~”Salmon Fishing Showdown” is written by my 14 year old daughter Kaitlyn. Enjoy!~
This was my first time salmon fishing. Robert and my Mom, Rebecca, kept chuckling when they looked at me, for I hadn’t stopped grinning since the moment they told me we were going salmon fishing.
I was imagining a leisurely fishing trip with the family, but I had no idea what was to come. All I knew, as I headed far into the mountains of Idaho, was that salmon fishing wasn’t going to be like fly fishing for trout, or sturgeon, crappie, blue gills, or any fish I have fished before.
Getting there felt like an eternity, I had to ask, “So, just how far back in the mountains is this place?” Robert, seemingly unsurprised by me asking that, simply answered, “Only about 40 miles more. It just seems longer because you have to go unreasonably slow on these mountainous roads.” We finally got there and the first thing I asked was “So, when are we gonna go fishing?” “After we unpack,” they answered in unison.
“Ugh,” the sound escaped my mouth before I could stop it, resulting in me earning two glares. I hate unpacking, I would absolutely love trips if there wasn’t the whole packing and unpacking part. Thankfully it didn’t take too long.
They had to be joking. I stood there staring at the torrent of white water in front of me. Eventually, I turned to them, with a look of disbelief on my face and said, “I’m supposed to fish in that? You must be kidding! I doubt you could catch a fish in that water.” But they just said, “Trust us.” I probably wouldn’t have listened to them if there hadn’t been a line of people casting lines into the rapids.
Before I could join the line of people trying their luck fishing, I had to learn the Salmon Fishing System. The rules are pretty simple, and as long as you follow them other fishermen and women won’t get angry at you.
Salmon Fishing System:
1. 1st come 1st serve. If you want a spot you have to be the first person on the river to claim it.
2. Just because you got a spot one day doesn’t mean you get it the next day.
3. And whatever you do, if you have a desirable spot, don’t leave it or else it may be gone by the time you go back to it.
4. Stay in turn. This is a major one. If you don’t pay attention and stay in turn most people will skip you after 5 seconds. DO NOT GO OUT OF TURN, this is the difference between life and death. When you go out of turn you are casting over other people’s lines and will get them in a giant birds nest (knot). This tends to make most fishermen extremely angry.
5. Yell “Fish On!” at the top of your lungs if you have a fish on the line. For fish go up and down river trying to get off the line. If you don’t yell it may tangle with other lines, making the other fishermen angry and resulting in you losing the fish.
6. If someone yells fish on, reel in your line like there is no tomorrow. You never want to be responsible for a person losing their fish.
After mom explained this to me, we started heading down river to practice. When we got down far enough that they wouldn’t count us into the group, I was shown the drift I wanted to catch. It took me awhile to get the hang of casting the new reel I had gotten just for this, but when I did, my mom and I started working our way back up to the group. Eventually we were a part of the action and I had been introduced to many of the people on the river.
They were all incredibly nice and patient for the newcomer, and were constantly giving me tips, even if some of them contradicted themselves. One even offered to let me use some of his pre-tied baits. Eventually I felt a sharp tug on my line. I yanked with all my might, the fish stayed on the line.
“Fish on!!!” I hollered to the people around me. Everyone started reeling as fast as their reels would let them. After a long tough fight, I got the fish to the shore. The disappointing part was that it was native wild salmon so we had to take it out of the net and let it go really fast. But I was still ecstatic. I was bursting with pride and joy that I had actually caught a fish. Many people had been fishing for days and not even had a bite. As we quickly set my beloved slimy salmon in the water to let it go, congratulations coming from all directions, I knew I was instantly hooked on salmon fishing.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get another fish to the shore the rest of the trip. Though I still had loads of fun with my new fishing friends.
During this trip I learned many lessons, and was reminded of many, too.. The biggest lesson was to wait my turn. If you don’t wait while in the line you can infuriate many people by casting over and tangling their lines. Another lesson, is to pay attention and not slack off because if you do, you may miss your chance. You may never get another chance like it, and you‘ll never know what would have come out of it.