March2018

My fishing buddies are like John Gierach, sort of.

Ironically, as I was sitting down to scribe this Drivel® I happened upon a Facebook (boo, hiss–nobody likes you any more,  Zuckerberg) post by my virtual social media buddy Mike Sepelak of Mike’s Gone Fishin’…Again fame and fortune. His commentary I found ironic and timely:

“I’ve always had the uncanny ability to show up for the worst week of fishing anyone has seen in five years. Like most savants with an instinctive skill, I have no idea how I do this; it just comes naturally.” – John Gierach, “Pyramid Lake”, TROUT Magazine (Spring 2018 edition)

Good Lord, can I relate. As usual, John articulates what I can only feel.

Far be it for me to put the Brothers Albacore in the same category as the esteemed Misters Gierach or Sepelak, but they (the Bros) do have a knack for bad timing when it comes to weather, rivers and fishing. Large and Junior Albacore (AKA Sunny Jim and Victor) really do have an uncanny propensity for bringing out the worst in the conditions when we go fishing, and unfortunately they often drag me along down with them. Lest one should think me exaggeratory for the purposes of sensationalist journalism, allow me to enter into evidence our last four outings.

A beautiful day to get skunked on the Yakima.

A dark cloud hangs over a beautiful day on the Yakima with the Albacore Bros..

Yakima River, WA  Spring 2016. I remember the day vividly, a day we had selected weeks in advance. Things looked good right up until a day or so before we were to go fishing, when a ton of rain fell. While the weather cleared up, when we got to the put-in the river graphs were going straight up. I recall that the water was off color, turbid and filled with debris, as one would expect following the deluge of rain. I remember that we didn’t touch a fish all day long. What I don’t remember is why I didn’t scribe an entry, because it was a noteworthy skunking.

Not such a beaufiful day to get skunked on the Clearwater.

Not such a beautiful day to get skunked on the Clearwater with the Albacore Bros.

Clearwater River, Idaho, October 2016. This is a fairly dry part of the country, where seldom does it rain incessantly. However, it did just that for nearly 4 days straight. So much so that there were no campfires at night, and Gore Tex garments were put to the test. The river wasn’t blown out, but the rain definitely put a damper on things, including the fishing. One fish was landed between 4 of us. It was on my rod, but I was not the angler. Neither was either of the Brothers Albacore. If you care to read about that debacle, be my guest: Weather or not to go steelhead fishing.

Sunny Jim Albacore, the great angling optimist.

Large “Sunny Jim” Albacore, the great angling optimist.

Forks, WA, March 2017.  While the wounds were still fresh from the Clearwater trip mentioned afore, we headed out to the wettest location in the lower 48. It’s always a dicey weather proposition fishing the coastal rivers of the Olympic Penninsula, as we departed home we knowingly drive head-on into massive storm. I guess we thought it might not be as bad as the forecast called for. We were wrong. If you’re interested in reading about that shit show, have at it: Hopelessly watching basketball instead of steelhead fishing.

Yakima River, March 2018. The most recent excursion involving the Brothers Albacore took place just last weekend. We had planned the day weeks in advance. The river had been holding consistently at typically low springtime levels. Fishing wasn’t red hot (it never is on the Yakima) but fish were being caught, and a few were taking skwala dries (if you believe guide reports). A week in advance of our scheduled trip, the weather looked to be pretty favorable. And then it rained all day two days before. The river spiked 1000 CFS and leveled off. It may have begun a very, very gradual drop, but it was so slight that it did nothing to improve the conditions of the river. I also learned after the fact that there was a controlled release of water from reservoirs to help flush juvenile salmon downstream. Impeccable timing all around.

Large Abacore (left), UA (center), Junior Albacore (center)

Large Abacore (left), Innocent Bystander (center), Junior Albacore (right) on the day of another Yakima skunking.

Clearly, the common denominator is obvious: The Albacore Bros. are a dark cloud of angling despair, and by virtue of association I am very often an innocent victim of their poor timing and luck. But there’s more to fishing than just catching fish, and it’s always great just to get out.

We make sure that we remind ourselves of that repeatedly.