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Bad day fishing isn’t bad, but a broke rod is

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Bad day fishing isn’t bad, but a broke rod is

The combo of club, rod and fish was broken Sunday.

Photo by JEFF LUND/

POSTED July 14, 2010 3:03 a.m.
On the heels of my most productive day around the house — in which I used 46 screws, a power saw, drill, ax and shovel — Steve the cook, Joe and I drove to Whale Pass for salmon.

The 60-mile drive takes just under two hours, because at about the halfway mark, the twisty paved road becomes a twisty gravel road with pot holes the size of smart cars.

On the way up, Joe, Steve the cook and I decided the 2007 Fiesta Bowl was the most ridiculous game ever, farmed fish is not worth eating (unless you don’t know any different), and we don’t mesh well with high maintenance women.

Joe has been guiding for the Fireweed Lodge for five years. He used to be 6-foot-4 but he’s about an inch shorter. A spruce tree to the back that requires surgeries to add rods, screws and plates will do that to you.
On his day off from the ocean, he did what most fishermen would, fished.

Steve the cook was looking to catch his first ever coho salmon. He’s spent days worth of hours hooking trout, but had yet to tally one.

The tide was just about peaked when we arrived, and in a few minutes I managed a little Dolly Varden, then Joe broke the real ice with 6-pound coho. It was one of the 18 we hoped to have on the shore by the end of the day. If we didn’t get it, it wouldn’t have mattered, and it wasn’t until two hours after the last fish was cleaned that I even calculated what our unsaid goal was.

The coho’s were everywhere, jumping, finning, circling.

As I brought my rod forward for a cast into the cyclone of silvers, I heard a pop. The graphite shaft gave way and flexed, but the tip held on out of sheer loyalty. We’d been together for hundreds of fish, now, it was over.

I headed back to the truck to get my replacement rod. I don’t always bring a second one, so I praised my preparedness. Placing the crippled Shakespeare Ugly Stik in the bed of my truck and walking away to fish without it, almost made me sick.

I landed my first silver as the tide slowly worked down the beach. The fish was lingering near the shore, an easy target, and I thought it a small payment for that sickening pop. I brained it, then flipped it over. Apparently the fish was exhausted from the seal attack it had barely survived, and that is why it was treading by the shore with a 2-inch gash in its flank. Steve the cook had moved up river and Joe had made his way to the hot dog stand that provides hungry anglers with dogs that are bigger and better than any ball park frank and half the price too.

The second salmon of the day was chrome, but pretty small. So I had a little fish that put up a miniature fight, one with a huge slash in the filet, and my favorite rod was broken.

I can’t really complain, because I was on a shore that made my GPS motion sick, and was catching salmon. Not so bad.

Steve the cook hooked and lost another, then another. The line breaking both times. He then lost one, but kept the lure. Small victories.

Steve the cook didn’t end up beaching one, but he wasn’t bitter, neither was I. It wasn’t the cliché, ‘bad day fishing is better than a good day working’, because life cannot be articulated by overused phrases.

It almost felt like we were living the moment that spawned that popular description, because of that, it was a great day.

To contact Jeff Lund, e-mail
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