Northwest steelheaders have been getting cantankerous in recent days.
Dave Vedder posted a pic of his first 30-pound-plus steelhead over on piscatorialpursuits while steelbum on Ifish threw some adult beverages down his gullet and reports that it turns out he’s caught a mess of 30s too.
Vedder was kidding; steelbum was too.
But in their own ways they were pointing out the dread condition known as catch inflationitis. Seems particularly contagious around this time of year when we’re catching large wild steelhead sans digital scale and Mom’s sewing tape measure, snapping pics of the fish with our hands held towards the camera, and posting ‘em for all the world to see.
If truth must be known … I’m a recovering catch inflater.
Happened 11 years ago next month.
With the nearest certified scale 40-plus miles away, I pronounced a wild steelhead I caught on the Grande Ronde River a 14-pounder.
Because, you know, it looked like a 14-pounder!
It had a thicker, longer body than the hatchery fish also in the river, plus its jaw was kyping.
Which totally put it into the midteens.
At least in my mind.
The buddies of my fishing partner that day — guys who’d long fished the Ronde — later rolled their eyes at my “14-pounder.”
In retrospect, was it a 13? Perhaps
A 12? More likely.
An 11? Well …
A 10? Hey, now, you’re cutting it a bit thin, buddy!
And that’s the thing. In reality, most of us regular joe anglers ain’t gonna catch 30-pound-plus steelhead. Heck, many of us won’t top 20 pounds.
But we can in our minds.
Till someone on a board somewhere points out otherwise.