Monday, October 23, 2017

Gotta go

It's snowing as I type this...time to exit stage left as Yogi used to say.  On Sundays the gym doesn't open until late so me and MPeasy usually wait until light and then go walk for  one hour, 3 miles. So we did that this weekend and started our little hike at 9:10 with the temp @ 11 degrees Fahrenheit .
After 40 years in Alaska I don't know why I still find myself being surprised by the things unique to our area but I do. Trusty Hardware anchors our town and people see the reader board daily. I visited with Scott who is a co owner during Jury Duty the other day and he says they sell a ton of that stuff....I wonder if you could go into Murdochs in Helena Montana ask for 40 driveway markers and 10 bags of sand ???....of course here they would ask you if you wanted the sand dry or wet which costs a bit less.
I ain't gonna b.s ya and tell you that's the first snow of the year, it's the ice arena's Zamboni work but what is unique is that structure I'm standing in front of , a Conex palace.  There's one down by our old house on ReDoubt St. that makes this city owned model look small. My old neighbor went two stories and totally enclosed, now that's some useful engineering.
We've been talking a lot lately about retiring and traveling and Montana. In fact I've really been looking at these Class B travel vans that are kind of new to the R.V. scene. I like the idea of parking anywhere and the ease of towing a boat which you know I'm going to have to have. So whenever we see one whether it's Mercedes Sprinter platform or the new Dodges or Fords we discuss the sizes and other Pro's and Cons.... Our own local K+L Distributors gave us a great idea on one of their Ford delivery vans...Pull into the campground and you'd have instant friends I'd bet ya.
I sure wish we had more excitement going on here to report to you guys with, it's that kind of in between fishing deals. But we'll get back on track real soon and I'll have new adventures back in MZT....in the meantime I'll fall back on and old/new song I'm putting together for all my Mexico friends.....like I said we've been talking about Montana quite a bit, hope you like it.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

From the river that brought you the biggest King Salmon....

how's about the biggest ( floating ) snag I've ever seen. This guy is a dandy.  We watched it grow all summer starting with a feat of nature with just one big ol log landing perfectly balanced and sideways to the current. This guy grew so big that even a near flood event with the glacier spill didn't phase it a bit so I figure it's going to be around on the world famous for a while. Years ago Brian Lowe hauled a snag off the bottom of the river at Beaver Creek that was a waterlogged stump/tree with some of that Marston mat inter weaved....being in a very popular fishing hole it  had 300 pounds of sinkers on it, true story. So that's why I've awarded this guy the biggest 'floating ' snag award.
Here's a pic of it looking upriver, kinda pretty the whole scene I'd say. This new Moto G phone of mine takes a pretty good pic.
I can think of about 4 jillion things I'd rather do than stand at the main intersection in Soldotna Alaska and protest the NFL players. I stayed on the other side of the street during my walk and shot this pic so it's not so clear but this guy was just glaring at people in the weirdest way, almost angrily.
So I went and did the river walk and then cut through Soldotna Creek park on my way back to the intersection and low and behold in the 20 minutes I was gone it had collected this wonderful woman protesting the protester....Yikes, I think MP and I are about ready to find a smaller town.
Speaking of MP, she's home from Mooooontana and all is right with the world. With her came the first sunny nice weather we've had in 2 weeks. Here's the sunrise through the tree's at Mile 14, fall is gorgeous when it ain't raining.
I din't use the ol truck all the time she was gone but yesterday I had to hook up the guide boat and get it to Danny for new lower unit seals that I noticed were bad when I winterized. Well I guess I know not to park it in a bow done location....the bed liner held about 3 inches of rain....
And when I get to Mexico I wish I could find an identical rig to this one that was parked at Sportsman's Warehouse. My buddy Trucco had one and it's beach performance was amazing. It's so light it just floats over the soft stuff and it it were to get stuck it only takes a few guys to lift it and get unstuck...This one is perfectly Alaskanized.....man oh man she's just what I need.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

And on to new adventures.....

But first a few thing so to do....Putting the Minnow 4 away every year is a sad day and a bit of work. I have found that if you want your motors to last a person should winterize before winter, you just do a better job of getting the fluids changed and the fuel stabilizer ran through the motor. This year for the first time ever I have some h2o in the lower unit so it's a pressure test and new seals for the old girl. All summer when I'd first lower the unit every morning I would notice a bit of an oily sheen....well, mystery solved.

I used to build elaborate tents to keep it dry and they'd collapse with the snow so I've learned to just get everything out and get it tilted in a good bow up configuration to let it drain  well and simply kiss her good night.....she looks a little used with a side order of empty thrown in doesn't she ?
Ya'all that follow this blog have seen this before...every season I keep a list of reminders and goals to help keep me on track and remind me why I'm working so hard and not sleeping enough. This year I got new markers from MPeasy so it's multi-color and just inspiring, I see it every morning in my gear shed as I prep the boat for another adventure......lets see how I did so far in 2017...
1....well number one is number one every year eh ? What can I say....how can you love somebody more and more and more all the time ? I don't know how it works but I know you can.

2....ahhh, the elusive 185....man oh man. No matter how hard I try and how much cardio I do I have real trouble dropping pounds so it looks like once again I'm going to Mazatlan around 190...maybe your body kinda take s a 'set' as you get older.

3.... We made enough $ this year that I have a mini fund set up to buy a Volkswagon Beetle in Mexico if I find the right one. If not we're getting some new bicycles.

4...2018 is my adios amigo's tour for guiding. My Coast Guard license expires and I've promised MP I will not renew it and be tempted to keep tripping. As cool a job as it is all of you who do it or know me well know how much works it is....so me and MP can do the things we talk about, adventures.

5.... Yup, every year I hope to do more and more. At this point in my life if I want to see how my music stands up as they say I better be for getting it done now..

6...I still have not added to my guitar collection but boy howdy do I ever have the urge. If I want to perform more I really need a electric in Mazatlan to go with my acoustic and I hate to take one of my good guitars from Alaska/  There was a really great value on a Godin like my new in Missoula and maybe MP will surprise me with it when she gets home on Thursday...

7....Yup...I took over project Icicle Radishes and had great success. MP being a bit a.d.d. just didn't take time to plant the seeds individually and then they'd crowd each other. They were great and next year I'll plant more.

8....I hooked one last year when I was casting and chatting with Stan, I told him ' Stan I can't land this fish" and I didn't....maybe this year I will .

9....Now I hope you know that's rhetorical as I'd never kill anybody....but this guy in our condo building is such a jerk and makes life awkward for everybody there that I'm  learning to just ignore the pest.  Ernie says the lord gave you two ears for that very reason, so it can go in one ear and out the other.

10... I'm working on a new song and a re building of one I tossed in the garbage a few years back. The work title is ' Luggage for Christmas'....why'd ya give me luggage when I ain't goin anywhere.

11....yup, I'm 64...and what that means to me is stay healthy and happy. Keep moving brother or they'll catch up to ya !

12...Man it's been a long time since I've surf casted a roosterfish so this is the year I'm gonna work harder at it. I need to carry my big rod more often and blind cast more...you guys who read Mile 14 will be the first to know..

13....😉😉😉😉😉😉😉😉😉😉 that's part of staying healthy to ya know......see you guys next week.

Friday, September 29, 2017

2017....

It's in the books....I feel bad for making all of you wait a bit longer for a Mile 14 update but I was really hoping to get a call or two and do some more fishing. Although wet and miserable, in fact wet enough to make the Snow Glacier dump and give us light flooding conditions once again the fishing was and is just excellent. Even now with the river clearing and finally falling again the fishing is better than I've ever seen it at the end of September....remember a big run starts sooner and ends later.

So I guess my old friend Bonnie and her daughter Julie were my last vict...ahhh.....fisher people for the year. And what a day it was. It rained the day before and the day after. This morning the river awoke to sunny skies and temps in the 50's, for us that's a GREAT day lately. Here's the three of us with the catch...
It means soooo much to me to have friends like Bonnie. She's a Kenaitze Native elder and lately has had a few health problems that she works through with the most wonderful optimism . When I first started guiding she had a rental car business at the airport and would recommend me to her customers. And salmon....oh boy does that woman know and love her salmon so I was pretty darn happy to help her get these beauties. Here's a close up of my friend Bonnie Koerber.
Right now we have a few nice days forecast so I'm going to wait to winterize the boat....just maybe...But still there's work to do here at Mile 14. The other day I was looking around for a power source for a security system I'm installing and I remembered that Loren had one in the closet by the front door so after being here for 21 years I finally looked at it. YIKES...this thing is OLD...but sure enough there's an electric outlet hanging from some wires ( like speaker wire ) that went through the wall to a hard wired light switch. I get to feeling it and holy @$#%& the outlet that's hanging is hot to the touch. Now I'm no electrician but it looked to me like we could have had a house fire at any time. So I hit the breaker and go to work with my end snips and problem solved....have you ever seen anything like this ?
This wonderful house at Mile 14 of the Kenai River was built in 1960 making it one of the oldest ' real ' houses in town and I 'd guess this contraption dates that far as well , 57 years. It's an Automatic Police alarm made by the Ademco Co. in Syosset New York.  My old friend Loren Stewart was a ' gadget ' type of guy so I shouldn't have been surprised at this but the installation I was. Here's pic of the inside of this machine that in the day I'd guess was state of the art equipment AND it ended up Soldotna Alaska at which time had only a handful of people in it. As you can see....more speaker wire. Did I ever tell you about starting a fire in my Volkswagon Super Beetle because of speaker wire ?
So you guys that follow this blog probably won't see any fresh fish pics until I hit the beach in about 5 weeks. MP's off to Moooootana on Monday so I'll put boats away and play the music ultra loud like I do when she's gone. Then we hit the gym as always and I power diet to lose my summer 10 pounds and walla.....life is good. I hope you keep reading Mile 14, I'll stay on schedule, kinda. and make it fun, I promise. But for now my fishing season is 10-86 as the cops say. It was a fantastic season, the best in 6 years so thank you to everybody who came. Thanks to the fish. Thanks to the ADF+G...and I mean that....really I do.... We'll do it all again one last time in 2018.

Monday, September 18, 2017

There's guiding and then there's fishing....

Even though those two things have common roots there's a certain difference that I need to be reminded of now and then....and that's how much I really enjoy fishing, the chase, the fellowship, the memories that are both old and those being instantly created. And being as busy as I am I seldom get to fish in fact this was only the second time of the year, I started the season with Chris and now we've ended it with Chris. He and Melinda came down for our ritual fall classic that entails great food, even greater wine and some great fishing. Here's a pic of those two wonderful people.
Now of course we have to gamble so we have some serious lettuce at play here. So it's every man for himself and even with me not helping a bit our team lost, big time. Chris had the 1st fish of the day on and as it was splashing next to the boat with me sitting and watching the seconds click by he looked at me and said one word...' OK'... and Melinda handed him the net...Here's a pic of  their team pulling it off the second time. This guy really is a great fisherman.
It took me and MPeasy a looooong time to get hit. I always have been told to never bet a man at his own game and I'm here to tell you that that's an old wives tale. We got killed. But eventually we got hit and I had the great idea to pose this pic that I expected to turn out magically....well it did but I sure heard it about the fish slime.
So the next fish we went for a more refined presentation.
And here's the fish that put Chrisco over the top, his limit fish for all the marbles and prestige which is way  more important.
We were hoping to get 10 pounds of fillets so Chris and Melinda had the right amount to have Lax made at his friends place Alaska Sausage. So we both kept a fillet for that evening and they wound up with 22 pounds of wonderfully fresh silver salmon. Kinda funny, those two flew back to Anchorage and we had given them some wonderful Canadian Maple recipe makings that Erica had gifted us several packages of so it was a Kismet moment....we shared the same food, vibe, the same day just about 75 air miles away, we ate together I like to think. And oh baby Erica, that's some good salmon. So thanks for coming down you two, it made my season...💕😎
I took this sign photo the other day on one of our walks...man I hate it when those moose get this way. Only in Alaska.
So tomorrow I have my old friend Bonnie Koerber out and I have a tentative for Saturday and then it's a wrap for the Pro's from Dover 2017 edition. I hope you come back to Mile 14 anyway cause we'll have some fun. Soon it'll be music and Mexico , hikes and suppers out, sunsets and sun ups and love....

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Why ?

With limit or near limit catches every single day for weeks now it makes me ask that question....I'll get back to that in a sec, first I want to post a few pics like this 0 dark thirty flash shot of my new friend Gary Walker with the 1st fish of the day on the first foggy morning of the year. Pretty cool shot.
We had new I-phones in the boat this morning so the shutters were just a clickin. Chris here with about as big a female Coho salmon as I've ever seen took this cool action photo...I'm usually just a bit too busy to even think of getting a photo like this but as soon as I get my new Go Pro camera set perfectly ( and learn how to use the files which is holding me up ) we should have some cools pics like this.
Just as our King runs here are famous for 70 pounders so it seems our late silvers are known for 16 pounders.... the thing is you seldom see either. All the gorgeous thick bodied males that we catch and remark about being 16 pounders look that way and weigh 14, sometimes 15. In all my years I've seen only a hand full or legit 16 pounders and only two ( that we caught on the same trip )18 pounders. But Gary caught this guy for sure...a legit , not just 16 but a 16 1/2 pounder....excellent.
But Jesse King's 15 pounder was the fish of the week until I got Gary in the boat....this guy is guide material the way he poses a fish. Long arm syndrome.
His dad Craig brings the guys down from Anchorage every fall and I'm flattered to have them. Craig is an excellent fisherman himself and Trevor there owns a boat with Matt that they towed along and fished themselves the day before....look at the overall size of this harvest.
Our friend Teresa Kittridge from Mazatlan recomended me to a Minnesota bunch. In fact they were from Brainerd which is home to a legendary fishing family that I am close to. We got a little late start that morning and by the time we went looking for some real estate all the good ' runs' were pretty full. I worked the edges some and moved around with no success before heading to Soldotna an hour before quiting time without a single fish....and walla, we found ol slimey. This was a pretty good catch for the hand we were dealt. Thanks for coming  Mike Hills and kids......
Of all the stocks we fish this late run of Silvers is no doubt the most steady and stable. For all my years here it has stood up to floods and a growing sport fishery and seems to be getting better and better. I can't answer the question , why ?...but I can offer some observations and a few take away's starting with the obvious....we have wonderful pristine Silver salmon habitat....and....

1. As far as I know the only numeration of these fish are the guide logbooks that we send in. ADF+G doesn't really know all that much about this run of salmon....that could be good , that could be bad.

2. It's not commercial fished...

3. Our in river sport fishery is really quite ineffective. It's just not powerful enough to over harvest a stock in my opinion. When our early run King's were in ' low abundance ' all you heard from the guys with the nets was " we don't fish on this stock at all and look what has happened to it ".....well they don't fish on this silver stock either and " look what has happened to it '....

4.....Think I'll leave the fish politics at that....

And just to take the edge off the serious stuff, thanks Chris for sending this along.



Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Rain, rain, go away....

...better yet, go to Montana.

We're having a  bit of a struggle here at Mile 14 lately with the weather, it just keeps raining. But ya know one thing age gives you is perspective and with all the displaced people from Harvey and the new Hurricane Irma closing in and my family and loved ones in Montana choking on smoke...my problems are nothing. I just want the world to know I really hope and pray that all this chaos ends for all my fellow travelers on this trip around the sun.

The fishing was going just so gooood...so ya know something is about to become shamoozled around here, it's the way it works. Here's the graph that shows the river rise and then it began to behave again a few days back and then walla, another leap. This ol creek is full.
And you know what high jumpy water means....junk, sticks, logs, you name it. So today I was headed for Soldotna to fish new pattern I found and I hit something about as hard as I've ever hit anything. It stopped the water to the prop to the engine over revvs so I get shut down and just gulp with anxiety....but once again my luck seems to hold. I don't think I got it with the prop as it would have bent it for sure. But I did stop it with the lower unit hard enough to chomp 2 inches deep into a 4 ft log that was semi submerged as it was so heavy, it had been burned so it accepted a lot of water....Man, the sound of that collision will age an already ageing fishing guide.
So with the fishing difficult and pouring rain we give 100 % plus...Got Jay and Brad Gammel some nice silver....these guys are great and tell me they're ' Irish Twins'....born in the same year is what that means eh 😀.
I got to fish with 3 young guys that make you feel like the USA is on the right track. These guys met in college and all three are working Engineers in their mid 20's. Thanks for bringing the crew Alex, it was a great day.
You talk about an endorsement, I got a call from Mr. Tanaka from Hawaii that taught my nieces and nephew at Kenai High in the 1980's. I guess I came recommended by some of his old staff mates. So here is Aki and Teva who were just plain fun to fish with. Mr. Tanaka was visiting old friends while his Hawaii friends were making new ones. Enjoy the salmon you guys.
So wish us luck on the days ahead and especially....lets all think positive thoughts for those in peril.