and it will be a perfect steelhead schtick!!!
After last weeks failed episode with the salt boat, adjustments were made, items were repaired, cleaned, rebuilt and or modified. The original plan was to hit MA10 for blackmouth as the season comes to a close at the end of the month. However, the Marine forecast didn’t favor on our side with up to 25 knot southerlies and 2-4′ wind waves. Plan B was to fish Sammamish, yes it would be wet, but at least we’d be dry, comfortable and safe on the protected waters.
We launched at 8:30 and made our way near the weather station. The kicker while appearing fine at the launch and running ok started idling high. Good thing I had pliers and a Phillips screw driver as I made adjustments on the fly and had the kicker running like butter for the rest of the day. I absolutely love the hot box, great to clean off hands, tools, and warm them in the engine block water bath.
The fishing wasn’t hot but everything worked and at least I christened the boat with her first taste of Washington blood as she spent her time in Oregon prior to my ownership. I look forward to the salmon this season and will have a nice running and safe boat to chase them. One item that I do want to install is the remote digital throttle controller. More mods to come…
Today was the day to water test the boat and I decided to take her out to Lake Sammamish to make sure the systems were working. Good thing it wasn’t the salt water as my kicker decided to not fire up. Even after having it running for a good 40 minutes at home.
My ez steer connection so failed and the port side downrigger wasn’t working. I guess with a new boat, things are bound to go wrong. At least I’d rather have it go wrong on a freshwater lake than in the open ocean. Once I got back home I torn down the carb and noticed much varnishing of the insides along with the jets. A good scraping, cleaning, and high pressures air bath helped. I also noticed the auto choke connection was disconnected and the rubber retaining clip was missing. I somehow located this part on the bottom of the engine case and re-assembled everything. Upon the first crank, the outboard fired right up and she idled down nicely and hopefully is the last of the issues. I still need to replace the impeller and change the lower case gear oil, but will wait to do so once I have it working and running well. Since we were forced to troll with the main motor the speed was too fast, running at 2.0-2.1 mpg while the optimum troll speed is between 1.5-1.7 mph. We were able to hook 1 nice cutt but it popped off once it saw the boat and the net. Oh well… I guess it’s better than being skunked.
I hope the service turnaround for the downriggers warranty isn’t too long as I hope to get out for a day on the salt in hopes of finding a blackmouth or two.
On this MLK day if woke at 5 am and wondered if my sore body would be able to take another day of walking, bending, wading, casting, and fishing. Originally, I was hoping to spend some time in the boat to test her out, but the allure of steelhead had me wanting more.
I jumping out of bed, got the espresso going, downed a couple bowls of raisin bran and headed out under the darkness. I was glad to see only a few cars parked and a handful of anglers and was nice that some of my favored runs were void of fishermen. I rigged up and began casting, within my 3rd cast my line tightened and I had a bright fish that exploded downstream. I played her out for what seemed to be a minute until she ran into the current and spit the hook.
Many minutes later after losing more gear and having to re-rig, I moved upstream and noticed a gent just landed a nice hen. I helped him get it to shore and bonked his fish after he indicated that he wanted it. I found a nice piece of pocket water just upstream from him and made a couple of casts and wham indicator down and another fish that boiled from the depths.
I must be into something as I’ve never had this much success with the steelhead but happy to note that I’ve probably been missing a lot of good water and blowing by some good holding spots that contain steelhead. The fly rod is a perfect medium for this river and I can get a completely dead drift presentation that these fish desire.
I’ll be focusing on blackmouth for the next week as I want to get the boat out once in the salt before things close down at the end of the month.
After another morning of steelheading it was time to finalize some touches for the salt boat. I installed the Salt Boss fixed kicker bracket after scrambling to locate some 3M 5200 fast cure marine sealant.
I was up until 11 pm trying to get things wrapped up on hopes of being able to take her out for a test run but the EZ Steer bracket wasn’t installed and I needed to make sure the kicker was plumbed correctly with the hot box and it was running properly at normal engine temps.
Upon firing up the kicker she had some clogs in the idle jet and the high speed jet and I was thinking that I’d need to breakdown the carbs and clean them down but good thing that I had sea foamed the fuel as after running for a good 30-45 minutes. She preformed as she should, mechanically correct. The next was to check the steering linkage and it looks like I’ll have to get a longer bar as the extreme turn to starboard unhooks the segments which is very bad if it was to happen on the water.
I was extremely happy with the hot box plumbing and it worked just as I designed. I had tapped the post thermostat water out fitting with some 5/8″ tubing and into some ice-maker line that I threaded through the drain piping inside the port side sponson. I would use any basin which happened to be an plastic ice cream container.
The engine block water comes out nice at 160 degrees and this is a perfect medium to use to wash knives between cut plugs, warm your hands, or even throw in a bag of vacuumed pack food for a hot lunch? Any which way, looks like a little delay before her first sea trial and fishing outing.
Since my wife and boys are out of town this weekend, I seized the opportunity to get out and give it another go. I invited Phil K. And Rob D. to join me as we made it out to explore some new and familiar water.
We met up at 6 am but had a detour since highway 522 was shut down due to construction. So this put a damper on the fishing, but we made the most of it and found clear and dropping water. This was a classic case of ‘should have been there yesterday’ but I wanted to try some new drifts with the pin rig.
I was using a hybrid set up of cured roe and a bead which caught the attention of a small hen that was eager to chow down and became dinner fare. Rob had to leave early so Phil and I hit other runs: Cable hole, Reiters, North Fork of the Sky. Glad that the gorgeous weather made up for slower fishing.
What a difference a day makes as the water dropped and cleared. Most of the fish either moved or were caught. I pounded it out with only a few fish seen for half the day.
Tomorrow onto the Sky!