Far Bank A night at the ‘Fish Motel’
Ever found accommodation where you can fish from your room? Dom Garnett enjoyed a spot of front porch fishing at Silver Lake, USA
MUCH as I love wilderness fishing, there is something slightly irresistible about the prospect of fishing from your bedroom. It’s not exactly a common occurrence, even in fishingcrazy North America.
Notoriously debauched rock band Led Zeppelin almost singlehandedly made ‘fish from your room’ accommodation extinct back in the 1970s when staying at the Edgewater Motel in Seattle, leaving mud sharks in wardrobes and under the beds.
Further south in Washington State, Silver Lake Resort must be one of only a handful of presentday motels where you can literally cast from your room. And so, as I was set to honeymoon on the West Coast, it was too good an opportunity to miss.
So what might an Englishman catch? In spite of all the weird and wonderful species across the pond, I was keenest to find those classic all-American fish that are free-biting and not found in the UK. Bluegills, crappies and largemouth bass are as popular
here as roach, perch and carp are back home.
To a British coarse angler, however, American tactics seem pretty crude. Their huge, bulbous floats are better known as ‘bobbers’. Fine tackle here is a whole worm on a size 4 hook. Loosefeeding, waggler floats and small barbless hooks are alien concepts to the Bubbas.
Having thrown in some mashed bread, I barely have time to crack open a beer before the float dips and keeps going. If you knew no better, you might think the culprit was a crucian carp, judging by the punchy fight and the juddering circles turned by the fish.
Bluegills and crappies might be modest in size, but are spirited, eager-biting fish unlike any of our own species. They have little teeth, a spiny dorsal fin and brilliant colours.
As greedy as our perch, the main challenge is not so much hooking them, but striking early enough to avoid deep hooking. No fear for most Americans – there’s a good reason they are known as ‘panfish’.
An hour later there are two splashes as the neighbours cast out their bobbers. Novel fishing this might be, but hardly private.
Still, it all adds to the fun and I get the feeling we are as much a curiosity to our new friends as the fish are to my foreign eyes.
The action only slows when a 3lb bass grabs a small fish on the way in, making the water bulge.
By ten, I can barely see the float. Beers are sunk, stories swapped and I already know I won’t want to leave. For the sake of my new marriage, it’s probably a good thing we’re heading to Oregon in the morning.
Keep an eye out for next week’s ‘Far Bank’ to read more about Dom’s American adventure, and get a big surprise!
Does it get any better than fishing direct from your own balcony?
Bluegills are an all-American classic, bristling with attitude.