Sam Brentano is a good friend of mine from Stayton, OR. I have known Sam since 1999 when CYO brought back the Football program. Sam was the first “Head Coach” at Stayton “Region 8” and he is fiercely loyal to OSU, Regis High School and Fishing. About 5 years ago, Sam started inviting me to go fishing with he and his sister Kay who happened to be on the same floor as me at OSU when we were freshmen in college. Small world huh? What a great reunion we have every year as Kay and her husband, Ted, join us for a great fishing expedition!
Sam is an avid fisherman and he is remarkable in his ability to manage four fishermen in his boat at a time, keeping the poles untangled, baited, rigged, in the water, and his people catch a fair amount of salmon to be sure. As for me, I have yet to catch a fish and his friends in Stayton always want to know if “Sister” caught a fish this year. They are actually giving him a bad time so he invited me twice this year in hopes I could put him out of his misery with his friends and catch one for pete’s sake!!!
When we go fishing with Sam, we get into the boat in the very early morning, it is still dark out. We fish till dark. We give it all we have rain or shine. Sam works the river all day doing his best to make us successful. We tell stories, joke, catch each other up on what we have been up to and have a great time – all the while FISHING…
Well…this year something happened to me that has not happened in 5 years!!! I got a bite! Not only did I get a bite, the fish really hooked itself on my line! I had a fish to bring in. I was reeling it in while my coaches were telling me what to do. I followed their instructions. This was a BIG FISH hooked on my line!!!! Wow…it takes a LOT of strength to bring a salmon in especially one as BIG as the one I had on the end of my line!!!
SIDEBAR…While I may never have caught a salmon before, I certainly knew my fish. I grew up in Central Oregon and we used to buy our salmon from the Warm Springs Indians who fished for them on the Deschutes River at Shearers Bridge near Tygh Valley. I learned to clean them at an early age. One time, a truck load of fish was donated to my grade school. We got a call to go to the school and help clean them. We took our knives and worked all afternoon and evening getting them cleaned and wrapped for the school to serve to the kids. I can easily tell how much a fish weighs by looking at it.
OK…back to the story. I am reeling in my fish. It was nearly 50 pounds!!! It’s girth unlike anything I have ever seen in a salmon!!! It is a mighty warrior of a fish. Surely one of the biggest to be given up in Tillamook! Silently wondering to myself if this fish is ever going to give it up. My gosh, I am exhausted! I kept reeling. Finally I have it up to the boat. Sam is working the boat, Larry and Jack are watching carefully and they have the net ready to help me get it into the boat. Jack puts the net over the side of the boat just as the fish darts under the boat.
Some of you know the rest of the story. Fishing lesson 205…when a fish goes under the boat, put your pole down into the water even if you have to go all the way to the reel. The bottom of the boat has barnacles and jagged little attachments and guess what. In a flash the fishing line snaps as if cut by a sharp knife. That’s all folks. the fish swam away and I was left with a lifeless pole void of the attachments.
That was the only bite we got all day and it got away!!! Shucks! I know if I got another chance I could bring it in. So Sam…lets go again! 🙂