Yes, that’s right. I’ve lost my mojo. At least to the extent it affects my fishing success. It probably slipped away last year, but there were justifications that hid the loss. I was just learning the big rivers1 from the new boat and the focus of doing that kept me off of the trout rivers, so my fly fishing chops got rusty with only one trip in 2019. The easy culprit to blame might be the COVID-19 pandemic and this might be valid, to some extent, or maybe jumping back to gear fishing after many years of only fly fishing. I don’t know what the cause is, but my fishing mojo is gone and it is seriously disarming. I had allowed myself to slip into a cocky self-confidence that I was pretty good at this fishing thing, no matter the technique or species or location.
I’m not really sure when it started, maybe 2018, and it didn’t really register as a problem because my friends were having a tough time catching fish in the usual places around Eastern Washington. It was just “one of those years”. In 2019 when I had trouble finding bass and walleye fishing from the new boat on the Columbia and Snake Rivers it was not too much of a surprise. I grew up bass fishing mostly on lakes and occasionally the St. Lawrence river out of my father’s boat. Now I had the job of positioning the boat while dealing with wind and current while trying to find and catch fish. Oh, and one huge difference; you can’t use minnows in Washington like we depended on in New York. No problem, I’ll figure it out…
I was able to get my grandson into his first bass, but his preference was to ride around the river.
2020 started off with a curve ball, COVID-19, and Washington State thought recreational fishing should be included in the initial lock down. The season started late when our Eastern Washington heat was on, so fishing for me was an early morning activity – off the water by noon. Thank goodness I added a Bimini top to the boat. Often, however, the fishing did not justify the sweat. Continued to focus on bass all summer and into the fall, fishing about once a week and probably didn’t catch more than a dozen “keeper size” bass.
It was the annual fall trip to the Yakima River Canyon when the realization hit – my mojo has vanished. While the rainbow numbers were average to good, they were all tiny. Couldn’t buy a fish over 10 inches. Maybe the unseasonable heat was a factor, but starting to think I’ve lost a step.
So here I am bitching about not catching fish the way I’d like, but look at where I get to recreate whenever I want to go. I get to put my boots up to warm my feet by a crackling campfire while listening to a river flow by. Maybe it is time to reassess priorities and what is important. However, some walleye fish tacos would be really nice.
1 Columbia and Snake River in Eastern Washington around the Tri-Cities.