Float Fishing 101
March 1, 2006
I headed down to the states to fish for steelhead once again after a tough 4 day trade show in Montreal. I needed to set the hooks into some chrome and thought the fishing would be good. The weather was cold on the first morning, so I planned on arriving by midday to hopefully fish with little freeze up on the rod. Within 15 minutes I was tight to a fresh 10-pound male that fought like a 20 pounder. Eventually, I was able to beach him and release the fish back into the river. A short while after that, the float went under & I had another bruiser on again. This time the fight made the last fish seem like a wimp! The battle was to last over ten minutes until I finally managed to land a beautiful 13-pound hen steelie. She was chrome and full of eggs for the spring spawn. I would have loved to get a picture of her, but due to the cold temps, decided to release her back quickly. She lay in the calmer water for almost 15 minutes before she swam off, unharmed. A smaller rainbow of 3 pounds was landed soon after and I decided to relocate. One more fish of about 5 pounds was hooked, but lost soon after and I decided to call it quits for the day. On day two I had the pleasure of fishing with Rahe, who had never caught a steelhead on a float rod. After a short lesson on the do’s & don’ts, he was ready to actually fish with an egg sac. Controlling the line and fishing with the bail open was a little tough at first, but the drifts were starting to look good. He finally had the float go down and managed to set the hook into a screamer. This fish was so big and fresh that she just headed for the lake without any thoughts of slowing down. I had to grab the rod from him and run down river just to get some line back onto the reel. Eventually the fish just came off! It was a big fish of about 15 pounds as I saw her bust the surface twice during the battle. I told him that this was not the size of fish he wanted to begin with and that it would have been tough for anyone to have controlled. We relocated to another area hoping for some more action and Rahe was tight to another chrome bullet. After a short battle, I netted the fish of about 4.5 pounds. It looked like a drop back with its torpedo shape. It was skinny, but silver! After a late lunch, we hit another area before the day was ended. Rahe was starting to become more comfortable with this technique as he hooked into another decent fish. He thought it was just small until he actually caught a glimpse of the fish. Another chromer of at least five pounds was soon to be released after a quick pic. Rahe finally had the confidence needed to hook into two more fish before we called it quits. He landed one of them and lost the other soon after he hooked it. Too bad I thought, it would have made him 4 for 5 if he could have held on to the last one. All in all, a great learning day for him and some fish as an added bonus! The third day was a right off as I never made a decent drift in the 30 minutes or so that I spent fishing. It was so windy and cold that everything was a chore just to make a cast. I spent more time in the truck driving around looking for decent water to try. By mid day, I called it quits! Strange weather for the three days I spent fishing, but well worth it!!