Tight Lines and Looney Toons

By Murray Wood

“FISH ON” we screamed at the top of our lungs as we were heading down the hill to board the boat. We were practicing for the fishing adventure awaiting us.

My wife, Valerie Wood, and my cousins, Jay and Shela Hughson (@Nailsbyshela) gave me a “Fishing Adventure” gift for a milestone birthday. I thought about Campbell River and salmon fishing but decided to find a guide in the Okanagan and get to know my own area and its waters.

After some research I chose Rodney’s REEL Outdoors, located in West Kelowna. I did an article last winter on Rod’s ice fishing adventures called “Fish on Ice”.

I invited Darrell McLeod of Status Marketing, to join the adventure. Darrell is a long-time friend, and he has been doing our Peachland Eagles Nest B&B website and providing marketing advice for many years. Darrell also taught Valerie and I how to river fish for salmon.

The Big Lake

The three of us boarded Rod’s beautiful 22-foot Thunderjet boat and cruised out on Lake Okanagan. The boat is equipped with all the fishing gear and an amazing sonar that has all the lakebed drop-offs and trenches mapped. The boat is set to follow these prime areas and Rod can concentrate on helping us catch fish. I know nothing about fishing this big lake and Rod made it so easy. He kept changing bait, working the down riggers for different depths, and constantly working the gear so we could sit back and enjoy it. When a fish hit the excitement erupted and it was hard to remember who’s turn it was to reel in the fish.

One thing I enjoyed about Rod was he had many stories to tell, good advice and is a good conversationalist. However, if a guest wants just to enjoy the experience and not talk, Rod does not intrude.

The Mountain Lake

Two days later, Rod, Darrell and I headed into the mountains and after an hour’s drive arrived at a beautiful tranquil lake with two small islands. Once we launched the punt Rod cruised the lake showing us the different fishing holes and watching for fish on his sonar.

It was an action filled day, but one chaotic event stands out in my mind. We had anchored the boat and were fishing with Chironomid flies. It was late morning, and it was time for a pee break. However, we did not want to up-anchor and head for shore, so I was given a bucket. I passed my fly rod to Darrell and prepared to use the bucket. Suddenly two fish struck, and Rod and Darrell were fighting aggressive Rainbows. Darrell threw my rod back at me so he could play his fish. Bang! FISH ON. All three of us were fighting fish. To add to the chaos the great Canadian icon, a loon, appeared on the scene and was trying to steal our fish. So, we are fighting fish and at the same time maneuver them around, so the loon won’t get them, all while trying not to kick the bucket. We were laughing so hard we almost lost an angler over the side. Looney tunes for sure!

We caught 23 fish, kept a few and the loon did get three of our fish in the end. The next time I hear a loon call I will always remember this day, the men I was with, and the fun we had.

One Week Later

I was feeling smug and wanted to show Valerie the lake and my prowess as an angler. I knew the lake, right? This time I had to set up my own fly rods and buy flies. I had to learn knots and how to build long leaders. It took me hours to set them up. It was a disaster. We had the wrong boat, I was not sure if I was in the same fishing holes, constant tangles and I had sinking line on the rods instead of floating line.

Not a bite! Even the loon left in disgust to annoy other angles. The lake was still beautiful, and I enjoyed Valerie’s company. She wants to go back to her bobber and worms.

The moral of this story? If you want to catch fish, CALL ROD!

Rodney’s REEL Outdoors

Rod supplies the boats, the gear, the knowledge, and good company.

March 15 to May 8th he mainly fishes Shuswap Lake for the bigger Rainbows and Lake Trout.

May and June, he fishes Okanagan Lake for Rainbows and Kokanee. This is also the season for fly fishing the beautiful mountain lakes for Rainbows.

July and August Rod mainly fishes the big lakes for Rainbows and Kokanee.

July, August, and September he fishes Shaha Lake for small mouth bass.

October to December 31 is when he can get the big Rainbows on the bigger lakes. He has seen them as big as 18 pounds.

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, November 1 Rod hosts trips to Cabo. All your needs and accommodations are provided for. These trips can be 4 to 7 days. The basic trip is 6 nights’ accommodations and 4 days of fishing. A fun trip!

Rodney’s REEL Outdoors

Rodney Henning

Email: rod@kelownafishing.com

Mobile: 250-718-7744