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


Jennie's
Fishing Life


October 1st, 2004

"It's freezing!"
The thought of it sends shivers up my spine! The Kilchis river in the middle of the summer is probably the coldest watershed on the north coast.
The first sandal footed step into that icy liquid in the summer is always a shock to my system, no matter the outdoor temperature.
I wet wade often in the summer to fly fish. I also spend long days, knee deep in the water, searching for uncovered treasures, agates, and last Fall's lures. I get used to it, but there is not once that the first step failed to cause me to cringe.
This morning the air is cold, crisp and breathtaking. Not a doubt that Fall is here. It's October and the afternoons are warm, still and relaxing. As I dip my hand into the water, I know that summer is over.
It's the first time that I can remember a nostalgic sigh at summer's end.
I'm usually gung ho forward into Fall! That, I am, but yet I feel a slight sadness wash over me, recalling the memories of long summer days, where the boys and I waded the river. We didn't wade for reason. We just walked... and walked... and walked!



Nehalem fishing!

The boys are getting so big! They both tower over me. They are both driving cars! Their talk is of Football games, pep bands, and college!
Their trampoline sits in the yard, largely unused. Bill placed a small rock on it, just to check if it got moved. It's been there for over two months.
I guard and protect that trampoline with my life. It's a a symbol of their youth. Bill is tired of moving it, to mow the lawn. He wants us to sell it.
But-- It's their last remaining toy! The basketball hoop has been sold. That was so hard on me! I cried! The ping pong table has been sold, too.
That trampoline stays, darnit! Through wind and rain, and high water! I'm tying it down to stay! I just can't imagine a blank space in the yard, there. I'd rather see it un mowed!
It's sad enough to walk past the Rhododendron that my old dog Hershey is buried under. The yard is supposed to be filled with plastic toys, and joy! Not memories of your past, right?
That darn trampoline stays!
It's Fall. Time for more down home warmth, comfort food, sweaters, and wet, cold freezing fingers from fishing! I love that!
The other evening I prepared a winter type meal. Complete with fresh blueberry muffins, fresh vegetables from the garden, and a casserole with far too many calories. The kids eagerly lined up for seconds, and a feeling of total happiness and satisfaction washed over me.
I prepared that meal. I provided it with my own money, my own hands, my own time. It made other people happy, and it felt really nice. :) It made me feel better than any accomplishment I've made.
Better than playing piano for our President.
Better than being on the front cover of a book. Better than being the owner of ifish.
It was a total satisfaction feeling, and I owned it.
The fishing is picking up on the North Coast! I'm hearing more and more reports of fish caught!
Please, also... check out Stan's complete section on Bluegill! They are:
Part one
Part two, and the latest--
Part three!
You can pretty regularly expect to find a new Stan Fagerstrom column on the first and fifteenth of the month, here!
I have a day off, today, and I'm going to enjoy every bit of it. And, who knows? I just might go out and play on the trampoline all by myself. Bill will see that the rock has moved, and all will be safe and well!

October 3rd, 2004

So, she's going to blow again! Mt. St. Helens coverage is on every local TV Station. Just try to find something else! Oh! I did last night! Football!
It's fun to watch the mountain, and I'm darn glad to have something to watch. I've hurt my shoulder somehow, and I can not figure a reason for it to be hurt. I've been in pain before, but nothing touches this one! Last night, I nearly went to the hospital it was so bad, but what would they do? Give me pain medicine?
I have some. I took one. I stayed home.
I've gone through umpteen bags of iced vegetables. Broccoli, green beans, peas... This is getting expensive, even at Fred Meyers vegetable sale prices! I hope that I'm gaining some vitamins through this application!
I really want to fish! So badly! So, so, so badly that I promised myself I would dedicate all day yesterday to getting it well, with the dream that perhaps today I could fish for salmon!
Bill mentioned that we could try herring fishing. That way, I wouldn't even have to hold the rod. Just set it, and forget it... until....
"Yeah, Bill, and THEN what would I do? Hand it off, to you?" I see his plan... I see it clearly!
I fished for two hours or so last week with spinners. This couldn't possibly be the reason I hurt, could it? Tell me it's not true!
I did physical therapy searches on the internet, for shoulder pain. I did some of the recommended exercises. I iced it, I heat packed it, I massaged it. I took hot showers. I took a muscle relaxer. I hate those! They make me stupid! I didn't dare to do anything at all strenuous...
So...
Trout fishing!
I got really bored, and so did Kilchis. After all, the mountain is only so exciting!
I walked to the garage, tied a big old hook on a flimsy old rod and clipped the barb. I couldn't find any bait, so I used frozen salad shrimp.
I dreamed of fishing for trout, and accidentally hooking a salmon. Whatever would I have done? Six pound test, sore shoulder, Whoo hooo!
As I wobbled down to the stream, the deepest pool invited me to try! Just try for a salmon! The water is low and extremely clear! Visions of a silver monster hidden in that pool quickened the pace of my heart.
Big, gorgeous fall leaves floated to the surface of the water, and mixed in with the swirl of current.
I cast out and held the rod with my sore left arm. I could not believe it, but I couldn't even hold that little rod! I set it down amongst the rocks, kept a keen eye on it, and let the bobber float around in circles in the swirl.
My mind swirled and danced off into river land.
I couldn't sell that salad shrimp to any fishes.
Being out on the river, however, is healing to me.
Molly the river cat enjoys the crunch of the Fall leaves, and has a great time chasing little shrews through them. She'll go to the field and catch one, and bring it as a gift to me. She drops it in the leaves. It's excitement for both of us, from there on in! I can't keep track of the little furry creature, and if I'm not careful, it will end up in my clothes. Yikes, Molly!
Kilchis enjoyed every bit of chasing a blue heron up and down the river. As if he had a chance! Oh, eternal hope! I find that kind of attitude refreshing! I'm certain that he finds my hopes of finding a salmon in that pool of water pretty foolish, also!
As my bobber swirled untouched, the river and all of it's glory, all of it's colored leaves, all of it's gentle current, and all of the dancing sunlight on it's surface filled me with purpose.
A purpose to heal!
It truly seems as if only my dog, Kilchis, and my cat, Molly can relate to the healing and life giving properties of the river. No one else in the household seems to need a multi daily dose of sitting by it's side.
I need it. I crave it. I am honestly convinced I could not live without it.
So, today, as I moved around in bed at the first sign of morning, I stretched. I flexed. I checked my shoulder for soreness. It's better! It's not good, but it's better! I sit here with my last bag of Fred Meyers frozen green beans. I have noticed not one spasm from that corner of grief on my body.
I just might... I just might try to climb in the boat with Bill, and head off to the bay. Bill is a heck of a guide. Not only because of his knowledge of the fishing there, but because he understands that if it gets to be too much for me, we turn home. He does it without making me feel badly, too.
We will fish with herring, and I will try to land my own fish. Stupid as it sounds, I know I will not be able to resist. If it hurts to bad, I'll hand off that salmon and be content just to scream and dance as he lands it!
My more reasonable side says to stay home. However, like I said... the river is healing to me. Well, so is the bay. Any source of water that holds fishes is where I want to be!
Medicine comes in many, many forms. My favorite is happiness.
You know, in chronic pain clinics they have tried with some degree of success, giving small doses of prozac or other SSRI's to patients, under the assumption that if the patient is happier the pain will be easier to manage.
My "prozac" comes in the form of fishes, and I'm just fine with that. I don't even need a prescription, and I certainly don't need any help remembering to take my medicine!
In fact, I'm most probably a fishing junky, and if anything, I might need a 12 step program to wean me from abusing it!

October 5th, 2004

Good morning!
The dogs are out barking at something on the river in the dark. What could it be? Probably a herd of wild zebra, right? It's a good thing we have those dogs to protect us from such terrible things.
Soon, Kilchis will come in, all waggly tailed and cold to tell me about his adventures. He'll paw at my legs and say, "And then! And then!" He'll also, of course, want a treat, in return for his grand deeds in protecting the household.
Perhaps that nearly empty can of cat food? Yes, thank you. And.. by the way, if I don't get it for him, he might just jump up on the cat table and get it himself! (argh!)
Sure enough, there is the scratch on the door.
All is well in the Kilchis valley. Well, all except my darn shoulder, again. It's getting it's very own treat. Another bag of iced veggies!
I fished the other day on the bay. What a beautiful day! It's not often you can fish a lazy afternoon at the ghost hole. The sun shown warm. The water was calm and flat. So flat-- that not a fish showed! We didn't see anything caught!
I'll never forget one day two falls ago. The chum salmon had entered the bay, and were top feeding! What a sight!
We met up with Tim Marshall at the dock. Poor guy. His motor blew up somewhere out by the jaws. Poor guy... yeah right! He had four beautiful chrome chinook in that motorless craft! Whatdayawant? A motor, or fish? Since I have neither, I choose fish.
Actually, I was almost afraid to see my rod wiggle in it's holder. I was, yet again, going beyond what I should do. My arm hurt badly, and what activity should I choose? The very activity that put me out in the first place! Fishing! However, with herring fishing, my rod can stay in the rod holder. I was doing fine.
I adore spinner fishing in the bay! But, somehow that is what screws up my arm. It is my goal this fall to find a way to hold that darn rod without putting my shoulder out. I WILL do it! I WILL find a way!
Yesterday, I had a doctor's appointment in the afternoon. There is a very good massage therapist at this clinic, and low and behold, she could take me right after my appointment. What luxury! I think it helped! She is just a wonderful person, and I enjoyed every minute of it! If you ever need a massage while in Tillamook, give me a ring, and I'll point you her way.
Today, it's physical therapy at 9:30, and then I have an interview at noon. They are bringing a photographer. I'm not much good in pictures, but we'll see!
Yesterday, I hauled this really neat little hunting chair down to the river. It's light as air and it has a arm strap on it, for carry. I didn't bring a rod. I just hauled it from fish hole to fish hole and sat while Kilchis entertained the birds. I spent my time staring into the cold, clear water. Molly the river cat loves the idea. She runs up, pounces on my back, and sits proudly on my shoulder to join in the watch. One of these days soon, Molly and I are going to spot a salmon. I can't wait for the chum run. Now that is fun to watch! We see hundreds of them!
I've grown a bit tired of cutthroat fishing after a near miss the other day. I hooked a cutt, and had a heck of a time reviving it. That was too much for me. I'm done cutt fishing with bait this summer. It's just too darn scary. Until my shoulder allows me to fly fish again, I'm just going to sit and spot salmon!
Off I go... The boys need waking for school.

October 6th, 2004

Yesterday afternoon, Bill and I ran the Water Ready! pontoon down the Kilchis, just for a "look see" run. Man, that thing is awesome! We can go through three inches of water! What fun!
I've really done it, this time, though.
My shoulder is majorly screwed up. Just in time for salmon! Do I just go, anyway? Will it get worse, or better fishing for salmon?
I bet my spine is just out of line, right? With the jerk of a salmon, it will act like a chiropractic move, and fix the whole darn thing, right?
I don't know, but Bill is getting fish fever pretty badly, and I am letting him down!
I vote "go for it!"

October 8th, 2004

It was a dark and stormy day.... and people are still playing on the bay! Click that link! I've been watching Lyster's web cam all morning! I can't believe these guys are still out there! Now, THAT is desperate! Or foolish? We have 30 mph winds, here! They must be, have to be stronger on the bay! I keep thinking that surely the bay will clear of boats, soon, but they don't! What nuts! I love it!
You can click on the picture to make it bigger. Virtual fishing at it's best.
I click between the excitement of the web cam at Mt. St. Helens, and the bay. Both are going to blow! What extreme forces of nature, and yet people flock to them!
I'm happy and snug in my home, thank you! I'll just watch by computer screen, if you don't mind!
Frankly, I'm excited, as this rain will probably be the one to bring the salmon into the rivers in larger numbers. You know, the fresh ones! The bright ones! The fifty pound beauties!
I'm barely hobbling along with my shoulder. It's only getting worse instead of better. I have iced it, rested it, taken Advil to reduce any swelling. What more can I do? I've paid out of my own pocket for a massage. People! I need help, or I will miss the fish! I'm desperate!
Finally, someone from the marfan community told me that shoulders often go out with our connective tissue problem, and to have it seen. So, I finally called the doctor for help. It's not just muscle. It couldn't be. Something is wrong, and I've got to work on figuring out how to get better, so that I don't miss the bite!
Hobart Manns on KTOK, (910 AM) and he asked me to read a salmon poem that I wrote, on the air. I wonder how he found that? It's a silly little poem, but if he'd like, I'll share it! Hobart said he'd call around 6:30. It's still dark then! Even if I decided to go fishing, I'd still be home, or launching the boat.
The Outback Angler is on Saturday: 6:00 AM - 7:00 AM.
Everything you want to know about fishing!!
It's on a station that is "radio talk show for men." Well, I hope they are into a little poetry reading!
I'm going to get dressed and wait for the doc to call to let me know just what I can do, to prepare my body for fishing!
Like I said before, I think my spine is just out of line. Or maybe my shoulder is dislocated? Nothing that a good whacking from a salmon on the line won't cure! Maybe?!
I don't know what's more foolish. My going fishing with my shoulder like this, or those people fishing on the bay! Same thing, both. Fishing crazies!!

October 9th, 2004

Just off the radio with Hobart. Man, that is scary, to me! I drank water with lemon juice, which is an old trick an opera singer taught me. It helps to clear your vocal chords. Also, did a little, "me-me-me-me-ma-ma-ma-ma..." Vocal training rub off! :)
Now, may I go fishing? I bet there ARE salmon in the river! It's still dark, but it's so nice to be able to just go to the mud room, and pull on my waders right over my pajamas, and GO! I think I will, by golly!
Anyhow, Hobart asked that I print this poem once again, for those of you who didn't have a chance to really have it sink in.
This poem wrote itself, actually. I somehow feel I had very little to do with it. It just came out so easily. Have you ever had that happen? The same happens with music to me, sometimes. It's magical! It's mystical! It's like someone with actual talent takes me over! LOL... I wouldn't say this is a literary piece of genious... it's just a silly but serious poem, written, of course... by a salmon! (They are awfully talented, you know!)
Before I print it, and speaking of the magic of salmon....
I walked along the banks of the Kilchis river last night, watching for a miracle. The water in the Kilchis has been low, and quiet.
This morning, I would suppose the river to have grown to 10 times it's summer size. I would also imagine that there are now huge salmon running upstream. What a miracle that is! To sight a fifty pound salmon in what was, just yesterday, a silent stream, filled with cutthroat and small fishes.
The pinch period is gone! The river is full of amazing life! Big, huge, fifty pound slabs of salmon! Like sea monsters! Amen!
(P.S. to Liz... I know that you are responsible for showing Hobart this poem. I don't know whether to thank you for the compliment, or whack you for the nervous breakdown I experienced when the phone rang!)

Salmon Poem

One fish
Two fish
Red fish
Blue fish

I once knew a salmon that penned a letter.
He penned the letter so the rivers would get better.

He sat and he pondered the letter he'd pen,
He'd pen it for children and women and men.

He penned it because he was worried and scared
He thought that the people had given up care.

The letter he penned for all fish; buck and hen.
He penned it for hatchery and wild and net pen.

"Dear People of the land, of the river and sea,
We have a bleak plight as too few of you see,

The water is warm and the sun it is hot
There is no place to rest, and no trees on the lot

You cut all the trees way too close to the shore
What once flowed a river is now plain dirt floor.

The dams all have channeled the river too much
What are these things you call ladders and such?

Our offspring are chewed up in turbines for power,
for houses, and buildings... another buck an hour!

We are crying with rage,
We are drowning with heat
The ocean is warming, from shallow to deep

The rivers are ruined, the dams they hold death
Through sewage and wastes we struggle each breath.

We know you are trying, we know that you care
Why, we are your favorite dinner table fare!

Our beauty and strength is a source of State pride
But, our numbers have dwindled and several thousand have died

How long will it take you?
How long till you care?

We are the salmon
and this just ain't fair!

We deserve our clean water, we have a right to our way!
We have journeys to complete, so what do you say?

How bout some money, thrown into the pot
to save us, your salmon?
Please give it a thought.

We need you to fight with all of your might
We salmon are dying, with each passing night.

So, with this, the letter, I penned on this day,
I'll send off to Liz
at the N.S.I.A.
I know that it will reach you,
I know it's your call
for you are the people I trust,
after all.

October 11th, 2004

"Oh no, Bill! It's a salmon!"
I screamed in surprise as my bobber disappeared into the depths of this particular drift.
I had been bored while waiting for Bill as he rigged up the Kwikfish. While he did, I thought I'd just watch a bobber float downstream a couple times. I was just passing time! Hey! I wasn't fishing for fish!
I just have this thing about watching bobbers in the water, really! I didn't mean for a fish to take it! In fact, I didn't even do a hookset. With my shoulder the way it is, I just couldn't!
"Bill, I didn't mean to!"
Somehow, as I lifted the bobber out of what I hoped had been a snag, there was a powerful life force on the other end of my line. It was on my first cast!
"Zzz. zzz zzzinggggggggggg!" went my line!
A strong and throbbing pain seared through my injured shoulder, as I stood in frank confusion over just what to do!
"BILL, HELP!" I screamed!
For some reason, my left hand can not even pick up a cup of coffee, without shaking. It feels all the world like trying to lift weights.
I guess I'm going to have to try harder while not fishing for fish.
Shall I use stinky old eggs, left over in the bait fridge from last year? Or, maybe rotten shrimp from last week? Shall I use dull hooks that should be tossed aside after snagging on dead heads at the bottom of the creek? Forget the fifty pound brand new Power Pro line! I'll use that old mono that's been sitting in the window for five years. The sunlight has surely weakened it, by now. I'll tie bad knots! I'll do something that increases my odds of not hooking fish!
Surely, there is some way to do what I love, without the risk of catching a dang salmon!
You know I write in jest. But the truth is I am scared to death of using my shoulder in the manner it takes to land a fish. It makes me seriously "Fear a Fish with every cast!!"
The fish I landed was less than 20 pounds. Thank God for that! But I'll never forget the picture in my mind when I first saw it through the murky waters. The beautiful monster's sides flashed up at me. The most metallic chrome, sparkling silver sided fall chinook that one could wish for.
I have every 'bobber down' permanently engraved in my memory. There is truly, no greater rush!
I have learned through my physical therapy appointments to breathe under stress. I find it nearly funny (but not quite!) how some medical people read about marfan syndrome, and then react with absolute fear and protection.
During one of my child births, the anesthesiologist was so paranoid of any stress on my heart, that he gave me a spinal block that numbed me from head to toe. I could feel nothing! I was disappointed. I wanted to know what childbirth was like. He wouldn't let me!
Maybe a spinal block before fishing?
In physical therapy, I'll be doing a tough exercise, and the gal will yell, "Jennie, breathe! Jennie! If you don't breathe, your aorta could dissect!"
So, while I played this fish, I made sure to breathe. Bill kept saying, "There is no hurry, Jen, just relax!" Relax? There is a fish on my line!!!
My physical therapist has brought the fear of God to fishing for me!
Think about it. Do you hold your breath while playing a fish? I think I do! That's bad! Breathe, you guys! Why does that make me giggle?
Anyway, I have my first fall fish from Tillamook. I'm happy, but I have to say, I still fear the next! After all, fish this time of year are known to top over sixty pounds!
I often walk out to the Kilchis in my backyard. Especially when I am tired, I toss out a plunking rig, and sit on my bucket, to enjoy the sunshine. Molly jumps on my shoulders and plays with my hair. Kilchis the dog runs after dippers, and we are all happy.
But, as I imagine the very real possibilities, the whole thing seems less than peaceful. There are sea monsters in the Kilchis river! Huge, fifty plus salmon that roam the waters!
Fear the Fish, Jen!
What if? What if one of those huge salmon of the river decides my bait looks great?
No worries! It's alright. I have it all planned out!
First, I will breathe! I'll breathe in, and scream for help! Breathe in, scream for help! (repeat several times)
If that doesn't work, I will just slowly manage, somehow. When the monster is tired, I'll slip him up on the bank, with the aid of the river current.
Then, I'll either release it, or leave him there, tethered to the grasses, and go to the house to get someone to drag my catch to the house. If no one is home, I'll start making phone calls.
"Hello? 911? I need someone to come haul my fish to the house, or I could die. If my aorta gives out, you'll have to call life flight. We want to avoid that, right?"
Thank God for Tillamook's emergency system.
It's really a relief to have it all worked out, now. I'll throw away that old mono in the window. I'll sharpen my hooks. I'll use the best bait, the best scent, and the best line I have.
No sense letting fear take over, right?
My Mom always taught me not to fear what we have no control over. She was right, and worry really is a sin.
Hey. Fish happen. It's just a fact of life. Nuthin' I can do about it!

October 13th, 2004

"What in the world?" My husband would say as he walked in the door after a hard day's work. There I was, myself, and two small babies, all huddled on the couch, sobbing. Those were the days!
My kids are 13 months apart, and I remember those struggling days, like they were yesterday.
Most of the memories are fond, but oh, were they busy! Two diapers, two bottles, two of everything but the kitchen sink in a double duty diaper bag.
As the kids grew older, they became the very best of friends, and still are. Oh, how they stand up for one another, when it's time for a reprimand from Mom!
Andrew came to me with a problem the other day, and it irritated me. I can't even recall what it was, but he owned up to a mistake. I must admit, I was upset. Andrew stormed off to his room.
David soon came out, and said to me, in a very calm and adult voice, "Mother, Andrew came to you with a problem. Can he not confide in you?"
A deafening silence fell over the room. I had no defense! He was so right! Now that the boys are teenagers, there are times when I feel like the child.
If I thought the days of having two babies, or two toddlers were busy, I surely had no idea of what was to come.
David keeps me guessing by the minute, just what I'll be doing next.
I swear he is involved in every single activity that is offered by Tillamook High School. There is pep band, jazz band, concert band, spanish club, Key Club, (Is he still in that? I forget!) The bluegrass festival committee, the newspaper/journalism club, and his new one... "Oh, Mom! I think I'm going to try out for the play!"
He scored a leading role. Oh Glory!
He followed me around the kitchen, while we attempted to figure out his schedule. It's awful! He can't even get 8 hours of sleep, and when should he eat dinner?
The bus picks him up at 7:00 AM, so he's up at 6. From there, he's home at 4:00 PM, unless he stays after for an event. Otherwise, it's back to play practice, or Pep bank at 6 PM. Home by 10!
My Mom wouldn't even let me stay up till 10!
Mind you, I can't drive at night, so I am faced with asking other wonderful parents to take him in, or to pay a fellow student to bring him home. (I'm going broke!)
So, last night, thirty minutes before he was to eat I was to drive him to play practice, he comes to me. "Mom, I forgot to tell you. I have a journalism field trip tomorrow, to OSU. I have to be at the school at 6:00 AM."
It's DARK at 6:00 AM!!!! DAVID!!!!!!!!
Just a touch of notice might have been nice.
I figured it all out. David stayed over night with a fellow student, doing the same crazy activities. I do admire him and I am proud of his endeavors.
However, at that moment in time, I really like saying to him, "David, you have come to me with a problem, and I really wish you hadn't confided in me!"

October 15th, 2004

I went to Ocean Blue's 40th Birthday party in Portland the other night. It was a blast!
I rushed back from Portland early in the morning yesterday to go visit my doc. They gave me a cortisone shot that left my arm totally useless. That was fun. I've never tried to see what it is like to only use one arm! Thankfully, I have nearly full use of it again, today! Whew!
Regardless, I went down to the river yesterday, and fly fished for cutts. It was a blast trying to reel it in with one dead hand. I held the reel down low, and I did fine!
Stan's new article is up, and it is located here. Talk about wacky!
I finally added a river shuttle page. It's starting to build! If you would like your shuttle listed, please send a check for $10.00 a year, made out to ANWS (Northwest Steelheaders)
and send to:

(Please do not make the check payable to ifish.net!)
I'm so excited about my new fishing hand lotion, made by beeshea! It's anise scented shea butter, and the fish love it! So do my hands. It feels so good on, and I find that I can handle eggs with this lotion on, and it protects them against cure burns, almost as well as gloves! I rubbed a little into my gob of eggs the other day, and came up with a 20 pound salmon!
Anyhow, it's off I go. I have to catch up on all the fish talk on ifish! :)

October 17th, 2004

I woke up with that, "Is it Christmas morning?" feeling, and couldn't figure out why. Oh! My dream! I had a dream that was absolutely to die for! In this short clip of dream, Bill and I were looking into a deep slot off the banks of the Kilchis. A steady stream of HUGE salmon were moving upstream! Whoo hooo! Now, those are dreams that every girl wishes she had, every night!
To boot, once down at the computer, I checked the rain gauge. I knew the rain had woken me at 4:30 AM. It was pounding on the rooftop. Nearly two inches registered on the gauge! Whoo hooo, again!
The salmon are coming!
The salmon are coming!

No need to get out of my pajamas. A simple move to the garage to slip on my USIA waders would do! I tucked my socks into my pajama legs, struggled into my waders, grabbed my bobber bag, and I was off. My pace was excited, expecting... well, expecting a fish with every cast!
Once down to the river bank, I glanced over the bank into a deep slot. It was not as my dream would have had it. There was a steady stream, yes! A steady stream of leaves, debris, six foot tree branches, and plastic cartons from the park, upstream! WAH!
I bent over to start collecting trash, and filling my pockets. What a mess! At least all the trash goes to one spot!
I had stopped at Tillamook Bait Company the night before. I was so strongly expecting a fish with every cast of those beautiful chinook eggs, and her newly released Krill scent, today! I was set! Now, why in the world won't the river cooperate?
Soon... very soon... the river will clear!
As I walked to another hole, I slogged through what were yesterday's crisp fall leaves. I noticed a few salmon bones that were still intact, from last Fall.
Every time I see those, I look up at the tall, beautiful forest that surrounds me, and think that those very trees, and all of the foliage that surrounds the river have been fed by the thousands of salmon that have died on these banks.
Lately, I've noticed a commercial on television, about burial insurance, and being cremated. What a depressing thought! It's true that we should plan for it, but I don't want that on my TV, thanks!
However, this morning something occurred to me for the first time. I simply hadn't thought of it before, but there is no doubt in my mind. I know where I want to be after my fanatical fishing life is through.
No need for a casket. No need for a plot! I want my ashes poured into the Kilchis river at the tailout, right before it plunges over the rocks, into my favorite fishing hole! Where more could I feel at home? That may sound kind of creepy and depressing, but never have I been more certain of anything! This is where my home is. My back yard is filled with thousands of years of salmon returns. In life and in death, that is where I belong.
I stood, for the longest time, staring into that deep and glorious pool, thinking about it.
OK, back to life!
I have two doctor's appointments tomorrow, and one other appointment. I am trying madly to figure out between when and when I will be able to cast!
The salmon are coming!
The salmon are coming!

Fact is, they are probably here, buried underneath the steady slew of leaves and debris!
If I were very rich, I would think of installing an underwater video of just what lies in my favorite holes in the Kilchis river! Wouldn't that be awesome?
Fishing... Maybe I'll try a "weedless" bass rig? LOL...
I think that what I'll do is find a place where the current is slow, and just plunk a gob of eggs and a spin glo. That's where the fish would be, if they were here, anyhow. You never know! Maybe I'll drive the truck down to the river bank. I'll bring a thermos of hazelnut flavored coffee. Maybe a left over salmon sandwich. I'll sit and listen to the rain beat on the top of the truck, and dream. I'll put a bell on my rig, like old times...

Dreams do come true, it could happen to you!
Salmon in a continuous stream!
Oh! What a wonderful dream!

October 20th, 2004

Chicken dinners rubbed with fresh sage and herb roasted carrots, fresh from the garden. A river in full symphony, and the possibility of salmon! Long winter naps on cold nights, cuddled up under blankets of down. These are a few of my favorite things!
Although I really shouldn't, due to my shoulder injury, I'm going out in the boat today. I'm not going to call it fishing, because I really doubt that I could handle a salmon. I'm calling it boating. Today, I'm going boating. If a salmon just happens to knock on my rod holder, I'll ask for help if I need it. I know that the gentlemen I am "boating" with will gladly help out! Just as accidents happen, so do salmon!
Since I'm not going to be much good at the fishing part, I'll make a lunch of freshly canned tuna sandwiches. Tuna! Memories of summer in the Pacific ocean, released from a can!
I'll never forget Pilar coming to visit, with that huge cooler full of "Tuna!" Also, the long day spent at Jim and Loretta's, learning to can it. What fun! Although I started out with nearly 30 cans, the supply is diminishing. Ah! It is saved for only the most important occasions!
Please see my thread, posted here. Two things are important to me. Salmon, and the fact that I not be intimidated into being quiet! :)
Off I go...

October 22nd, 2004

Alright! I have two "salmon of the close encounter" events to report! Things are looking up!
I seem to recall "close encounters" more fondly and clearly than I do catches, hooksets, or nettings.
Last season I have several memories of standing hip deep in slow current, and having salmon rub up against my waders, or jump within arm distance, splashing me! I love that!
Also, standing on a high bank, watching dozens of chum salmon fin in the clear depths beneath me. Now, these are a few of my very favorite things!
Yesterday was a gorgeous Fall day. The leaves had turned crisp again. As I crunched my way to the river bank, I chose one of two rods. I had my bobber rod, and my jig rod. Which one? Jig, it was. Last year, I caught numerous fish on Mark's First Cast Jigs.
Cast after cast produced nothing but a fine sunny day, and a beautiful full, but lazy river.
Then, it happened! A huge splash of a rolling fish, right before me! A broad smile swept over my face. They are here!
It gave me something to cast to, something to hope for! Nothing happened, but as I headed for home, I had renewed hope!
Later, towards dinner time, I took another short excursion to the river. I was lazy fishing. I unfolded my portable hunting chair, and cast while resting. The bobber floated down the current. A soft cool wind tossed my hair. I repeated my effort, over and over.
All of the sudden, at shore, I heard what seemed to be the splash of water against a piece of wood. At first glance, I realized that it was not a floating log, but instead was a 30 pound salmon, silver bright, but nearly on it's side!
I instantly put down my rod and went to see. My feet stumbled on the loose rock, as I landslided down to the water. I expected the fish to bolt. It did not.
I talked soothingly to the fish as her gills, obviously overworked, struggled for life.
I tailed the fish and held her upright, working to revive her in the current. Oh! What a beautiful fish! Sadly, a fresh seal bite oozed on her side. Had this just happened? Kilchis was madly barking downstream. Was it a seal? Who knows!
Hoping the fish was not mortally wounded and only in shock, I kept at my work until the glorious salmon gave a freedom push away from me, and swam off into the current.
Now, that was a close encounter! That was a memory engraved in stone!
I sat at the water's edge for quite some time, trying to blink myself to reality! Had I just been holding a salmon? Indeed!
For some reason, putting a hook to water after that experience, just didn't quite seem right! I giggled as I thought of the mentality of "catching" her and bonking her, after my life saving efforts. That just wouldn't be right! Would it?
No.
With tremendous satisfaction, I gathered my rods, and headed for home.
Memories like that don't "eat" very well, but they sure last a long time!
This morning, my tune has changed a bit. Maybe she is still there... :) I think I'll go get my rod!

October 25th, 2004

Eenie meenie miny mo....
What kind of surgery do I first want to go?
You would think that I would lose my temper over this. You would think I'd sink into depression. You would think I would completely freak out.
Well, I would... but there are salmon in the river, and I have no time for that!
My eye needs fixing.
They think I have a torn rotator cuff.
They know that I have a pinched nerve in my neck.
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, but Jennie didn't even have a great fall... so what's up with this? An Ortho, a neurosurgeon and an opthamologist will put Jennie together again!
To heck with it all!
All it would take is one huge salmon on the line to mend them all! What are they talking, SURGERY? No need for that! I'll be fine with a fish on the line!
I have worried, and I had dipped into a bit of depression over this. Then, my dear post office angel who I've talked about before, told me that worry and depression is a simply a lack of faith in God. Well, that was easy! I have faith in God, and I know that God wants all the best salmon for me! So, there!
Yesterday I had a heck of a day. I lost my favorite pink Brad's lure, two spin glos, one bobber, three hooks, and a First Cast Jig.
I did this while fishing with one hand! I bet you can't say that you've done that! I single handedly lost all that stuff! And, I did it without coming into any contact with a salmonid!
I spent most of the day trying to "get better" on the couch with ice packs. But, I'd get bored, and wander out to the river. Too lazy to tie up new rigs, I'd simply grab another rod.
Bill was off taking clients on a trip on the bay, so I had all the time in the world to lose all that stuff! They landed two out of three salmon. Crazy! The salmon on Bill's rod totally broke the hook! At the shank! I've never seen anything like it! All that was left was about 1/2 inch of shank, and the line! So, if you catch a salmon in the bay and find the rest of Bill's hook, let us know! In fact, anyone who finds it and returns it gets a free ifish Kwikfish, a hat and some decals! Remember, it has to fit!
Well, it's my day to fish in the bay, today. I am single handedly going to land a slammin'! Well, I may need just a touch of help, but I'm going to try!
There is a storm approaching, and I thought surely we'd have to cancel the only day I don't have doctor's appointments! But, no! The storm is still 150 miles off the coast! Let's go!

October 26th, 2004

Sometimes the internet is a very bad, very scary place. Just do a search on "arthrogram pain" in the news groups of google, and you'll see!
Alright, so I'm a bit nervous. The quote, "I cried for an hour" really got to me! You know to believe everything on the internet, don't you?
I don't mind shots that much, but dye injected into my shoulder for an hour or so pretty much makes me want to run away to Mexico and lay on the sunny beaches for the rest of the week.
The very thought of someone accidentally bumping into my shoulder sends shivers down my spine. So, a needle? Get outa here!
I called the doc, and told him I was a bit panicked. He said, "It'll be OK, Jennie." I wanted to hear, "OK! We'll just put you out for the morning!" Nope. He didn't say that at all. He said, "It'll be OK."
Worry and depression are signs of lack of faith in God. Remember that, Jennie. But please tell me why God would invent something that would make me cry for an hour? Huh?
By noon it will be over with, although they said I'd be a bit stiff and sore afterwards. I'll prolly have to do something really painful to loosen it up like go fishing or something, right? Darn it all!
I cannot wait until this shoulder thing is healed!
Ever have one of those days where you reserve it for fishing and then you get the "I don't know where to fish" blues?
Yesterday, we knew that a storm was approaching. But when? We hesitated to put in at the bay, not knowing the conditions. We hesitated putting the sled in the rivers, due to low water.
We thought about putting the Water Ready Pontoon in the Kilchis to try for chums, but decided it was too early. Plus, wind and pontoons are kind of annoying.
We sat at the kitchen table sipping coffee, going back and fourth over options, readying different rods, then putting them back. Frustration!
I was also having problems with my shoulder.
So, in the end, we didn't hook up ANY boat. We simply got in the truck and drove around to watch other people fish! Can you believe that?
By noon, the weather still hadn't deteriorated, and both of us were really wishing we had just gone fishing! Anywhere!
Out of frustration, I finally got in the truck and headed up to the Kilchis park with my jig rod. The water was crystal clear, and I couldn't see any fish at all. At the very instant that I climbed out of the truck, the rain fell in buckets!
I didn't last long!
I came home and decided on a roast beef family dinner. I am Mother. If all else fails, I can catch a happy couple of boys, right?
In the meanwhile, I headed out back to fish in a couple spots. I grabbed my folding camp chair, made my way out to the middle of some flowing rapids, set my chair down, and sat. Right, square in the middle of the rapids! It was fun! Water flowing all around me, with the rain coming down on my head! I was hoping a salmon would swim by. I could use a close encounter!
No luck fishing, so I headed in, again.
I fixed the roast the way Mom used to, with all of the trimmings. Fifteen minutes before it was all done, David comes into the kitchen. "I gotta go, Mom! Hurry! Play practice!" Argh! Lost another one!
It's five in the morning, and my "procedure" is from 8 to 10:30 or so. Mexico, or the hospital?
Which one would you choose?

October 26th, 2004 later..

I'm alive! I'm alive! It was a breeze compared to what I feared. And to boot-- my shoulder is numb, and the pain is gone! Better go fishing while I can!

October 29th, 2004

Jennie unplugged
It was during a conversation with one of Andrew's teachers, that the phone went totally dead. I had been beeped twice by call waiting during this call, and she was nice enough to let me take all the calls. I returned to talk to her, and:
Kshhhhhhhhhhh! It buzzed in my ears. "Hello?"
I went to my other phone line, connected to my computer. "Error: No dial tone!"
Oh no!
We don't get cell service here, so Bill drove to the nearest signal and dialed Sprint to report the problem.
I had made a wonderfully positive fishing prediction that day. Please read here!
I had spent most of the day sitting in a boat on a beautiful, calm, sunny Fall day. Neither of our rods moved in any way that would tell us a fish was near. None of the rods close to us on the bay moved, either. It was dead, calm, slow! So, I was wrong! Totally wrong! Comments from boat to boat were tossed around. Common were things such as, "Well, it's better than working!"
The chaos and the frantic activity was to happen after I got home. It always amazes and disturbs me, the absolute chaos that takes place after a day away from home. The phone rings incessantly. Many e mails stack up. The mailman comes with things needing attention. I don't know whether it is the drastic change of pace that bothers me so much, or if things really do come out of the woods to bite me, after I am spoiled from a day on the bay.
Regardless, I was without phone. Without internet. Without any kind of communication from the outside.
It felt WEIRD!
I drove to the corner to call Pete, my ifish hero. I told him to tell the mods of my non communication. He later told me that they had responded that it was God's will that I was taking a forced vacation! Maybe!
I had to relearn how to live without these things.
I spent the evening laying on the floor in front of the fire, frolicking with Kilchis and his stuffed, beloved bear. He has two stuffed animals, and he knows the difference. One is bear and one is bunny. He prefers bear, and so do I. He loves and cares for that bear like it's his own child. He carries it around, lays it down and flops his head on it, and knows not to take it outside.
I spent time lounging on the couch with my son David. He had been afraid to tell me of a trip the school band was planning to take... to Hawaii!!! Timid, I suppose, because I presently am repaying a loan for his new saxophone.
His tardy announcement gave me two days to decide if I would sign a paper committing him to pay over a thousand dollars to travel with the band, this spring. He approached me with plans that he could pay for it. He was going to get a job. He can do this, he pleaded! He laid out his plans before me, on how he was going to handle payments of $232.00 a month for his travels. While admiring his dedication, I was musing over the payment myself, thinking that is all the heck like my car payment. Should he fail, could I take over? Would I be willing? Is this education, or folly?
Anyhow, the fire roared, the house fell silent, and I longed to call my Dad for Dear Abby advice, concerning David's trip.
My thoughts turned to a doctor who I had called to have my shoulder fixed. He scheduled an appointment, and then learned that I had marfan syndrome. A call followed saying he wasn't interested in working on me. My heart sunk at that phone call. Are people with marfan that scary to work on?
While unplugged, I went through the same dumb thought processes as when the electricity goes out. I think things like, "Well, I can't use the oven, so I'll just use the microwave." Nope! Just the same, I thought, "Well, I can't call him, so I'll e mail!" NOPE!
Well, the night passed, and so did the morning, all without the familiar ring of the phone. Totally lacking in computer time.
Thoughts came to me. If the house were on fire, we couldn't call 911! If something happened to someone in my extended family, I would be unreachable! Still, the silence and the idleness was undeniably soothing.
In the morning, I relearned to read the newspaper in silence. I lit a candle. I was enjoying my lack of communication!
After waking the kids, I went to physical therapy and learned that indeed, I had a small tear of my rotator cuff.
I made phone calls on my cell phone that I couldn't from home. I dialed Pete, who was fishing on the bay. His report was of many fish caught. I was off by one day on my prediction! Darn! I giggled at the old saying, "Should have been there yesterday!" Well, in this case, "Should have been there tomorrow?"
Back home, I was greeted by a photographer from The Oregonian. He took pictures of me fishing. I just knew there was a fish where I was presenting my offering, but it did not take, of course. After all, this was on film!
Katy Muldoon soon followed. We sat at the kitchen table munching smoked salmon, crackers and fresh apples from the trees. She interviewed me. The rain poured.
As she left, I picked up the phone to check for a dial tone. There it was! But, I had to go!
It was off to my bone doctor, who insisted that my main problem was a herniated disk in my neck that is crushing a nerve root. We should plan to fix this problem, first, he said. He referred me to a neurosurgeon at St. Vincent.
It was a full 24 hours, unplugged. I was exhausted! In looking back, it was indeed a gift from God to take me away from ifish.net. It was indeed a gift, that my phone had no ring. For if it had, I'd surely be near death by exhaustion by now!
I signed David's paper to go to Hawaii, this morning, and he's on his way. I will somehow help him to get there. Man, kids are expensive! I have nightmares of what the expense of college might do to me! Yet, at the same time, I am thankful for David's activities. He will surely qualify for scholarships.
Off I go... The more I think of it, the more I wonder if I might take a pair of wire cutters to the phone line, again. I am trying to catch up, but the task seems endless, and well, frankly, there are fish to be caught!

October 30th, 2004

I have been known, written about, and praised for being an optimistic sort. Lately, this has been put to the test.
Optimism, from the root optimum - to expect the best... or, from Jennie's Dictionary, "To expect a fish with every cast!"
It's just no fun living with pain, but I'll tell you. This shoulder and neck pain is about ready to drive me up the wall! It's really worse than any normal pain I've felt. It's constant, it's stabbing, and I feel like there is a chop stick embedded down my arm.
No matter what the pain feels like, the doctor says it is a partially torn supraspinatus tear and a reversal of the normal cervical lordosis with disk herniation between C5 and C6, compressing a nerve. Yikes! What a mouthful! What kind of bait? What kind of fish do I need to catch to fix that?
People with "lordosis" are usually victims of whiplash. Can a salmon give you whiplash? I could only hope so! Wow! Must have to be a big one! LOL... That cracks me up!
Sometimes I don't know whether to just lay down and give it up, or keep trying to do what I love. The problem seems to come by what I believe is my best medicine: Fishing! I honestly do think that! I fill my prescription for it daily, and it really does work! It's a pain reliever, and an anti depressant, and an energy/vitality elixir, all in one!
Hey, they have handicap ramps for fishing. You know that, right? These are actually pain clinics where they heal people. Did you know that?
Go visit one, sometime, and you'll see amazing healings! Laughter! Screams of joy! Excitement! People that can't walk, often bouncing around in their wheelchair, nearly performing miracles! I expect to hear them shout as they wave their rods in the air, "Lord I have seen the miracle! I have seen the flashing silver bullet of proof! I have been healed!"
Don't tell me that it doesn't work! Don't tell me it's only a placebo!
However, sometimes there are side effects, and a very real and very painful "hangover" affect, afterward. Withdrawal pains are the worst. They should list these somewhere on the label. Where are the warnings? Doesn't someone monitor this very powerful drug? Since none are listed, I plead innocence and ignorance.
Yesterday was a rough day for me. Yes, I went fishing and yes, I overdosed.
Rotating sitting and standing, holding the rod limp, and holding the rod against strong fish, I was in heaven! I laughed, I screamed, and when my expensive Lamiglas rod broke, I simply broke down and cried! The tip! The tip is gone! Right after releasing a huge 15 pound chrome silver, I noticed it!
Now, that started my withdrawal pains, right there.
Then, I had planned to come home early to finally cook a family dinner for the kids. They were both to be home. That's unusual, lately. We took the boat out, and began the trek home.
In the car, I first got a call from Andrew. "Mom, can I spend the night at Gregs?" Argh. OK. Next, not 15 minutes later, a call from David. "Mom, can I spend the night at Matts?" Double argh. OK, dinner is off... again!
Withdrawal pains were beginning to consume me, at this point.
Oh well.
I came home to absolutely tragic news. Steve Koler had died. Please contribute to his online memorial, here. My heart sunk as I heard Dudley's voice quiver, as he delivered the news. We have lost a true fishing hero, this week.
Withdrawal: Severe!
So, here I am, broken beautiful Lamiglas back bouncer in hand, one less fishing hero in Oregon, and hurting from head to toe from yesterday's adventure. I'm convinced it's only withdrawal pains... right?
I have to get out there and fill my prescription. I'm stuck in a sort of circle of addiction with this fishing thing. If I don't get my fix, I'm convinced I would surely shrivel up and die.
It's a darn good thing that I live so close and have such easy access to my drug of choice. Without it, I surely would lose all optimism, and fall deeply into depression.
This too shall pass.... with each whack of a salmon.
I do have the fever. There is no doubt.
I'm tired. I hurt. I'm going to hobble out to the river for a fix.
Oh, and please read Stan's new column! It's just up!

October 31st, 2004

BOO!

The chum are in, all dressed in their Holiday colors! I can't believe it, but it's true! Chris Sessions always taught me that the chum come in on Halloween. There they were, early last night! Just two of them, but they had to come early to prepare for the "river party!"
My favorite memories on the river are not of catching, but of catching visions of them! I've had several close encounters, lately.
One, while Bill was rowing in deep, slow water. He must have hit a salmon, because right near his oar, a big 40 pounder came straight up and clear out of the river, not 2 feet from my face! BOO is right!
Last night I was fishing on the bank, and a salmon nosed up four or five feet off the bank, just to say hello. I love that stuff! That's what memories are made of, on the Kilchis river!
I wish you a very happy Halloween. The rivers are all full of fish, so don't be thinking it's any kind of secret. Just get out there and join us! Halloween is always the thick of things! Don't miss out!

FISHING THE COAST
A journal of my life on the Kilchis river.

HOME | EMAIL