I now suspect that Mike knew all about the rod’s “issues” and was trying to sabotage the rest of my winter. I get it. It's just what buddies do to each other. In Mike’s case, do whatever it takes to keep me off the books until the kelts are biting.
Anyway, it looked like his plans were working. I went 0 for 4 on the rod over the course of several outings. I was thrilled to be hooking up but getting a bit frustrated by the results. I badly wanted to release a nice winter fish on my own terms.
That’s when I was finally told of the rods “issues”. Was it cursed gear or was this loaner stick just frustrated at how it was being treated – passed around from angler to angler? I thought: maybe the rod could be suffering from some sort of lack of confidence. I’d never heard of such a thing before, and I knew better than to try and reverse someone else’s bad mojo. But it was getting to be a long winter, and I was getting to be a little crazy like I do in the rainy season, so I decided that something had to be done.
Enter one label maker and a slightly twisted sense of humor inspired by the endless parade of hipsters that I used to see outside my office window in downtown Portland.
One sticker, a few words that I saw on a bumper sticker somewhere, and suddenly Mike’s rod wasn’t just an ordinary fishing pole anymore. It became a custom machine, complete with warning label, ready to take on anyone or anything apathetically wearing skinny pants and riding a fixie. And apparently also a steelhead or two.
Good things started to happen the next time out. The Solo, brimming with confidence, went 2 for 2, including one really special (this is steelheader speak for BIG) wild buck. The best part was that Mike got his payback for trying to sabotage my winter fishing. He got to net both fish for me AND take the pics.
Take care and fish on,
PS – This one shares a Vancouver, WA theme. It originally appeared on the Echo Flyrods Blog – Their based out of Vancouver. Check ‘em out if you get a chance. And Steelie Mike runs the blog, STEEL, notoriously located in the same area.