We first heard about Dustin Stansbury and his Down to Fish…
One look at Big Dave Manners, and you know you have a guide who not only loves the outdoors, you have a guide who is the outdoors. Dave is big, burly, raw and all business when it comes to getting his clients into fish.
We met Big Dave in a store parking lot near Tillamook in the early morning dark, where he presented our options for dealing with the conditions of the day. The weather had been unseasonably warm and dry, he explained, warning that fishing could be tough and that lots of folks were out there trying.
We finally agreed to try a channel near the mouths of the Tillamook and Trask rivers in Tillamook Bay. We launched at Memaloose Point and motored slowly along the south end of the bay in the dark. We could hear salmon rolling and slapping the surface. “Lots of fish in,” Dave said. “This looks good.”
And good it was. We were all impressed with Dave’s dogged hard work and determination to have the three of us hook up with a big chinook. One of his “few ideas” was to fish with bobbers, of all things (highlighted in our bobber story), baited with salmon roe and tuna belly. It was a technique that, for most of the morning, we were the only boat employing.
They worked well, those bobbers. We caught three fish and had numerous bites and hookups. Just seeing the bobbers twitch and then pop beneath the surface offered its own form of entertainment. Once other boats saw us hooking fish, a few of the trollers changed over to bobbers.
Dave was particularly finicky about keeping the bait fresh and the hooks sharp. It’s these little things that let you know a guide is paying attention to the details. Which is good, because it’s the details that generally mean the difference between hooking fish or watching others hook fish.
We’ll fish with Big Dave again, and we think you should, too. He also maintains a fishing lodge in Alaska, near the Denali Park Reserve northwest of Anchorage.
For information and to book an excursion, visit www.bigdavesfishing.com.