The Story behind the Story: Bill Monroe’s “Almost” Springer

Moon Rise over the Boat Hole.

Moon Rise over the Boat Hole.

The headline reads as follows:

Retired salmon research scientist turns author; racing an unknown deadline.

Bill Monroe (Oregonian Sportswriter) was my guest fishing the Nestucca estuary on June 29th.  We had a very nice relaxed visit and diligently cast our flies onto the waters, hoping for a tug from a fresh springer.  Fishing had been very tough all season, with sufficient salmon around showing off now and then, but grabs being few and far between.

Bill isn’t a regular fly fisher when it comes to salmon, especially springers, but he didn’t need any coaching as far as his casting and tackle handling, so we slid my Rocky Mountain Trout Boat into the estuary and I looked around the pool on the incoming tide, trying to see the currents and decide where we should start fishing.

A dozen people were bank fishing from The Point, and three or four boats were anchored about the hole, with the tide approaching high slack.  My first anchor point left us in too-slack water, so I re-positioned and set the two anchors while Bill fired a cast out along the current seam.  I was making sure there was sufficient scope in my anchor lines, when i looked up to see a bend in Bill’s rod as he lifted.  The flash, flash, flash of a chrome springer followed, just a few feet under the water’s surface.  My spirits soared, so to speak, for the briefest instant, and then the fly sprang back at us, with the fish streaking off into the pool.

Oh, My Gosh, Bill you had a springer!

Well, four hours of flailing the waters ensued without a solid hook-up to show for our efforts.  We took a break, drove over to the local Sportsman’s Pub N Grub to get burgers to go, returned to check the fish action, and found a few fish rolling again.  So we scarfed our lunch, jumped back in the boat, and gave it our best again.

I caught a springer the day before Bill fished with me.

I caught a springer the day before Bill fished with me.

To no avail.  Bill and I had a great opportunity to talk about much more than fishing and books, and especially the stories we would both like to write that we haven’t yet, or can’t quite bring ourselves to write, or shouldn’t write because they might embarrass someone, and so on.

Two of my favorite Chinook Comets.  Today anyway.

Two of my favorite Chinook Comets. Today anyway.

Oh well, springer fishing with gear is a challenge, and with the fly it is an excruciating challenge.  Probably best that he didn’t seal the deal on his third cast of the day anyway.

Bill was especially intrigued with two of my books, Home Waters and Fly Fishing Book of Revelation.  His article appeared in the Sunday Oregonian, and yep, we bought a copy when we went out for coffee, just for fun.

This was a great day, proving just how tough the salmon can be, but offering a hint of encouragement for the future. Bill and I will be heading out to fly fish the ocean from John Harrel’s Dory this summer, and plying the estuary with our flies for fall salmon in a few months.

Mini Rainbow Clouser - a great Springer fly.

Mini Rainbow Clouser – a great Springer fly.

Thought I would close with this photo, not a great one, but a favorite, as it shows my friend Jack Harrell giving it his best right up to dark on a full moon rise last week.  Neither of us was rewarded with a grab that evening, but it was glorious to be out there with the salmon on the incoming tide.

Moon Rise over Jack Harrell in the Boat Hole.

Moon Rise over Jack Harrell in the Boat Hole.

My best to you all, and may you find the grabs you seek  . . .

Jay Nicholas, July 2015


This entry was posted in Fly Fishing Books, Fly Fishing Glossary, Oregon Salmon fly fishing. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>