May 13, 2014

We don't skinny dip, We chunky dunk

WARNING: The story you are about to read is not only true but embarrassing. Be advised.

Quit wading around and FISH!

Due to unforeseen events I was unable to fish for most of April. A true shame considering I still had gear I wanted to test. I hope to make up for this in May. Recent events have taught me, Fish Now, Not Later. Don't plan to do more fishing as you get older just get out and fish more. You can fish less when your dead... 

Beginners Log: Swim date May 12th, 2014
Location: The Hood River (The Mouth)
Event Time: 9 A.M.
Air Temp: 57 Deg.

This story first began on a quiet Monday morning, alarm clock rang! Bright and early - tip toed out of the house not to wake the kids, coffee in hand and down to the Hood I went. Water levels looked good, sunshine and warm weather on it's way. Just after 6 a.m. I made the trek across the river. Now I specifically remember pausing just after checking the river - At that point I decided to leave my wading staff in the truck, thinking I could make it, I've seen worse. Was this confidence or cockiness, more on this later. Today was the day to not only get on the water but to also test my new Sage One 7116 Spey Rod and Sage reel the shop just lined a few days earlier. Who knew I'd also be putting my Redington Waders to the test. Waterproof? I'll be the judge of that! 

Still fairly new to the sport, but I already decided I loved wading in rivers, as long as I'm dressed appropriately. Something about standing away from the bank and being a little closer to... lets say the action of things. Something appealing about it. Water running through your fingers, sun just about peaked over the hillside. Yep, I was fishing! Recently I made the decision and purchased myself my first ever Redington Sonic-Pro waders for two reasons, price and quality. Per a recommendation from our product specialist and a few wise words from George our Redington rep. These are the kind of guys who actually use the gear they help promote. Something to be said about that. I won't go into a full review on these Redington Waders (save that for another post) but lets just say I've been happy with them. More on these momentarily.

Clothing Optional: No I don't mean fish naked, but don't let me stop you. A key factor to always keep in mind is choose your clothing wisely. Plan ahead for the weather conditions that are and could be. Due to my current apparel I find myself running into problems with certain types of clothing. Whether it's dipping your hand in the water and getting your (cotton) cuff sweater wet by accident and the cotton not drying quick enough or t-shirts taking forever to dry due to sweat these things have been an issue at least for me.

All work and no play makes jack a dull a boy:
I'm the kind of guy who would love not to have a smart phone, but often times it's necessary to be able to access work emails and answer calls on the go. It's bad habit not leaving the phone in the truck while fishing. So my advice is, either leave your phone in the truck or get a waterproof case or waterproof baggy for it (maybe a lanyard too). You never know when or why you may need it.

Point of No Return

So where is all this leading? What's the point. Well here I was, waste deep about the middle of the mouth on the Hood, fishing both sides enjoying my time making my way closer to the Columbia. About the time I decided to make my way back to the bank I quickly noticed the water was slowly getting higher upon my waste at witch time I wasn't terribly concerned as I was about 20 feet to the bank. As I walked closer and closer the water inched higher and higher, due to the sun angle and trees on the bank I could no longer tell or see the bottom any longer. However that thought vacated my mind as I hopped to the bank. Water inching higher and closer to reaching inside my waders. At this point I could feel the current was quicker. I was about 10 feet from the bank and realized I couldn't hop backwards to escape... That oh crap moment you get before something is just about to happen... about to get real. Yeah that happened. Water quickly began to fill my waders, I began to loos my footing. No longer bobbing I was swimming, I guess you could call it swimming, more like a seal bobbing in the water with a busted fin. With one hand in the air gripping to my rod I kicked and swam with the other hand, lunging to bring myself closer and closer, the water weight affecting every move... I inched closer and closer to the bank, I made it, I grabbed the jagged rocks on the bank and began pulling myself up. Victory! No not really...

At this point, you can start laughing, I made it safely. So I slowly pulled myself up. Having never actually gone swimming with my waders on it's not something you think about training for or really have any idea what to do. You just react.  So I'm on the bank, clinching to my rod and realizing my booties and lower legs are full of water. I'm talking chunky legs (a little jiggle in my walk). The quality of the welded seems popped into my head I new I had to get these waders off soon! Luckily the truck wasn't far, I opted to make the dash. I climbed up the bank and before reaching the road I paused and looked to see if anyone was looking. I don't know if it was safety (look both ways before crossing) or embarrassment not wanting anyone to see my rendition of the incredible hulk in waders wobbling across the road. Probably a little of both. I was soaked, cotton t-shirt, nylon pants the whole nine yards. Luckily I had a few items in the truck to change out of. Better change now I thought, while no one is looking. As I sat on a park bench next to the truck, catching my breath I began stripping my boots off. With 5 gallons of water still sloshing around I was pleased with the quality of my waders.

Now normally... I never skinny dip, but on this occasion I would have to say I chunky dunked.

So did I chunky dunk in the river because I was too confident in my wading ability, or just too cocky to bring a staff along? I'll blame it on experience, or lack of. This reminds me of what Greg Darling talks about: The fact that you can't teach confidence, it's just something that happens. I'm guessing built upon by experience. I admit it, I'm new, slowly catching on. It doesn't help switching from one rod, reel or line to the next every time you hit the water. I wouldn't recommend it. Stick to one stick, one setup and learn to fish it, build your confidence. I think that's what I'm doing, but slowly. I'm having fun doing it so I must be doing something right.

Although my smart phone sits in a bag of rice, that leaves me writing this blog post outside with the waders drying inside out and drinking some of dad's booze, soaking up a little sunshine while drying off. Better slow down, maybe i'll hit the river again for round two.

Article by: Mike Prine - The Newbie
Gorge Fly Shop - Webmaster

Sage One 7116 Spey Rod Review - Tom Larimer

Tell us your story, embarrassing or not.

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