By “Uncle Wes” Malmberg
In my line of work I have had the opportunity to meet and in a lot of cases take a trip or two with them. I’m talking about some of the top amateurs, pro staffers, guides, and legends of the industry, but what I like most is meeting the young upcoming stars. Over the years I have met quite a few and I can tell which ones are going to make it just by looking in their eyes to see if they have that, fire, passion, and desire to make it in this industry.
One other thing I look for and that is if they were brought up old school. What do I mean by that? I’m talking about the ones who came up through the ranks learning and earning the knowledge they have, and have a desire to learn more. Checking the ego at the door, arrogance is not in their vocabulary, and you can truly tell they not only love this sport of angling but respect and give back to it.
I have just recently come across just such a person, a young lady by the name of Brianna Bruce, who, by the way, has just gotten her guides license for Washington. I have been following her on the Internet, I have talked to her on the phone and last Saturday I met her, her boyfriend, and one very proud father. He was sure to let me know she had far surpassed him in the angling department and he is no slouch. I wanted to share her story with you because I think she is quite an extraordinary and interesting person.
BRIANNA’S FIRST ADVENTURE on the water came at the age of six weeks old out of Neah Bay with her parents angling for Chinook and bottomfish. I think that is a clue that she was destined to be a professional angler.
During the summer while in grade school she would stay with her grandfather during the day while Mom worked and they would go on fishing adventures every day. They would head for Log Boom Park on Lake Washington for perch; she landed a 6-pound largemouth bass at the age of 7. Baller and Haller Lakes were also on their list for trout. But as she told me PowerBait angling was boring and would soon be off in search of rock bass or perch.
Summer steelheading with Dad and Grandpa lit a fire and passion in her not only for that elusive ironhead but also river fishing. As a little girl her dad would hook-up and hand the rod off to her and she would do battle, loving every minute of it and cherishing the time she spent with both of them.
Starting to sound like she was meant to be an angler, doesn’t it?
Several times a year her parents would take her to Potholes Reservoir for walleye, bass, and crappie. Her parents could not keep her off the water, if she wasn’t in a boat she was on the dock. She has two photos of herself hanging on the ceiling at Mar Don Resort, a celebrity at such a young age.
After high school she headed off to Washington State University, but as luck would have it the Snake River was just a little too close and many a day was spent on the river instead of the classroom. Realizing that she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do and the realities of the job market she headed back to this side of the mountain.
As time has gone by she has developed into quite the steelhead and salmon angler. The Skykomish River is her favorite but she says when it comes right down to it the whole Snohomish system fits the bill. She was also quick to add that the Cowlitz ranks right up there with her for the same reasons everyone else likes it, good fish’n.
Don’t think her expertise stops on the banks of the state’s rivers, though. She enjoys using her downriggers for salmon and kokanee and has her own cure for the corn she tips her hooks with for kokanee. She also has her own set-ups that she swears by. After seeing some of her photo’s holding really nice fish I will take her word for it.
BUT FOR BRIANA, the sight of a snow-covered Western Washington River is the most beautiful scene in the world – nothing compares to it. The feel of the initial hook-up and the battle that ensues gives her an adrenaline rush beyond compare.
Her favorite method is to drift her yarnies (that she ties and soaks in scent) either from a boat or the bank. Every now and then she will add an EZ-Egg or a Corky to keep it off the bottom if that is what the condition calls for.
Yes, I think she is definitely hooked on the sport.
And congratulations, Brianna, on your license and your new business. I predict you will go far and be quite successful. I am looking forward to our outing. I think your company name is quite appropriate, Livin’ Life Adventures.
So until next time may your next trout be your trophy mount.