Sturgeon Fishing, Mental Tenacity Required

by Rebecca on October 21, 2009

in Sturgeon Fishing

~Rebecca, big fish ON~

~Rebecca, big fish ON~

I know what people think when I tell them I live in Idaho. Visions of potato farms and cow tipping swirl in a cloud of presumption above their heads. Outsider minds will probably throw in a four door diesel truck with a large rifle duct tapped to the back window along with a ‘I heart Pres. Bush’ bumper sticker plus his and her name emblems on each side window. Is that about right? Be honest beyond Idaho border dwellers…..

Today I thought I’d enhance the vision and give you dinosaurs as well. Recently I discovered free time on my hands and the Hubs and I opted to go fishing. We flipped a coin which means if I win, we go flyfishing, if he wins, we go bait (ack) fishing.

He won.

Cue the Snake River and the all mighty Sturgeon fish. There’s a huge difference between flyfishing in a softly moving river for trout, size 12 to 20 inches vs. taking on the black swirling vortex of potential death called the Snake River and all that lives out in those evil waters. Hooking a 9 foot monster sturgeon that becomes instantly and irrationally pissed is on a level that does not coincide with the tranquility of say…..”A River Runs through It” ……

When you catch one it’s instant buckle down and hold on for your life. You strap on a hip belt so the end of the pole doesn’t, in a females case, crush an ovary or puncture a uterus and in the case of men, they strap on the belt so they can still claim fully intact Male after the ordeal.

I’ll admit……It isn’t even a pleasant time, not in a ‘I derived pure joy’ sort of way. Sure we have the first 5 minutes of excitement, the initial call out, “Fish On” usually followed by an impressive set of sturgeon aerial stunt work, but after a few minutes it becomes a test of strength and mental will power. Fighting a 200 lb fish that is using the current to it’s advantage makes for numb hands and jello arms. It’s pure pain actually.

Freshwater Jaws

Freshwater Jaws

After 15, 20, 30 minutes of that sort of fun, the experience (and back pain) reminds me of childbirth. I have no idea what men compare the experience to…..a 40 minute episode on the throne in the bathroom?? Anyway, I become silent and focused. I can hear people encouraging me along, but all I really want is a safe cozy blanket and some apple juice. It becomes, she who talks first, loses all sense of sanity and cries Uncle. But, the last thing I would ever, ever, do, is admit defeat to the male egos around me who constantly ask if I’m doing ok…. No freakin way. I’d let the pole and fish rip my arms out and sacrifice them both to the river Gods before I asked for relief or help. No stubborn pride in me, nope, none…….

The finale, and fisherman are stubborn about this, is once the fish is at the bank and wore out, the exhausted fisherman is forced to relinquish their pole to another and slide their hand inside the Dinosaurs mouth for a quick picture and release. If you don’t do this official rite of passage your entire torture experience is null and void. You’ll get zero credit for pain and suffering. Fisherman’s rules.(Men must come up with these notions)

Fish Splash Down

Fish Splash Down

So after giving birth to this monster (actually getting it to the bank) I climbed down the rocks and attempted to perform the obligatory tasks. Well, let me tell ya, I put my hand in that vile toothless mouth (task and credit complete, yay me), started to flip it over and that fish had the audacity to beat the crap out of me before a good picture could be taken. Instantly soaked through and through.

Good times, good times………



{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave GesselNo Gravatar October 22, 2009 at 3:30 pm

What………. A long rod? Thats not nice to make her fight that fish on a noodle


DaleNo Gravatar October 22, 2009 at 3:30 pm

OK OK I’ve caught one of those beggars. Course it was years ago when I was younger and stronger; but, I do not recall it making me think of spending an hour on the throne.

You are writing very good stories, keep up the good work.


DanNo Gravatar October 22, 2009 at 3:31 pm

Been there done that. Its kind of a love hate thing. Its the only time fishing in my life that I could not wait to get the fish to shore. Thirst, aching arms,legs and lungs were killing me but I’m looking forward to doing it again.


KirkNo Gravatar November 5, 2009 at 12:53 am

I’ve sturgeon fished twice, both times in Hell’s Canyon, and I say this much about it: It’s an unbalanced means of fishing/beer drinking: Too much time available for beer drinking as you sit and wait for a fish to inhale your hook, but once there’s a “Fish On!” you don’t get a free moment to drink a beer. Feast or famine it is.


Leng VangNo Gravatar March 28, 2013 at 4:47 pm

She isn’t holding the rod correctly….


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