We’ve written in this space about Oregon’s fisherman in chief, Ted Kulongoski, but how about other Northwest governors? Any others out there who can work a rod, past or present?
We get an answer, sort of, from Tony Floor. He puts out a monthly newsletter as part of his job as fishing affairs director for the Northwest Marine Trade Association. In January”s column, out yesterday, he writes about fishing former Washington governors Gardner, Spellman and, reaching back to more civil days, Evans.
So how did the guvs do on the briny blue? TF writes:
I watched former Governor John Spellman, back in the early 80’s, when playing a feisty blackmouth salmon at Sekiu, become so busy with changing hands with the fishing rod which is necessary when smoking a pipe, that the rod flew out of his hand, skipped about 6 times across the water and go away. That means, the big (one got) away. Oops!
I was fishing with former Governor Booth Gardner also at Sekiu when he inquired about a boat, trolling next to us, with a metal short pole, attached to the top of the gunnel, with wire line going into the water attached to a large lead ball. “What’s that?” I learned that there are no downriggers or downriggers balls in the Governor’s Office. What a shame.
But the prince of governors to take fishing has to be former Governor Dan Evans. What a nice, nice man, who has great instincts in playing a tough, large king salmon. On one trip, after playing the fish for considerable time, due largely to his light-handed techniques, the fish came unpinned at the boat. Dan simply said, “Gosh darn it. He got away.” I thought to myself….gosh darn it, what does that mean? I was thinking more about cardiac, inability to close the deal and profanity. Not out of the mouth of Governor Dan Evans. Forever, a class act, a gentlemen and a thinker.
Floor also speaks highly of Washington’s U.S. Congressman For Life, Norm Dicks, who actually is a strong advocate for salmon, recreational fishing and mass marking. So how is it fishing with Dicks?
Fishing with Norm is like riding on the space shuttle, from lift off to 100,000 feet. The floating in space part comes at the end of the trip. In order to ride with Norm, I take 10 swigs of Geritol, 14 chocolate bars and hibernate for a week prior to the trip. Following the trip, I hang upside down in the closet for 24 hours inducing a coma reaction for two weeks. He is high energy and the man loves his salmon fishing. Passionate? Try a positive application of fanatical. Every fish is “I got ‘em boys! It’s the big one!!! Get your gear out of the water!!!” Somebody, help me now.