PAT NEAL: Yet another bad idea

THAT WAS YET another bad idea in last week’s column.

When out of concern for the well-being of our fellow sportsmen and women who pursue their passion for fishing for one of the rarest fish that swim, the steelhead of the Olympic Peninsula, I may have mistakenly shared an angling technique that, while revolutionary in concept and execution, was not a responsible method for enjoying the great outdoors.

It takes a big person to admit they were wrong, and I have had plenty of practice.

In the interest of full disclosure, it might be appropriate to reflect on other regrettable misstatements that, with 20/20 hindsight in the cold light of day, should never be attempted by a sane individual.

I should never had said it was a good idea to go crabbing before the expected tsunami that will accompany the impending Cascadia subduction event.

Disaster preparedness experts have warned us to expect an extremely low tide before the 100-foot-tall tsunami races ashore at speeds that modern science tells us could be up to 500 mph.

Crabbing could be phenomenal during the predicted seismic event. However, caution is advised.

It could be hard to outrun the tsunami even if you aren’t carrying a bucket of crabs.

In the interest of journalistic integrity, it would only be fair to state that you would have to be out of your mind to go crabbing in a tsunami.

Similarly, you would have to be out of your mind to take the plug out of your boat when you go steelhead fishing down one of the wild rivers of the Olympic Peninsula in the middle of winter, in the dark.

It’s yet another bad idea. One of many expressed in this column which, upon sober reflection, did not exhibit a responsible approach to safe boating.

In fact, no one in their right mind would get in a sinking boat to go on a guided winter steelhead fishing trip.

However, in my own defense, it would only be fair to point out that, as a professional fishing guide, if I only took people fishing who were in their right minds, I would seldom be employed.

The idea that people who fish for steelhead are clinically insane is not a new one.

How else could you explain someone spending thousands of dollars, traveling thousands of miles, to slowly freeze to death trying to catch a fish that, on any given day, may or may not actually exist given the rarity with which they are caught?

The only people crazier than steelhead fishers are the deranged cabal of self-serving career bureaucrats who have managed the steelhead into endangered species status with a byzantine system of inane regulations that subject the angling public to legal jeopardy every time they try to go fishing.

My suggestion to take the plug out of your boat when you go fishing was a response to the latest rule that says you cannot fish out of a floating device.

By not putting the plug in your boat, it would no longer be a floating device. It would be a sinking device. But that was a bad idea.

Instead of sinking the boat, it might be more productive to explore other angling options such as running the boat aground.

That should not be a problem.

In 30 years of guiding, I have hit every rock in the Hoh River at least a dozen times.

By running the boat up on the rocks, you are no longer a floating device, so you can fish from your boat.

Problem solved.

_________

Pat Neal is a Hoh River fishing and rafting guide and “wilderness gossip columnist” whose column appears here every Wednesday.

He can be reached at 360-683-9867 or by email via [email protected].

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