Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Pro Guide tip #2

Before we get to that next secrets of that profession deal that I promised I gotta let you all know that these tips are only for the use of my readers and not to be passed on or reprinted. After all I still have a lot of fishing to do and would like to keep an edge on the other fishermen here on the World Famous at Mile 14. But feel free to use these tips and when you see your success sky rocket just give me a knowing wink when we pass on the river. You know the old adage, 90 % of the fish are caught by 10 % of the fishermen so I hope this helps you join our fraternity.

Pro Guide tip 2
Yup, licorice...some of my hot tips that will be coming will be of the motivational and kinda cerebral side of chasing fish but this one is totally mechanical. Licorice is the fishiest food in the world, if you don't like it, you ain't fishing. I guess it all started with Bert and Keith Holtan about 33 years ago. Along with other good fish food like Hershey miniature Cookies and Cream bars they would always bring licorice and walla, we started noticing that we had success. The word spread through F Troop and before you knew it all the best were bring licorice and we were making the rods bend along with our belts. The legendary Geno would bring Licorice, Nate Morton would bring licorice and Tobias raised the bar with Australian licorice....Now this is important for any of you with a weak stomach that think they can get by with Red Vines or the other flavored candies that are NOT licorice, suck it up because that stuff won't work. Why you ask ?....Well it's simple. We all know that salmon are driven by their olfactory sense and Anise which is the taste of licorice is accepted world wide as a fish bite stimulant, I spend hundreds, well some, dollars every year on a wide  array of anise scent products and you know the deal....I'm a legend.... Now you might ask what eating licorice has to do with putting it's smell on your bait. Well that's a dumb question. You'll see on Pro Guide tip # 542 that you also need to be a 100 % guy, what's worth doing is worth over doing, right ? So, you gotta eat a LOT of it, it's gotta be on your breath, stuck between your teeth, your fingers need to be sticky with it and never mind that we all know it contributes to high blood pressure, you gotta oooze licorice from your pores. Remember the time we ate the 2 pound bag Nate ?....damn , this is making me hungry....
It's been killing me to get a good video of my new Electric guitar for you but I just haven't had the right production until now. As I worked this song up I had to remember how Jet Dog would go to the bed room as soon as I opened a guitar case...One night at Angels Paradise in Mazatlan I was amped up and crooning away for my friends and from the other side of the building, the side Ernie says is the hard drinking side I hear someone yell " shut the #&*@ up and get a haircut "..... I hollered back " don't think you're the first one to tell me that "....
And hey, no comments about that 18 inches of forehead I've developed...OK ? 


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

πŸ˜ŽπŸ’šπŸŽΈπŸŽ΅πŸŽ€♬🐟 @ Mile 14

There's no doubt that time goes faster as you get older...but I got it figured, it just SEEMS faster because of your lifetime of routines. So, the only way to slow down the years to come is by changing your routines. And that's what I'm going full steam at, 100 %....The future of my writing here at Mile 14 is that I really am going to put a book together about what I've learned in 37 years of guiding, the ' Guides Guide' if you will. So in each edition of Mile 14 I'm going to have short delivery of things I've learned and things that have helped me get through so many high stress bedlam inducing seasons on the world famous. So here's my first big tip for guiding success....

1. Nascar... Yup, Nascar. I found this sport in the early 90's when I was launching at full blast everyday. Up at 4:00, in the boat at 5:00 , lines in the water at 6:00, clean fish at 11:30, on the river with new crew at 12:30, clean fish and the boat at 6:00, eat supper at 8:00, asleep at 9:00 ( sometimes) then repeat and repeat and re..... It was no wonder I was stressed out and needed rest on my Sunday off the river. So that's the miracle of Nascar, if you can't sleep through one of those darn things you are a basket case insomniac. And the beautiful thing about Nascar is that you can sleep for an hour and wake up and nothing's changed, it's impossible to miss something important, they just keep circling and circling and... Now my Dad was a great Sunday sleeper and his venue of choice was Golf but I gotta tell ya , Nascar is the pro guides choice , the king of white noise.
How's that for a gorgeous object to celebrate your retirement with ? I posted this pic on Facebook and had over 100 people wish me well, I'm stunned and sooooo flattered that all my years were important years. My friend John Adams and Bill Church along with so many more others left me wonderful wishes by e-mail as well...And if you're reading this Robin thank you so much for the wonderful bottle of limited edition Crown Royal, turns out I'm not allergic to it like I used to think I was... and it makes me sing like a songbird. To ALL of you that read this thank you so much, I feel fulfilled because of you.
someone even left me a message on the sidewalk

The 2018 season wasn't without it's share of weirdnesses but the retirement bonus was this fall. We had the most gorgeous fall weather anybody can remember. We even still have leaves on the trees and some are still even a bit green just like the real world in October in the lower 48. This pic is two days old...
2018 at Mile 14 was good enough that we 'made our season' as us Alaskan says but it wasn't exceptional either. But it looks like some of our neighbors and especially the moose have thrived on the summer and fall of 18...
Every October we wait in line for our ' drive through' flu shots that Central Peninsula Hospital generously and creatively dispense. So this year because of the summer of road construction model we were routed differently and ended up in a 2 lane line up. Well the guy next to us in the jun...er...vintage truck kept starting and stopping the engine and sure enough ran out of gas while waiting. Bummer. But this is Alaska and you're never without help around here. They pushed him off and then he drove through with his flu shot neighbors. AND, the security guys got a little bonus cardio workout. I felt bad for the guy. Really. 
I hope you come back.  I'll have a guide tip every week until I run out of secrets. There will be a story every where we go just like the stickers on this Eurovan that was at the Brewery yesterday, I'm headed the same direction as you buddy. And I'll play you a song on that beautiful flamed Maple semi hollowbody electric guitar....JK



Monday, October 1, 2018

Ya gotta have hope

It's been a many a year now that we've been on our healthy lifestyle thing.  It used to be only the gym but in the last 10 years MP and I have enjoyed walking together for 3 miles every day we can, when we have time we don't miss a day. Two of our favorite jaunts are along the river where I love to look and wonder and chat with the fishermen we meet along the way. When we do our Soldotna Creek walk we cross the creek two times and every time for the last ten years I look and look and look and hope as I tell MP , " someday we're going to see King Salmon in there again". Well, there they are.
An obvious spawning pair right at the bridge on East ReDoubt, they're back.
I know that it shouldn't sound strange to see salmon in an Alaskan stream but it's been years since we or anybody else has seen them here. In the early 70's Woody had a friend who lived in the building where the Kenai Watershed Forum is now, we'd routinely see dozens and dozens of Kings. But as the years went on and all the runs got smaller the first to show the stress were what we call the 'discreet' runs that help make up the overall Kenai run. Just like Slikok Creek across town this was an important incubator but just a really small part of it all and the fish were gone all in all. . In fact a few years ago Soldotna Creek was treated with Rotenon (sp) to kill ALL the fish in it fearing that Northern Pike could be migrating to the river from the lakes upstream that had them...obviously at that time they didn't think there was a remnant spawning population of King Salmon that we sorely need back. SO...it was with enthusiasm and wonder as MP and I watched them actually do the deed. The redd had already been dug and the male was milting and then covering the gravel as he slapped around in the current on his side. I left that walk feeling good, I kinda think that if you see two there's more, one thing I've learned is that salmon don't come in ones. This may not be the brightest bright spot we have going on but it's something, it's something good.

This walk was in the middle of a bit of high water we had from the Skilak Glacier dumping so as we walked and talked of the wonderous salmon we had just seen I was thinking maybe the water was high enough to float out the huge snag we walk by on the boardwalk behind the Park. The snag was intact and low and behold I can see figures that a recognize resting under the cover. Adult Silver Salmon waiting out the rushing water in a quiet and safe place....I'm feeling like a fish whiperer.
What a great walk...Hope you come back. I've got a great idea for a blog entry about a few things I've learned guiding that helped me get through 37 years of the unusual.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Now what ?

Every year when I do my last trip I ask myself that...just like I did after graduating High School in 1971. And just like that although it feels a bit different this year because, well you know, I got a bright future ahead and I'd bet ya dollars to donuts the last part of my life is going to go as well as the first...I'm gonna make it happen. On my last trip down the world famous I took this pic to commemorate the day...I don't think I even need to say a thing...everything's better than O.K.
Speaking of MP, did I tell you about her melons ? Instead of waiting to be where she can grow fruit she decided to take a chance this year with her valuable green house real estate. Well, they ain't as large as we'd both like but they're about the cutest little melons you've ever seen. The look, taste and smell just like the Mexico variant, just a bit smaller....I guess not everything is big on the Kenai.
If you want to see big check out this Silver salmon that Ty caught on my last day of separating people from their money for fishing...somehow that still seems somehow strange....But around here 18 pound silvers are a rare breed. I think I've only seen a few and I do believe I've most likely seen more of them than anybody to date. On my registered scale this baby was 17 3/4 . Usually it goes like this, that silver that you just caught that looks like 16 is 14. The 14 is twelve and on it goes. So for me it was a bit of kismet that one of the largest Silvers of my guiding was also one of my last.
That last day for me was bit serendipitous. It was fun and sad all at the same time and I want to thank my 3 friends who came along, I'll never forget this day...and we did pretty darn good for the waning days of an average silver run. Between the 4 of us we definitely had the experience advantage at work.  I grew up with Tom Beneventi and he was on his 4th Kenai trip but his first visit to Mile 14 in the 20 some odd years we've been here. Ty Tobias first fished with me in the early 90's when I was in Cahots with Thompson's Halibut Charters and he's a veteran of many campaigns. Keith Holtan and his dad were a couple of my first good customers when Keith was playing Hockey at U.A.F. What can I say about Keith, he's as crazy to fish now as the day I met him. We've shared a lot and I wish him the best for another 10 years or so of guiding here on the world famous. Check out the sign in the background, I built it as part of my tuition for Loren Stewart in 1984.
I've learned a lot of different things from guiding and I'll save all those life lessons for another blog. But ol guide # 003 can flat take a fish pic....Here's Keith with our first fish of the morning, not bad eh ?
If anything that goes with me everyday and has for 30 years tells the story of a hard guy hard guiding it's this. I have different ones for egg flavor and sardine marinade...oh baby the secrets to success. If any of you out there want it just send me a message and we'll work a deal....really now....it could be yours...

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 πŸ˜ŽπŸ˜ŽπŸ’™πŸ’šπŸ’›πŸ’œ...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...