Fishing The Coast, Oregon and Washington
buy frogg toggs online
May 2004


Jennie's
Fishing Life


May 1st, 2004

update... Look who won the contest,
with Johnny Bowles!

Too much time is ticking by without my going fishing! However, I am getting lots done in the garden! My back patio is a lush mix of beautiful potted flowers and is a welcome place to relax!
Coming up from the river, I can't help but stop and stare in awe. We live in a valley with forested mountains in a thousand shades of green. They hover over our home, and make it look so tiny!


Our first springer, 2004, Tillamook Bay. 28 pounds!

Caught on a spinner, and Marie's Banana Juice!

It's not tiny! The mountains are breath taking, and it makes me want to break out in song. (I do!) Either, "The Hills are Alive!" or, "How Great Thou Art!" No kidding! Frankly, I can think of no place in the world that I would rather live, than right here, in the Kilchis Valley... but... it would be nice to fish, soon!
I'm counting down the days till the Kilchis is open. I read on The Guide Shop web site that the Kilchis will be open for Spring Chinook on May 22nd! What? All two of them? We have no run of Springers!! Actually, we probably have two. Count them. I've named them, both!
There is still one rather bratty fry in the over flow pool. I WILL get him, and it's not about saving him, anymore. It's about my will to finish a job that I've started!
I was so looking forward to yesterday! Bill was leaving for Portland, and I absolutely adore having long, leisurely sunny days alone. I do!
After I returned from my girls day at the salon, I came home, changed into shorts and a skinny shirt, grabbed a glass of ice water and a book, and headed out to the patio. AH! Time alone! Time to read! TIME!
It wasn't five minutes into my sunny solace, that the phone rang. I hesitated, then picked it up.
"Hello, Mom? This is David. I have a migraine. Can you please pick me up?"
Oh well. I had five minutes!

May 2nd, 2004

I spent the morning copying and pasting my thoughts and feelings throughout the months, following my eye surgery. I think it puts together a fairly interesting story. There is more to come, but there is a good bit of writing there. This should be a darn novel!
There is much, much, more to come!
David got him! The last fry in the pool! I was so frustrated with the little bugger! I started taking random swipes, until the tiny pool was muddy. David asked to try. I sighed with frustration and told him to give it up, it was too muddy. He said, "Mom, this will be the dip of irony!" Sure enough, one random swipe from eagle eyes, and he claims, "I've got him!" Quickly we rushed him to his pool mates, down the stream. Finally! Mission accomplished!
Today... I think we'll go fishing on the bay!
It is May 2nd. Exactly 20 days until I can get my fly rod out, and start teasing the fishes again, on the Kilchis river.
Yesterday, three beautiful big native steelhead were finning in a pool, downstream from a riffle. It was so beautiful to watch! They silently finned with their pectorals in one place, as if hung from different lengths of rope, and tied, upstream somewhere. It's amazing what you can see, if you really look into the Kilchis river. It appears silent. It is not!
It always amazes me how the seasons are in conflict, in the Kilchis river valley. Everything on dry land is bursting with new life! Green, everywhere! Tiny pink blossoms dance dainty against lush green ferns on the ground. Colors shout out, as things seem to burst forth with new life. At the same time, life, for all you can see, seems to be diminishing in the Kilchis river. The river has dramatically receded. Its song is quiet, and demure. No longer the full orchestra of rushing rapids, standing waves, and current that is fast headed to sea. It is the tiny voice of a stream that has nearly run out of energy, and is in rest.
But look close! The river is not dead! There are tiny, tiny fry that are just beginning the cycle! Just as the delicate dancing flowers on the bank, almost unnoticeable until you look closely! The river has become gentle, to nurture the little ones. Giant monster steelhead, late in their cycle oversee the new life of their tiny offspring, and rest gentle, on their return to the ocean.
It is, indeed, a cycle that never stops, in the Kilchis river. Sometimes you just need to look very closely.

May 3rd, 2004

Miscommunication! I've been waiting for the 'boat to leave" all morning. Now, Bill tells me, "Oh! I didn't know you wanted to go! Last you said you were too busy!" Well, I am, but!!!
This is so cool! While in wait, I walked Kilchis down to the river. I spotted a steelie! All by myself! And then, I spotted another, and a pair of others, and WOW! The whole river is full of steelies!!! I couldn't believe it! I sat in awe and stared for the longest time! They are swimming against a sand bar, so I can easily, well, not easily, but I did spot them! :) Whee!
I gotta get back out there. The show is awesome! Bill's all excited now, that we get to go fishing! :)

May 4th, 2004

So much going on, lately!
We have a new "newdog." Bill and I are fostering lost and abandoned dogs, since Tillamook no longer has a real shelter. It's interesting! I have very mixed feelings about this. It's not fun having an unhappy animal in your household. But, on the other hand, it's nice to know that the dog isn't being put to sleep. The dog we have right now is a mix of Australian Shepherd, and Rottweiller. We said we wouldn't take a rot, but he is so friendly and happy! But, he jumps our fence, and I am not sure that we can keep him. He howled all night last night, in the pen, until I got up at 11, and put him in the garage. There, he was quiet as a mouse. He liked it better, there!
Two reps from the ODFW are coming today, to look at our riverfront property. They are going to help us with stream enhancement, planting some trees, and perhaps talk about finding a way for us to have hatch boxes. I would adore that job! I doubt it will happen, as the Tillamook Road crew came by last winter, and redirected our waterflow that used to come down the mountain. We used to have a lovely little stream that meandered through our meadow. Now, we have a lovely culvert! Ish! Thanks, Road crew! I'm sure they did it to hold up the bank, where it might slide, but, darnit.. I miss my stream! Andrew is especially upset, as he used to sit by the stream when he wanted to be alone. It was very beautiful and peaceful. Now, it comes crashing down from the road, out of a metal tube. Not nearly as nice, and impossible to raise fry in.
I went down there, the other day, and the stream bed, which used to always have water in it, was totally dry. The grass surrounding the stream was waist high. As I poked around, I studied the prints. Whoa! Look at this one! I got down on my knees and studied a cat print, that was very large, and very, very fresh! I knew it to be a cat, as the print showed no toenails, like a dog. I even had Kilchis come, to make a print next to it. Yip! Cougar!
As I looked around me, I realized that this cougar could still be very near by. So, unlike my last cougar encounter, I began to stand tall, and growl and act larger than I am. I had Kilchis bark, as I slowly backed away from this area. It was kind of scary, as Kilchis kept darting in and out of the surrounding brush. Every time he lurched at me, I thought, "cougar, or Kilchis?"
Anyway, later I went down and made a plaster mold of the print... with Bill by my side, of course! I wasn't going there alone, again! I'll take a picture of it, and show you, later.
Off I go. Time to shower, and get ready for our ODFW guests.
We can't keep Newdog. He is jumping over our fenced pen. We'll have to call our friend who is coordinating the program, and tell her this one just isn't working out for us. There is another lady who can take him, that has more room. If anyone is interested in a new, very loving dog, let us know. He needs lots of outdoors room, and is a real wiggly, wonderful friend.
Oh! Will sent me this link, and I just adore it! It's about a hummingbird nest. Click here to see!
We fished Tillamook Bay yesterday, but did not see or hear of a thing. Oh wait, there was one caught in the morning. Fairly slow, however.
Enjoy! And have a great day!

May 5th, 2004

Doh! I'm mixed up! Today is the day that ODFW is coming! Oops!
Yesterday, I received a copy of Chicken Soup For the Fisherman's Soul in the mail! My first real published work! And, I'm on the front cover! Whoo hoo! If you'd like to order one, please click here! It's been a long time in coming, and I can't believe I am finally holding a real copy! They even put the picture that is above, in this column, by my story! I read the story I wrote, again, and it's a bit mushy, but that's what they wanted! I kept working with people with it, and they kept saying, "Mushier, Jen, mushier!" OK! So, now we have it! Published Mush!! Nah... It's a nice story written by yours truly, the drama cow.
I sometimes get in these moods where I have to paint. Paint, I did! Last week I bought remnant scraps of linoleum, to paint for floor mats. The idea came from my sister, Linda, who does all kinds of cool projects like this. I admired hers, in her kitchen, on Easter, and she told me how to do it. Anyhow, here is the final outcome!


Click for larger image


Click for larger image

It was great! I really needed that creative outlet, and I was head to toe in different colors of paint! At this moment, my pink fingernail polish has streaks of purple, green, and gold! It's been so long, since I have gotten lost in a project like this. When the phone rang, I didn't hear it. If the dogs barked, I ignored them. I was lost, with paint in my hair, and a project to do!
Well, it's off to the races. ODFW will probably be here at 10:00 AM.
Time for a walk on the river... It's so darned fun to watch the steelies dance in the low, clear water!
I updated the Casey Eye Page, and now I'm finally done laying out the history. Next chapter will be about what is happening at present, and my feelings about it.

May 6th, 2004

Every day in May brings new surprises in our lawn and garden. One day we wake up, and as if overnight, a rhododendron is in full bloom. Seems only yesterday the entire meadow was dark brown, and barren.
Now we wake to crisp sunlight, and the surprise of new blooms, seemingly everywhere.
Yesterday, on a walk down the river bank, I delighted in a beautiful surprise of purple blossoms in the elbow of an old cotton wood tree. The delicate blossoms peaked their dancing little heads out of the thick moss covered tree, like small birds poking their heads out of a nest.
These are the special small things that make living on the Kilchis river such a delight, to me.
The garden is coming to life, with small sprouts of lettuce, carrots, summer squash and peas. Every day we notice something new.
Our flower beds are self seeding nasturtiums and calendulas, from the years before. Potted flowers that I bought last year, have seeded and come up in the strangest places! I have found annuals coming up in my trail down to the river, or square in the middle of my vegetable garden! Of course, there they will stay, and Bill will just have to mow around them. Who am I to say where the birds are to have their gardens? Tiny volunteer pansies in the driveway! I have to dodge and dart my car, in order to avoid crushing it, while parking.
May is one of my very favorite months, and I spend my leisure time, taking it all in. I often have coffee on the back deck. Stretch out like a cat, and take in the warmth of the sun.
I am finished with my painting mania, at least for a while, and ended my project with a fun little fishing cat.

It's not my favorite, but I enjoyed doing it. Now, to cover it with acrylic, and find a fun place to place it.
I think that all the spring colors in my yard, have inspired my art work.
However, I have not seen a cat looking quite like this, anywhere. Not in the spring, nor in any season!

 

May 8th, 2004

The alarm didn't even need to ring. Forty minutes before it's supposed intrusion into my sleep, I woke, thinking, "Is it time, yet?" I reached over and touched the night light on the alarm. It read 3:34 AM. Oh well, I was to get up at four. Three thirty is close! I rose from my bed, and began to go through my list. Pack, in case I stay overnight, rain gear, rod, hat, something to eat? Nah! It's fishing! Who needs food?
The drive over the mountains was stressful. Thunder, lightning, and pouring rain paraded me into town. By the time I reached Oregon City, however, the pavement was dry! Perfect!
Everyone was on schedule, too! I met Bill, first at Fisherman's, and then Nick Amato's truck showed up, shortly afterwards. Let's go!
Down at the ramp, we met Bobby, the photographer for the Kings for Kids Tournament.
Grand prize for the tournament was a trip with Fins, Feathers and Furs, to their camp in Alaska. Wow! Now, that's a heck of a grand prize!
However, (and please, keep this to yourself!) there is something about fishing in the Willamette for springers that never ceases to amaze me. I cannot catch them. They run from me! I get anywhere near the waters of the Willamette, and the fish flee! I can kill a bite faster than I can blow out a candle.
Now, Bill Monroe does not know this, and I am forever keeping it a secret. Bill Hedlund does know this, and I have sworn him to secrecy about it.
I can catch springers without trouble in the Columbia, and in Tillamook Bay. I can out fish guides at Wind River. But, I can not, for the life of me, call a springer to the boat, in the Willamette.
We did not have bite one, all day. I really didn't go for the fish, as I am well aware of the 'Willamette Springer and Jennie Martin' phenomena. I went for the conversation, for the laughs, and... well, simply because I enjoy Bill Monroe's company.
I am even starting to enjoy the frustration that Bill Monroe starts to portray by our totally biteless days, we have together. Sounds cruel of me, but men seem to love to "fix" things, and he just can't fix this!! This is the third time I have fished with Bill on the Willamette. This is the third time we have yet to have a bite.
Bobby, our photographer, got a few phone calls, and Bill didn't even put two and two together. The phone calls came from wherever we were fishing, but had since moved. "We got one!" We could barely hear, coming over the phone. "Just after you left!" We'd start up the big engine, and head back there to photograph them, and perhaps put a line in to try our luck.
I almost felt badly as I am well aware that wherever we go, the fish flee. I hate to ruin everyone's day, but simply put, the Willamette fish are allergic to me. They can sense me miles away.
They say it takes 100 hours of fishing, to catch a springer. Well, that may be true for some. However, it is not true for me. In the Columbia, I caught one my first hour. At Wind River, I caught 4, my first four hours. In the Willamette, in five years of many long days, I have never touched a fish.
Bill Monroe has most probably added up the hours he has spent, fishless, with me in the boat. We are halfway there, he thinks! Soon, he will get Jennie into a fish! I'm just going to sit back, and take his invitations as they come... and giggle.
It's not the banana scent I took last time, and it's not the hours. I just know that these fish evade me, and I know it, deep down in my soul.
I have a bit of a guilt thing, not telling Nick about my Willamette problem. He fished all day with optimism. I should have told him. I really should have.
Still, I have never enjoyed fishing more, than with Bill Monroe, and his friends. I really enjoy fishing with Nick. He's one of those guys that totally put you at ease. Fun to talk to, knowledgeable, and funny! Bobby the photographer was also fun, easy going, and pleasant. I had a blast, all day long!
But fish? It's not going to happen. It's not that I wish it were different, but it just isn't.
We had one very close encounter, but it wasn't with a fish. I'll let Bill write about that, in The Sunday Oregonian.
But please, don't tell Bill about my problem! I wouldn't miss a day in the boat with that guy, for my life.
I am not headed to Tillamook Bay. The boat is hooked up, and well, after yesterday, I really need a fish!

 

May 9th, 2004

It struck me, the other day, how much tending a garden, can be like tending a relationship.
In the early spring I work so hard preparing the soil, adding all kinds of additives like fertilizer, lime, water... whatever it takes to make things right for the seeds, or baby plants.
My flower garden borders are weeded carefully, and tended patiently.
All year, I have watched them. If it gets really cold, certain plants come in, others are covered with mulch. I don't expect much from these plants, all year long.
Yesterday, I noticed an absolutely beautiful iris in full bloom! I had taken care of this iris for two years, with no results, and I hadn't even seen the beginning of the bloom!
It startled me, as I came up from the river. It stood out, in all of it's circus dress! Hot purple, yellow, and white, it's face bold against the lush green foliage. Wow! It's gorgeous! A little gaudy, but beautiful!
All of my work had finally paid off!
It won't last long, I'm sure. Maybe a week, maybe two. But, while it's there, I'm going to revel in it's presence, and it's gift, back to me.
Most of my "children" of the garden are a bit easier.
Each fall I take my begonia bulbs out, and nestle them in potting soil and a bit of moss for the winter. They stay on my fishing shelf until the last danger of frost is over. Then, they are placed in my old green childhood wagon under the apple trees in pots that I save each year. I water them each day, and fertilize them each week. I wait until they burst forth out of the soil, and produce those same, dramatic flowers that I love. They never fail me.
Wow! My cherry tree out back was a beautiful ball in the sky of blossoms! In one week, the wind swept them away. But, oh! How I enjoyed that one week!
My asparagus is a different story. I planted the plants two years ago. Even now, as I weed the spots where they are planted, one or two spindly, leggy little plants come up, but nothing that looks like what goes on your table! They are pitiful! Still, I don't give up. Someday, they will grow up to be real asparagus. Even if they don't, well... I love them, all the same!
My artichokes are pitiful, too. I drove down Wilson river loop and saw real artichokes, their flowers turned to fruit, already! Mine? Wimpy, straggling leaves, with one flower? One?
Some flower blooms in my garden bloom all summer. Some, for only a week or two. Nonetheless, they are given the same love and patience all year long.
If only I had thought of this, when I was married. I was young, and thought that love was a constant bloom. When I went through a dormant period, I had no faith in spring. I was living in the moment, and expecting full blooms and perennial flowers. We gave up, looking for richer gardens, more hideously gratifying blooms.
I think a lot of us do that.
Now that I have children, and I have been through 16 winters, and what seems like more, I can appreciate the patience, dedication, and work that I have put into them.
The moments that my children come home with a wonderful report from school, or when I attend a band concert, and watch my son stand up for a solo. I think of how I fought to keep them alive, and thriving. How sickness attacked them, and I carefully nurtured them back to health. Nights, studying at the kitchen table, to pass a test. Nights up all night, and mornings to the doc! Ambulance rides with Andrew... Oh man!
Contrary to the difficult times, moments as simple as the three of us, laughing in the kitchen until we fall down, or when Andrew presents me with the most beautiful culinary treats, are moments that I know I'm living, in full bloom.
Sometimes the blossoms are subtle, and bring a whisper of a smile, and sometimes, as gaudy and bright as an iris. Those times I start the "sup sups" tears brim my eyes with pride, and I feel overwhelmed with love.
My family is the garden that I tend that is most important to me.
But as I walked up from the river, and was pleasantly surprised by that stark and purple bloom, it struck me that love is not rewarded by constant gifts of blossom. Love is patient. (Darn! Why won't my asparagus grow?)
Love is kind. (What am I going to do about that black rot on my roses?)
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves.
You know, looking back, I can see that in my marriage, I could have protected with more vigor, trusted and hoped with more patience, and preserved with more of the skills, that I have learned in the years since then.
It is too late for that, but it is never to late to give all of that, and more, to my children, and it is certainly never too late to plant new seeds of love, elsewhere.
All of the Mothers in the world, rejoice!
Whether they be tiny seeds like toddlers, or full grown trees of teenagers, your children are a mirror of your love, hope, and patience!
Happy Mother's Day!

 

May 10th, 2004

Sometimes I wish Hallmark didn't make Holidays. You get these big "pie in the sky" hopes that everything you dream of will come true, on these days. If the slightest thing goes whacky, then the day is not... well, it's not 'Hallmark' prefect!
The kids were sleeping in, when I woke. I waited for a bit, and a bit longer. I think it's the first day on Mother's Day that they didn't rush to get up and make me breakfast.
I gave up, had cereal, and rushed off to fish.
Surely the fish God's would bless me on this, the very Hallmark of Mother's day! Surely? My line stayed steady in the water, for most of four hours. I didn't want to give up on the magic. It was going to happen. After all, it is Mother's Day, right? I even watched Shana, Tim Juarez' wife. For sure, if I didn't catch one, she would. She is a wonderful Mother, and surely deserves to catch one for me to watch, right? I did not see Shana catch a fish.
Where were the Mother's Day fishes?
The wind, shortly after 1 PM blew us off the river.
OK, cereal for breakfast, and no spring chinook.
Two dreams turned to dust.
At this point, I'm sniffing for further disappointment.
I get home, and get a card from Bill. He is so sweet! a card! In it, it says the package that he ordered had not arrived, yet. It was shipped late.
Strike three!
I'm not out though! I'm not! The card was endearing, and it was thoughtful! It was sweet! And... I have something to look forward to!
The kids, feeling guilty about the lack of breakfast told me that they had made me chocolate pudding. How nice! Never mind that I had a chocolate cream pie in the fridge. More chocolate is a good thing, no matter what!
So, I'm out on the back deck, fussing over my fuschia's second year. It's leggy, with no blossoms. I say something frustrated about it, under my breath and walk into the kitchen.
My son David, says, "Eh hem... Go look at your fuscia again, Mom... It's doing better!"
I giggled. Something was up. I went back, and there-- Glory be! There was a beautiful, bushy, full of blossom fuscia! It had transformed! Thank you, David and Andrew! My annual Mother's Day Fuscia! It's a two year tradition, now!
My only dream for dinner was the clam chowder from Pacific Seafood, and their fresh sour dough bread. It is SO wonderful! You can buy their bread, unbaked, and bake it yourself, so that the crust is really crisp, and the bread inside, soft and chewy.
Bill went to get the dinner and to bring it home.
After four phone calls home, Bill finally understood my exact instructions on what to buy. Well, he misunderstood, and brought the bread home, already baked. No big. It was still wonderful!
All in all, Mother's Day was a hit for me. It would have been better, though, if I hadn't had the Hallmark expectations that come from commercials, magazines, and radio ads.
I had visions of fish, and champagne brunches, and me in a princess dress!
If it hadn't been Mother's Day, I'm sure I would have marked it off as a very, very good day!
Tomorrow... Tomorrow I shall get my Mother's Day Springer!

May 11th, 2004

Alright. Count them. I have put two new feeders, hung by wire from my eaves, over my office window. One hummingbird feeder, one sunflower, and one thistle.
Then, I put a big vase of flowers from outside, inside on my window sill.
This is so amazing! Five hummingbirds! Four grosbeak, one black headed, and three evenings. Two purple finch, two pine siskens, four goldfinch, one chickadee, (I'm losing count!) one chipmunk, two band tailed pigeons in the yard, four robins, six swallows, flying around the little houses we put up... Wow! It's a wonder I can write! The birds on the feeders closest to me, are less then two feet away! Lacking the glass in the window, I could easily reach out and touch them!
I did take some pictures... Here ya go!

I have to turn off my flash, so the window doesn't do the reflection thing, and then tune them up in Photoshop, but... it works! However, I have to move very slowly while I work!
I have extra motive to take the pictures. See, I can't see them very well, until I take pictures! Then, I can see them on the screen, up close and personal!
With the rain, we have gone through so much seed! These birds are little piggies! Worth every last crack of corn, however, and every last hull of sunflower. Luckily, my goldfinch like sunflower as well as the thistle. That darn thistle is so expensive!
Yesterday I re arranged the furniture in the living room, and guess what? I can finally SEE the TV! I was wondering why I was losing interest in watching TV. I couldn't see the darn thing! Now, I can! So I went to go get some movies! We watched "Second Hand Lions." That was a great movie!
Anyhow... I'm finally going fishing again, today. Out in the rain. I'm going to get a huge salmon. I can just feel it!

 

May 12th, 2004

I wasn't feeling that badly that I was missing out on the Columbia. After all, we have our own, bigger, better springers, here, in May.
I wasn't feeling that badly that I was missing most of the Willamette run, either. I mean, after all, I've never done that well, there, right? Fact is, I've never caught a springer in the Willy.
Besides, Tillamook Springers are coming soon!
Not only that, but I'm a legend in my own mind, when it comes to springers, here. I catch them. I have a knack.
I remember back to last year. I just nailed them! I couldn't keep them off my line! Boaters next to me would shutter. "Not again!" They'd say, as my line would zing, and my fishing rod would pulse. Screaming hot springers would race past their boats across the river, as they scurried to get out of my way!
My arm was constanly sore. My back, aching... and my hands, torn up from gill cuts. Oh... I suffered!
I had Power Bait, by golly, and I knew how to use it! I'd form a small bait ball at the base of my treble hooks. Didn't seem to matter what spinner I used. I was deadly on the water.
The joke words that got us into fish, were, "Bill, if we catch another one, what in the world would we do with it?" Oh! To have such problems this year!
I even tried saying that! I did! Still, my reel stayed silent. My rod just pulsed with the same tedious throb of a bare spinner, fluttering through the water.
I have fished for Springers in T Bay a half dozen times now. It started off with a bang. Bill nailed a 28 pound springer, five minutes into our shake down run, to make sure the boat was operating safely and correctly.
I wasn't surprised by that fish. I mean, after all, Bill and I catch the heck out of springers.
Right?
Is it early? Or is it my turn to eat humble pie? Is reality knocking on my fish box? Am I to be dooped by the beautiful wild springers that enter Tillamook Bay and make their way up the coastal tributaries?
I even walked up to the fish box, yesterday, on board the boat. I locked it tight. I secured the net. Visions of "bad luck" because of this or that silly superstition? Are bananas hidden on this boat, somewhere??? Do we have some sort of electrical charge coming off?
My brand new Power Bait bottle is nearly empty. My Marie's Shrimp scent is nearly gone.
The only thing I can think of now, is that neither Tim Juarez, nor Bob Rees had given me a new spinner this year.
Finally! Tim pulled over yesterday, and called me to the boat. We nudged up next to him, and sure enough! It was time! I guess Tim had seen me suffer long enough! He handed me the 2004 Tim Juarez fishing catching spinner of the year! It's gorgeous! As he handed it over, he said, "Jennie, this spinner has caught two chinook, already, this season!"
So, now I'm set, right? I have laundry to do. I have house cleaning to do. I have web work to do. But, most importantly, folks, I have a fish to catch. Work can wait. Life can wait.
For, if I do not catch a springer, soon... Life will not be worth living, at all.

 

May 14th, 2004

I'm running away with my high school girlfriend.
We are having an all girls event. I'm leaving soon, and it will last until we are darn ready to be done having "all girls" weekend!
I was going to take Kilchis with me, but decided since he is male, it just can't happen.
It's all girls, all the time, and I'm not going fishing! I am doing traditional girl things! You know, trying on make up, shopping, strolling the beach, talk, talk, talking some more, and dining at fine restaraunts.
Man, am I ever going to be ready to get down and dirty and get a little Power Bait and herring scales underneath my fingernails when I get back!

May 13th, 2004


This picture charms me!
(click for a screensaver version)

Went on a photo walk on the river, last night. This is the little bouquet of purple flowers in the arm of an old cotton wood tree, that I was telling you about, earlier.
Click on it, for a larger image! It's gorgeous!
I have several other photos to share, when I get home from fishing. I captured some awesome images! Some frogs have been laying eggs in our backwaters. Lacy, long tubes of eggs! It's amazing! Kind of gross, though! Here's a preview:


Click for larger image

Off we go. The ocean is flat... Herring at the jaws, or spinners, in tidewater? We'll figure it out, when we get there!

 

May 16th, 2004

Had a nice time with my friend, Tammy. I had tons of fun driving, too. I bought a Gretchen Wilson CD, and sang out the raunchy country tunes at the top of my lungs. Yes, I love classical music, I can rock out with Ozzie when driving with my sons. I can trade fours with the best of them, while playing jazz... But, when I drive long distances by myself, I prefer the heartbreaking twang of country. I bought the CD as I left Tillamook, and by the time the rain started to hit my windshield and welcome me back home, I had all of her lyrics memorized. I've got the l, lV, V, in the key of C major, down pat. It's simple. And that's how I like my time away.
My favorite from the CD, is "What happened." It still runs through my head.
I was greeted home, with several grosbeak, hungry for more seed. Fill up the feeders! Mom's home!

Of course, the Eddie Bauer outlet store is in Lincoln City, where we escaped to. This spells trouble for me, big time!
All of my life, I have had trouble buying shoes that fit. My long, skinny foot is a size 11 1/2 AAAA.
I can't find hip waders in that size. My wading shoes are sloppy on my feet. They are mens. I just wear two pairs of big wool socks!
My mother used to get so frustrated when I was a teenager. Off to Nordstrom's we'd go, where the only shoes that fit me were at least a hundred dollars. Even then, the style was 'old lady', or if they were current, then they didn't fit right. She'd throw up her hands, and say, "Just sell me the box. We'll tie them on her feet!"
Well, I don't know what it is, but all of the sudden, shoes fit me! I'm in heaven! For all of you size 8 mediums out there, that have lived a life full of shoes that fit, you know not how lucky you are!
There is a problem, however. When I first ordered a pair of Rumo's off of E Bay, and they fit, I was ecstatic! So ecstatic, that I ordered a pair of Birks. They fit, too! Oh my gosh! I have two new pairs that fit! Let's try a pair of Van Eli's! They fit, too! I was getting new shoes off of Ebay! Shoes that sell normally for over 100.00, for prices in the teens! I was going crazy with order mania!
Then, at Eddie Bauers, I began to try on shoes. Shoes that were already outlet priced, then with a 50 percent discount! They fit! UH OH! I was very good about staying away from clothes, but a couple pair of shoes did follow me home. May I keep them? Yes!
I'm almost afraid that I can't stop. You have no idea how good it feels to have shoes that fit!
I'm ready to go fishing now. I have shoes that fit. Shoes for boating, shoes for beaching, shoes for wading! I also have shoes for dresses, and shoes for slacks!


And who says you can't fish in dress or slacks? I can!

May 17th, 2004

I moved the ocular drama to the left column, under "Jennie Stuff." I've not had the inspiration to finish it. I need to collect my thoughts. That's a challenge for me. All of the frustration seems to have been put on another burner. That's what happens with me and my eyes. Life keeps on going. I deal with Andrew's medical problems, or mine, one after another. When I start feeling otherwise well, I'll get frustrated with my eyes again. Then, I'll make another appointment, or start the process rolling again.
I've been sick over the weekend. A tooth ache, and a fever of 103. I guess that's not good, because of a heart valve problem I have, regurgitation. I guess people with marfan have a high incidence of endocarditis, so I was put on antibiotics. Funny, a guy with marfans on the Marfan e mail list just wrote about having it. He called it his own personal chia pet. GROSS! I do NOT want a chia pet in my heart! Funny, though, how we cope using sick humor, with all of this stuff. Sometimes it goes a bit far, for the average person!
Last night, I watched Helter Skelter, and the beginning of the show showed the craziness of the time. Vietnam, Nixon, all of that, and then the Manson murders, and his crazy philosophy.
Yes, things are crazier yet, but as we age, we get to that point where our Grandparents were, and likewise, our parents.
"What is this world coming to?" It sounds like a generational echo to me!
I posted about my disappointment, yesterday, on the Outback Angler Show, being on a radio station that caters to testosterone filled young men. I just shook my head as the supportive e mails came. Support for the Leykis show, not for the ethics of family fishing, that I attempt to promote. I was told if I did not like it, to not tune in. Sometimes I wonder what this world is coming to! Yesterday was one of those days.
I guess I could sell sex on the side, on ifish. Put up some pop up banners, and make me some money, too.
Sounds like it would be a go! It's popular! Ifish will get high ratings!
Not going to do it, though. If it comes to that, I quit, of course.
Thing is, though, I'm not going to quit. I'm going to fight this tooth and nail. I'm supposing that there really are many people that believe in the ifish world that I believe in. We just haven't heard from them, yet.
And so, life goes on. The Yin and the Yang of my ifish life. I have come to expect ups and downs, and keep having to remind myself that this happens.
Seems every year, after the rush of supportive e mails and letters I get in the April Fundraiser, there are bound to be times afterwards that I wonder, "Why do I do this?"
In my private messages, I got a note that wished that ifish was like it was before. That it had gotten to big, and it no longer felt like home. Sigh... :(
Come Ifishstock, or the Christmas Roll Call Toy Drive, the answer is always there.
Because, in the end, the ifish community comes through, and the answers are clear to me.
Off to the doc, for me this morning... and then to figure out when to fish, this week! I need to fish!


A place where friends meet.

May 18th, 2004

There is a boat on Tillamook Bay that is doing really well for springers! Guess what? I'll be on that boat, this morning! It's 4:00 AM, and I can't sleep! I'm so excited!!!
The boat belongs to fishing guide Marty Peterson, and if you want to witness the activity, and learn how, you'd better call him pretty quick! His number is: (503) 842-8813, or e mail him, here!
I gotta go jump in the shower-- I can't wait!

May 19th, 2004

I can't stop laughing! I can't believe I was so serious in my dreams, last night!
I was fishing in my bedroom for shad! The rods were in the closet. In my dreams, I sorted through them until I found the right one for my nocturnal fishing adventures. I was trying everything, but finally, I got them to hit by the tall dresser in the corner! I was conking on them! I got three on at once! Bill was there, and he was simply amazed. Now, who wouldn't be? We have a run of shad by the dresser!
How in the world can dreams be so darned serious and so ridiculous, all at the same time?
Now, I have never fished for shad before last night, in my dreams, or otherwise. But last night, I was using a herring jig, with bits of shrimp on it. No wonder I am so tired, this morning! I've been up fishing, all night long!
All my life, all I really wanted was a family of my own. I thought I was always the sort who had a best girlfriend, and a best boyfriend.
I recall back to my first real boyfriend. All I wanted to do was play house. I had a small house in Cannon Beach, and I adored having him over to dinner. I'd cook all day long, just to have him over to play house, eat dinner, and watch TV afterwards, just like a real family. I wanted to keep him. I wanted to live in that little Cannon Beach home with a fire in the fireplace, and dinner on the stove. That's all I wanted.
It seems, though, that some adventure always comes to call, a little stronger than my will to stay. I met an opera singer, and off we went... I lost that boyfriend to touring schedules, airports, long road trips, work, work, work...
When I was home, I remember the thrill of going to the store, to buy groceries. A can of Comet was clean, and represented home and some kind of purity to me.
The first dinner I cooked, I bought a big chicken, and fried it up. I didn't realize what a stewing chicken was, and I'm here to tell you. They don't fry! It was as tough as leather! The memory of biting into that tough chicken makes me laugh, still.
In my past, I was always teased about guys. My girlfriend once said, "Jennie, no matter who it is you have a crush on, you catch them."
I guess it was a bit like fishing. I was not to be skunked!
I recall having a contest, when all of my girlfriends lived in Los Angeles, together. We would all go out to trendy lounges, pick out the cutest guy, and see who could get a date with him. Seems like I always won, and I was teased for that, too.
That was scary, looking back! I can't believe I would date guys I didn't even know!
At the time, I reveled in the glory of it. I was a good fisher. I could catch them, hook, line and sinker.
The other day, I met with Tammy, my high school girlfriend. Actually, I have known Tammy since I was five! She was one of the taunters and teasers, who seemed envious of my dating.
Tammy is now married, with children.
It hit me hard! By gosh and by golly, all of my old girlfriends who seemed envious of my dates are married, and I'm not!
Now look who is envious! I guess I was good at catch and release, but I couldn't land them!
I was always off on another "life" adventure that side tracked me.
...and now, I am fishing for springers, and I can't seem to even hook one! Something is wrong, here, ladies and gentlemen!
I refuse to give up! I'm getting ready to go fishing, right now, and I just have to keep repeating, "expect a fish with every cast!" (Wait a minute, I'm trolling and not casting!)
Part of the fun of living life by "diving for dreams, and living by love" is never knowing what is around the next bend in the river.
Someday, I'm going to mark my tag with a keeper!
Ever tried Comet for springers?
I'm running out of time!

May 20th, 2004

It seems my column yesterday confused a lot of people! I've never gotten so many e mails concerned about my love life!
Everything is fine! Everything is glorious. Everything is wonderful...except...
I CAN'T CATCH A SPRINGER FOR MY LIFE!
That, my dear friends, is my concern. That, boys and girls, is what is driving me mad.
Imagine my chagrin on my 8th trip out to the bay, to walk slowly and defeated to the trailer once again, load up the boat, and drive home fishless!
I recall back to my married days. Although I didn't realize it for a while, not catching made me grouchy in my youthful years. My husband, after seeing my mood, would say, "Well, honey, I'm sorry you didn't catch anything!" First came a defensive attack. "That's not it!" But, finally it sunk in. He was right. I was grouchy because I didn't catch anything. So, after much work, I thought I had that problem in check. Thought I had fixed that, years ago!
I've tried everything! New scent, old scent, no scent! New spinner, old spinner, more weight, less weight, no weight!
I keep wondering what lesson I am being taught, here. Is it that I'm just supposed to enjoy fishing for fishing? Is it to humble me, from my season last year? Is it to teach me patience?
Early in the season, I asked Marie at Tillamook Bait if the springers were in. She knew how many I nailed last year. She said, "Jennie, the springers don't get caught till you go out and catch them. You are magic with springers!" My chest puffed, my ego towered over me! I was a springer catching fool, I was!! A legend in my own mind, and Marie's, too!
Part of me wants to get bitter and quit fishing for them. Although I make a valiant effort not to retreat to my younger, less mature days of "poor pitiful fishless me," I do feel just a hint of tendency that way. I try very hard to be loving to my children, and patient with my ifish work. It's a struggle. I want to take my spinner toys and go home!
A springer would certainly make this life for me easier and more enjoyable!
I'm just not sure, at this point, whether when (if) I catch one I will be joyful, or just plain relieved to have the skunk dead!
Fly fishing on the Kilchis opens this weekend, and once again, the annual tradition of fly fishing after dinner, every night. I'll become a bug tosser, right up until the last shadows fall and I can no longer see my line, in the fading evening light. What really haunts me, though, is this: What if I can't hook a measly trout, either? What if this is a global skunk?
The kids will threaten to run away. Bill will hide in the closet, that's what. No one will want to be near me. I will be a mean, green, fishless queen and I will have a royal tantrum!
But alas, I'll just go load up the boat, get in the truck and try again. Try, try, try again.
I told Bill in the boat, yesterday. "I'm not going home till I get my fish." The wind came up, the rain blew sideways. I sat there, shivering, miserable, but stoic and sure. I peaked up at Bill, from my rain hood. "Not leaving." I said, dead serious.
Bill started up the big motor and headed for the dock. I didn't fight him. We left. (I, somewhat relieved!)
Today is the day, folks! Or tomorrow! Maybe tomorrow! Or Saturday! Or???
I need that old springer smile to return to my face. My 37 pound springer ego of 2003 is cured, by now. I'm humbled. I'll take a springer of any size, at this point!

May 21st, 2004

I'm really disappointed and disillusioned by the grand "ODF and doubleya."
I attended a meeting in Tillamook last night, where they were considering the development of the 2005 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations.
Included in this process, and perhaps the most controversial (and for me the most passionate and emotionally charged) of the proposals, is opening up the North Coast region to a modest consumptive trout fishery.
I was really disturbed by the ODFW's seemingly persuasive speech on why we should open it up. Somehow, deep down, I always had our department of fish and wildlife up on a pedestal. They were good people, right? They were for the fish! Then why in the heck did their "studies" seem incomplete, inconclusive, and incorrect? I was stymied. I don't want to know this stuff.
I just don't get it. Here we did something really wise, by shutting it down, and low and behold, we are going to kill them, now?
I'm so convinced that the good show of cutts is the result of good ocean conditions that any chart they showed me, just made me want to call "phooey."
Plus, they seemed to only show one side of the story.
Now, I don't understand this, but in the past few years, I have had much difficulty getting up in front of a crowd, to speak. This, from a girl who used to be on the debate squad, and did persuasive speeches in high school, in front of judges, and high school crowds. This, from a girl who played at the Washington Hilton for Presidents and traveled around playing and speaking at engagements, nation wide.
I have also noticed that I have more difficulty when a subject that I most want to offer my opinion on, is emotionally charged, such as this one.
Bill often wonders why I act indifferent to political issues. Why I'm not excited to vote, or learn about who to vote for. I'll tell you why, and this was cemented in me, last night. I get too agitated and uncomfortable. I don't like confrontation, or disagreements with my friends, who think differently. I despise things that divide people, and frankly, it hurts me to see people I otherwise admire, who aren't seeing facts and figures the way I do!
Right or wrong, I hide from most of these things.
The problem lies in the fact that there are just some things that I can't hide from. It would be just plain wrong, deep down in my soul, to do so.
I love those cutthroat trout, like something that is attached to me. I am passionate about their survival. When I angle for cutthroat trout, the last thing on my mind, is to kill them.
When someone asked me why they thought some people were supporting this proposal, the only two things I could think of, were these.
One, some people allege that ODFW needs to sell more licenses. So, money might be one reason. Or is it to make a compromise for the complaints they get from people wanting to fish them?
Two. There are families here, who someone think that these trout are their generational heritage, and their right to take.
Well, I'll tell you. First off, money cannot buy these fish back, if we put them in danger.
One man stood up at the meeting, and pleaded that it was upsetting to him to take his grandson fishing, and to have to "crush him" by explaining, "no, you cannot kill this trout."
OK, tell me this. Why would it be so hard to tell him that? I would be so proud to tell my kids that we were preserving their future!
I can see it now!
Grandmother to Grandson, in 100 years...
"Son, back in the good old days, we had cutthroat trout that were plentiful in our coastal streams. Now, the weather is different, now. The climate is warmer. We overfished them, and now they are a rare species.
They were a beautiful, plentiful, and mysterious fish, that were difficult to study. We thought they were on the come back, but it was actually just a boost from good ocean conditions. Then, they went into a precipitous decline.
Our coastal cutthroat required pure, cold water conditions for survival, secure connected habitat (tributaries and main stems), but we over harvested them. Their numbers plummeted.
Come on over to the wall here, son, and see this beautiful picture of my own Grandfather, with a fine catch of Oncorhynchus clarki. It's all that we have left..."
I just can't deal with it. I nearly ran screaming out of the meeting. If it weren't for the good folks who had the nerve to stand up, and mirror the thoughts running through my head, I would have gone mad.
I have to pick my battles, and although I can't seem to sputter out the words, I can sure as heck get out my keyboard and play some very touching background music, while we rant against this disturbing and just plain wrong proposal.
But, for now, I'm going to wipe my brain clean and go fishing, while we still can.

 

May 21st later... 2004

Wow! Dahlynn of the "Chicken Soup For the Fisherman's Soul" fame just called, and asked me to call Hobart about the show, tomorrow on 910 AM MAX.
When I called, he was choked up over my story! He said it really touched him! I was very flattered!
Anyhow, he is doing a show tomorrow about nightcrawlers.
At 6:30 AM, though, he'll be talking to Ken McKowen about the Chicken Soup book, and about my story. I can't wait to listen! I'll be in a boat with the TEP tournament, but I'm going to dial in, for sure!
Oh, by the way, Bill landed a nice springer today! (he's my hero!)
Trip nine, and Jennie still has no springer! Trip 10 is going to be the ticket for me!
(Can you tell I never, ever give up?!?)
Listen in tomorrow! They are accepting calls from ifishers! I can't wait!

May 23rd.. 2004

I find it unfortunate that by the time you realize how precious time is, entire days and months start to fly by at an incredible pace. No longer are those "long summer days" as long as the hours are light. I no longer try to plan things that I am excited about, just to expedite the days. I don't dare! Things fly by faster then they should, anyhow!
As I crawled into the boat, I said hi to Mike Bradley, Bill's client for the TEP Tournament. A very pleasant fellow, we slid our spinners into the cold and cloud covered waters on Tillamook Bay, and began the ever present vibrations, into the morning light.
I told Mike that as I headed for bed, the night before at 11:30, I dreaded the thought of my busy schedule for the coming day. -- Up at 4:00, Radio show at 6:30, in the boat by seven, home to practice the piano for the banquet, take care of the kids, work on ifish a bit, and leave at 4:00 PM to set up, and play piano for the night's event. Then eat, and listen to Jim Martin's speech. I couldn't do it! I had decided last night, that I just wouldn't fish. It was too much.
He laughed. "...and then you woke up and got your priorities straight, and here you are fishing!"
That's right. A girl has got to have her fishing priorities straight. How could I NOT go? It was to be my 10th trip, and somehow I felt it would be my day to hook up!
It wasn't to be. Bill got a nice 17 pound springer, but the rest of the river's boats, bobbing on the windy waters were mostly silent. Very few nets appeared, waving on the horizon. I think we saw three fish caught, all day.
I headed home a bit early to prepare for the rest of my events.
Regardless of the catching, the TEP Tournament was a huge success. What a wonderful program! Ten years in the making, and I fell short in the knowledge of the wonderful things that they are doing in the bays and estuaries of Tillamook County. Their web site is still in the making, but as soon as it is live, I will share it with you. In short, they are working hard with all associated parties to make healthier salmon habitat.
The dinner was exquisite. The oysters, supreme! The lovely people, all gathered together and committed to the cause of improving the health of our ecosystem was refreshing.
All in all, I am exhausted, but very, very glad I was a part of this event. I can't wait till next year!
No! Wait! I can wait for next year! And until then, I am going to enjoy each and every precious moment, slowly, and with appreciation!

May 22nd... 2004

My life is crazy!
Last night was awesome, with Bob Rees telling everything he knew about T bay springer fishing. He really told all! :)
I spoke with Jim Martin and Buzz about "Why they want to kill my cutts." I was a little surprised by his comments. Somehow, I thought he would mirror my thoughts and shed some enlightening reasons as to why they wanted to open it for kill.
Well, he enlightened me, but did not reflect my concern.
He thinks they can withstand the pressure, and that the proposal will pass. Hmmm.
But... there are other things to consider. Both cutts and coho are very responsive and receptive to ocean conditions and both have increased with our favorable conditions. So, right now, the numbers are good.
It would be very difficult to change the law, when ocean conditions turn around.
ODFW is attempting to streamline, and not make so many variable laws. Therefore, I still maintain that we should just leave the cutts alone, for good. That way, no need to look at it again, ever! :)
OK... Got up at 4:30... will go into town so I get reception for the Hobart Show at 6:30. Then, I'll jump in the boat, and fish for a bit. Come home, get my music ready, and transport my electric keyboard to the dinner banquet. Play for a bit, eat, listen to Jim talk some more, and then come home and CRASH!
I don't like it, but I can tell already... I'm exhausted. I almost know that I will be spending a lot of time recovering this week!
By the way, a friend of mine digitally recorded the program. You may download the segment of the radio talk show, "Outback Angler" with the Chicken Soup for the Fisherman's Soul interview, by clicking here. You will need a player, which is downloadable, here. It's called DSS Player Lite and it's ~900KB.

May 23rd.. 2004

I find it unfortunate that by the time you realize how precious time is, entire days and months start to fly by at an incredible pace. No longer are those "long summer days" as long as the hours are light. I no longer try to plan things that I am excited about, just to expedite the days. I don't dare! Things fly by faster then they should, anyhow!
As I crawled into the boat, I said hi to Mike Bradley, Bill's client for the TEP Tournament. A very pleasant fellow, we slid our spinners into the cold and cloud covered waters on Tillamook Bay, and began the ever present vibrations, into the morning light.
I told Mike that as I headed for bed, the night before at 11:30, I dreaded the thought of my busy schedule for the coming day. -- Up at 4:00, Radio show at 6:30, in the boat by seven, home to practice the piano for the banquet, take care of the kids, work on ifish a bit, and leave at 4:00 PM to set up, and play piano for the night's event. Then eat, and listen to Jim Martin's speech. I couldn't do it! I had decided last night, that I just wouldn't fish. It was too much.
He laughed. "...and then you woke up and got your priorities straight, and here you are fishing!"
That's right. A girl has got to have her fishing priorities straight. How could I NOT go? It was to be my 10th trip, and somehow I felt it would be my day to hook up!
It wasn't to be. Bill got a nice 17 pound springer, but the rest of the river's boats, bobbing on the windy waters were mostly silent. Very few nets appeared, waving on the horizon. I think we saw three fish caught, all day.
I headed home a bit early to prepare for the rest of my events.
Regardless of the catching, the TEP Tournament was a huge success. What a wonderful program! Ten years in the making, and I fell short in the knowledge of the wonderful things that they are doing in the bays and estuaries of Tillamook County. Their web site is still in the making, but as soon as it is live, I will share it with you. In short, they are working hard with all associated parties to make healthier salmon habitat.
The dinner was exquisite. The oysters, supreme! The lovely people, all gathered together and committed to the cause of improving the health of our ecosystem was refreshing.
All in all, I am exhausted, but very, very glad I was a part of this event. I can't wait till next year!
No! Wait! I can wait for next year! And until then, I am going to enjoy each and every precious moment, slowly, and with appreciation!

May 23rd.. 2004

I find it unfortunate that by the time you realize how precious time is, entire days and months start to fly by at an incredible pace. No longer are those "long summer days" as long as the hours are light. I no longer try to plan things that I am excited about, just to expedite the days. I don't dare! Things fly by faster then they should, anyhow!
As I crawled into the boat, I said hi to Mike Bradley, Bill's client for the TEP Tournament. A very pleasant fellow, we slid our spinners into the cold and cloud covered waters on Tillamook Bay, and began the ever present vibrations, into the morning light.
I told Mike that as I headed for bed, the night before at 11:30, I dreaded the thought of my busy schedule for the coming day. -- Up at 4:00, Radio show at 6:30, in the boat by seven, home to practice the piano for the banquet, take care of the kids, work on ifish a bit, and leave at 4:00 PM to set up, and play piano for the night's event. Then eat, and listen to Jim Martin's speech. I couldn't do it! I had decided last night, that I just wouldn't fish. It was too much.
He laughed. "...and then you woke up and got your priorities straight, and here you are fishing!"
That's right. A girl has got to have her fishing priorities straight. How could I NOT go? It was to be my 10th trip, and somehow I felt it would be my day to hook up!
It wasn't to be. Bill got a nice 17 pound springer, but the rest of the river's boats, bobbing on the windy waters were mostly silent. Very few nets appeared, waving on the horizon. I think we saw three fish caught, all day.
I headed home a bit early to prepare for the rest of my events.
Regardless of the catching, the TEP Tournament was a huge success. What a wonderful program! Ten years in the making, and I fell short in the knowledge of the wonderful things that they are doing in the bays and estuaries of Tillamook County. Their web site is still in the making, but as soon as it is live, I will share it with you. In short, they are working hard with all associated parties to make healthier salmon habitat.
The dinner was exquisite. The oysters, supreme! The lovely people, all gathered together and committed to the cause of improving the health of our ecosystem was refreshing.
All in all, I am exhausted, but very, very glad I was a part of this event. I can't wait till next year!
No! Wait! I can wait for next year! And until then, I am going to enjoy each and every precious moment, slowly, and with appreciation!

May 24th 2004

Whew! It was a long time in coming, and you cannot imagine the hours I have spent stressing over this decision. I have finally chosen the ifish guide that will replace our most excellent retired guide, Joe Schwab!
It is Chris Vertopoulos!
Welcome to ifish, Chris!
I am very impressed by Chris, and enjoy talking to him. He catches lots of fish, and is recommended by the present ifish guides.
Get to know him! I'm sure you'll be impressed with his fishing, and his personality!

May 25th 2004

It is a time of conflict, in the Kilchis River Canyon.
Life is abundant, and starving, near our home. The hummingbird feeders need filling every day. All five of them! We boil up 8 cups of food in the morning, and have to do it again, by the next morning. Sometimes as many as 10 hummingbird at a time, fight for the 8 tiny places at the tube feeding dinner table.
I am in shock at how much we visit the feed store. It's the same story with black sunflower seeds. Fill all ten in the morning, fill them in the evening. Grosbeak, purple finch, gold finch, song sparrows, chickadees and a couple other species, crowd the feeders, as close as 2 feet from my window.
Yet, as I walk down to the river, it is evident that the beginning of the pinch period has come. In most spots on the river, you can see the structure, all the way across. The current has slowed to a crawl. You have to look very closely for any signs of life. Tiny fry dart about. Salamander and frog eggs are strung, lacy and free, in the warm, standing water by the rocks.
I have to lay on my stomach on the warm rocks, and stare into the pools, to make sure there is some life, there!
The river is a gentle and calm nursery for it's young, and it will be months before it will challenge these small creatures with the wild currents and high waters of winter.
It is odd. Most often, in spring, I see several deer, and their young in the yard. They usually nest back by where we store our boats. At night, I can shine a flashlight into the meadow, and find them. Every night, for the past two months, I have searched, yet found no signs of them. Is there a disease, this year, that has hit the deer?
Down the road, there is a new nursery in a large field, where the elk and deer used to often roam. They have fenced the entire acreage with 8 foot fences, and I have to wonder if this has redirected any of them to another location.
I have been to the river, just as dusk falls, searching for my otter family. I have seen them once, earlier this season, and since then, not a sign.
Yet, as the sun falls, I hear one small songbird. A dipper, I'm thinking, that sings a hilariously happy song, against the stillness of the evening. I think she's thinking she has the world to herself, and is quite content about that.
Sometimes, as I walk along the river, in the stillness and warmth of springtime, I feel exactly that way. It's easy to hide amongst the tall conifers of the canyon, and think there is not another soul for miles.
I lay down my fly rod, and stop to sit on a rock and listen. I hear nothing, and everything, all at the same time. One small bird's song echoes against the rocks along the river.
There is a faint song from the river, but it's a whisper of what it is, in the winter. I have to wonder, where in this forest, this bird makes her bed. Wherever it is, I'm certain that it's a wonderful place.
Her song diminishes, as I slowly make my way towards home. I can't imagine a better lullaby.

May 26th 2004

With a whoosh, I close the garage door, and head for the truck with the boat on the back. I can only imagine the half inch layer of dust on my household furniture, scurrying to find it's place again, as the gust settles.
Ladies and gents, it is Spring chinook season on Tillamook bay. This means that I am largely a total flake, for any other purpose.
It matters not whether I am catching, or skunking. For if I catch, I can't wait to catch some more, and if I skunk, I can't wait to catch.
The only certainty, is that I must be there.
As long as there are fish in the bay, I'm away.
It's an addiction, a curse, and it keeps me from my chores. My children wonder what is for dinner, as we pick them up for school. It's either spring chinook, freshly butchered and on the bbq, or peanut butter and jelly, thrown together by two very tired and salty fishless souls. Lately, Bill is doing all of the catching. But, not for long. I copied his spinner. It has a chartreuse taped dot in the middle. Now, all of my favorite spinners have a chartreuse dot on them, too. So what if his is gold plated? So what if his spinner is a Dudley Nelson spinner, and I can't find another of it's kind? I'll try the dot for now, and proceed to the next hunt, if this doesn't work.
My nights are spent planning the attack, in my dreams. I bolt upright in bed with a fish on, only to sit there, shivering and shaking, arm outstretched to accommodate the rod, and realize, once again... it was only a dream. Laughing to myself, I fall asleep, visions of spinners and tape dots, and Lemon Joy in my head.
I wake up and do my chores. Polish the spinners, and put on fresh line. I stock the boat seats with nutritional snacks like Reeces Peanut Butter Cups and Cheetos.
The kids? Oh, they already left, I guess. Off to the world of the last days of school...
I guess I missed saying goodbye as I studied the patterns of my spinners. Blade with lime green on the top, or on the bottom? Bill tells me the kids said goodbye three times. I don't hear a word.
Marie's shrimp scent, or banana juice? Which one?
I'm ready to go, now, as I glance at the stack of bills that I need to pay, very, very soon. I'm thinking there should be a special fishing VISA out, where during busy fishing seasons, it auto debits your account. You could just go online, and press the button, "fishing for 6 weeks" and all is taken care of.
My post office box hasn't been visited for a couple days, but I turn left to go fishing, and right, to the Post Office. Right doesn't stand a chance.
It's a good thing, when the springer season ends. I get to know my kids again, and I eat things that my body has craved for weeks. You know, green things. Vegetables, things that need time to cook.
When it's all said and done, I'll get out a dust rag and begin to break through the build up.
Until then, I'll just close the door with a whoosh. The gust of dust will settle, surely, by the time I get back.

May 27th 2004


Jennie's Springer!

It was a cold and rainy day on the bay, but I had to be there. A steady, pouring, soaking rain, with wind gusts that sent trickles of water down my back, and creeping up my sleeves.
Chris Vertopoulos had given me a "magic" spinner a couple days back. I visited with him, before putting in. He said, "The conditions for my spinner are perfect today! Try it!"
Try, I did. Bonk, I did!
My fingers were frozen, and I was holding my rod gently, feeling the constant vibrations of the spinner at work. We sat in the boat, mostly quiet, but with solid intent. And then... the mighty springer attacked my spinner with great force, and nearly took my rod with him!
While playing the fish, I shouted, "Please, God, please!" You have no idea the sigh of relief I felt, as Bill swooshed the net out, and brought my skunk to an end. Fourteen days into fishing for springers, and my luck turned around... finally! I jumped up and down in the boat, till I sent wakes, from shore to shore! "Bill, Bill Bill!!! I got him!!! Thank you, GOD!"
We fished till we couldn't fish any more, took out, butchered the salmon, and put him on the BBQ. My excited post about it, is here! You know what I wish? I wish I could have him stuffed to be a Gund teddy bear salmon. I'd sleep with it every night, and hug it ever so close!
At dinner, I sat down to candlelight, and barbecued salmon. The hummingbirds joined us, and we all had a feast, I'll not soon forget!


Springtime dinner

May 28th 2004

I could sit here for hours... but my batteries in my camera finally went out, and I can't find any good ones! My battery charger can't keep up with me. I have two sets, but life is so busy at the bird feeders, and I'm so mesmerized, that I just sit and click, all day long!
Here is my latest buddy:

Click here to see this weird purple finch, with something apparently growing on his leg. Yuck! I keep wanting to shake my hand, and get it off of there!
I have to go to the store and get more batteries!

May 29th 2004

Look... If you've come here for fishing news, I don't have any. However, I have tons of hummy pictures! I've been clicking all morning! Having a blast! You know how they say you have to fish 100 hours for a springer? Well, I have to click 100 photos for a good hummy pic. They are so darn fast! We counted 20 at one time, this morning. Swarms! They don't seem like birds. More like bugs!
Here are the ones I've tagged this morning!

OK, I've had my limit of hummings. The outgoing tide is soon. Off to the bay, hey hey!

May 31st 2004

If you can't tell from the pictures, in my last entry, we are at the peak of hummingbird season. I am going through over 8 cups of sugar water, a day. Now, this is a chore!
About April or May, I start seeking out sugar sales, and stock up. I'm not out, yet!
It's utterly amazing. There are times, and although this is a difficult task, I have counted 13 at a time, outside my kitchen window. Then, I run to the office, and count four more!
Last night after dinner, as the hummies sit down to theirs, I stood behind the feeder in my purple Exolights. They like that color. It attracts them. (As if I need to attract them!) I held out my finger, alongside their perch, and two of them landed. I stood still, amazed over the fact that I had two hummies perched on me! Every year, I do this, and it never ceases to take my breath away!
I took some excellent pictures last night, too.
I've been amazed over the social life of birds, as of late. We have 20 or 30 black headed and evening grosbeak. They have babies, and they are bringing them to feed. I can't help but wonder if they are telling their young, "It doesn't always get this good!" as the adult males gather to take turns in feeding their young. The babies sit, mouth open, at the feeder, as several males give them food. Their feathers are ragged and irregular, and they shake and flutter their wings. I didn't realize that all of the males raise their young in groups. Or, are they confused as to which young is their own?
There are barn swallow nests in the shed. If Kilchis and I go in there, they attempt to lead us astray. I was nearly to my knees laughing, as Kilchis tried to chase one. Around and around the field they went, at light speed. Hey! I figured out a way to tire Kilchis, the ever youthful two year old pup! The swallow, four to five feet ahead, had Kilchis racing in circles, as the bird dived near ground, and circled the field, countless times.
And then, there is the river, which I've been visiting multiple times a day. I worry about the river rising, as the birds that nest in the gravel, may have lost their nests. The river is at winter steelhead levels.
Out comes my steelhead fly rod. The water is so high! Perhaps a stray spring chinook has wandered up the wrong river? I can only hope! Last night I felt the tug of something big! It most certainly was not a cutthroat bite. Those are sharp and aggressive. This was a pull, pull.... gone!
OK, just talking about it heads me out that way, to try, try again! It was probably a late returning steelhead, with fungus on it's back, but you never know! Can you imagine a bright sassy springer on a fly? OH MY!

There once was a woman who fished with a fly.
She fished with a fly? I wonder why?
She fished with a fly in hopes of a springer.
In hopes of a springer? Oh! That's a hum dinger!
There once was a springer that swallowed the fly.
I don't know why she swallowed a fly,
Perhaps she'll die!
In hopes of this silliness, I bid you good bye!
--Jen

 

FISHING THE COAST
A journal of my adventures.

HOME | EMAIL