Now for the rest of the weekend:
I met the most amazing little girl this weekend! Her name is Emerald and she is 8 years old. She is visiting Washington with her family for the summer but is originally from Texas and is growing up with almost unlimited exposure to all things outdoors. The first words she said to me were “I caught my first salmon yesterday!” and I knew that she was basically the coolest girl ever when I agreed to see it (expecting a picture) and she brought me the entire pink salmon and she told me exactly how she caught it.
Jeff met her father, Michael, this spring while shrimping in Hood Canal. He expressed his enjoyment for fishing and hunting but being that he lives in Texas, he didn’t know much about the fishing up here. Jeff has been talking to him for a few months and got him set up with a couple new rods so that he could fish the Skokomish river when it opened (this weekend).
I took Michael out and of course, he was a natural and needed very little assistance, but Emerald was devastated to find out that she couldn’t join us because we would be wading and walking all over the river. 🙁
The next day, Michael was the second person in our group to limit out (like I said, a natural) and I got to hang out with Emerald for a couple hours that afternoon. She watched us teach her dad how to cure eggs and then rig the rods back up. She said her dad was “all fished out” but she really wanted to go so she invited me humpy fishing at Hoodsport. I wasn’t sure that she actually had a plan, so I thought I would take her down to the river and fish from the bank where it was fairly safe.
But first, I had to get my daily archery practice in. She, of course, came over to watch and I was surprised to learn that she too was an archery shooter! Her first ever arrow and she hit the target!
We head down to the river while her parents enjoy a few hours of relaxation and fun in The Hood. She sat close to me and while I tried to keep her out of the eggs for the fear of her clothes getting too messy, she wasn’t having any of it. She helped me pick out bait, learned about sandshrimp and different scents, got to watch the salmon in the river, and even made a few casts herself!
She wanted very badly to fish my rod but it was a level line and I was a little too nervous to let her cast it on her own, so we did it together a few times. Our buddy had a spinning reel so Andrew taught her how to cast that and she did it all by herself several times. She cast, stopped when she got close to the trees and even mended perfectly.
I wish I could say that we landed her first king salmon but unfortunately, we couldn’t get the fish to bite anything and we had to get back before it got dark. She was an absolute pleasure to be around and by far one of my favorite little girls. She’s going to grow up and have so much passion and experience in the outdoors, don’t be surprised if you see her around the industry in 10 years!
Now, all the ladies will appreciate how my weekend went outside of hanging out with Emerald! I was a hormonal mess and I had an “aunt” coming to town if you know what I mean.
There’s very few days that Jeff and I get to 100% fish for ourselves. We enjoy the company so we take a lot of people fishing, plus it’s always a bonus when you can share expenses and be able to put more fish in the boat. But it’s a lot of work! Before fishing, during, and even after fishing when you get home, it’s hours and hours of work! This weekend, I was excited to be fishing for myself and just helping Michael learn. He put in a lot of pre-work for this weekend and I was actually really anxious to help him learn more, but I just wanted to be a little selfish when it came to everyone else. Jeff was fishing out of Westport Saturday so it was just me until he came on Sunday.
I found out at the last minute that I would have a couple other friends meeting us out there and they might need a few things or a few tips. I was okay with that because for the most part, they had their own gear so I could just provide their bait and few pointers here and there. I found out that we had even more friends meeting us out there but they didn’t quite have their own gear, bait, and barely ever fished this technique before.
I missed the morning bite both Saturday and Sunday because I was busy helping others and making sure they were into fish. I lost a couple and landed a wild fish but by Sunday mid-morning, I had no blood on the bank and I was feeling like Lady Karma was forgetting about me. After watching almost everyone in our group land these big, beautiful fish and I was still without a single bite, I was on edge (to say the least). I have been asked for bait, pens, scissors, scents, leaders, to tie knots for people, I’ve been pushed out of the “good spots” by my own friends, skipped in the casting order, and then, the Tribal Warden decided I was the one he wanted to pick on and that was it. I was done.
I packed up all my stuff; All the stuff I prepared for others including the only pen out of 10 people, the only pre-tied leaders, all the scents, the only pair of pliers, and all the ZipLoks. I don’t care about anymore. I left the bait, the stringer, and 1 pair of scissors (there were only 3 pairs between all 10 people) because Jeff was there and half the stuff was his anyways. In tears, I went to my truck at 8:30 to wait for everyone else to finish so I could leave. I was done! I had a good crying session and then browsed Facebook; which so kindly reminded me that this wonderful morning was the 8th anniversary of the death of a very good friend of mine. Could my day get any worse?
I cried for almost 2 hours before Jeff’s wonderful mom popped up at my truck and gave me a pep talk. She brought me back down to the river where I said “F— everyone! I don’t care if you need a single thing, I am not here to help any of you and I’m fishing wherever I want.” I fished, I was happy, I was laughing, I was enjoying beer, I casted over people and stood where I wanted and I didn’t care! When my own friends tried to squeeze in, I didn’t budge. I hooked 2 more fish and lost them both, but hey, at least I was actually hooking fish now!
Then Jeff decided to get in my way. We had a little argument and that was it for me again! The tears came as well as the rain and I was done. We can just leave now……I lashed out at anyone in my path (including people I had just met) and Jeff referred to it as a “rampage”.
I was fine by the time we got back to the house (took a whole 10 minutes). Many apologies and a few more laughs and I was headed home to find out my “aunt” met me at my house. Thank God this craziness is over. Only my female friends will understand what my day was like and thank God for them, because at least someone understands that my day was far worse than anyone who suffered from my rampage.
I have a new outlook on fishing and it goes something like “I am not your guide and I’m not being considerate of you if you’re not looking out for me.” I’m done playing “guide” and I’m done enabling lazy people who want to catch fish but don’t want to do any work. I’m more than happy to help anyone that is actually willing to learn and to be considerate to anyone that can return the favor. If you want to skip me in the casting order, take my spot when I re-bait, or leave your stuff in the water when I hook a fish, you can be certain that I’ll go out of my way to be inconsiderate to you.
It is actually very difficult for me NOT to be considerate because it’s in my nature but I felt taken advantage of this weekend. I get so few opportunities to fish for myself and it was taken away this weekend by people who don’t understand how much work goes into a fishing trip and who must think I just love to watch other people catch fish all the time; I only like to see others catch fish when I can see their own hard work pay off.
Maybe when my “aunt” leaves town, I’ll feel better; BUT NOT TODAY! I’m a woman, I’ll feel however the hell I want this week and I dare you to get in my way 🙂
Thank God Jeff understands me