Last night, Diane and Annalysa decided that we needed to go fishing. I had been in a grumpy mood all week and after some mulling around, somewhat reluctantly agreed to go, figuring that it might be good for me to get away from the thoughts of work for a while. We stopped on our way at the little bait shop in Woodland and picked up some frozen herring and a dozen sand shrimp to take with us. I surmised there was no way we needed a lot of bait and only purchased a dozen of each, with all intentions of having to discard most of it when we got back. (Uh Ken, did you take a lightning strike to the brain?? What are you thinking??) We arrived at our favorite beach along the Columbia River and I rigged up and cast out into the calm water. Almost instantly, a fish picked up the bait and the end of my pole began dancing. FISH ON! I couldn’t believe it!
And so the fun began. The next four casts yielded four small shaker sturgeon, and I could quickly see that at this pace we were going to run out of bait way before the sun went down. I began to regret my earlier thoughts at the bait shop.
I really heaved the next cast and as indicated by the line counter, the end of the line was at least 50′ further out than it had been all night. I set the pole in the holder, reeled up a little tension on the line, and began the wait. After about five minutes, the end of the pole began to move just a little. Tap, Tap, Tap….. nothing. Tap, Tap, Tap…. nothing. Sturgeon are notorious for picking up the bait in their mouths, spitting it out and then doing it again. As an angler, you have to be patient and wait for the right time to set the hook. After all the previous excitement, I was a little jumpy, and Diane had to keep reminding me to wait for it. IT WAS HARD! A month of Sunday’s passed with this cat and mouse game going on and I couldn’t take it any longer. I picked the pole up out of the holder, reeled the line down, and when the next little set of bumps began, I set the hook like I was swinging for the rafters. Immediately the pole bent in half and the fish began peeling line out of the reel like no tomorrow.
It felt like I had hooked into a submarine and instantly knew this was going to be a battle. 75 yards of line went into the water faster than you can blink, the pole was bent in a big U, and it was all I could do to hang on. After 10 minutes of tense back and forth, I was able to turn the fish’s head and began to get a little line back into the reel. Lift the pole up and reel down, this was my mantra. Every time the fish turned away, a little less line was taken so I knew the end game was coming.
And then it happened………. this big sturgeon must have sensed the shore and made one last run for freedom. He turned his head and made for the deep like an olympic swimmer going for the gold. Try as I might I couldn’t turn him. In a move of desperation, I started to crank down the drag in hopes of regaining the upper hand. BOOM! the noise of the line breaking echoed off the water like a big thunder clap. I couldn’t believe it…. Even our dog Abby looked heart broken. Annalysa looked at me like Justin Beiber had just cancelled the concert she was going to…… Man did I feel dejected!
After about 3 minutes of hanging my head though, a big smile started to break across my face and I turned and looked at the girls and shouted “that was AWESOME!!” There was one last set of baits left, onto the hook they went and back into the water….. Now that’s fishing!!