“Cast to the right. Mend upstream. Watch your line. Wait for it, wait for it...SET THE HOOK!” Just like that I had hooked into my very first Oregon Coast Steelhead and just as quickly, I lost him as he broke off my line. Although he left me sitting in the drift boat, slightly stunned and heartbroken (much like the first time I got dumped by a boy). He also left me with the strong urge to redeem myself. I spent the next two days chasing these ruggedly beautiful, mysterious, fierce and fascinating fish- hooking up four more times, FOUR MORE TIMES, but never landing one in the net. This left me without my chance of redemption, or that ever elusive Facebook pic of me and my prized catch, thus leaving my ego battered and bruised.
Let me tell you, steelhead are equivalent to the guy you had an amazing first date with, that you never saw again. It is super easy to let the one (or four) that got away haunt your dreams at night and keep your subconscious buzzing. I literally dreamt of fish three nights in a row. The thought of steelhead plagued me, just like that enticing bag of M&Ms I hide, yet find myself sneaking back to time and time again. I could not get fish off my brain. Every morning I woke up thinking, “today I will land one.” Every cast, every perfect drift, every time I snagged bottom and set my hook like a boss, it gave me hope because I just KNEW that all it took was one of these casts to hook that giant, mythical chrome fish on the other end.
Just as I can’t help but grab another handful of M&Ms after putting them away "the last time," next winter you'll know where to find me. I'll be on the coast, in a drift boat, rod in my hand and a gleam in my eye, determined to land one! As the great President Theodore Roosevelt once said, "Nothing worth having was ever achieved without effort.” I’m pretty sure he was talking about steelhead fishing.
Yep, that's bottom.
Dreaming about those unicorns.