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Reeling ‘Em In

by Kate Calamusa
Photo Courtesy of Jamie Peth
Photo Courtesy of Jamie Peth

Interview by Kate Calamusa / Bio Photo Courtesy of Jamie Peth

NWY: What do you personally most enjoy about fishing here in the Northwest?
JP: I love to learn! The waters in our area will teach you something new every time you go out on the boat. Whether it’s your first time out or you have been fishing for decades, there’s always something to be discovered. Being around and on the water gives me a level of freedom and joy that is frankly hard to put into words. I grew up walking the beaches in South Puget Sound and have always spent time near the water, but never actually on a boat until I was in my 20s. When I caught my first salmon, I was o-fish-ally hooked (pun intended). To me, fishing is so much more than dragging a line, it’s about the experience, the wildlife, the views, and the potential opportunity to create epic memories for the people with you on the boat. Fishing will humble you and frustrate you, but when you actually land that first fish, then dial in your process and start consistently landing fish, there is truly nothing like it. The lessons you receive on the water go way beyond fishing, they are lessons for life. 

NWY: For this year’s Seattle Boat Show, you will moderate several new fishing seminars, including one composed of a panel of experts for an open Q+A. Tell us how you went about pulling this all-star cast together for this seminar?
JP: I am super fired up to bring some of our local San Juan Island fishing experts to the Seattle Boat Show stage. As someone who did not grow up fishing, I quickly found out that “googling it” can only get you so far. An awesome network of experts that are willing to share their decades of experience can really accelerate your success on the water, which is why I was excited to bring together this panel of incredible fishermen that spend a lot of time honing their craft and are all mentors I have learned from personally. Bring any and all questions for this power hour, it’ll be a fun one!

NWY: What is the inspiration behind your “Reel Women Fish” panel? What can we expect to glean at this two-part session at the show geared toward women in salmon fishing?
JP: There’s something special about sharing the love of the sport of fishing with other like-minded women. I have been lucky enough to meet and learn from several incredible ladies that continue to inspire me as a fisherman and as a leader. The inspiration for this session came from conversations with women over the years and my own personal journey learning how to fish. When I started really getting into salmon fishing, I looked for every opportunity to get out on the water and connect with other anglers to learn as much as I could. In 2014, I found Tom Nelson’s Salmon University workshop through a Google search and signed up immediately. At the event, I met Terry Rudnick during one of the breaks and asked him what he would recommend for newbies like me to do to become a better fisherman. He recommended that I join Puget Sound Anglers, so I did. I joined the chapter board, became club secretary, joined the state board, fished every local derby I could to learn more and surrounded myself with other anglers just as passionate as I was about the sport. I started noticing that there really weren’t that many ladies involved in these meetings or events, but those that were all had similar stories. There was always an element of loving something, but needing to prove themselves or overcome obstacles to do it and become respected as capable. The more conversations I had with women that loved to fish, the more I realized that it wasn’t just me that felt like the “the odd one out” in the group. This seminar is designed to inspire women that want to learn to fish and connect with others that, like them, really enjoy the self-discovery the sport gives us. Let’s be real, we do things a little differently than the guys; those are the salmon fishing strategies this powerhouse panel will be sharing.

NWY: You are also hosting a seminar entitled “Couples Fishing Therapy: How to Create a Winning Fishing Experience for Couples”. What kinds of tips and tricks can couples expect to walk away with after this chat?
JP: This is another idea I have had rattling around in my head because of how many conversations I heard from friends, couples, or spouses about bad days on the water. I have experienced both ends of the spectrum—terrible days on the boat with my other half and some of the most epic memories of my life that both Scott and I will never forget! It all comes down to setting up clear expectations and agreements before you ever leave the dock, especially if one person is more experienced than the other. We are going to share what has worked exceptionally well for Scott and I as fishing partners and life partners as well as some pretty great tips from several other fish-obsessed couples. You will come away from this seminar with tools and ideas on ways to have a blast the next time you go out on the water with your significant other.  Whether you are the primary operator of the boat, or the partner looking to get more experience, there will be something for you in this session.

About the Expert: Growing up, I spent a lot of time on the beach in Des Moines and fishing from the pier.  My first boat came along later in life, and I soon realized there was a lot to figure out about fishing the San Juans and the Salish Sea.  That boat came with a manual cannon downrigger and sent me on a journey to figure out how to use it for salmon fishing. That first fish ruined me. I was HOOKED on fishing after landing that first salmon! I wanted to become better and more consistent as a fisherman, so I looked for answers online, attended Salmon University, and joined Puget Sound Anglers. Then, a coworker’s husband became my ultimate fishing mentor. Jerry Thomas would send drawings of how to rig my gear right, maps that helped me understand tides in the San Juan Islands, and answer any questions I had about where to go next weekend and what bait to use. The more success I had fishing, the more fun it became to take others out and share the experience with them. Helping someone else land their first fish was the catalyst for the original Anglers Unlimited group.  I knew through experience that there was a need for beginners out there. Anglers Unlimited is a group for newer anglers to find answers. We have taken our passion for fishing and the decades of experience between us and created an in-person learning experience for those that want to accelerate their success and skip all of the harder lessons! For more info on Anglers Unlimited, join the community Facebook group at: facebook.com/groups/anglersunlimitedcommunity/.

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