Overheard Recently on Tillamook Bay – – –

Overheard Recently, While Fly Fishing – – –

As fly fishers, we often find ourselves the “odd bird” in the flock, so to speak.

My personal philosophy is to fit in around the traditional salmon angler’s customary fishing methods, within reason and standards for civil behavior.  So if I try to fish in an area where there are several (38 last week) boats trolling, I anchor off from the main trolling route and chuck my fly in the openings between Guide-boats as they pass by in font of me.

Last week, seeing a boat trolling on the inside of the channel, I called out to let the gentlemen know that it was fine for them to troll right through, and that I would retrieve my cast to give them a clear route.

Apparently, my communication was mis-translated.

The reply came pretty much as follows.

“It’s OK, you were here first.”

“No, wait a minute, we were here first, so F*#@! you.”

This was one guy out of 38 boats we counted.  When I asked other boat captains if we were sufficiently out of the channel, I received thumbs up and smiles.  Some folks asked if we ever caught salmon fly fishing in the bay, and many wished us luck and cheered us on, with good-natured condolences as to the unlikelihood of ever catching a King salmon in all this water.

Re-thinking how I should have handled the encounter later that day, my wise friend Jim listened patiently and counseled.

“Let it go, Jay.”

As usual, he’s right.



Just be prepared for one person out of 160 to be mean-spirited.



7 thoughts on “Overheard Recently on Tillamook Bay – – –

  1. Hey Jay,

    happy with the sled? Already projected the changes you’d make if doing over..: )

    Regarding that “one in every crowd”..last year, had a BIG bruiser on the Stuc at the bridge hole take a red/black/gold Comet hot off the vice, promptly rip me deep into the backing, and so began a very lengthy battle up and down the river. Couple of times I had the fish take me downriver, to promptly take me back upriver again. Up and down the river, tiller between the legs, 9 wt. switch bent in a C, folks yelling encouragement – then as I passed by a big parked sled for the second time, I hear one of the young bucks on board, drinking beer, baseball cap on backward, wearing coveralls with old blood stains on it, state “I’m tired of this shit” and deliberately throw his tri-color spinner right over my line, reel up, snag my line, and then yell “you snagged me, and you better not lose my lure.”

    Managed to get his lure off and keep the fish on, upriver thru the bridge, got it up on the surface next to the boat for the first time, a knee shaking significantly big buck, and then it dove for the bottom one last time, found a snag, and wrapped me around it.
    After a few minutes, I realized this was a done deal and snapped my end of the #15 tippet, hoping the fish would be free to continue it’s journey, which would have been the outcome either way.

    Heading back downriver to set back up in the slot, I got cheerful condolences from the baitcasting crew on the bank, Jack in his yellow clack, and an obscene taunt from the same cheery fellow in the big sled as I passed by them.

    Decided the best way to view it, occasionally we’re going to run into a jerk that we can ignore, whereas those poor bastards can’t ever get away from themselves….

    1. Lance: yeah, my friend was on the rod handle and me on the tiller recently, chasing a big Nestucca buck up the line along the point at the Boat Hole. Everyone was courteous and encouraging, except one fellow in a black sled who motored right over his fish,through the middle of the Pogie Hole refusing to look at us or even slow down. We managed to bring salmon to hand, but the discourtesy of this one fellow was noticeably out of step with 99% of the other folks fishing there. This same fellow was sour to other anglers fishing bobber and bait, spinners, and flies that day, so we did not feel like we were being singled out for nastiness like you were.

      Karma, we hope, comes around, and we will continue tolerating the mean spirited folks, until we do not. Meanwhile, I try to “let it go” like Jimmy advised.

  2. Jay,
    There is one in every crowd like that. I agree with you on the guys that fish off the point at the boat hole. They are actually pretty good guys. Knock on wood but I’ve only had one issue come up with a couple of guys in a sled in the last 10 years that I can think of. So, thank goodness its a rare thing nowadays compared to 20 years ago down at the boat hole. I was up there guiding most of last week and run into a lot of nice anglers. Most of them come by to chat with us as they seen us hooking up with Chinook on the fly and were very curious on fly fishing for Chinook. We ended up going 0-5 on landing those big fish. Rich

    1. Rich: it was great to see you at the Boat Hole last week. Zero for five is fantastic! By that I mean that merely having five good grabs and head shakes is a gift from the salmon gods. We know that there have been and will be days when we work our magic and have not the single drive-by. Then, after the thousandth or second thousandth cast, our patience is rewarded with the solid hook up. A connection with one of these magnificent Chinook is a lifetime memory, well worth working for, day after day. May your next five grabs be solid hook-ups!


  3. Hello Jay:

    Met you last week in PC while fishing with my good friends Jack and John.
    It was good meeting with you and swapping fishing stories. Jack had one of your children’s books on the life cycle, and obstacles, of the fish we love to pursue … salmon. I was hoping to find a copy and wonder how I might do so.

    Reluctantly I had to leave PC last Friday. I fished the morning by myself and received some unfriendly looks from the same guys you encountered stinking up the river with their bad attitude. One thing I can say about them is at least they are consistent … no surprises. Kind of feel sorry for them …. I left the river everyday in a great mood!


    1. BK: “Down to the Sea, the story of a little fish and his neighborhood” is available through the OYCC Oregon Youth conservation Corps or on Amazon. I donated all proceeds from sales of the book to OYCC to benefit their youth programs.
      Yeah, it was very nice to meet you and chat when Jack bought us lunch. Hope to see you out on the river again next fall, if not sooner.


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