There are a couple different varieties of steelhead anglers out there in the world. First, you have the casual fan, the one who likes to get out and chase steelies around from time to time – especially when the river’s perfect and it’s in somebody else’s boat. Then, you have the small, masochistic, semi-antisocial, diabolically obsessed, over-the-top society of incurable lunatics.
When it comes to steelheading, there’s not a lot of gray area between the two. You’re pretty much one or the other. To help you figure out which category you fall into, read over the following statements. If you can’t relate to many of them, you’re probably living a healthy, normal and productive life. On the other hand, if you can relate to most or all of these, welcome to the club, brother…
You can tie an egg loop in the dark.
You own more stuff made out of Gore-Tex than cotton and denim combined.
You don’t mind the smell of Mike’s Shrimp Gel Scent…in fact it actually makes you a bit hungry sometimes.
You had a subscription to STS before you could read.
You have an almost unhealthy love of fleece.
You almost get turned on by a perfectly-cured skein of bait.
You feel like it’s your birthday when you see emerald green water on the way to the put-in.
You once did a book report at school on Herzog’s Color Guide to Steelhead Drift Fishing.
You skim over emails that say “Mariners Tickets” and “Awesome Bikini Pix” in the subject line and instead open the one titled “Steelhead Road Trip Next Week?”
You wish you’d gotten a chance to fish with Willie Illingworth.
You get depressed on sunny days.
You’ve considered re-locating to Woodland, WA.
You never call ‘em “metalheads.”
You know how to properly spell and pronounce “Lamiglas.”
You’d skip a date with Megan Fox to fish the Kispiox.
You wish you could have gone with Lewis & Clark.
You have inhaled way too much smoke from burning parachute cord.
Your idea of a perfect evening is having a beer with Gary Loomis.
You own a pair of Lead Masters.
You were ticked off when Rapala bought STORM.
You check river flow gauges every morning from your office cubicle…just because.
You have never once have spilled the beans on an internet message board…and never will.
You like to be on the oars.
You think of your best plugs as “friends.”
You consider every steelhead a gift.
You’re happy to drive 18 hours to sit in the rain, get skunked and catch pneumonia.
Your drift boat has more scratches than paint.
You have a carton of sandshrimp in the fridge right now.
You’d rather walk barefoot through a kiddie pool filled with Gamakatsu trebles than bonk a wild steelhead.
You’ve volunteered to help clean up a local creek.
You know snow and felt don’t mix.
You wish you had Nick Amato’s job.
You know what HSR and STR mean.
You don’t care how long the hike is.
You can function all day on a Cliff Bar and a Red Bull.