Monday, September 12, 2011

Why I C&R

I can only imagine the shape the rod and reel are in now.  Thirteen years being dragged along the jagged, rocky bottom of the Pacific Ocean by the daily currents can not be good to metal and graphite.

We've all dropped fishing gear into the water.  Most of the time it is not a big deal.  I've lost an uncountable number of flies over the years due to clumsy hands.  Last winter I came within a second of seeing my entire supply of sink tips vanish after fumbling my shooting head wallet into a glacial river as I changed tips.  The worst for me was losing an entire rod and reel overboard.

I was fishing right where the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Pacific Ocean meet.  There are some shallow rocky spots north of Tatoosh Island that can be fantastic places to catch rockfish on the fly at the right tide.  The fish were finning all over the surface and the fishing was great.  I unhooked a rockfish and left the fly dangling in the water right next to the boat and the rod leaned on the gunwale.  As I was putting the rockfish in the cooler I heard a dragging noise.  The noise was the fly reel moving along the deck.  A rockfish had grabbed the fly sitting inches below the surface next to the boat and turned towards the bottom.  I started towards the rod being pulled towards the edge of the boat.  I felt like I was moving in slow motion as I swung around the console and saw the rod go over the edge.  It felt like it happened in slow motion but I know the time between the fish grabbing the fly and the rod being swallowed by the ocean was just a matter of seconds.

I look back and realize that the lesson of that day is that harvesting rockfish results in a severe financial consequence.  One more reason that catch and release can be a good thing.

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