Monday, September 17, 2018

Tomorrow

It's something we're always waiting for. Tomorrow it'll be better, tomorrow's a new day...and tomorrow for me is ' it's over'. The only new things that ever really bothered me was the unknown of a new job so I'd have anxiety and when I got there tomorrow it was always alright, they liked me and I liked them. But the guiding thing that besides loving MP is the only thing I've ever been really really good at is going to be a hard no tomorrow. It's my identity, it's my social life, it's my work and my play...it's been everything to me and now, it's over.....but hey, we still got fish and 10 days in September so if anybody reads this and says lets go then lets go ! One of my oldest and best buddies that I went to High School with came to help me along the way . Thanks Tom....today on a ' no fishing from the boat day we hung out and bank fished at Mile 14 like the kids we were...it felt good , I guess it was good practice to get used to new things....
And of course I caught the first silver salmon of the morning on my yellowbird side planer with a K-15 behind it in the perfect riffle on a gorgeous fall colored river.
So I've been a little nostalgic lately, 100 % guys get that way ya know so it was cool that we had a beginning here at Mile 14 to go with an ending. Our friends Jackie and John got married here on Saturday, the rain held off and the ceremony was beautiful...And like most everything else in my life guiding delivered their friendship to me...and friends they are. You see MP has always told me that I use the word friend too liberally. she says those customers are not all your friends. Well in Jeff's world they are until they hurt me like a 20 year group of customers who were recently here and never called, never smiled, never cared. So onward for a good life my friends Jackie and John and thanks for sharing with us, your friends....
And what would a riverside Alaska wedding be without your Extra Tuffs ? We're a little different around here don't ya know.
Speaking of different....Kenai High Schools Cardinals are having their homecoming this next weekend like schools all over the U.S.A. But who else would have one of these babies for the bon fire ? Only in Alaska I'd say.
We got these guides here at Mile 14 that got some really cool stuff. And what looks cooler than a gorgeous Willie Boat going down the road with the rods raked back in the rod holders like a blue water boat and it's rocket launchers...well...it's also how we collect lures and line at least a few times a year. They leave the launch and one of our overhanging tree branches grabs the fishing line and walla, off you drive to an empty spool. One year I noticed 40 bucks worth of fly line going from the road to the launch so I got a fly reel and spooled it up as I walked, still got it. The funny thing this year was that it happened twice in two days, this time it was that small plug and a spool of mono...and hey, if that's your and you're reading this whats with the 40 or 50 pound test, c'mon lets give ol slimey a chance.
Here's pic of a very unusual fish. Obviously a Steelhead which aren't supposed to be in the Kenai River. As you can see they are totally different looking than our native Rainbows which are robust , round and colorful unlike this skinny little guy. He was in the tidal area as well. ADF+G used to stock them in the Kasilof River and quit that practice many years ago with concerns of them straying and messing up someone elses gene pool....well, add it to your list of things that didn't work out for you ADF+G.
I know, I know,...where's the dead fish pics. We've been killin em pretty good in the last 10 days...oh by the way sorry about the lapse in Mile 14, the dog ate my homework. But here's Sunday, Tom Beneventi ,  Jay Merritt and his buddy John. Jay has a fish camp on the Kenai and has watched Guide # 003 for years and decided to go with me while he could, I was really flattered and we caught really pretty good.
OK... I need a favor. Please let me know what you think I should do with the future of Mile 14. The left side of my brain says that when the books over you should close the cover ....but...Even though I won't be guiding on the world famous I don't intend on dieing either and me and MPeasy are going to do some serious adventuring, with fish I'm positive. And it's going to take a while to break camp here at Mile 14 so please, please take the time to let me know if I should continue and if you like it enough to comment....would mean the world to me......JK 😎😎💙💚💛💜...and I wish you all peace.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

In a Fog

I'm not complaining, really....but...we're experiencing about the longest and best run of clear fall weather as I can remember. Every morning it's cool and as we get to sunrise it gets foggy and foggier and foggier. Which is actually good for the fishing and of course promises a nice day to follow with the burn off but it's stressful for the guy running your boat here at Mile 14. Every morning with the tides at night I need to get down to where the fish will be and boy howdy, it's just not as easy for me as it used to be. Yesterday morning I make out a green light dead ahead which means I'm seeing his starboard side which means I need to bear left to avoid...which is absolutely contrary to safe boating practice. Then he changes his mind and I see red so I bear right and we cross red light to red light as we should but for a second there he was dead ahead and in the fog who knows how close...got my adrenaline running. How's this for a gorgeous all be it foggy sunrise. And oh, I decided yesterday morning that is the very LAST time I run miles downriver. When it's foggy from here on out we're entirely on the side of safety and will sit tight here at Fall-in-hole and fish until the fog clears.
I guess it can't hurt to publih this pic again as a fog reminder...
You can get a great sense of the feel from this pic of Ryan Moran with the first coho of the morning. It took me a bit to get settled in as the shore looked closer than it was and the boat behind me looked farther and well....it seemed to be the right place.
Pat Moran I met in the 1980's through Geno, an F troop legend. We've given new meaning to the 'friend of a friend' deal. As we move into new stages of our lives Pat and Barb will be friends we see and fish with whether it's the world famous or a trout stream in Mooootana. Maybe even a a back bounce river in Oregon eh Patrick ? What a wonderful time I had spending two days with Pat , Barb and there son Ryan and his wife Omily who live in a small town in China ( 6 million). I learned a lot, I laughed a lot and caught a lot. Here's a pic of those 4.
In Mexico I routinely see people using hand lines to fish with. My friend Alejandro is an expert with it , he routinely prefers it from the rod and reel when he needs to toss the real light feather jigs that will get you a Snook real close to shore. But the other dayon our walk  me and MPeasy saw the hand line used like I'd never seen before. This father son team from Switzerland were using them along with a rod while fishing bobbers at the bridge. Very cool, I was just wondering how the outcome would have gone if either of them were to hook a hot 16 pounder.... I kinda got the feeling that if and when that happened they'd be on their way to the reel dept. at Trusty Hardware and Fishing.
Got me a new guitar from Sweetwater coming so come back next week and I should have a pic of a gorgeous semi hollowbdy electric in Aqua Marine color...I kinda like the looks of this one too.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

A fish story

From reading Mile 14 you get the gist of what has happened with our ' July ' Sockeye run. ADF+G just can't believe that they had to close it to get escapement and of course shouldn't have allowed all the 'emergency' commercial harvest before they knew the run size...It's called having egg on your face in most circles. SO....they start counting and counting and counting and before you know it it's the end of August and the sockeyes are still rolling in. The local paper called the late return  ' 'unprecedented'....Well it's unprecedented because it didn't happen. Our new Commercial fisheries high priest a guy named Brian whose next duty station will most likely be Galena Alaska or maybe even unemployed decided to open the commercial guys for an unprecedented Inlet wide opener. He says the run is 9 days late and he figures that there are 45,000 more reds in the Inlet after the sonar finally counted the needed 900,000 sockeyes, reds, pinks, silvers trout, sticks, whitefish, ghosts and plane old lies. So on the 23rd off  they   go and you know those guys ain't so dumb and if the fish are there they must be close and who would spend fuel hunting them so they must have  fished as close to the Kenai as is legal...the result....200 reds and 1200 silvers. mmmmmmm, that would be 600 sport fish limits worth.  I was going to say it's the worst case of fisheries management abuse I've ever seen but ya know it's been such a long ugly thing here that  I might have overlooked one or a hundred. The Governor is the start of this outright commercial bias, he needs to go...period.....In twomonths PLEASE don't vote for Walker and his ' unity ' ticket. His unity is himself and the gentry of Alaska who are the commercial industry here in Cook Inlet who think they own the fish, all the fish.

whew....I feel better know. So I'm in search of a steady guy to make me feel better about life, retirement and the way of the world. Ya see in  corporate america  I've heard of people close to retirement kinda being put out to pasture and not given responsibility because the view is with little time left they're not engaged and won't work hard. And I've been seeing some of my old best customers / friends helping other guides pay the bills. I have people in town I've known for 25 years who have trusted me in all cases that don't even call...oh well...I'd hoped to feel better than I do about retiring ... But here's one steady guy and his wife Mary. Thanks for being you Nate...Ya know the code of the west is a weird thing, everyone thinks they do it but seldom if ever do. But Nate who is  a tremendously successful man knows the code of the west by heart.
So me and MPeasy have been talking a lot about Montana as we have a house in Hamilton. Low and behold I get a call to fish a wonderful family from Florence just down the street, it has to be kizmet. We speak Montanease all day and have just a wonderful fellowship. The teenagers teased me and we bonded right nicely. Thanks for coming Ben and girls, I'm going to call you someday and hopefully you can come to a house warming party.....And oh baby, is that a nice Silver or what ? 14 1/2 pounds.
I know I'm a little hard on ADF+G. They deserve it. So I'm going to just show the pics of what another agency has done with there new boat launch at Eagle Rock.....' and the sign says....jeez guys, is it just me or is that a little over the top. All of you that can't do whatever it is they don't want you to do are welcome right here at Mile 14...

Monday, August 20, 2018

Laid up

Yup, I've got a classic case of Humpy release itis, or as the Chiropractor would say " a subluxation brought on from the work environment". My back hasn't bothered me like this since I weighed 240 pounds and I don't mind telling you my shoulders would be aching pretty good too if the back pain hadn't drowned it out. Ahhhhh.....but the good news is after my Thursday trip I had a hole in my schedule and the rest has me race ready again. So a special thank you goes out to this guy, Devin Holland for doing my work on Thursday, he netted the fish, pulled the anchor, reset the anchor and caught himself not 2 but 3 silver salmon ( one release of course).
In fact the entire Holland crew caught their limit of silvers. We dangled one line for Roger the grandpa for only 1/2 hour or so and when the rod went off I said lets just assume it's a silver instead of a pink and come off the anchor and walla....it was. Maybe somebody out their in guide land can explain why you have to run down river at 4:00 a.m. and wait for it to get light then party boat fish illegally and end the trip at 8:00 a.m. ? This one took until 11:00
Mike Masters and his brother were into catch and release, I like that. The only dead fish pic I got was two bleeders that were kept and gifted to their fishing partners....the strangest thing happened. We fished two days so on the second I suggested maybe would should catch a few of the Rainbows that we're semi famous for. I get all the right stuff, run all the way to Soldotna and notta....nope, not a single trout. Still scratchin my head over that one, sorry guys.
MP is amazing....as she bonds with the wildlife here at Mile 14 in the middle of our busiest time of the year she builds this for her favorite Stellars Jay. He hangs out and they talk to each other and well...it's pretty amazing. I told her today that she can't take Birdy to Mexico but I suspect he'll be around in the spring for a reunion.
With my  back finally feeling a bit better this morning we decided to do our daily 3 miles on the beach in Kenai, only 10 miles away. It's always amazed me the difference that 10 miles makes, in weather, in social make up, in history and politics, Kenai is just different than Soldotna. So as we close in one Kenai it gets darker and darker and the first  rain drops hit as we park the Subaru. MP shot this pic a couple miles down the beach, you can tell how dark and ....well.....just
Alaskan this morning was. To quote Ernie after he had fished 2 weeks in the rain..." how in the hell do you people live here " ? I kinda like it, and where else in the world do you get the vista's with nobody around, just us, me and MP....


Monday, August 13, 2018

Trying to reason with hurricane season

Actually it was a Typhoon, a tropical storm they say....well it hit the Kenai river at exactly 6:00 a.m. Sunday morning as we loaded up Nate's grand kinds to fish. Sheeesh....it rained so hard that my boat has never been cleaner. So now my friend Nate has fished in the coldest by all memory of any day on the Kenai which was a July day about 10 years ago and now he gets the double feature of the rainiest 4 hours in history. Bad luck.  The camera's kinda had to stay under cover but I did get one of the Kid's dad Andy Morton with a hard earned silver salmon.
I got to fish Windy Matson's family and guests. Everybody caught their silvers except the host....that's not how it's supposed to work out. In fact not only did she not catch a silver but I don't think she even ever had one on. Lot's of Pinks of course as we fished 3 hours with just her line in the water....just to remind you other so called guides, we have this rule that you must retire your rod when you catch your limit of silver salmon. Kapeesh you jerk weeds ? My advice is that you guys might take some joy in following the rules and feel good about catching all your salmon LEGAL...give it a try.  Here's a pic of J.C. Heather and Cody and then an exceptional shot of J.C holding up a nice one for Heather, she's a city girl and kinda scaredy chicken to hold them. THAT is a great pic you two.
And the group of ladies I fished I picked out just this one photo of Barb. I promised her I'd e-mail it to her so it's on it's way Barb. Thanks for coming....
And in the most ambitious fish department Amy Woltering won the category. These guys will attack anything and let me tell you there seems to be millions of them...don't tell Fish and Game or they might decide to make a management plan for them and then you know what happens.....
mmmmmm...speaking of ADF+G here's a graph of the Red run. It's a few days old but you can see that the graph is the sonar counts and the dotted line is the historical average....does it look weird at the end to anybody besides me ? In fact just yesterday they announced a sonar count of a whopping 40,000. So, me being inspector Clusoe decided I'd run up to the sonar site and do an inspection. right next to the sonar they have a fish wheel that spins and it not only verifies the fish are their but it breaks up or as they say 'apportions' the run....We have a huge run of pinks right now. So, if the wheel is working and say it runs for an hour and catches 10 salmon and 5 are reds and three are pinks and two are silvers it means something real simple...The run is half of what they think it is. BUT....the fish wheel was not running and you would think they'd make sure it would considering the dire straits the run is in.
You can see that they are going to make the magic number of 900,000 come hell or high water, even if it defies the common sense test. What ever it takes I guess. But at some point there has to be some honesty and somebody should admit they have not apportioned the run properly or at all. I guess the staff at ADF+G would rather save face and their jobs than save the fish.
So if any of you reading are thinking of doing a Silver trip in the coming months I'd appreciate it. I think the fishing is going to be A.O.K. and we have our Typhoon over with. I only have a month and a half left in my guide career so we'll be having fun....and you're invited.

Monday, August 6, 2018

It's A Miracle !!!

Or is it....we've got a river full of fish, salmon kind of fish. To try and get the escapement numbers ADF+G has finally closed all Sockeye fishing, sport and commercial. Of course it's a huge disaster for all those who are after those fish....here's what the Centennial Park parking  lot looked like on July 30th when normally the banks would be lined with fishermen with American green folded up in their wallets.
So pardon the pun here but with everything closed there's a silver lining. The first day within minutes of our first attempt to catch a silver salmon on purpose Josh caught this guy in a pouring rain. The river is full of them like it was back when I was a kid when the silvers would be here when they wanted to come and not just after commercial season closes..and that date is coming soon.
And how's about Pink salmon in July ? I had an entire crew of ladies who after fishing for Kings to catch and release decided they'd take a batch of fresh pinks home for their husbands to smoke. I've seen pinks in July before of course but not like this year, it's happening.
I got to fish with a dad and daughter who ended up with 40 pounds of silvers. They are friends of my old buddy Marty Holloran and just like him they were amazing to spend time with. My early August schedule is usually kind of light as most people know the run builds towards the middle of August so I was tickled to spend time and get a couple bonus trips in with two wonderful people. Cassidy there is water Polo player in Santa Barbara and with her approach to life you hide and watch, she'll be playing for Stanford soon.
And her dad Damien is a guy who knows the tricky navigation of a life well lived....
So as I type this edition of Mile 14 across town at ADF+G headquarters the experts are busy cooking the books in hopes of getting the net guys out to fish soon before the d-day end of season comes and the fish are managed for somebody else, like us, finally. You see to get the 900,000 number they need for escapement they are busy counting every single pink, silver, sockeye, trout , shadow, ghost and what have you to be getting the 30,000 a day they're  reporting. Never mind that it's odd and almost impossible for those kind of sockeye numbers this late in the season and especially never mind that guys like me KNOW what 30,000 sockeyes a day looks like....and they AIN'T here you dummies. Her's a pic of one of their scientific equations they use to teach the new guys who didn't take cooking the books in college.
And in the ' Things you Never See ' department I came across this. Now I'm not being  hard on the Professionals that run our River because I've done a version of this myself AND I'll admit it was my fault. So I'm hoping this poor Park Ranger was rammed by another vehicle and lost the boat or it was a mechanical failure that could not be avoided. And to have this happen right in the middle of town on one of the busiest days of the year has to bother that poor Park Ranger. I feel bad for him, I really do...I know, boats are dangerous, things can happen, hope everyone is OK buddy.


Monday, July 30, 2018

Now it's time to go fishing.

With our King season over on Tuesday and the Kenai River sockeye run in total failure it's time to move on, we're going silver and pink salmon fishing, my favorite. With all net fisheries on hold until Kenai Sockeye escapement is met I think people will be surprised at how many Coho's get into all the rivers.

So humor me a bit here as I show you the graph that pretty much tells the tale of yet another fisheries disaster in the State. The commercial fishery is totally closed and common sense says it should stay closed for the remainder of 2018, even if a few reds show up over the 900,000 escapement goal one thing we're learning is that this fishery is so powerful it could really put a a dent in all the other fisheries. Of course the sport fishing has been reduced to just one red a day and Alaska's favorite fishery the personal use dip net fishing has been closed as well....but not soon enough for our commercial neighbors who are hollering that it's unfair if people fish when they don't. Never mind that we deal in dozens or hundreds and they deal in thousands or better yet millions....it's one of Jeff's maxim's in life, you see... miserable people want you to be miserable too.
The Governor ( who needs to be unelected) came down and met with the commercial guys and listened to them blame everyone including guys like me.....sheesh.....Statistically we catch nothing and we do a lot for the economy with that nothing and I don't believe the Governor has ever once met with us through the trials and travails of guided sport fishing. I don't know what it's going to take but our community will have to pull together sooner or later if we are to all share and respect each others fishery life styles....we might as well get started now if any of you are reading. But....this is what I see.
That's me on my way silver fishing...And boy oh boy did my friend Seth get us started in the right direction. Our first silver of the year was an honest to goodness 14 pounder. I call him Super Seth because.....well, he is....About as good and eager as any fisherman I've ever met. You've got a wonderful life full of fishing adventures and fair chase ahead of you Seth, carry on buddy.
So I hope you all come back to Mile 14 as we move into our fall season. Maybe you sense that this blog just doesn't have the ooomphaa it usually has....well, it' been a bit emotional for me to deal with all the weirdness's of rules changes and fishing closures, it's not how I imagined my last year of guiding. But that's in the rear view mirror now and we'll get our swagger back...I took this pic of my work bench that kinda tells the story of this lifestyle....complicated but simple at the same time, ya know what I mean ??? all of you that guide, I know you do.