Feb. 27—True Devotion (number crunchers need not apply)

Coastal Steelheading
Tom Weseloh. North coast veteran
steelheader and close friend.

I picked up the late night phone call on our private line and all I remember hearing was, “The river is jello-green, dropping like a rock and delivering ocean fresh winter steel.” Our coastal guardian connection actually wanted to share the stoke and invited Kit and I to fish with him the next day. The 2009-2010 coastal winter steelhead season has been harsh; weather patterns literally teasing anglers with yo-yo conditions and leaving few windows of opportunity. Only coastal locals, or the rare live-on-the-edge gambling anglers have scored on the few days that conditions lined up and the fishing fired off.

Chrome Steelhead
Up close and personal—
Nor. Cal. steelhead
of a lifetime.

Coastal steelheaders are truly a rare breed themselves. Thick skinned, callused, tight lipped, willing to wait it out and go the distance in-between sessions. They find comfort with the hauntingly beautiful scenery, the smell of the redwoods, salt air, maintain a positive attitude and keep an eternal hope for the chance to sink their irons in steelhead fresh from the salt. Only those who have experienced the coastal rush realize the only cure or fix is yet another solid grab.

Eel River
Jello green, dropping
like a rock & on—
Go for it!!!

This time the phone call was too late. I just got back from two weeks in Mexico and had a full prearranged guide schedule. Kit had his nose to the grind with the same line up—both of us painfully declined, or more like dropped the ball and struck out. That night Tom busted our chops and e-mailed us the “should have been here” photos. The window was short lived—2 days…Current frontal systems blew out the entire north coast…The river we were to fish rose from 1,100 cfs. to 16,000 cfs.. Future forecasts are calling for more series of fronts and rain—possibly blowing out the coast for the rest of the season. Bottom line—we blew it! SOUND ADVICE—if you ever hear “its jello-green, dropping like a rock, and going off”—Drop everything and Get On Your Horse And Ride!!!