25 Steelhead in One Day

My friend Matt Borg and I went steelhead fishing today on the Siletz River with guide Nolan Davis and we hooked up with and fought 25 steelhead, netted 18 of them, and released all but one of them. Matt and I were about even on the number of fish caught, which was a good thing because I didn’t want him staking claim to my self appointed title of being the world’s greatest fisherman. Nolan said we set the all time record for the most fish caught in a day in his boat, and it was a fun record to set, for sure. It was a cold and rainy day, and I would have been miserable if we hadn’t caught many fish, but because we were fighting fish regularly I hardly noticed the rain and cold, I felt great!!

One of the consequences of having Parkinson’s is an increased disconnect between my brain and my muscles. My brain tells my muscles to do something, and there is a time delay before my muscles obey. We were fishing with bobber and beads which is a relatively new method that works great. The bead just above the hook looks like a single fish egg, and it bounces along the bottom of the river looking delicious to an unsuspecting steelhead. Above it is a bobber that is red or bright green making it easy to see, so when it goes down the fisherman sets the hook quick before the fish has a chance to spit the artificial egg out of its mouth. I would see the bobber go down and order my muscles to set the hook, and they would say, ” who, me?” Which resulted in a number of missed fish, which if hooked would have resulted in an even greater record. When the bobber would go down and nothing happened on my part, Nolan would yell, “bobber down, bobber down”!!!!, and then would scold me for being so slow on the hook set. It was a bit embarrassing for me to be coached and scolded like a novice most of the day which I am sure I appeared to be. But the really embarrassing thing that happened because of my herky-jerky casting is that I hooked Nolan right in the ear, and it went in deep. We cut the line off of the hook and he left it in his ear the rest of the day fishing, and we all joked that it was the perfect ear ring for a fishing guide. I felt really embarrassed for having done it, there are dozens of stories and jokes about fisherman who do such things, and I felt really bad for him because of the pain he had from a sharp hook lodged in his ear. But he did say that I had another dubious record, I was the first one of his fishing clients to ever hook him with a hook and he has guided a lot of fishermen. So two records in one day !!

In my journal I wrote, God blesses the humble in many ways, and He must really want to bless me, because He gave me the perfect opportunities today to learn more humility. Though I was chaffing inside I think I responded to all mess ups and resulting scoldings with graciousness and humility. It was a very fun day.

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