In the late sixties, I was really into winter steelhead fishing, here in Oregon where I still live. I had experienced some success, but I wanted more.
During Christmas break (I was teaching school then), my brother and i drove to a tributary of the Clackamos River, which is south and east of Portland. We had heard that the steelhead were running strong so we went for a day to see what we could do.
The reports we had heard were true. There were fish everywhere, and they were biting, despite the cold and some snow on the ground. I was using artificial lures and right away I started hooking fish. The water was very clear so I was using only 8 pound test line. Which meant, I had to play the fish carefully, or they could break off.
The trouble was, the fish had no intention of being reasonable. They were wild!
Every time I hooked one, I would hardly begin to play him when he would go tearing off downstream. When I would try to turn him, he'd just break my line.
I couldn't follow the fish because the bank was really steep in many places.
I hooked and lost 7 nice fish. I was getting pretty frustrated. So I made a decision. I was going to follow the next fish I hooked, whatever it took.
The next fish began to act true to form, so I waded into the freezing water to follow. I only had knee boots, and in short order I was in over my boot tops.
Mr. Fish continued to head downstream in the current, so I followed in the water, staying as close to the bank as I could.
After a few minutes I was in water almost to my neck, with my rod high over head, still playing the fish. Fortunately for me, the water grew more shallow,
and the fish entered a big pool where I played him for several minutes longer, until I landed him. I was one cold but happy fisherman.
It was a 7 pound bright buck, a gorgeous fish. Up the steep bank and over the small hill I went until I located the car, I got in and cranked on the heat and saved myself from hypothermia. My brother, who had not been able to land a fish, told me I was crazy. Maybe so, quien sabe?