On Sunday, after seeing first hand how beautiful the Salmon River as we were driving back my friend Sam said “lets go fishing tomorrow – I’ll take the day off”. I agreed but was a bit hesitant because by nature I’m a thinker and I think I just needed to go and take in everything I saw and process. I could not sleep that night and I got up and read online as much as I could. Unfortunately, there is so much information and it all looks so confusing. Being from NYC, all of this information was like going into in a part of town where the signs and the language and clothing were all different.
On Monday morning, I gathered an old rod I had in the garage and I think I got the rod to take my kids fishing for small fish on a pond. As I was gathering everything I thought since I was going to try a different experience almost go to a new culture. I should get someone to go along that would be the guy that would ask questions. I’m a thinker and observer and I’m not the best at asking questions but my friend Rick is Mr. Questions. He lives more for information and he loves to ask questions. Also he is a hunter and general outdoorsy guy – he also had been on a charter boat and fished for salmon on Lake Ontario. Lastly, he loves new cultures and loves meeting new people. My hope was with Sam and Rick all I would need to do is tag along and listen.
We left and on the way there we stopped at Walmart to get some supplies. I decided that on Sunday while at Fat Nancy’s that instead of buying my fishing line and weights I would get them at Walmart thinking they would be a better deal. Unfortunately, when I got to Walmart’s fishing section the prices were not that much better and I could not remember everything the sales person at Fat Nancy’s told that we needed. I asked Sam if he recollected and he said that he thought we should use 20 lbs of line. Having seen the size of these salmon I thought it sounded right. I purchased 20 lbs test and I think Rick did also.
As we were going to the Salmon River in Pulaski NY, I unwound and wound the new line onto my reel. I had no hesitation in regards to making sure how the reel was spooled correctly or if the line matched the reel and rod I was fishing with.
Since I spent last night looking at locations to fish on the Salmon River. I decided that the Trestle Pool North would be the best bet. The Sportmans Pool South seemed like a long hike in and in case we caught big fish we would have to bring those fish back to the car. Did not want to hike all the way back so I saw that the Trestle Pool North you could get out of the car and get on to the water and fish.
As we pulled up to the Trestle Pool North, we saw a guy pulled up two huge Chinook salmon and drag them up the hill. Even though it was Monday, the river was pretty crowded – not as crowded as in the weekend but it was still fisherman at least arms length apart. We all fumbled around with our fishing equipment got down to the river. My friend Sam was first in the water with his line but my friend Rick and I were still trying to get our equipment setup. I remembered from the sales person saying that I needed to attach the line to a swivel and then add more line max of 4 ft from the swivel to the hook. We discussed on the way up that 4ft was somehow a DEC regulation and that if you did not do this then you were going to get fined. So not sure how I did it but I tied the most simple knots. So I had mainline of 15 LBS and then a swivel and then 4 ft of 15 lbs to the hook. I then remember something about adding a weight (split shot) above the swivel. Also yesterday we got some rubber eggs and added that on the hook.
Meanwhile, Rick had gotten his line in but the I saw him struggling with his reel. All of his line was tangled up and he could not cast. He was unwinding his line and then untangling – total mess. I finally got all of my stuff together and then walked into the water edge on the big rock at the bottom of the Trestle Pool. I casted and out in front of me and just let it sit there. The current was strong and with the weight – I suddenly felt my rod tug and so I set the hook like Jeremy Wade. Man my rod was bent and I started reeling only to realize I was hung up on something. So I finally cut my line and then retied everything. I think that my whole afternoon was spent thinking I got a bite – setting the hook and then getting hung up – breaking the line and then retying. Half way through my line also got tangled and was unspooling off my reel so I spent trying to get untangled and spooling the line back on the reel. I’m the least experienced so I thought I may catch something and I certainly was hoping but was not sure. However, I thought surely my friends Sam and Rick would do better but they were having no luck. Its one thing to not catch and everyone is not catching but what was incredibly frustrating is that everyone around us were hooking into fish. When someone hooked into a fish they would yell “fish on”. Everyone around us was yelling “fish on” and 30 pound salmon were jumping right in front us almost taunting us.
As the afternoon wore on with the casting, setting, hanging up, breaking line and retying Sam wanted to go to a different pool. Rick and I wanted to stay because the fish were there in front us and everyone was catching fish except us. Sam on the other hand did not enjoy all of the people – he is use to fishing with no one around him fishing the West Canada Creek. But we all agreed maybe taking a break and seeing some new places would be good. We drove down Sheepskin Rd and we came upon the next pool – Pineville Pool.
We pulled in and saw lots of cars but when we got to the river we did not see many people fishing. The water right in front of the parking area is shallow and fast and as soon as I casted out my line got hung up – but because the water was shallow I could wade out and kick the rock and pull off the hook. Meanwhile Sam and Rick headed to the right and started fishing past the Rt 48 overpass. After a few more casts I came to the conclusion that the current, rocks and weight (split shot) that were causing the rod to twitch and not a fishing biting. I went to were Sam and Rick and they were in an area where the water was very calm and fish were jumping all around us. There were no other fisherman was fishing there and the water was smooth and the river was wide.
After no luck for a few hours we decided to go back to the Trestle Pool North. When we got there it seemed like there were more fisherman there and more “FISH ON!”. My first cast into the water I felt the twitch and knew it was the weight bouncing on the rocks I started reeling it and then got hung up. I tried to break it off but these time it was seemed just really hung up. I pulled and pulled and instead of cutting line I tried to break it off by pulling but next thing I knew my rod snapped.
It was disappointing that my rod snapped and my day was done but thinking back I think it was a good thing. Because i was so focused on fishing and preoccupied with getting hung up, breaking my line and then retying that I did not get a chance to see how others were fishing. One of the things that you learn to do in NYC is to people watch and in doing you learn a lot about life. I probably sat and started making notes on how others were fishing.
One fisherman in particular was fishing using a fly rod and reel and it seemed like every other cast he was on a fish. It was incredibly beautiful to watch from him casting with his fly rod and then him fighting a salmon that jumped and shook its head and him bring it in and then releasing it. I realized at that moment that most people think that fishing is a lot about luck but what I saw this gentleman do was as much art as it was science. The day before I was intrigued but that day I made up my mind that I wanted to learn the art and science of fishing.
Although, none of us caught anything we all had a great day but here are somethings not do when you fish the Salmon River.
- Buy your fishing equipment at a store without the help of sales person who knows the Salmon River.
- Use the same fishing line for your main line as your leader.
- Spool your line with fishing line that is heavier than its designed for.
- Use fishing line that is heavier than your rod was designed for.
- Spool your reel with fishing line unrolling it instead of unspooling it from the spool
- Set the hook on every tap that your rod feels.
- Fish in an area that there are absolutely no other fisherman.
- Don’t ask questions or ask for advise from other fisherman.