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  1. #1

    Boat ramp stories…

    Boat ramp stories…

    It’s that time of year again. Late March. The cherry blossoms are blooming and the birds are singing. Those of us who have grown up here in the Northwest know that spring is upon us. To most of you reading this, it also means spring steelhead and spring Chinook.

    This time of year can make for some interesting things happening on our rivers and particularly at our boat ramps.

    I have seen people fall off the docks, fist fights, and more yelling matches than I can count.

    So last Saturday I witnessed something I had never seen before. And believe me, living right here in the Oregon City and Oak Grove areas all of my 56 years, I had thought I’d seen it all.

    After I had done my honey do’s I thought I would drive on down to Riverside Park to see what was going on. The rivers were on the drop and it was looking really fishy.

    I parked at the top of the boat ramp and was watching the river roll by. I was thinking I should go home and get my sled and fish the afternoon after the early morning diehards came off the river.

    It was then that I noticed a young boy of about 9 years old or so. He was at the bottom of the boat ramp with a stick about 5 feet long with about 20 feet of mono tied to the end. It looked like he had a yarnie or corkie and yarn on as bait. There was a man and woman at the top of the boat ramp watching him from the tailgate of a small pick up. I assumed they were his parents. Not to sound judgmental, but by the looks of the vehicle and the fishing gear the boy was using, they hadn’t won the lottery lately.

    I watched on in awe as the boy cast or actually threw the business end of his set up out in to the river. This kid was good. Every cast was either right on the seam, just outside the seam, or just inside the seam created by the boulders at the bottom of the ramp. I thought to myself, this kid could actually hook up right there.

    As I watched, the thought crossed my mind that I should go home and grab one of the 167 old rod and reel set ups that I have acquired over the years. I live close and if I lived another 56 years I have more fishing gear than I could use if I fished every day.

    It was about then that an older, Alumaweld sled came down the river. It was probably about 17 or 18 foot boat. It had more scratches than paint. It was powered by an older 90 or so horse merc that had seen its better days also. The occupants of the boat were two young men I would guess were in their twenties. There was another man that looked to be in his fifties.

    One of the younger men was operating the boat and he beached it with precision right below where the boy was casting / throwing his stick and yarn set up. Once they were beached, the boy went over to them, stick and yarn in hand, and asked them how they did? After a little conversation of which I could not hear, one of the younger boatsman reached in to the fish box and pulled out two nice steelhead. The boy screeched and called out to his father to look. As he stood there wide eyed it reminded me of a time long past. When I saw my first big fish. The amazement and immediate thought of “I want to catch one of those”.

    As the boatsman were securing their boat and gear, one of the young men handed the boy a spinning rod and reel. He motioned out to the river, gave a couple words of advice, and the boy started casting out to where the young man motioned. You could tell the boy was not real experienced with this set up, but was doing alright. He kept looking down at the handle. Then he would reach up and touch the eyes and study the reel.

    In the meantime, the men had got all their gear stowed and put away. They had their boat on the trailer and were finishing the final tie downs. The boy saw this and walked over to them and handed the young man his rod back. I couldn’t tell what make and model it was but it looked pretty nice. It was also new enough that the cork handle was still bright. The boy was thanking them for letting him use their rod. There were a few more words exchanged which I could not hear but as I watched, the young man in the boat handed that boy the rod back and though I could not hear him, I saw him mouth “Keep it”.

    The young boy screamed with a joy I had not heard in a long time. He yelled “Are you serious”? He then took off on a dead run and though I could not hear everything he said to his folks, he was saying “seriously, I am not kidding, he gave it to me”.

    So it is with a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye that I can tell you this was the best boat ramp story I have ever seen or could tell.

    And to the men in the beat up Alumaweld, you guys are my hero’s. If there is such a thing as fishing karma, I look to see you guys in the paper with 20lb steelhead and 40 lb Chinook.

    Posted From an email written by Charly Steven's

  2. #2
    Great story

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