|Finally got a nice pic of my boat on the river!|
On the recommendation of a guide buddy, we picked a target stretch (sorry, not revealing it -- find your own damn water, I'll be working this stretch for a while). As we were arriving and departing separately, we had two vehicles, so no need for a car spot.
Parking lot prep feels a bit frenzied. I don't really have my program down as to what goes where. Patience, Grasshopper. It will all come with time. So, I put the cooler on the wrong side (cupholder on the boat gets in the way) and then have to swap it and the boat bag. But I'm starting to get things figured out. Dad gets a new permanent assignment - his job is to remind me to put the drain plugs in.
Eventually we get rods strung up, gear loaded and the boat headed down the launch. My trailer backing skills are much-improved, so I nail it on the first try. Launch goes smoothly and we load up for a day on the water. After an initial bad call (oops, that log was shallower than I thought and we can't get over it), my rowing's going well. I'm able to control speed, and boat positioning is no longer a complete mystery. And, best of all, it's happening naturally -- which frees my head up to concentrate on good water to find steelhead.
We find some nice water, and even both get one on (mine on the swing, Dad's on the float) but neither lands a fish. I even rowed through a couple of tricky spots with confidence and poise, which feels pretty damn good. One did hang me up and force me to walk the boat through, but this isn't bad for a first run.
At the bottom of the float, we run into one of the top guides on the river - nice proof that I'm on the right piece of water. And, it validates our decision to run it again the next day.
Takeout goes smoothly with one exception. While my trailer backing skills have improved a great deal, I still lack in one area - trailer sans boat. Getting down a pretty broad, simple ramp has me zig-zagging all over the place. Eventually I get it down to the boat and get the boat on the trailer.
The next day goes similarly - only no fish on. But this was a great accomplishment for me. I've found a stretch of water I'm confident I can float successfully. I even feel like I could solo it readily. This was a proud couple of days for me. Plenty of room for improvement - like catching fish - but I've reached the next level. Feels pretty good.