Monday, December 27, 2010

The Eagle has Landed

It was -18 when my nephew dropped us off at the Kenai airport. 20 hours later with a couple good muscle cramps and a little deyhdration thrown in with a good case of jet-lag we're headed to our house in 80 degree temp when I spot this sticker....yup, just like Alaska, we looooove our tourists, its just nice for them to let us know. I'm feeling good. Everythings perfect, the first sunset was this woonderful 'human assist' version. Then we wander up to the fifth floor for Christmas dinner with our friends from Minnesotta and of course Charlotte the diva. Even though the only sleep I had was in Seattle on an airport lounge from which I woke up so stiff MP had to help me, I rallyed and we stayed up all the way untill nine. You know my credo....' never say wooo in a horse race'.

The next morning I'm up at sunset, on my 3rd cast this ambitous little toro jumps on my mirrolure. I gave him a sloppy smooch and let him swim, he's happy, I'm happy and I think Mazatlan is kind of happy to. So we go to the store and spend 2000 peso's and then stop and buy a couple mesquite smoked chickens from the folks on LaMarina blvd, people love the rotisiere chickens but these are the best in Mazatlan. So as if my day wasn't already almost perfect when we get home I see birds milling offshore and getting what I call 'nervous'....this signals a toro bite coming. All my fishing friends have told me that the toro hadn't been spotted yet and Walla, just like Forrest Gump, they hit on my first day. I catch 20 or 30, and one pelican. So we clean up and off to our place, Are Lulu's for supper. Our friends Mario and Mario greet us with a hug and a shot of tequila, coconut shrimp for MP and lobster for me. But the days finale was oh so special, I got to play music with a bona fide, no b.s., professional musician. We came home early as I had promised to play some country western for friends who had to leave . Some folks walked in the bar and introduced themselves, the dad is an original member of the band 'America'. He was reluctant to play but as we all got warmed up his son Phil who plays with the band offered up a few songs. Fantastic, is all I can say. We sang, danced and shared all night, everyone here agrees that is the most memorable nught our building has experienced. Wow, I'm inspired.

This next pic might look strange to you but it caught my eye, it looked like art. I remember it was just 3 years ago this barbed wire was spanking new, shiney and clean. Our building put it up to try and stop some of the endless beach party access next door....Well, whats happened to that barb wire I figure is happening to you and me, just a little slower maybe but just as surely. I don't think any of us will leave this planet without some regrets, we're not perfect. And I know maybe we shouldn't have come to Maz this year, income is down and what you read in the newspapers is true....its dangerous here. But I'm looking at my regrets, I'm hoping that when I look back they'll be "I wish I hadn't" instead of " I wish I would of".

This last pic speaks for itself. For all you boat guys out there like me, whats cooler than a total of 900 horses bolted on the back of your skiff. It reminds me of the pre horsepower days on the Kenai. Even if you didn't catch a fish , the boat ride was awful exciting....

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Last night I glimpsed at Monday Night Football as MP and I headed out the door to a Christmas Party and I got to thinking that the weather in Minneapolis was just terrible. I was actually having a little guilt for my last post. So you know me, I decided to do something about it and stay up and take one for the team, to try and get a nice picture of the eclipse for all my friends that had clouds between them and the heavens. So here it is.Lucky for us the eclipse was even at a civilised hour. MP and I put on our arctic wear on and hiked down to the launch where it would be darker than around the house. This pic was taken at 11:00 and I think it turned out pretty darn good. I tried my new camera and it didn't have enough zoom. So I broke out my old Minolta/Konica Dimage Z-1 with 12 power optical zoom. Its the first digital camera I've ever bought and now that line up is many generations advanced and has a Z-5 model out. It only has 3.2 mil mega pixels so it kind of amazes me that the oldest camera I have would take the best pic....mmm.... My friend Dave Anderson shared some advice for shooting fireworks so I put that to use and set the camera on the tripod and then used the 10 second delay feature so the camera was held still. Walla. It worked. Thanks Dave, the pics will be on sale in the lobby tomorrow.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

It Was HOW Cold ?

The other day when I arrived at the gym at 8 am I asked my friend Charlie how cold it was out in Sterling. -22 was his reply, its always colder in Sterling. So I got to thinking about how us northerners have this almost perverse view of the weather, its almost like bragging when its colder at my house than it is at yours. You know the deal, that walk to school was uphill both ways.

Down in Mexico we have alot of friends from Minnesota, and here at mile 14 we seem to collect Minnesotans. To give them credit, as a group they're the best fisherman I've ever met and I've learned to get used to that unique Minnesota twang. But my only gripe is when I hear from a Minnesotan that "our winters are just like yours".....mmm.....well I know they got hit hard last weekend with snow knee deep to a tall Indian, but in the spirit of cocktail hour science I've done a little research. Following is a 'snapshot' of the current conditions and forecast for Mile 14 and to make it look so I didn't rig this deal I picked out the coldest and darkest of Minnesota, International Falls which I think is near the Canadian

Current temp: ours, -2. Theirs , 12.

Conditions: ours, clear. Theirs, light snow, mist.

Sun up: ours, 10.09 am. Theirs, 8.01 am

Sun down: ours, 3.52 pm. Theirs 4.19 pm. .....that would be a difference of 2 hours and 19 minutes of life sustaining daylight.

Dew point: ours, -6. Theirs, 8.

Wind: ours, calm. Theirs, 6mph

Current snow pack; ours, 12 inches. Theirs, 25 ya some dark for some snow?

Coldest forecast temp for the next week; ours, -6. Theirs - 3.

So, you get the idea. AND, mind you this snapshot is a little skewed by the fact that as I type this its evening here and its the middle of the night in International Falls....mmm.....

But in my research I found that we certainly share the same moon. Its a Waxing Gibbous and ours is 94% illuminated, how about that?

I know, I know, I know guys in Fairbanks could do the same to us.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Score Card

I've always set high standards for myself, its one of my problems as I'm frequently disappointed. Whats worse is that I often apply my standards to other people and end up disappointed in them as well. But it seems to me that's not all a bad thing, after all, small goals are easy to achieve....the big ones....nope. So with the year 2010 winding down I figured I should reflect back and see how I've done. As you might remember in my July 25th blog I printed a list of goals that I post every year in my gear shed, it keeps me on track and I'm on this quest. I'm going to be a good person and being that encompasses all aspects of your life I figure. So here goes.

Bike the loop: That's to Kenai on the Spur and back to Soldotna on K-beach, about 25 miles. Didn't happen, the farthest ride I made was 14 miles.

12% body fat : For the second year in row it looks like I'm not going to make it by Christmas. I learned alot about diet this year so maybe next year. Here's a pic of me when I came home from the gym today. This year I integrated more carbs into the diet to help my energy for lifting. I thought I could offset it with more cardio. All that happened is that I gained muscle and most of the body fat stayed. I'm around 14 or 15%. The good news is that I'm stronger than ever. I set a personal best 180 pound bench press the other day. My plan was to weigh 185, I'm at 195. Bummer. Hablo Espanol : I haven't studied my Spanish at all. But I did read the account of the conquest of Mexico by Hermano Cortes and right now I'm reading a textbook on the history of Mexico. I figure I deserve a half a check point for that effort.

Write 3 songs: Man, that was a lofty goal...what was I thinking. I have a pretty cool trick lyric I've worked on and have a bit of chording. I hope to have it (one song ) done while we're in Mazatlan.

MZT $$$ : That one we get a full fledged check. The season really wasn't so bad and MP made quite a few Real Estate deals. My friends helped me have on of the busiest silver seasons ever. It was great fishing and great to be busy.

Don't kill anybody: I'm no where near the hot head I used to be. Its all part of the ageing process I guess, when you learn to be graceful. I only had one problem all season. A young guide ran his boat in an unsafe manner and scared the hell out of my fishing friends. He did it on purpose it seemed so I went to see him and a confrontation occurred. No biggy....In fact I learned a valuable lesson: You can't settle things man to man with children. So I get another check on this one.

20 lb. Corvina : You'll be reading about that one by January 15th... I'm giving myself an intuition check on that one. This is my year.

Forgive : Well, mmmmm, I'm getting better. I used to be able to hold a grudge for a decade or so and now I'm down to 5 years, so that's an improvement. But I've had a few people do malicious and hurtful things to me and my family and I just wish they were men enough to apologise, that's all it would take....grudge over and I'd get a check. One more thing about this...just that fact that I know I need to do it is an accomplishment, for me anyway.

Healthy mind / body : I guess I shouldn't have put this one right under the forgive topic. Other than not being able to completely let loose of one little thing I think I'm pretty straight in melon. I treat people the way they treat me and I love alot. The body part gives me a full 1/2 a check. We recently had blood work done and except for a little elevated cholesterol all is hunky-dory.

Add 2 weeks : No check here. MP kind of drew the line at 10 weeks in Mazatlan and for me its a no brainer. I love her more than I love Mazatlan so she wins, period.

Turn 57: Mission accomplished. I celebrated with a beer as I cleaned fish and went bed at 7:30. Jimmy Buffet says you know you're getting old when you get up at the same time you used to go to bed. That's me.

Love MP : Full check.

So how'd I do? Well out of 12 I have 4 checks. Not that good. I think I can do better next year and all I know is this.... if I really want these things I have simply got to work harder. On the other hand if I were a Seattle Mariner and had a 300 batting I'd be the star of the team, and they'd probably trade me....

Saturday, December 4, 2010

2011 Sure Fire Bets

For the last 20 years or so I've made pre season forecasts at the start of a new year to share with my friend Phil Shelton in Metropolis Illinois. Phil is an astute follower of politics and sports. He's also the guy who while fighting a large King Salmon in the early 1980's asked me if I ever knocked them off the line with the net. I told him " no, it never happens". He asked me that surely with all the fish we catch that we must screw up the net job every now and then. Well, I explained to him that yes, once a few years back I reached to far and got the net into the hook and the fish swam which Phil replied " yup, that was me, please don't do it again".

So in that spirit this year I'm going to share my prognostications with you all. Unlike some people who research statistics and schedules I use an uncanny technique I've developed through the years....favorite colors, favorite names and I love an underdog.

SuperBowl: Jets vrs. the Eagles. Jets win because they just love to be on TV.

BCS: Oregon. I just watched them guys on TV today and they are flat-plane ol-good. And besides, I have loved ones in Oregon.

NBA: An old fashioned Celtic-Laker match up. Celts win and Shaq stars. It'd be great a story wouldn't it?

Indy 500: An Andreti needs to win. either Marco or one of the other team members. Tony, Danica. ( see how I did that?....jumped my odds up by picking 3)

Daytona 500: Kyle Bush, Mr. personality.

World Series: Colorado Rockies....Mariner fans have been through alot of tuff seasons, but tell me, wasn't this last season the most painful ever???

NCAA: Gonzaga....just because I love that sound, it sings.

Best Movie Oscar: The Fighter

Other predictions: Jeff and MP will celebrate being married tha, tha, tha, thirty four years. Mucho King Salmon in 2011. MP finally grows a squash. Lotsa smiles here at Mile 14.

If you remember prior to leaving for Mexico last year I did a blog and pics of "The Pile" So as we're only a few weeks out now this pic is the Pile 2011 edition. I'm feeling a little like one of those border crossing mules you here about as I'm taking many items for my Mexican friends. Take a good look and you'll see what serious surf fisherman can't find in Mazatlan. Quality reels, lots of braised line, Mirrolures and my favorite lure of all time, the Roberts Ranger....Fish-on.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Just like the 4th of July, but colder.

Everything is different on the Kenai. Just look at our fireworks traditions, its daylight all night on the 4th of July so we have our fireworks to kick off the Christmas Season on the night after Thanksgiving. Its been a long family tradition for us so MP and I keep it alive and go every year.

We used to all meet with our snowmachines at my sister Karen's house. We'd spend the day riding and then come evening wander over to town where the Chamber sponsors a huge bon fire. Some years its been -20 and some years like this one a civilised +20. The fireworks themselves cost the community thousands and has grown into quite a show through the years. One year we had a driving snowstorm and the fireworks reflected and the light bounced around in a really cool way. Even though it was fairly warm last night as you can see by this pic of MP we still needed to be bundled for an hour out in it. The whole town is out for this event so we ran into alot of friends and spent time with my only relatives still in the area, my nephew and his wife, Mitch and Jessica.

You know I'm always on the watch to find the unusual and the city of Kenai is a perfect place to find exactly that. This truck with the Texas style hood ornament was parked right next to our friends Rueben and Mindy....As we walked through the snow we had a high school boyfriend / girlfriend couple walk by. She was having trouble keeping up in the snow and all and I heard him tell her to "heel"....yikes, not many of us would live through that one.

The Fireworks are over and when we get back to the Suby I'm struck with this Deja Vu. Parked right next to us is this Ford Tempo just like my sister would have driven to this same event 20 years ago. But even though its the same color as her Tempo, its not her. The Tempo's long gone and she's in Oregon missing one of her favorite Kenai things. But whoever runs the co-incidence department around here gave me and MP a pretty good laugh.

This last pic is of the street scene. It gives you and idea of how popular the event is. Its that time of year where folks have a bit of cabin fever and Alaskans are never afraid to embrace the outdoors. Pretty cool and unique Friday night here at Mile 14. All in all my new camera seemed to capture it well enough. All the lights are a real challenge. But the darn camera has a 'fireworks' mode that took blury pictures again. Roy, what am I doing wrong? How do you get a good fireworks shot?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Airport Security @ Mile 14

I usually don't editorialize on this blog but somethings been in the news lately that's really bugging me. Yup, all these folks so wound up over losing their privacy by submitting to full body screenings or pat downs in the airport. Its obvious to me that these are not people who have spent 35 winters in Alaska, if they were I'd bet dollars to donuts just like me they'd submit to just about anything with the prospect of a break from an Alaskan winter. Give me a frontal lobotomy, I don't care. They can frisk me, interrogate me, see through my clothes...I don't care, lets just get this thing moving and get on the plane. OK?....

But I realized this is a serious situation for folks who might not be as secure in their skin as I am so I got to doing some problem solving and I think I've got it. My solution although it might sound complex really gets at the heart of several issues facing America, security, health and our desire to always be bargain hunting....So I propose that we evolve this 'body scan' machine that everybody seems to hate into a full blown C.A.T. scan machine. After all if it can tell you have a tumor it ought to be able to tell the TSA folks if you're packing a box cutter. Then when you clear the TSA station you're given a print out of your scan to use as you'd like, maybe spend a two week vacation worried about that new dark spot on your liver, who knows. Brilliant eh?...we do something for preventative medicine, take the gripe out of the system and we all fly securely. Problem solved.

I guess I have a knack for noticing the small things in life, Its part of that quest I'm on...appreciation. So now that its cold and the river is starting to freeze I got to taking a good look at the ice here at Mile 14. Its beautiful, really. MP and me along with Jet-Blue the dog that's learned to stand on two legs when on the ice walked down to Fall-in-Hole yesterday. That first pic is how the ice pans and floats down the river, its kind of cool because we see many shades of the same thing. Then the next pic I took of the shore ice. Naturally theres less current next to shore so the freezing process starts at the shoreline and works out. When it gets close to the water there is a strange ribbon of these ice crystals laying on top of the river ice. I don't know what causes it but I suppose it has something to do with the open water close by and when its really cold it kind of condensates dropping the frozen ice crystals onto the sheet ice. In whatever case its everywhere and really cool. I guess it underlines what I tell people all the time when they ask if I get tired of being on the river...the river is really a living thing and its different every single day. You just have to notice.

So this last pic is me and the crew saying happy Thanksgiving to all of you. This year its going to be a bit strange here as I think its just the 3 of us. Our boys are grown up and gone, our friends Dick and Loretta who we enjoyed many a holiday with have moved to the 48 and my nephew and his wife are going to Fairbanks to be with his sister. It'll be alright, MP has a mini-turkey and we'll light one of our Mexican candles, open a bottle of good Merlot and be thankful for all of you and all that we have here on the Kenai River. Keep reading, we'll have some fishing stuff going on real soon.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Schooshing through the Woods

The new owners of our gym have done a wonderful job of cleaning and fixing it up for us gym rats. But, for what we assume are religious reasons they are closed on Saturdays which means we have to find other exercise options. Its really not a problem and you have to respect their religion, I'm just darn glad they're not Muslim or we'd be taking a whole month off for Ramadan. So today was the perfect day for me and my friend-advisor-workout partner-bread winner-conscience-lover and critic to hit the ski trails.

We all know Soldotna is a cool town, but lots of folks might not know that we have arguably the best Nordic ski trail system in the State. The trails have been a work in progress, spearheaded by local enthusiasts and centered around SkyView High School where its no surprise that the x-country team routinely competes for the State title. They even have 15 K's of illuminated trails which is huge for us here in the frozen north.

So today we opt for the ' Wolverine Trail' , its our first time out and the 'mountain goat' just doesn't sound right. The trail is fast, well as fast as x-country skiing can be and is perfectly groomed and wide. Theres room for either skating or tracks are cut for the old traditional way. We skied the entire loop and never saw another person until we ran into my friend John Mohorich in the parking lot. As I skied along I was thinking of the downhill skiing I did as a kid, I was pretty good and could attack the moguls or bust the powder with the best of them. We're a long way from that but what I'm doing today is just as good if you ask me. I'm in the woods, the air has that clean crispness to it and just like downhill skiing theres a chance I can wreck and hurt myself. I'm happy.

Before we started our trips to Mexico every winter I was into the snowmachines pretty good and had alot of fun with them. But this skiing is better, exercise, no breakdowns, you can't get lost (so far anyway) and I'm hanging around with exactly the right people. That's MP at the end of a downhill, she's dragging her poles just a bit to slow down, I don't blame her that snow is pretty hard. So we ski the entire loop, no falls, no tweaked knees and when we get out we come across this ultra cool one of a type metal gate. The close up of the bear tells our story, its got a fish. That's our town, I think we lead the nation in per capita fish figures...

This last pic I took from the landing a few mornings ago. While fishing I'm often asked how the hunting is around here, well its the old saying, a picture is worth a thousand words. Thats alot of ducks eh?

Sunday, November 7, 2010


After getting through the month of October with an unusual lack of snow it finally hit Saturday. Our friends Porter and Gena were over Friday night for pizza, Coronas and to play music. Porter is a great guitar player and after years of promising to get together we finally did. It was fantastic. 'When they left at 9:00 it had just started, huge wet flakes, already 2 inches deep. In the morning it was a full 8 inches of wonder, that quiet sound with an eerie cleanness it gives everything and me and MP had our weekend set....a snow day as they called it when we were kids.

So we plan our day out over a Chili Cheese Omelet at the King Salmon restaurant. We get the mail and then a trip to Safeway for 3 movies on DVD and get home to settle in for the day.
Well, as usually happens here at Mile 14 nothing goes as planned, I'm not complaining because often the plans change for the better, but not today. The power is out, and it stays out. Mmmmmm....we keep a pretty cool temp in the house to begin with, seems for reasons we need not go into MP has a different view of the ambient temperature than me. She just seems to be warmer than me I guess. So, the temp in the house drops to 65, then to 6o, then, well on and on until finally when power is returned 5 hours later its a pretty cool 45 degrees in the house. And of course without power theres no movies so MP reads and I change oil in the snow blower and the 4-wheeler.

The power outage phenomena which we're kind of used to is right here in our own back yard. MP walks Jet-dog down to the river and on return tells me that our old tired Birch tree by the garden is creaking and crackling. Sure enough it is, the wet snow has its limbs bent towards earth and after just a few minutes the old tree gives up and down comes one of its Major branches. Right in front of our eyes. So between this and all the beetle killed spruce trees I've seen blow over I can tell you for sure...yes, if nobody is around to witness it I'm about 100% or so sure that trees do make a sound when they fall. But then again, I don't really know. Maybe. Could be.

But with the power back on and the snow still falling we rally the weekend. A good hot sauna by the river, a silly Denzel Washington Movie, with popcorn (no fat) and I got to run my favorite machine, the snow blower. That is until it locked up with a rock or something stuck in the 2-stage. Its in the garage now making a puddle and I'll sort it out tomorrow.
So I'll leave you with this little pic of the river, by now you've all seen this pic in many forms and seasons. I don't get tired of it . I really liked the way the snow stuck to the rope we have to help keep people from vaulting down the bank. If you enlarge you'll see a pretty good passel of Mallards on the water. The lakes are freezing and the river is the last open water around. Soon, it'll freeze too and they'll be gone. Like most Alaskans I figure lets have all the seasons, its winter now, give me some snow.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Theres More to it than just Fish

"Some men fish their whole lives without knowing its not fish they're after"

Somebody famous said that years ago and although I think it doesn't give people like us enough credit it certainly underlines what we all know about this sport, theres alot to appreciate. So, to help celebrate my 10,000 visit milestone I decided to go through my Picasa and post some of the many cool wildlife sightings I've experienced here and around Mile 14. Naturally in 30 years on the creek I've seen just about everything I'd guess but I've only packed the digital camera for the last 7 or 8 years....some of the most memorable sights have been without a camera or caught with the old film deal. Of all the wildlife I've seen though the coolest was years ago. I was downriver in May, the only boat around when the entire lowland Caribou herd crossed the river below me. It was a like a scene from the Serengeti, the migration of the Wilda beast, over a hundred animals swimming with me, full of direction, knowing exactly where they were going.
Anchored up silver fishing we watched this huge Caribou come out and swim straight towards us. Unbelievable close, I stood at the bow with the anchor line in hand so I could throw it out and float away if we had a problem, we didn't.
This little guy and his twin got separated from its Mom one spring right here at Mile 14. They hung around for days and we were all worried sick that they'd be lost forever. But low and behold the mom came back and we watched them swim the river off to the future. This Caribou Pic was a no brainier to take. I don't know whats cooler, the animal or the mountains behind him, I guess the combo is the deal.
We've got lots of Moose but how often do you see them up close? We do routinely, some days that King Salmon might be hard to catch but we can generally mitigate that with at least a Moose sighting or two.
Getting a pic of a seal is almost impossible. You get the camera out, they go down. You set the camera down and they come up. They're the one creature here that likes to watch us as much as we like to watch them I think. These guys are seriously smart, you can see it in his eyes.

Me and MP were anchored up one fall silver fishing at Eagle Rock when this coyote came out. He was flat bold and we watched him scavenge around for almost an hour. The coyotes might be the toughest life form on the river. In the winter we find holes the ice where they scratch down a foot or so to get at an old salmon carcass.

Every year we seem to have more and more Bald Eagles. This guy is an immature one, I've been told it takes 3 years for them to get good and white, if somebody knows for sure, I'd like to know. One of my favorite things is watching them get the first salmon guts of the year after we clean our first King of the year, usually in early to mid May. As far as fish go they seem to depend on us but I have seen them take live fish and those poor Merganser ducklings don't have a chance.

Sandhill Cranes are pretty confident birds, they make no secret of their arrival. You can hear them a looooong way off. They kind of cackle. I call them Pterodactyls as they just look so different than geese or other big birds when they fly over.

Those Trumpeter Swans are the last migratory bird to exit stage south every year. This bunch here I jumped right at the end of the island below my house. I would have gotten a better pic of them and maybe one of them feeding but the Jet-Dog could show no restraint and needed a closer look, fast. With all the talk I've made lately about our bears here I'm embarrassed to say that I don't have any really good pics. Just two nights ago we had a sow and two cubs outside and one was on the picnic table 15 feet from our bedroom window. MP had some sunflowers on it for the Jay Birds and the cub just had to have some....but theres just no way to get a picture with the dark and reflection of the window. I tried. I'll bet my photography major buddy Roy could have pulled it off. So that leaves me with this ultra magnified pic of a browny that we watched across the river for many days. He's having a spawned out Humpy all you can eat buffet.

Sometimes around here you just have to share the fishing hole. Thats what my buddy Jacques Lizin is doing here. I'd bet he's not as calm as he looks here....would you be?

I'll close out this little camera Safari with a pic that Jacque took in Seward. Absolutely gorgeous. The porpoises are like the seals I'd say, they love to entertain....Hope you liked the tour.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Whole 105 Yards

Well you know its the in between season and you're on the verge of serious cabin fever when you find yourself at the High School football field casting your surf rod. But that's what I did this last week as I wanted to accurately measure and not just guess at how far I can chuck the 3 ounce Ranger Lure.
I have a new surf reel that's special made for long casting. The reel had a long and tapered spool that makes for less friction and keeps the line closer to the a 'full' look. It also has a manual bail so you avoid the mid-flight bail closure that can cost you and it has an anti reverse that prevents the spool from trying to creep backwards as is the case with some cheaper reels. So I spooled the reel up with about 100 yards of backing then a 300 yard spool of 40 pound Power Pro to get the line to within an 1/8 inch of the spool lip. That is one of the advantages of the braided line and helps with distance, with mono filament this would be seriously over filled and give you lots of headaches. In this picture you can also clearly see the BreakAway Canon that I think is one of the big keys to long distance casting. I then take the hook off my 3 ounce Ranger and tie it to 4 feet of 40 pound mono for a shock leader, this stretch helps with the distance too. My rod is a durable 15 foot Cabelas Whuppin Stick surf Rod.

The football was field was frosty and they had a 'field closed' sign on it so I stood next to the field and chucked a practice cast onto the soccer field next door. Gorgeous sight, the plug arched away and burrowed into the turf like a lawn dart....I had to go retrieve it. So, no more practice, the next one I'm aiming for the goalpost 110 yards away. I let line out of the reel until I have it hanging at my hands, maybe 12 or 14 feet and hook the line into the Canon. I then swing behind me and let the plug pendulum until its toward me and just a bit slack, a big step forward and a nice side armed start to the cast that ends totally overhead. ( you get speed from the side hand but it has to go overhead for accuracy)....I don't mind telling you , it even impressed me, the plug arcs high and long and maybe a full 3 seconds later lands half way through the End Zone. 105 yards, 315 feet....

So now I know. In Mazatlan we're always guessing as to how far it actually goes. I figure with a little warm up and ideal conditions I can hit 130 yards. My friend Slahs' technique is better and he routinely hits 150 yards I'd guess.....So now I got the itch, I just need the scratch, fishing the beach and not the Football field.

My fish/people counter tells me that 10,000 times people have come to my blog now. I'm simply tickled with the response. So for my part I promise to continue making this fun no matter how tempted I am to blog about Tuesdays election. And of course I learned my lesson, I'll never post another pic of me in a speedo...what the hell was I thinking. I hope you guys all continue to comeback and read the news from Mile 14...Get out and vote, here's a pic in that spirit. I found the flag in the River and will dispose of it respectfully and properly.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Bearly Making It

One of the reasons I started writing this blog was because it was pointed out to me that life here at Mile 14 is , well, different than other places. So I guess this pic of MP on her first day back tells the story. I don't know but I don't think most people walk the dog armed every time, and around here lately you'd be nuts if you didn't. Its getting old, the bears are everywhere. The next pic was the scene this morning. A big browny woke me up at 4:30 and once again was hard to chase off. He was either a lone bear or I expect maybe the surviving member of the duo that's been around all summer. In any case he dragged a bag of trash half way down the road and destroyed a couple of garbage cans. I guess the options are these....I can invest in the expensive bear proof cans. I can snuff the bear. I can put all the garbage in the house. I don't think I'll do any of those three. MP's solution is way more creative...keep the garbage in the back of my truck. What?...So my truck can look like these garbage cans? And smell like them too? I don't think so. But she did have a fall back plan that we're trying, dilute the area with the smell of ammonia and things bears might not like. We now have bear paths that are almost Timothy Treadwellian if anybody remembers him. They seem to use the same routes to and from the river and like to pile salmon carcasses about 500 feet inland right by what we call Lovers Lane. My friend Mike Dinkle who is a real outdoors man around here tells me that this bear or bears could stay all winter. Well, ole mister bar ain't gonna bother me a bit in sunny Mexico. And yes, I feel safer there than I do here right now.

I have a new camera. Its a Panasonic Lumix and I couldn't be happier. After doing my research (this time) I knew to buy it or a Cannon. So I'm taking lots of pics and came across this Sea-Eagle. In most parts of the world seagulls just fly and swim as they have web feet, but here on the Kenai we have these high bred's that clutch trees and perch, waiting for prey just like their larger cousin the Real-Eagle. Pretty cool eh?

This last pic I'm printing big as the light and everything was just so wonderful when I walked Jet-Dog the other evening. When its just right like this it reflects off the water and the clouds and mountains all at the same time, just like with Mazatlan sunset pictures I can't keep from snapping more. Guess its appreciation.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


You gotta admit that's an impressive football score as our Soldotna team beat Kenai for the State Championship this weekend. It has to be some kind of record for total score I'd guess. But the coolest thing is Player of the Year awards went to a Soldotna running back named Robbie Smithwick who's father drowned in the Kenai River this summer. All of our town is happy and sad at the same time for Robbie.

But while the football players were in Anchorage local athletes like this guy were competing in the 1st annual Soldotna Bike and Skate Challenge. I was impressed, I had no idea we had extreme sports guys here who can do 360's and flips just like on ESPN. Our new Mayor sponsored the event and he's doing a great job of community involvement. Years ago when I was a trustee at the Elks Lodge we had some extra gaming money to spend and after listening to many proposals we settled on the equipment for this skateboard park. For the first few years the facility was somewhat abused but as the years went by our kids rallied around it and now its a center for the young people who aren't all cut out for the traditional school sports. Its exactly what we'd all hoped for when the place was built, a great addition to our town. As you can see theres alot of graffiti that some would call vandalising, me, I figure its just a way of customising the place.

Well MP's been gone exactly a week now, yup, seven full days. She went to Montana for her mom's 85th birthday party and to see her huge family. I decided not to go but I think next year I'll be rethinking that know how I like lists, they add a little structure to my decidedly unstructured life, so here's a short list of things I've learned since she's been gone.

1. Wine glasses break really easy when you wash them.

2. I'm not Jet-Dogs only passion.

3. People say "wheres MP' ? instead of "hi Jeff".

4. Mile 14 is REALLY quiet at night.

5. If you play the guitar for 4 hours your fingers will look like this.