Row, Row, Row, Row, Catch Fish, Row, Row, Row Some More

Rarely have I seen someone so excited about drift boats and steelheading as Jason Brooks.

The Northwest Sportsman writer, Chelan-area native, and longtime hunter and angler not only has developed a case of steelheaditis but drift boatitis.

And how.

He picked up the fishing bug this past winter from a midteens wild winter-run on a Peninsula river.

He picked up his drift boat, a used Willies, in May.

It has now made trips down the Skykomish and Cowlitz.

And while the Sky float was a bit of a bust, Brooks’ two wonderful illnesses came together on the Cow this week.

Here’s his report:

I got the kids off to daycare and met back up with Chris Clearman and Brian Chlipala at the house, and we were off, heading to the Cowlitz for a bit of summer steel. We used a shuttle service after I got the boat in the water at Blue Creek for our float down to Mission Bar.

Once on the water I got my rods rigged and baited, ready to go. Not an early morning start with us finally hitting the water around 11, but hey, we were on the water no less!

I pulled out some eggs I had cured using Borax-O-Fire cure with a little added drying time and some plain borax to keep em fresh.

RODS COCKED AND READY TO ROCK COWLITZ STEELIES. (JASON BROOKS)

We later tried some bait divers and fire cured coon shrimp, but by then my arms were getting tired.

One thing I have realized now that I own a drift boat is that the owner seems to do most of the rowing.

HEY, FREELOADERS, I WANNA FISH TOO. YOU IN THE HAT, GET ON THE STICKS! (JASON BROOKS)

Brian finally gave in to offer up some stick time and I took him up on it.

We had already floated about 2/3rds of the way and after we switched seats I cast my eggs and double 4’s with a red rocket #14 corky into the shadows along the cut bank. Not a minute later, on that first cast, Fish On!…it only took about 5 minutes to get it in the net.

BROOKS' STEELHEAD. (JASON BROOKS)

And it was back to the oars…after all, I did get a fish in the box.

Another great day on the river, and I am so glad I got that drift boat!

Jason

THE AUTHOR'S SUMMER RUN DOWN THE COWLITZ WAS MOSTLY ROWING EXERCISE, BUT HE ALSO LANDED THE TRIP'S ONLY STEELHEAD DURING THE FIVE MINUTES HE WAS OFF THE OARS. (JASON BROOKS)

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