Swinging and Social "Fish"tancing
In today’s world, anglers are struggling to find ways to cope with the latest epidemics and just plain old bad news. Nearly a month ago a deadly virus had surfaced in a foreign country and has now spread throughout the world like a bad smell. Since then, many of people have lost their jobs, family members and now everyone is losing their minds being cooped up in houses all day. It's definitely necessary to stay indoors as much as possible and avoid contact with others, but being outside is how most of us anglers, or any outdoor oriented person for that matter, cope with these hard times. For those who are staying indoors and are unable to enjoy their beloved freedom for the greater good, I wanted to lighten the mood and share a special moment from our latest adventure- swinging for steelhead in beautiful British Columbia!
At the start of February my partner Connor and I packed up the car, fishing gear and all, and headed for Vancouver. We drove 16 hours from Northern California until we reached the border and then hopped on a ferry the following morning destined for the small town of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. Both of us were eager for a new adventure and we both have become very passionate about spey fishing, so Vancouver Island sounded like the perfect place to hang our hat for a year or two. Once we arrived on the island and met up with longtime family friends, it wasn't long before we got settled into our new lives and planned our first outing! We met up with a local group of anglers who were kind enough to discuss potential spots and rivers with us over a cold Canadian lager. One members of the club, Jaime Ker, offered to take us out drifting on his boat the following week. The day of the trip snow was coming off the mountain tops while we rigged up for battle and I watched as small rainbows chased each other around at the put-in point. Once on the water, Jaime instructed us to put our flies in the water as we cruised along, until we anchored up at the first stop.
After about the 4th or 5th stop the three of us found ourselves at a lovely run with a defined soft edge but also many different eddies swirling throughout the main current. Jaime and I decided to take a short intermission to make a pot of coffee and warm up while Connor started working his way down the run. About 15 minutes later from a short distance away we heard, "Yup, YUP" and witnessed the bent rod and reel scream off downstream. Connor was hooked up to what was believed to be a steelhead, so we scrambled to grab the net and camera, spilling my hot coffee all over myself.
It was such an exciting moment watching the silver bullet come into calm water before being tailed by Jaime, all the while I tried to capture every moment of the encounter. After admiring his first BC steelhead, Connor thanked the trout gods before releasing the doe back into depths. It was such an incredible moment for all of us, not just the angler holding the fish. Being able to celebrate any sort of victory on the water with others can make the entire experience, especially when it comes to catching steelhead. The whole group gets to share in the glory of being witness to the capture and release of such an elusive and captivating fish, one that some may only see for a few fleeting moments in their lifetime.