The plan was laid out in fine detail during the wee hours of the morning (I never sleep well the night before a fishing trip). We’d have poles in the water by 10 am, our limit of kokanee in the cooler by 1 or 2 pm at the latest, and the last few hours would find my brother Dave and I bass fishing just offshore on Lake Billy Chinook in Central Oregon. It was the perfect plan!
Alas, perfect plan or not, the fish had other ideas. I was lucky to come home with my 3 kokes that day, 2 of them caught in the last hour of fishing before heading home. Not even close to the limit.
It wasn’t the first time my fishing expectations exceeded reality, nor will it likely be the last. When it comes to going out for a day of fishing on a lake or stream, I’ve discovered that realistic expectations are always left at home.
Ironically, I tend to be a glass-is-half-empty kind of person. My disposition is not sunny and positive and I don’t look on the bright side of things. I’m more like my dad, who never looked upon a thin wisp of cloud in the sky without seeing it as a harbinger of a storm to come. I expect the worse to happen far more often than the best. Except when it comes to fishing.
Fishing tends to bring out the optimist in me. I justify my optimism by pointing to the hours spent prepping my gear and poring over fishing books and You-Tube videos. See! This man is reeling in a huge fish every time he puts his line out! If I just imitate what this woman is doing, I’ll get my limit in half an hour! I leave the realist in me home every time I go fishing. It doesn’t matter that I have brought back home my limit of fish only once. Only 1 time! But this time it will be different!
Tomorrow, my brother Dave and I are heading north to fish for walleye on the mighty Columbia River. Neither of us has fished for walleye before. We’ve prepared as best we can–Dave attended a seminar and we’ve both watched the videos and read the appropriate fishing advice columns. But spring walleye fishing requires more than book (and video) knowledge. It requires a degree of fishing technique and finesse. Truthfully, I have mastered neither of those. Plus, we really don’t know this stretch of the river nor where the walleye hang out. We are facing a real challenge tomorrow.
Even so, it’s no different than every other fishing adventure I take–trout or kokanee, boat or bank, lake or stream. I plan to come home with a cooler full of fish. Guess I’m just a cock-eyed optimist after all.