Plunking at Meldrum Bar


I have been spending some parts of some of my weekends trying to catch a Steelhead at Meldrum Bar in Gladstone, Oregon. I’ve been using a technique called “Plunking”. The name sounds derogatory, and I believe it is intended to be. Plunking is generally looked down on by “real fishermen” whoever they are. I’ve been using it as a means to get some “me time” without a lot of driving, as well as an opportunity to see a different segment of society that I don’t normally.

Typically, the weather is terrible. It is usually cold, and rainy. I’ve been going some various weekend days since the middle of December. Occasionally it is a nice day on the bar. This photo is an example.
Plunking on the Willamette at Meldrum Bar

Plunking, involves hammering a pole holder in the ground, setting up a heavy weight rod with heavy weight line, and using a spin-n-glo, or something similar anchored by a heavy weight above the lure. This is cast into the river. The spin-n-glo floats a bit on its own, and the current makes it spin in place. Some place bells on their poles so they know when a fish decides to commit suicide on the gear. On a good day, I’ve seen five fish landed in a ten hour period. A typical day only one or two fish are landed.

The people that regularly commit time to this odd form of fishing are odd themselves. Many of them are retirees, that appreciate the proximity to their homes, as well as the ability to go crawl into their vehicles when the weather turns bad. Did I mention that you can just about drive up to the water?
Drive into the water, why don't you?

Most of the people there drive American vehicles and use the “F” word as an “every-other-word” concept in English language construction, both of which I choose not to adopt. Aside from a bit of brusque language, the people are generally friendly. This is a positive, because as I mentioned before, when the weather is nice, it gets very crowded. I’ve seen over 40 poles in the water, with about 6 feet of ground between them. This situation leads to regular tangles, and few fish caught. Fortunately the tempers seem to stay in check. The Gladstone sheriffs make regular drives through the area just to make sure.

The only fighting I’ve seen is from the local fowl population. There are a good collection of geese, and ducks that seem to hang around all the time. They get regular feedings from the kids that show up, which must encourage the birds to remain. Occasionally one of the birds does something antisocial to one of the other birds. This leads to a large amount of carrying on and occasionally some feathers flying. I’m glad this, and the occasional fish death on the bar, is the limit of the violence there.

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  1. #1 by smalldog on January 4, 2008 - 12:46 am

    Gosh, your whole post is about what terrible people those cursing retired plunkers are and how lucky you were they didnt become violent .
    Maybe you should drive your Import (thanks for supporting our country) somewhere else and fish.

  2. #2 by Jon on January 4, 2008 - 8:53 am

    I think you misinterpreted my intent in the posting. The idea was to reflect on the unique circumstance Meldrum Bar provides, and make some observations on the people and animals that frequent there. I have read numerous magazine articles that mention that people fishing in close quarters tend to have little tolerance for what is perceived as misbehavior, and was happy to note that it wasn’t the case at Meldrum Bar.

    I’m sorry if you saw the posting as offensive to you. It wasn’t intended to be.

    As for your comment about imports and not supporting the country: my vehicle, while not an American brand, was assembled in the United States. So yes, I am supporting my country by employing American workers in my vehicle choice.

  3. #3 by Dan on January 4, 2008 - 1:46 pm

    Jon’s Article seems pretty accurate to me. I first fished there 15 years ago and things have not changed a bit. (the ducks and geese still fight) It’s tough in a big city to find a good place to unwind after a week in the Corporate Ratrace. That’s why I fish there. Did I catch a fish there last year? No I didn’t, but I got out of the house and had time to think about life a little. I hate to say it, but I think most people that catch fish there are very lucky and it’s a bonus for them while they are out having fun. I enjoyed talking to several of these folks, but would not take my wife as she would not like some of the language used. That’s just the way it is somethins. Oh, by the way, I drive a Ford, so I guess I’m OK. Let’s all have fun in 2008 getting our lines wet and maybe, just maybe we will catch a fish or two. (as a bonus)

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