Friday, November 21, 2008

Pulling a Mulligan

The other day I was fishing a sweet little run with quite a few overhanging trees. This is typical of many runs on the river, and one often should ‘take stock’ of the surroundings before casting and hitting your rod on a branch. The wind was blowing downstream rather hard, and I was using an offhand reverse double spey, the proper cast for the conditions…except when faced by the tree over my left shoulder. I was forced to cast off my right shoulder for a few yards in order to avoid a tree incident. I used a circle-spey with an intentionally long anchor. As the cast came around and I shot it forward, A sudden gust of wind hit the line, and the trajectory of the fly put it right into my hat, launching the hat forward into the river. How embarrassing. At least I didn’t put the fly in myself!
That got me thinking of all the crazy mishaps I have perpetrated through the years.

One time years ago while fishing for trout with an ultralight spinning outfit, I made an errant cast way up and over a tree limb hanging over the stream. I slowly retrieved the spinner only to find it attached to a 10” creek chub that was now slowly ascending into the tree, wiggling in protest and disbelief. I sure was glad nobody was there to see that one. “Fishing in trees now Erik?”

While teaching a casting clinic to a local club I demonstrated what happens when one puts a jerky stop in the rod on the forecast. I had expected a nice tailing loop and resulting knot, but the amazingly complex knot I threw into the flyline itself was something I never could repeat. I couldn’t pick it out, so I sort of made do through the line speed portion of the class, double hauling the line complete with birdsnest. That is when the club decided to take the photo for their newsletter. D’oh!

On a big western river, I was swinging bombers for steelhead, when my running line tangled in a beautiful macramé pattern no doubt due to being overpowered by me. I was trying to pick out the knot when the inevitable happened. A steelhead of my dreams, chrome and full of energy, chose that exact moment to eat my bomber and head back for the pacific. Of course, I broke him off. Then resulting swearing is still echoing through the river canyon these years later.

On the Klickitat I once fished an entire run without a fly. I must have snapped it off on the first cast, and never checked. Obviously, I didn’t have a chance of hooking a fish.

On the Deschutes I was changing to a sinktip after the sun was on the water. I rigged up everything and tied on a nice fly, and then made a cast that seemed strange. What was strange was that I had forgot to actually loop the sinktip to the flyline, and it was now at the bottom of the river.

Another time on the Sheboygan I was fishing with sinking polyleaders when my homemade braided loop connector failed. I made the most amazing cast, sailing the fly clean across the river and onto the golf course. Fly, tippet and polyleader gone. Double bogey.

We won’t even talk about the day I learned to row a driftboat.

It all started long ago when I was in junior high, and I was going to a small-bore target shooting practice. The range was down at the bottom of a stairs in the basement of a police station. I was carrying my competition target rifle, spotting scope, and various satchels of various gear, when I slipped at the top of the stairs, fell all the way to the bottom, and landed in a heap preceded and followed by my baggage, now open and spilling all over the floor. One of the other kids smiled upon my bewildered face, and turning to the others, said “Well, Erik is here!”

What are some of the goofy things that have happened to you?
Place them in the comments under this posting, and let the fun begin!


  1. Early in my flyfishing career, I fished the Muskegon with a friend from high school.

    He was showing me the 'proper' way to fish for Salmon during the spawning run. We spent about 30 minutes refining the finer points of what I now know is the abomination referred to as the 'Stupidinski Chuck N' Duck' method.

    For some unknown reason, I just couldn't figure out how to throw that damn split shot laden running line rigged with a size 8 glow bug.

    I had set up a cast with that heinous back flop into the water behind the boat, and much to my chagrin when I went to make my 'chuck', I pulled up a 4 lb, fat as hell, egg gobbling ....Steelhead.

    Exciting so much.

    I can still feel my mojo just fading with that memory.

  2. Permaskunk-That is a riot. Catching a steelhead on the backcast while flossing salmon? Funny! You win!

  3. Eric- you probably remember sending back my 13' 7/8 St. Croix with one missing stripping guide. After fishing with Brian on a frozen evening while attempting to pull apart the rod with frozen hands, I managed to impale my pinky finger with said guide. It went completely through the finger and when I tried to pull it out myself the pain was nausiating. Luckily Brian was at his truck and he gave me the assist (on three 1...2....pull). The thought of getting impaled by anything that had just been in that river stayed with me for a while.


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