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B.C. Boat and Sportsmen's Show
from Bob Waldhaus
My Best Catch Story
I have been a avid angler for over 30 years and have had many years of fishing success on the coast targeting Chinook, Coho ,Sockeye and trout in the lakes. The past two years I have turned my attention to the steelhead. The experiences over these past few years have been nothing short of awesome. I spend most of my time fishing the stamp river system. The steelhead are species that is in decline and what I have learned over these past two years is that after you catch one of these wonder fish it is just as great a thrill to release them for someone else to enjoy and catch. Over the over 20 steelhead I have caught these past two years I have only retained one hatchery due to it bleeding and I was afraid it would have not made it. I actually felt bad keeping it. I encourage everyone who fishes for steelhead to enjoy the catch and then carefully release them back. It makes for a total fulfilled fishing experience.


My best day happened a few weeks ago on the Stamp River when the fishing was very slow and the water levels very low. No one was catching anything that day. I had just started drift fishing with my new center pin setup. I fished with it the week before and spent more time perfecting the casting than really targeting fish. This time around my casts were pretty good and I could properly fish the way I wanted to. The morning was cold and there were at least a dozen fishermen in the same area all struggling to have any sort of success. I spent the first two hours carefully drifting each seem and pocket and thoroughly covering all the known holding areas and changing my gear up regularly. After about two hours I had nothing to show for my efforts. I contemplated switching to my level wind setup , which would allow me to cast better to the far side of the river where fish can hold, but quickly changed my mind and kept determined to have success on my new center pin setup. I went back to the tackle I had started with (small orange gooey bob, white wool), something that has worked for me well, and began to fish the same seems again. I have found myself doing a lot of research in catching steelhead and referring to magazines and websites like angling BC for tips and tricks. It has taught me a lot. I was paying close attention to my drifts and made sure that I was focusing on the float to be drifting in the quicker water while my tackle would be presented in the slower water on the seams edge. I also tried to ensure my weight was just above bottom so that my drift would be smooth and uninterrupted thus not letting the fish get a long look at what I was presenting hopefully triggering a quick strike response, knowing that if my float did disappear there was a real good chance it was a steelhead on the end of my line.

There was a fisherman just down river who had found the courage to wade out into the river, I found that my longer drifts were ending within 20 feet of this fellow but it didn't stop me from keeping with my technique and strategy. I then just happened to make one of those casts and drifts where you say to yourself this looks absolutely perfect, when all of a sudden, down went the float, I quickly pulled back on the rod and found myself playing a powerful steelhead, now I had to remember to click on the click drag on my center pin reel as this was my first ever fish on my new rod and reel. WOW, what a thrill, this fish took off towards the fellow who was wading in the river who graciously got out of the water as quickly as he could, the fish peeled off about 20 yards of line before I got it to come back up river. The ability to fight a steelhead with a center pin quickly showed its advantages as you have total control of that fish and drag, very similar to salmon fishing with a Islander, or Shimano reel. After about a good 5 minute fight I got the fish to the beach where we carefully got a beautiful wild 9 pound steelhead out of the water for a quick picture and then released it for another angler to enjoy. I managed to hook into one more fish ,that day which proved to be the only other fish caught. Catching a steelhead on my center pin for the first time was a tremendous experience and very rewarding. It is the reason we all get out on the river. A wonderful day.

Please conserve our waters and practice catch and release.

Enjoy Fishing
Warmest regards
Bob Waldhaus

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