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.


  1. Steve Vaughn

    I feel your pain, particularly, the Yakima last week. As a matter of fact, I believe we were launching with our guide as you guys launched. We ended up with three fish hooked, two landed. If you wish to waste five minutes you can see my report at Starting to think skwalas don’t really exist and it is a hoax to get guides trips before the season actually starts.

    • Kirk Werner

      Steve, thanks for the comment. Based on the your guide’s boat, that was you guys at Big Horn (small world). It’s a good thing we’re not very accomplished anglers, otherwise we’d have caught all the fish and left you guys with a skunk. I fished a Pat’s with a worm dropper all day, switching at the last minute to a lightning bug dropper. Clearly that made no difference. Here’s to warmer days and more actively feeding fish. Maybe in April…

  2. Howard Levett

    Well, look who came out of the rain! Nice to see you back Kirk. We all have those “buddies” that we suspect are the cause of all our fishing woes. I always thought you were the lowest common denominator or at least the shortest. 🙂 I will patiently wait for a response even if it’s another three or four months. And yes, I’m still hanging on. Now you’ll have to excuse me, I’ve got to go shovel snow.

    The Imaginary Firehole Ranger

    • Kirk Werner

      Who said I’m back, Howard? I may just crawl back into my rain shelter for another couple months.

  3. Mike Sepelak

    Two words. Joe Btfsplk.

    We should start a club or something.

    • Kirk Werner

      Yes on the club: Dark Cloud Anglers?

      And nice blast from the past re: Mr. Btfsplk. Al Capp would be proud. (wonder if Btfsplk has ever been analyzed as an acronym?)

      • Mike Sepelak

        “…nice blast from the past…” A quaint way of suggesting that I’m older ‘n dirt. Not even sure that acronyms had been invented yet, back in Joe’s time.

  4. BobWhite

    HAR… Loved this.

    Beware of the guy who says, “I’m always lucky with the weather.”

    • Kirk Werner

      I can’t say as I’ve ever heard anyone I know say that. If they did, I might punch them in the throat. Kind of you to stop by for a visit, Bob, assuming this is the real Bob White?

  5. Jack Wallingford

    Dear UA, your most recent post reminds me of the eternal damnation of fishing the US’s prime steelhead waters, the Northcoast, or its more derogatory appellation, Steelhead Alley. (Why would anyone want to call this pristine, piscine corridor of flyfishing an alley?) Last week as the sun shone on northeast Ohio, I probed the fair, green waters of the Rocky River. This emerald cast is said to be the premium, optimum color for steelhead fishing. After two hours of senseless probing, I recognized that the fish were not there and would require the influx caused by warm spring rains to attain optimal conditions. After two days of driving, wintry rains, the morning dawned dark and cold with light skiffs of snow brightening the landscapes. Blown conditions existed on the main stem of the Rocky as well as all the tribs. . Currently, I am waiting for three days of dry weather to open up Steelhead Alley. Relentless downpours are predicted for the next three days. May we all enjoy the holiday weekend without fishing.

  6. Marek Stryczniewicz

    Dear Unaccomplished
    god bless the river and yhe trouts in there god bless you and your bodies
    keep the line tide !
    it’s nice that you brought something

    • Marek Stryczniewicz

      My Dear Un,
      Sorry for a a stupid comment, but I love you on the river
      I apologize never again

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