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.