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It’s An Addiction

its an addiction steelhead fishing

It’s An Addiction
Written by: Dan Robson

Over the years I have developed this incredible fascination with the centerpin. It was the centerpin that helped evolve my love of steelheading to an obsession; there is just something about going toe to toe with a fish and having no mechanical drag to aide in the battle; nothing to slow the fish but your fingers. It’s a scary balance of control and it’s exhilarating.

When steelhead are summering in the comforts of big, cool water I often find myself cleaning, polishing and secretly snapping pictures of my centerpins, dreaming of the day when we can be reunited and once again battle big chromers. I’m sure my wife thinks there is something terribly wrong with me, even if she won’t come right out and say it.

It was during one of these intimate moments between man and fishing reel that a light came on. Maybe my infatuation wasn’t just with steelhead but with the centerpin as well. It was that moment I decided I was going to chase smallmouth with it too. I know I’m not getting any points for originality here, lots of people fish their local creeks and rivers for smallmouth (I even know more than a handful of guys who do so exclusively with the centerpin), but for me this was ground breaking stuff. This was the way to have the centerpin as a part of my life twelve months of the year.

I have all kinds of smallmouth gear (steelhead aren’t the only thing I fish for) and spent a couple of evenings adapting some of it to be run under a float, everything else was the same gear I used for steelhead. It really didn’t require much effort on my part to get this going.

This (the prep work) was as good as it got. If you were expecting incredible tales of amazing fishing well your expectations were high, as were mine apparently. It turns out that if I’m fishing a lake for big smallmouth I can catch them; if I’m fishing a small river I can’t. I’d like to say that I gave it a valiant effort but it wouldn’t be true. Don’t get me wrong I did try, maybe I could have tried a little harder.

I was pumped that first day. They say you can catch stream smallmouth all day long, I was there well before dawn. I must have sat in the truck for close to fifteen minutes before it was light enough to be able to see what I was doing. The spot I chose screamed bass and I couldn’t have had more confidence. By the end of the day that confidence was shattered.

I caught fish. Two. A total weight of two pounds. One was a rock bass. Not exactly what I had played out in my head. I spent a long day on the water looking for co-operative fish but they didn’t exist. It was discouraging, but not enough to keep me away, at least that first outing anyway.

The next fishless outing was even more discouraging. The third was when I realized just what my problem was. It wasn’t the gear, or the conditions, or the fish (all things that I blamed my lack of success on), no it was my sorry excuse for a brain and, more specifically its lack of focus. Focus is a big part of catching fish. Sure we all get lucky now and then, but to catch fish consistently we need to focus on the task at hand.

The focus was there but it wasn’t centered on the bass that I was fishing for, instead the cool mornings and flowing water had me longing for steelhead. Every piece of water I stopped to fish was deconstructed and analyzed not as bass habitat but holding water for chrome bright steelhead. The feel of the long rod and cold reel on the palm of my hand I just couldn’t help it.

I’m not really sure what I was trying to prove, or whom I was trying to prove it too but I didn’t get the result that I was looking for. There was a glimmer of hope for me had it actually been a simple need to catch fish on the centerpin, but that hope is lost. I’m not the ‘pin head I had thought myself to be but instead am nothing more than a steelhead bum; and addict beyond hope. I have to accept my fate and give up on trying to convince myself otherwise. The first step in getting help is admitting I have a problem. But don’t worry about me, I don’t have a problem. I’ll be just fine.