Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Water Haul

That's an old commercial fishing axiom for nothing, you haul your net in and nothing but water. Well us sport guys just simply call it a skunk or some of us post pics of moose and mountains and well I'll get it over with early in this edition of Mile 14...I got invited to go drift boat Monday fishing with my friend Bill Radke and notta, nothing,,,,but the water was chalky, the tide was wrong and the barometer was falling. How's that for the trifecta of excuses errrr....I mean reasons ?

Here's a pic of our first stop at Fall-in-Hole taken from our Koffler driftboat. I don't mind telling you that after having walk around room in a 21 ft. Alumaweld for my entire life being sooooo close to the water felt really strange. Then throw in the rocking of the boat with any movement and the cushion less Fish-On seats...well...it's just different.
All B.S. aside this really is a wonderful way to fish, you have time to notice things. We talked all things Kenai, watched a young guide show his people how to catch reds and fished along side of a powerboat trolling for Kings...I didn't have the heart to tell him he was breaking the rules.  Here's Bill pulling us on down to Eagle Rock for the take out and our view from there. Thanks Bill , I had a great time.
Everybody knows I'm a 100 % guy but until I go fishing with other people I guess I  really never new what that meant. Bill's a great fisherman, he really is.....But....I guess the best way to tell you the difference is with two simple pictures, the first is my tackle box and the second is Bill's tackle box.
We are experiencing a glut, a record or at least close to it sockeye run to the Russian River. The usual 3 per day limit was raised to 6 several days ago and yesterday the daily limit was raised to 9....Yikes, only in Alaska could you legally catch more salmon than you can carry.  The gravel bars around Mile 14 are full of fishermen everyday, we've got some energy going on. Here's a pic I took yesterday from my house.
Our house is surrounded by fledgling Bald Eagles. They shriek and carry on continuously as they learn the way. I've seen them do it all through the years....land in trees that won't support them etc but the other day I got as close as I've ever been to one and this one has a bright future. What better way to make a living that to hang out on a gutting table and not move until you get your share. I drove up to him and snapped the first pic and then I drove down the ramp and stopped right nest to him. Both pics are without any telephoto...AND,  he never did fly off . We're gonna name this guy and help him along.
And in the ' thank goodness ' dept. MP is finally walking well. We've done two short hikes now. This morning we did 1 1/2 miles at Centennial Park and visited with my friend Ivan . It won't be long before we're back up to our 3 to 4 miles everyday and a normal life here at Mile 14....even if the ' hell week ' that is July is right around the corner.
People have asked me what I'm going to do with my time now that I'm not guiding....well...I guess the typical response from any of us retiree's is something like  "  I'll have time for all the other things in my life that I've wanted to do "  Check out them fingers, ya think I've been busy ? Maybe have a spanking new song for you next week at Mile 14 ....😎🎵

Monday, June 10, 2019

Mon de lone

That's how you spell it phonetically . A few of my Mexican Team X members pegged that name for me years ago....' man who wears apron'. Yup, that's me lately. I've learned to make dirt for all the greenhouses, I'm mulched and mowed no less than 6 times now. I've roto tilled , I've planted veggies and arranged all the Dalia's just right for max viewing effect and I've declared war on dandelions. . In the house I'm the iceman, the machine gets filled every morning and at least every evening so the woman who lets me live here can try and keep the swelling down after her part of life at Mile 14. Standing is worse than walking for her so I do 90% of the dishes..... ( did I ever tell you that we don't have a dish washer because when we remodeled the kitchen a person I love very much wouldn't give up any cabinet space...I should have vetoed that deal ) and of course I'm still doing all the driving because of pain pills , especially on physical therapy day. Does it sound like I'm complaining ? mmmmm,,,,,O.K. you get the idea why this blog has gone from an action packed insiders look at Pro Guide # 003's life to a crumpled up copy of Readers Digest sitting next to the commode....

So with the earliest case of cabin fever ever reported in the State of Alaska I volunteered to work at the River Festival this last weekend...Manual labor, I hate that. We set up all the tents in about 3 hours and I have to report that being the oldest guy there I carried the standard for the geriatric division of River savers.
I was asked to show all the young people who intern for the Watershed Forum how to tie a few knots , especially a Bolen . So I got everyone together and gave them the ol ' rabbit goes up the hole around the tree and back down the hole'  deal and so I thought we had it and off we went to secure the tents for the safety or our River saving community....well, it didn't take long before the old ' if you can't tie a knot, tie a lot ' mentality took over.
I escaped from my job just long enough to wander over to the boardwalk above the world famous and a couple guys reminded me of what I ought to be doing, and will be doing. Our early run Sockeye's that are Russian River bound are going through our part of the creek as we speak. Traditionally this run doesn't get targeted in Soldotna because it's smaller so they're hard to catch and we usually have King salmon. Well a lot has changed and I'm very impressed with the success anglers are having by adapting to and trying new fisheries, As I type this we have some campers down the hill at the boat launch and they have several Red's on the stringer .
The catch and release fishing on the World Famous is turning out to be a bit more unpopular than I expected...but what do I know. I guess it's a little like kissing your sister, a little is O.K. but a lot is kinda weird. We fished Eagle Rock hard the other day without anybody in sight...or any fish for that matter. But still, who wouldn't enjoy spending time right here, right now ?
This guy here was thinking hard about crossing . We encouraged him but he finally decided he didn't need to, It's my weekly ' we didn't catch a fish ' photo.
As the month moves on I'm starting to think that maybe, just maybe ADF+G is going to keep the status quo and allow the very few people who are enjoying the C+R experience to continue. We're about 400 fish ahead of last year which was closed to ALL fishing until July 1st. I expect we WILL meet the lower number of escapement ( 3700 ) and as soon as the water clears from all the warm weather we've had I'M GOING  FISHING !  Here's the graph, we're the black line compared to the last few years,



Thursday, May 30, 2019

Something's wrong with my rod !

That's what MP's sister Paula said 30 years ago when a 72 pounder stopped her spin and glow drifting down the river... This one on memorial day happened so fast that it almost got the same response, I've seen the rod go off literally thousands of times, but this one was sooooo quick it had me and MPeasy wondering.

And what a day it was. Sunny and warm, memorial day when we can fish on Monday and it coincided with MP's  ss;;;;;th , ah forget about that, it was just also her birthday and she finally felt good enough to sit in the boat for a couple hours. We launched at the civilized hour of 7;00 a.m. and I just had to run down the river to Eagle Rock where I expect there has been more King salmon sport caught in the last 40 years than any other place on the entire planet. I set up the troll and handed MP three lures, two  t-50 flatfish and a brand spanking new K-15 Kwikfish. She grabbed the chartreuse Flatfish telling me that the gold Kwikfish had never caught a thing....that's the difference in our perspectives I guess, I like new, she likes proven just kinda like the guides who show off the teeth marks...We ran it out 54 feet, it dove and started to wiggle and then as is the typical flatfish strike it stopped wobbling as ol slimey touched it and then the hook got him and wall...feeesh on, that quick.
 Not a person or boat in sight as we float down to beaver Creek with this fish pulling hard. We actually see him right away and of course I thought he was bigger than he turned out to be but he's certainly a noble fish right at 45 pounds...one of the new 'large' targets that are now the total of our sonar counts.
She's fished enough that I do no coaching at all. Only thing I said was at one point she had the Lamiglass a little to high and I mentioned she might break the rod and she replied with a " no I won't" which is good enough for me because we have enough rods that we could break one a day and not run out...a collection I just don't need anymore. The fight timing and netting was text book and within 10 minutes we had him in the net and released, swimming away healthy as can be.
She came to the stern of the boat and gave me a kiss and we both agreed the fish was a gift to us, a wonderful surprise driven by the joy of sport fishing, the chase , the mystery , the people and of course the river....
Now that she's getting ambulatory I hope to get out more but she's told me she most likely won't want to go as much as I will. It's the strangest thing, it was easier to find people to fish with when I was charging a couple C notes for a trip than it is find people who want to fish on the right day for free....mmmm....I'd never have guessed it and just more stuff I'm learning about being retired.
We only fished for another 45 minutes and we actually had another good chance that never got the hook good enough and I also saw one role ahead of the boat. So just based on that I think there's quite a few fish in the World Famous... But that's not what the sonar counts are saying so it's going to be interesting to see what happens as we move through this early run management plan. You know me, I'm of the opinion, and highly educated opinion I'll add that C+R fishing has absolutely NO negative effect on this salmon run. As I've said many times  that with single hooks and educated fishermen mortality is virtually zero. So if the numbers don't project I really hope the ADF+G will maintain the C+R fishing...who knows some day it might be all we have. Having said that if they do close it to all fishing it will really underline just how little understanding of sport fishing there is at ADF+G...maybe really not such a surprise when you consider they're all commercial fish guys in all aspects of decision making in our state. We'll see what happens, I have my fingers crossed but I'll tell you this....people are getting real tired of the status quo around here on the commercial / sport front...So my advice to ADF+G is simple, throw the people a bone. Quit taking and give something, anything...don't poke the bear toooooo much.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Driving Ms. Daisy

Yup, that's my job. We're at the 4 week mark from MPeasy's total knee replacement and I've been gardening, cleaning , cooking ( we've both lost 3 pounds ) chauffeuring , pharmacy tech , morale booster and with a new twist the victim of her new passion for playing Gin Rummy. But, the end is in sight. We're over the walker and onto just a cane and I expect that she has cabin fever as bad as I do so real soon she'll be pain pill free and driving again....THAT will be a big day for retired guide # 003.
On  Sunday night I just couldn't take it any longer, I've NEVER gone this long in the spring without running the river. It wasn't even a nice evening, it was a bit rainy so I told MP I'd be gone an hour...I didn't even take a fishing rod, I just needed to breath the Kenai. The tide was pushing as I rounded Beaver Creek and I had counted just two boats on the river, one of which was the ADF+G .....mmmm.... so on the way back I stopped and chatted with the other boat. They're some young guys in a smaller riveted boat that I've watched from a distance for years. They fish so much that at one time I told MP they reminded me of myself in the 1970's. I should have got a pic but Mike who ran the boat turns out to be Spence DeVito's grand son and he's also married to guide Bill Neiderhauser's sister...just as I thought, this guy has Kenai green in his blood. I shoot a short video to give you an idea of what this place is like when it's quiet and the river is low, just like I like it.
I've been a little blog lazy I know...so....Here's  Pro Guide Tip # 77 ... I've sat through many a water haul in my life so I learned the hard way that to much focus on the fish and not the fishing can be stressful, real stressful. So the elixir for that is simple and one of my moto's ' The Joy is in the Pursuit'. Or as my friend Willy said a few months ago " today it was for the soul and not the stomach". So instead we enjoy it all, the small things, the ...yup, wildlife. So here's my ' I didn't catch any fish' pic of the week. It really is a special place here at Mile 14, I took this pic from Mp's greenhouse yesterday...Please hang in there with me and I 'll see you next week with sonar counts, fish pics and maybe a an ADF+G  critique.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

The nurse can see you now

What a life. I've been busy...but not to busy to work up a song that MP and I fell in love with. If or when you see Clint Eastwood's new movie The Mule do not leave before the credits role as you'll miss this Toby Keith song, speaks the truth.  Ever since we saw the movie a few months back at the Platino Cinemex in Mazatlan whenever I get toooo serious or start acting like a jerk or especially a mean old jerk MP reminds me...don't let the old man in.
Just this morning after I cooked bacon and eggs then washed the dishes I had the bright idea to dry the cast iron skillet by putting it on the stove on high for a few minutes and then put it away in the cupboard...what do you suppose I forgot to do ? Yup, I helped MP into the shower and then closed the doors behind me and started to the daily move of the plant starts from the house to the greenhouse. On about my 4th trip I heard the yelling and then the smoke alarms....damn....I will say however that the cast iron fry pan is about as clean as it's ever been.

Since I last reported into Mile 14 here not much has changed. But my patient is doing way better and I expect she will be released from 24 hour care soon and maybe even be able to drive by the end of this month, what a great day that will be ! And I mean really drive, not one of these geriatric bumper cars.
This next picture falls into ' holy moly, he didn't catch any fish so he posted a sunset picture again' category.
Give me a break huh ? I just never have seen cauliflower like that before, gorgeous huh ? just like a 35 pound shiney King salmon that I didn't catch.

And in the ' holy moly, he didn't catch any fish so he posted a sunset picture again ' category, phase 2...
Jeff's Soap Box :  When MP reads this she's going to say this is one of those ' don't let the old man in ' moments but I'm going to risk it. I suppose you all remember that a few weeks back I said I was worried about our town when I posted the pic of the massage parlor right nest to the gambling store which is next to the pot store which is next to an 'adult boutique...Well when I ride my bike at 7 a.m. I'm noticing a fairly new and growing sector of our town, homeless / vagrant peoples. Now I get the homeless part, misfortune and life's curve balls can get anybody at anytime and with another Alaska summer coming on what better town to camp in than ours, along the banks of the world famous.  It's gorgeous here and we have wonderful people to help everyone traveling through this planet....what I don't get is the loitering and public drinking / smoking / rudeness / part that seems to go with it.  Jeez you guys be a little cool O.K. ? And here's the ' don't let the old guy in ' moment...For all my neighbors, we need to stand up and get this all stopped. Is this how we want our visitors to view us, is this what we want our kids seeing as normal ? Do we want our old folks fore go their daily walk along the river because they are intimidated ? Here's a couple pics I took right in the middle of town. If any of my readers are Soldotna Police give me a call if you want and I can show you the jungle, but I suppose you already know....
See ya in a week...we WILL go fishin....

Thursday, May 2, 2019

What I've learned ....

is that I'm a jerk.  MPeasy's new knee is now one week old and for what I think is the first time in my post children years I'm thinking and doing things for other people way more than for myself, and it feels good. It's love. I guess it's human nature as  I've gotten so use to it that I've been taking it for granted. One of my maxims in life has been the recognition that no matter how cool a job you have, no matter how cool the spot you're living in is and no matter how big and plentiful the fish are it all becomes routine at some point....even love. So it takes awareness and insight to renew our experiences through appreciation and affirmation and I'm getting plenty of that right now....Post op.
She can't drive, She can only move with a walker for an hour a day. The ice machine has to be refreshed every six hours and all the meds are measured and laid out. She needs help into and out of the car when we go to rehab etc....in short there's a lot to do. AND then there's the things she normally does that I do also ....I guess I had forgotten or just got to be a jerk about noticing just how much she does here at Mile 14 everyday, and she makes it look easy. Cooking, cleaning, plants in, plants out, don't forget to compost and recycle....boy howdy....Here she is going to check the 'kids ' in the greenhouse.
Yesterday Dr. Reyes said she got a B for her hard work getting  range of motion. It's a painful procedure as well and she tolerates a lot now but will lose the pain eventually that she's endured for years. Of course she's doing it for herself but in our lives it's an 'us ' thing as well.... We want to live well, be active, squeeze this ol life real well until the bitter end, together. Improve her life, which improves my life which improves our life. Thanks MP, I love you.
Here's a pic of the meds that nurse Jethro Ratchet administers 3 times a day and then pain meds every 4 hours. What we've learned about pain is that prevention is the key. The health care professionals that I'm so impressed with use this term : you need to stay ahead of it.
I guarantee that real soon we'll fish mania again here at Mile 14 so I hope you all keep coming to visit. If I'm a little late with a blog entry ya know I got a good excuse, I'm busier that a 10 year old at the trout pond.

On our last walk before her surgery we came across this uniquely Alaska deal. This guy obviously has problems with a soft clay area during break-up just like we do at Stewart's Landing. One year MP suggested I just park the truck over it to keep people from driving on it and getting it all screwed up. Bad idea. The truck sunk 8 inches over night . So the second pic is how we handle that deal no, glad to see I'm not the only one with the improvisation.
So I'm looking forward to a GREAT fishing season and being able to do it like we did 37 years ago before I started to professionally guide fishermen. I'm in the process of looking for a boat with fewer seats and one of those rain covers I've kinda envied for years. ( If any of you Kenai people are interested in #003 the big black Alumaweld Super Vee just holler ) Of course there'll be some in season ADF+G management adjustments and the usual sport / commercial discourse....I'm just relieved to know the Feds are in town to take care of everything...or am I ? .....mmmmm.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Old

I guess the rub comes when you finally realize that...Being a 100 % guy I've always been a mind over body kind of guy and as the years go on I've  kinda been in denial about what I  can physically do and what I can't or shouldn't...as least as much of. I spent 4- 3 hour shifts this last week shoveling off the unusual amount of silt build up on the boat launch surface. Then it was up and down on my knees while I installed our habitat approved aluminum grated walkway and....my entire body ached for days. My knees were painfully throbbing, couldn't bend them hardly...I told Chris that I never should have taken that first shovel load and got a Bobcat or a loader down there. But you know me, frugal and bullet proof I felt committed after that first shovel load...to end the parable, the day comes when your shoveling career is over, embrace it Jeff, you've done ENOUGH of that *&#@.
In a fish bum's life you can collect a lot of cool stuff. I generally like new stuff but some of the past is kinda connects you to it all again.  Going  through my stuff as I get ready to break camp I'm finding stuff I had long ago forgotten. The coolest of all is this Ronco presents kind of fishing slide rule I guess you'd a call it. You look at the top and slide it to the fish you hope to catch and it tells you what kind of lures, line and locations etc. What kinda fish bum wouldn't need one of  these...mmmm....well it sat in archives for 45 years.
Someday I'll have a  guy cave with all my mementos . I know collectors like the product in it's original packaging so here's a small sample of the plugs and goodies that were never used...the pile of used ones is pretty impressive as well. Notice the cool packaged Kwikfish, the lure that turned the throttle up on salmon harvest on the world famous. I love the name of the ' Witch Doctor' and the hand carved Martin plugs are soooo cool.
Maybe we oughta get Team X northern division to do a 'retro ' fishing trip, We got all the lures we need so we'll just throw some monofilament on these guys and off we go. We'll go fish the ol Stump hole where I caught my first Kenai Salmon in 1971 and have a few Black Laber beers... we can even pull a spark plug wire off the motor so it runs like the old 18 horse we had. We'll use Borax cured eggs.
On the retro trip I'll get into my Beer can collection and we'll salt the  garbage so it looks like it's in real time. My collection are mostly pre aluminum cans from my youth and earlier. Do you guys remember those first generation pop top cans that could almost rip your thumb off trying to open  ?
My favorite beer can is this Oly  that was found in my Aunt Mary Jane's roof framing when her house was remodeled 30 years ago in Oroville California. Although I have much older cans this guy is special...it speaks. It's a pre pop top welded can that has been opened by what I assume was a framing ax and then discarded into the rafters. I can see it....it's Friday afternoon, the weeks over, it's quiting time and you've been framing in 90 degree weather for 8 hours. You buddy tosses you a cold one as you wind up your hoses and you take your ax and give er a couple perfectly placed whacks and walla....life is good.
The big news here at Mile 14 is that this coming Weds. morning my running partner is finally going to get her knee fixed, a total replacement. MP has been all over this deal and tolerated so much pain and adaption for her active lifestyle that it's time. She's has arthroscopic surgery, she's tried shoe orthotics, cortisone shots and even a guy in Mexico who wanted to do blood platelet treatment. So I'll update you all on her progress, it's a big deal but she'll do just fine , she's strong.
So I'll be helping her recovery while I work through springtime in Alaska. I'm like every fish bum in the area, we're waiting for fish to arrive, something'd gotta come floating by REAL soon. Hope you come back to Mile 14 to see what it is and when...