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Thread: My first steelhead...

  1. #1
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Smile My first steelhead...

    Well, two trips to SE Alaska, 15-20 miles of hiking through rain forest, and finally got my first steelhead. Would be lying if I said it was not a pain in the butt, but it finally paid off this past Saturday at 1:15 pm. Three days into my second trip, thoughts of getting skunked again fresh in my mind, I see this small hole. Trouble is it was down a steep bank and had no casting room at all. A very small piece of real estate to stand on and a deep drop off just feet from the bank. At 6'6" 300 lbs, I felt like a pterodactyl perched on a toothpick.

    I cast out just past a submerged log and get 5 feet of drift, then BAM. The fight lasted a long time on my 6 wt 12.5' spey/float conversion. I got the fish near me 4-5 times and it seemed to find strength from somewhere to take off again. Seemingly getting stronger as the fight continued, it was a rare feeling to grow tired as this fish seemed to get stronger and more pissed off as we went.

    Finally got it close enough for my wife to get his head in the net. At this same time the line finally broke and the jig, float, line, seemingly exploded into the surrounding tree branches. Only the head would fit in the net and the fish flips and makes a 90 degree turn toward freedom. I dived in at that point on instinct and grabbed the fish by the tail literally as it is kicking. I still can't believe I landed this fish. So many obstacles, so many things that could have (and should have) went wrong. Guess it was just finally my day. Still not sure I am deserving, but everything went my way.

    Upon getting my other hand under it's belly and feeling the full weight of this fish, it hit me just how big this fish was. I got some quick measurements at 36" X 18" and some snap shots. Arms sore, knees hurting from submerged sharp rocks, hands frozen and shaking, I felt the full impact of what just happened. Wind must have been blowing as well cause my eyes teared up a bit as this monster swam back through the tannic water from which it came. A fish is a fish, but the pursuit of this fish taught me patience, perseverance and humility. Without a doubt, the most significant fishing experience of my life.











    My G-Smolt pose, Alaska Fly Fishing Goods cap and all







    One last Dan cheesin shot...








    -Dan
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  2. #2
    Member Raptor_1's Avatar
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    Absolutely beautiful looking fish Dan. Well done and congrats!
    Alaska: We're all here cuz we're not all "there"

  3. #3
    Member kenaibow fan's Avatar
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    are you hugging that thing?????? LOL nice fish Dan..................I am jealous!

  4. #4
    Member Mark Collett's Avatar
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    Default Welcome to the World of Steelhead'n

    Dan,
    What an awesome fish and your report is outstanding.If I were an English teacher I'd have to give you an A+.
    It sounds like you have a monster being/done been created.That,my friend,is the world of fishing for what I consider to be the best freshwater fish in North America.Congradulations.You earned that fish.Now you'll be hooked for the rest of your life.
    Great report and great fish.Hopefully your next Steelhead will come as dramatically and have as much an impact as your 1st.

  5. #5
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kenaibow fan View Post
    are you hugging that thing?????

    Yep. Darn fish wouldn't give up. I was afraid I would drop it otherwise. In hindsight, I might have brought it in a bit green. But I didn't want to tire it out to the point of exhaustion. Fish hug. Yep.



    -Dan
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  6. #6

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    Very well done. Now, don't forget to put in your Catch and Release Certificate form so you can join the over 32" inch club of Alaska Trophy Steelhead/rainbow fishermen. Tight lines.
    Only those that can see the invisible can do the impossible.

  7. #7
    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    Very nice Dan!!!
    That net............................................... .......WHAT WERE YOU THINKING????
    If you want to catch manly fish get yourself a manly net!!!!!
    Love the birds nest on your float reel too!!!
    We'll see if we can get you steelhead #2 in September.

  8. #8
    Member power drifter's Avatar
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    Very nice Dan! Great to hear all about it and finally see the photos. It is a beautiful one. I was thinking the same as Dave on the net. That thing isn't big enough for some of the rainbows in the stocked lakes. Great job man!

  9. #9
    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    Beautiful fish and a well written account. Well done!
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

  10. #10
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by power drifter View Post
    I was thinking the same as Dave on the net. That thing isn't big enough for some of the rainbows in the stocked lakes.

    Net is not that small....

    C&R Plus net ...... Hoop - 9" x 19.5" Overall - 27.5"

    http://www.wachternets.com/guide_nets.htm


    Couldn't imagine hiking 20 miles with much bigger a net on my back



    -Dan
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  11. #11
    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by danattherock View Post
    Net is not that small....

    C&R Plus net ...... Hoop - 9" x 19.5" Overall - 27.5"

    http://www.wachternets.com/guide_nets.htm


    Couldn't imagine hiking 20 miles with much bigger a net on my back



    -Dan
    Dan
    One of these is perfect for that kind of thing.
    You can use it as a walking stick when trekking to new holes.

    http://www.frabill.com/landing-nets/...hiber-net.html

    My buddy has one of these Brodin steelhead nets and they are absolutely beautiful and much more suited to steelhead and larger trout. You can also hang it off your back like the smaller trout nets due to it's short handle.
    That net of yours is really not meant for fish much over 20".

    http://www.brodin.com/Pro_Steelhead.html

  12. #12
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Brodin is made in NC. Nice nets. I can see where the deeper net on the above model would come in handy at times.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  13. #13
    Moderator kingfisherktn's Avatar
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    Dan:

    Congratulations on finely getting the SE steelie stink off ya.

    Great looking fish.

  14. #14
    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by danattherock View Post
    Brodin is made in NC. Nice nets. I can see where the deeper net on the above model would come in handy at times.
    My buddy bought one of his steelhead presentation nets.
    Really purdy and really expensive.
    It was in the $250 range if I recall correctly.

  15. #15
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    $150 net, $100 shipping to Yellerknife
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  16. #16
    Member neverborn's Avatar
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    Great report! ,great fish ! and Great job !
    This land is your land, this land is my land

  17. #17
    Member 900fusion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by danattherock View Post
    Net is not that small....
    C&R Plus net ...... Hoop - 9" x 19.5" Overall - 27.5"
    http://www.wachternets.com/guide_nets.htm
    Couldn't imagine hiking 20 miles with much bigger a net on my back
    -Dan
    Nice steel and great story. i too have been in a similar situation where i had to jump into the water to retrieve my steelie. Congrats !!! (but thats still a trout net lol j/k)
    -Tight Lines & head shakin

  18. #18
    Member Alan Sloka's Avatar
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    Congradulations! I have seen some of your posts over the past couple of years, good to put a face with the name. Great report and thanks for the great pics!

  19. #19
    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DRIFTER_016 View Post
    Very nice Dan!!!
    That net............................................... .......WHAT WERE YOU THINKING????
    If you want to catch manly fish get yourself a manly net!!!!!
    Love the birds nest on your float reel too!!!
    We'll see if we can get you steelhead #2 in September.

    That is one leopard spotted fish dud. Um as dave said. were you netting goldfish with that net???? I bet miss carrie had the shakes as bad as you
    Grandkids, Making big tough guys hearts melt at first sight

  20. #20
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Beautiful fish!
    Thanks for the early season post, Dan & congratulations!

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