The summer I turned 13, my father took me steelhead…
A good fishing guide works his or her butt off to get you into fish. A great fishing guide adds instinctive savvy acquired from long experience. There’s just no substitute for the “sixth sense” that comes only from spending years on the water—perhaps 10,000 hours if you believe Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers.
And so it was on Oregon’s Tillamook Bay with Big Dave of Big Dave’s Fishing Adventures (featured here earlier this year). The conditions were all wrong: sunny and hot with very little rain for months. Dave motored us near the mouth of the Tillamook River, well before dawn. While boat after boat passed us trolling herring or lures, Dave anchored three feet from shore. We could have spit onto the bank.
Then he rigged us up with…bobbers. That’s right, bobbers. Like we were fishing for bluegills in a farm pond. The bait was salmon roe and tuna belly.
It took about ten minutes for Mark to hook the first big chinook. Then it was Rod. Then Mark again. In between we missed bite after bite. And while the trollers passed us with little success—some of them swearing at us for daring to break tradition with those gawdawful bobbers—we sat there in that little back eddy hooking fish and having a ball.
Thanks, Dave, for a terrific day on the bay. Rest assured we will be back.
And don’t forget the bobbers.
Here’s a video of Mark landing a big chinook salmon.