Guest Blog by: Chris McKee , Texas 3/7/2014
Sure there are many times prior to catching what I consider my first but these were as assisted catches from someone baiting or casting and usually hooking the fish then allowing me to reel it in. My first was the day it was decided by the rules of nature I was to become a fisherman (For all future reference fisherman or men in this post refers to all men and women who are geared towards fishing.). No matter what titles or labels we all apply to ourselves you are either a fisherman or not. There may be differences between types of fishermen but again it is are or are not. I just hope the nots find something as fulfilling in their lives that we have found.
Well back to my first, it was a cold foggy April morning in the Pacific Northwest. First weekend of trout season. My father had found an old 5 foot solid fiberglass rod with the sliding reel holder rings in the garage of the ancient Chinese laundry we rented as a house some 50-60 years past its purpose. He had a Mitchell reel that he added to the combo and talked about the morning like it was one of the most important days that anyone could have in their life. Yes my father was suffering from severe fishing fever and had to get out on the water. This by the way is an expensive illness that cannot be cured, just tolerated by our loved ones. There are no public funded clinics to deal with fishing fever and Cabelas and Bass Pro become the fishermen’s methadone clinics.
As we go we stopped by the local general store/post office to pick up a few items for our journey. Fake cheese flavored salmon eggs, package of eagle claw snelled egg hooks, tube of split shot, swivels, a shasta and quart of Rainer. In case anyone is wondering the Rainer was not for me. We parked in an old landing next to the river and prepped the pole. I stalked up to the river with the stealth of rhino in a glass factory and found my ultimate ambush point behind a Volkswagen sized gravel pile that had been pushed up to the water’s edge years ago. This allowed me to lie over the top of the pile and dangle my line into the little pool, below a large rock next to the edge. As years and experience went by I realized this was the standard holding position for trout in rivers.
I opened the imitation cheese salmon eggs and applied the first one to the hook. Darn, it split in two and fell off the hook. It took me somewhere between 3-4 more attempts before I could get one of eggs to stay on. Then I dropped the bait into the hole, as the bait was sinking at the same rate it was drifting and just as the line became taunt a rainbow trout with a fanatical love of cheese latched onto the bait for all it was worth. This is the moment when the fever was implanted in me and will forever be my first.
After landing the fish which probably took about 20 seconds or less, but felt like an all-day occurrence, my dad showed up. I had the fish in my hands, pole between my knees which were shaking like wet noodles and remember the smell of the fish with the feel of its protective coat on my hands. We had an olive drab fishing creel that dad had brought from the vehicle that he immediately soaked in the river then taught me the family secret to handling of trout.
In our family we would break the necks of the trout we would keep to eat. When I did this the fish bled all over my hand and I remember that smell as well, not unpleasant more like a slightly heavier scent then the earth after a recent rain with a touch of rust . I placed my trout in the creel after rinsing the blood off and do not remember anything else the rest of the day. That was all I needed for that day.
The fiberglass rod stayed with the family as we moved around, for some reason just could not justify getting rid of it. In fact during my high school years I would take it steelhead fishing even when I had a Fenwick. It just felt right and wish I still had it. With all the moving around we did maybe the pole found another home and started another kid onto a life time of enjoyment.
Have lived in all over the United States and served in the Marines in Asia.
I have fished all these regions for almost anything that will bite Salmon, Trout, Walleye, Yellow Perch,Cusk, Carp, Crappie, Blue Gill, White Bass Pickerel, Cod, Rock Cod, Halibut, Flownder and many others. By the graces of the almighty it came to be I am now and plan on forever more being a citizen of the Great State of Texas. My favorite fish to go after are catfish especially the big Blues. Pound for pound I believe they are the strongest I have ever had the pleasure to fish for. I am also fond of White Bass and someday soon hope to start catching alligator gar.
Blog content © Chris McKee
anglerwannabe, CO 3/7/2014 1:29:18 PM
Chris, very much enjoyed reading your blog. Thanks for sharing.
When you go after the gar,, try the Trinidad river.. they have some giants.
culinarypunk, WY 3/8/2014 7:51:10 AM
Catman1979, CO 3/9/2014 10:56:57 PM
Good stuff man!