Early Saturday morning Abby and I headed off to Astoria in search for an early season sturgeon. It was raining when we left, but the sun broke through the clouds after we got over the coast range and it looked to be a good day in the making. We arrived at the boat basin around 9, parked the rig and looked around for a few minutes before getting started. The air was crisp and full of the sweet, salty smell of the ocean, and the stress of the last week fell around my feet. Abby was excited, she chased a few sea gulls around the dock and stuck her nose in all that she could find. As I stood looking out over the water, she ran back and sat beside me, looking up with her large brown eyes as if to say “what are you waiting for? Quit daydreaming and let’s get down to business, the fish won’t catch themselves you know!” I had to laugh a little, then proceeded to get everything rigged and baited. For this trip I brought my big casting rod, the extra length provides enough leverage to get the bait out far enough to where I know the sturgeon run with the tide. I carefully half hitched an 8″ smelt to the hook, attached the 12 oz weight to the slider and let it fly. The bait settled to the sandy bottom and I brought enough tension on the line to place a slight bow in the top of the rod. Now the waiting game began. The tide was due to be full at 12:32, so I had a couple hours to go for prime time.
The sun worked it’s way through the clouds, one minute bright and clear, the next covered and gray. Abby kept herself busy, stalking the seagulls and ducks that lit on the dock. I chewed through half a bag of sunflower seeds, the pile of shells a sundial on the deck marking time. A few large ships made their way up and down the Columbia in front of us, and time continued to slip away with no signs of fish anywhere. I reeled up my line a couple of times to check and recheck the bait, adding a little scent attractant each time before it went back into the depths. Finally Abby jumped up into the truck and sat, watching the end of the pole with interest for a while.
When she had had enough, she just layed down on the seat and fell asleep. HIgh tide was almost on us, and I certainly expected at least a bite or two before then. We fished through the tide change and another hour of excruciating nothingness and decided to call it a day. I was hungry for something substantial and a change of scenery. A quick stop at the local burger joint filled the hole in our stomachs and we turned the truck towards home. Abby laid in the back seat sleeping, her legs kicking while dreaming of seagulls and ducks, and I was filled with the blessings of a great day on the water, my nose full of the sweet smell of the ocean.