17 hours ago
Monday, February 1, 2010
Happy Birthday Mark
A war wound from fishing the previous day. Apparently it is a quick fix when he gets back home.
Wrapping the ferrules together.
A month or so I get a message from my friend Mark Shamburg from that he is going to be in my neck of the woods while on a pilgrimage to the Olympic Peninsula with some friends. Now Mark is from Colorado and while not trout fishing he is busy engineering bamboo rods and even making his own reels. Yes, traditional style click pawl reels. Before this trip he was able to make his very own first bamboo spey rod. Though busy with parental obligations and juggling both my wife's and my own work schedule, I was only able to hang out for a few hours on Mark's birthday on a Portland area river, the last day of January.
With the ever so crowded rivers of the weekend and moderately high water conditions on this particular river, we had a hard time finding fishable water from the road. After watching and seeing where most of the boats were, we ended up finding a nice run away from everyone to cast this new grass spey. More interested in casting this step back in technology and seeing it in action then in fishing, I ended up playing guide walking though the run with Mark. It was great catching up with Mark, not seeing the guy since last winter.
After hitting rock after rock while on his way into the sweet spot in the run, he was shocked when one of the rocks started to move and pull. Then the race was on. Bulldogging, bursts of speed led us to believe that this was no ordinary steelhead and had to be a large native buck. Then all of a sudden the fish started to flash and thrash on the surface and you could see the huge jet chrome and slight glimpse of its back. I thought to myself this can't be a steelhead and after working it down the run, I got a good glimpse. "I hate to tell you this Mark, but this ain't no steelhead, this is a springer." The January Unicorn and first I have seen or heard of this year.
Minutes later and though shaking with excitement, I was able to tail the fish and put it on the bank. A mega football at 35x23, this hatchery fish was going home. With Mark and his buddies on the road they decided to give it to me, even after trying to explain how rare and sought after springers are here in the Pacific Northwest for both there table fare and fighting ability. Both experiencing this and getting to fish this unique spey made my winter. I am sure Mark is still smiling ear to ear right now while on the Coast. I hope the next time I see him he will have time to finish one of the wide drum reels he has been working on. I can't help but to be amazed how a step back in technology can be both fun and effective while enjoying a day on the river. If you are interested in checking out his work, you can get a glimpse here on spey pages.
Happy Birthday Mark!