A bucket of luck

Whey do some people always catch fish? 

Why does one person catch all the fish on a particular day and the next day not get a bite while his friends — who were fishless the day before — catch fish after fish? 

This sometimes random occurrence has intrigued fishermen since the Apostle John fished the Sea of Galilee, I’m sure.

I’ve has this happen to me more times than I can count, being on both sides of the equation. Once, while fishing tidewater on the Trask River, I was with a friend, who is one of the best fishermen on the coast. 

At low tide, I hooked and landed three big bright Chinook salmon in about 30 minutes. My friend Crab Bait never had a bite. 

We were using the same gear, the same bait and casting, in the same spot on the river. It made no sense the he never got a bite.

The same thing happened a few years later when Crab Bait, my friend Stinky, and I were fishing the Track in a drift boat. 

Stinky and I caught bright Chinook all day long, fish up to 38 pounds. One after another. Every hole we fished, we hooked up epic salmon. Crab Bait never had a bite. Same gear. Same bait.

Now I mention these two days when Crab Bait never had a bite because it’s the only two days I can remember when he didn’t outfish everybody. So why does this sort of thing happen? It can’t just be luck.

Last fall, I spent some time with Stinky fishing Nehalem Bay in his jet sled. We caught fish okay, but one guy, we refer to him as White Boat — because he had a white sled — always caught fish. If there were 10 fish caught that day among 15 boats, White Bait would catch six of them. It was a conundrum we could not figure out.

At first we thought his herring bait was special. We found out his herring, and the way he hooked them on, was just the same as ours. It was driving Stinky crazy, so one day he talked to him at the dock. 

The guy (White Boat) was very helpful and told Stinky everything. It turned out he wasn’t doing anything different than we were, except catching half the salmon in the fleet. We just can’t figure out why he gets them.

Over the year of my fishing life, I have had some many experiences of catching lots of fish when others weren’t. 

I’ve had many days catching nothing while everyone else caught lots. It is just the way it goes. The day I go fishing and don’t learn something, I’ll find a different sport. That will never happen.

There is one absolute truth to all this: if your hook’s not in the water, you are not going to catch fish. If I could buy one thing that would make me a better fisherman it would be a bucket of luck. 

With that bucket I might have one more day that I outfish Crab Bait. Anyone have one of those buckets for sale?