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EXTRA: Fishmiester scores a steelhead on the Feather River outing

Herman submits application for Incomplet Angler Award

Herman digging out

Herman Spalinger digging out for a second time after a second off road excursion. Al Smatsky supervises.

October 27, 2012 , Oroville Wilderness Area -- Thirteen delta fly fishers showed early Saturday morning to fish the Feather River below Oroville. And wilderness it turned out to be for Past President Herman who decided to drive just a little closer to the river.

Herman drove down a steep embankment and ended up digging in on a loose gravel road. After surveying the situation, about five of the crew, helped him dig out and pushed the vehicle up on firmer ground. However, Herman thought the whole experience so invigorating that in his attempt to back down the road , he ran off the road again, this time with gravel up to the frame in the rear. He decided to call AAA.

Forty five minutes later the tow truck arrived and the driver surveyed the situation only to tell Herman he was on his own, that the road was too steep, too soft and his tow truck weighed way too much to attempt a rescue.

In the mean time, fishmiester, Al Smatsky had donned his waders and crossed the river to a riffle that could be seen by the shore bound crew. He hadn't made more than a few casts before using a downstream hookset to stick a three to four pound steelhead.

Al had offered to make a rescue attempt earlier with his 4WD Chevy truck and Herman had no choice but to wait for his return. Al, having caught both a steelhead and a Sacramento "brown trout", waded back to find that Herman needed assistance. John Keagy supplied a polypropylene tow rope and Herman dug out all four wheels of his van as Al and Jerry Neuburger hooked up the tow, with a plan that Al would back his truck and Jerry would gently use just enough throttle driving Herman's van to climb out of the hole.

Everything went as planned and the van was soon back in the parking lot, none the worse for wear. A grateful Herman thanked the crew for not once but TWICE saving his bacon. There is no doubt that other applicants now have a strong challenger in the quest for the Incomplet Angler Award.

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