Wednesday, April 29, 2015

low wages, hard work and a difficult boss....

Yup, that about sums up my part of the deal for spring time here at Mile 14 of the world famous Kenai River. Yesterday we had a sunny wind free day so it was time to trim and burn the trees at the launch. People who know our place know how important these two trees are that sit out on a bit of a point upstream from and help protect the launch. The big alder and the fairly big willow that seems to come and go depending on how many moose and beavers find it are very important to keep the soil together at times of flood and high water.
When we bought the launch years ago we did a 'bank stabilization' project . At the time it was just gravel with little or no root growth to help keep the bank. So we filled and installed coconut logs and planted Berring sea hair grass and a thousand bucks worth of Felt Leaf Willows...every beavers favorite food.  Well those Willows weren't lasting long and at the time it made sense to protect the most important of them with chicken wire, which we did and of course it worked. Then a few years later Chris Fejes, Robbie Carol and Craig Lott convinced us that the best course of action with those destructive beavers was to simply execute them and my trapping career was started, we've held our own against them ever since...but...I never took off the chicken wire and it grew into the cambrian layer of the trees and got to chocking them off.
So yesterday on the nicest day of the year I sweated and snipped and pulled and grunted those two trees away from their chain like prisons. One thing that did grow on the project real nice is all the rose hip thistle  bushes that I seemed to always end up sitting in...but, I offset the unpleasantness of that by listening to airborne Al on KSRM radio's call in show ' Sound Off'...I phrase for this we coined back in my construction days is " that's ugly Howard"....But you know me, determination is one of the keys to the modest success I've enjoyed in life. So with 7 hours into it and my back starting to set up I had all the wire off , the alder tree pruned of all the dead and soon to die limbs and burned in a huge fire in the middle of the parking lot.

I got to thinking about that wire and them pesky ole Beavers as I enjoyed a day ending Heineken. About that same era 20 years ago we realized those ambitious glorified rats were eating and falling the huge Cottonwoods that the Eagles love to sit in down on Stewart's Island. So MP and I took chicken wire down and saved two of them one of which has an eagle nest in it today. I took this picture from the boat launch of one of our survivors and hey buddy.... I promise I'll get down there and make sure we're not choking you to death like were our own trees.
And when I got done raking all the twigs and grass and jetsam and even some flotsam I decided this might just be the best place to memorialize and leave for good ol J.D. Jet-dog. After all this WAS her place. So I took advantage of the pole that was placed there when me and MPeasy won an ' Eagle Award ' for our habitat reconstruction efforts back in 1996.  I never did care about that award Jet but I sure as hell cared about you................
So when ever I get in a funk thinking about the future of this wonderful place or reminiscing about ol J.D. Jet-dog I just go to the river...it works every time. How could you not shake them blues with scenery and treasure like this ???? My arduous research has proven that the Vibrax spinner is by far the most popular lure for silvers and pinks. For some reason the 2014 season coughed up a lot red but my favorite has always been the chartreuse or maybe the tiger stripe...and ya know the bleeding blue is pretty good...and then the gold on pink and can do magic and well....the old stand by, straight silver is good...with a piece of yarn on it and......man I need to go fishin....

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Ultimate salmon rod

In 1985 I upgraded to my first big guide boat, which my friends called the million dollar boat after I fished it for twenty years. I bought it from a part time guide and pretty randy character by the name of Skip Hoskins. It cost me about as much as a new motor for it would now. But this Alumaweld was state of the art equipment and as Skip worked for the phone company and could it afford it he had way better rods and reels in his guide line up that I did.....so....when we sealed the deal at the Maverick club on Friday evening I insisted he sweeten the deal with a couple of those Lamiglas Rods I knew he had. When I took delivery he had of course forgotten about the rods but after some haggling which included me letting him keep the Jack Daniels bottle I found in the boat I took possession of two pretty well used G1000 Lamiglas Kenai Killer rods. One of them I cut the trigger off of and use to fish the surf and the other is still in my daily line up 30 years later.
It's been an incredible rod and has caught literally hundreds and hundreds of King Salmon, who knows how many really. ( I have never broken a Lamiglas Rod on a fish ) ... ( of course I have 'tail gated' a few of them)  . It's the stoutest of the Lamiglas Kenai series at 9 ft. and rated for up to 3 ounce lures and 40 pound line, this baby is stiff. I tell people it was a cue stick before I put eyes on it. Lately the trend for pulling those huge Kwikfish lures has been to go with long ( 11' ) rods with a fast action but you know me, always different. Nobody that knows the Kenai will tell you Jeff King doesn't know how to pull plugs and I think this baby's stiffness is what makes the magic. It seems when I use the limper rods it kind of kills the seductive action of the plug. Through the years I've trolled up next to people and when the see the throbbing action of the rod they say " wow that rods really working"...here's a pic of the butt to show you how well used the Killer is, totally rounded off from being pulled out of the rod holder for 30 years.
I've seen this rod resting on the gunwale of the boat with a 60 pound king on the line. I've seen people hold it up high and the rod perform a ninety degree bend. But this picture here of an old fishing friend Jim Fregilias I will never forget. It was in the late 80's and we were trolling the pasture when the tide came in and killed the current. In those days we usually just went up river but we were just learning the advantages of doing the dead troll so we unsnapped the divers and put a 4 ounce sinker on to drag the bottom. We had caught a few fish this way and it was a different bite so I suggested Jim hold the rod and strike him hard....and hard it was, when he swang on that fish I could hear my Lami actually creaking, a kind of grinding sound on the hook set. We landed this fish and I inspected the rod, no worries but to this day I've never heard a rod groan like that. How's about the Alumaweld sticker on the console eh?
Now I have a couple entire line up's of Lamiglas rods but back in those days I only had a few as they cost $200.00 ....here's pic of the Killer at work, I'm certain it's the same rod. Fish on, floating the high bank at the sonar counter.
Here's pic of my girl friend Libby with a gorgeous King she caught on the Killer. I would always make sure customers like Libby got the advantage of the Kenai Killers. With these heavy fish you eventually really need to be strong enough to lift that weight to the net and with the added length and stiffness the rod when loaded does a lot of the work all by itself.  Libby is a friend of Bill and Sally Brooks who have been with me since the 80's. Sally and Bill were with me when I had my medical emergency a few years back...I miss you guys...
In the last few years I've broken two Okuma brand surf rods, they just don't seem to be made for the kind of use that Team X demands.  I've broken a Berkely brand caster and a couple Okuma brand spinning rods so....for Mexico I see a Lamiglas Ron Arra signature in my future...And oh one more thing about the brand. A few years back I bought several blue Lamiglas spinning rods for gifts in Mexico and was a bit disappointed when I unloaded them there and realised they were made in China.  Well the guys I gave them to are hard fishing for sure and they're still being used today. My friend Alejandro considers it his favorite rod and has caught everything that swims the surf on it. So when I related that story to the guys at the tackle store where I buy them they responded , " well Jeff, it's that same graphite formula as the old Kenai series G1000 ".  Made in Woodland Washington, USA.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Won't be Slowdotna for long

I don't know how many Walgreen's stores America needs but it looks to me like you don't get to be a city without one. I guess it's a sure sign that your town is coming of age. So here's a pic of ours scheduled to open this spring with another pharmacy and cheap canned goods, anybody want to bet they'll be selling dip nets too ?
On weekends we don't go to the gym, we get up early and walk in town when the traffic and exhaust smell is light, it's one of our favorite things. Last weekend we went by the new store that's located on the old Mullen Homestead right in the middle of town at the 'Y' . The property is planned for another mall type deal with restaurants and all the paving that goes with it so MP and I were heartened to see on the back side of the property some mitigation is being done, it looks to me like Soldotna wants to become that city that ' did it right' with common area's and wetlands protection. When I was a young guy here Soldotna Creek which runs through this property was full of salmon, King salmon, and I'm betting it will again someday.
So we walked along with expensive river front houses on our left and 'conserved' land on our right. We walk into a shaded forest lane with this cool foot bridge over the creek and leading to inter connect with the River Walk at the new Soldotna Creek Park. Pretty darn cool, all of this is in town but it doesn't feel like it, I'd call that character.
Pretty soon those stairways you see in the pic below will be lowered into the river so thousands of anglers can catch thousands of fish. But for now it's just me and Mpeasy quietly taking it all in early in the morning, early in the season. I love the way our town is fitting in with the river, it's my fondest hope that the creatures that come along with it get the same consideration, or more. We ran into one of our City Councilmen who was jogging and in a short conversation we all agreed that Soldotna was shaping up just fine...you can't stop progress so just use the energy to shape it into right.
As we walked we came across this sign at a legendary watering hole, one of the last survivors of it's kind here in Soldotna. I got a big kick out of it as many a year ago that just could have been me.

Many of you know my music so what I thought what I'd do is put up the roughness of a brand new song as I just start working it up, you know, semi-learned. I heard this Brooks and Dunn song on my Pandora at the gym the other day and now that I can hit more octaves I thought this is one I could   ' polish' up for Mexico.  I went and found the lyrics on the internet and then it takes a bit to assign chords to it, when I recorded this last night I had practiced it maybe 10 times and by the time I'm happy with it MP will be at 1500 listens.  I have the camera at lowest setting as Blogspot only gives so much memory away.....hope you like it, semi live. I love the verses but that chorus is going to take some work.
video

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

April showers bring.....

more showers. Or so it seems around here, right now we are getting a skiff of snow over most nights and people who don't migrate as we do are telling me it's the most snow we've had all winter.  As for me, I'm getting settled in and it's nice to be back around my gym, my guitars and of course the river out our back door.

As you might remember I worked hard to get close to my goal of 185 pounds before we got to Mazatlan. The closest I got was 187 but I still lost 15 pounds in 2 and 1/2 months, not bad....well, I get to MZT and I just have the feeling that the cerveza and papa's were taking a toll on my gut. I was happily surprised to get back and weigh in at an even 190 and have stayed there for a week and a half.  I do believe it was the extra cardio as not only do you burn the calories but I think it ramps up your metabolism for fat burn 24 / 7. My friend Mike and I who share the elliptical trainers daily agree that breaking a good sweat and getting your heart rate to around 125 for a guy my age is about right several times a week. I got a surprise call from an old friend In Redwood City California and in the conversation I learned he was fighting a weight issue and I hope I encouraged him....walking is great but I'm convinced that you need a good sweat hard cardio session maybe twice a week and then a regular cardio session every day. Here's a pic of me today after 45 minutes on the trainer set at level 10 for a fat burn of 700 calories. For me I hope to capitalize on my current momentum and maybe get down to that low body fat 175 pounds or so.....ya gotta have goals.
Of course I've been driven to the river several times. I have to tell you that it feels a little lonesome without the Jet -dog looking after me. Because she was always cruising the perimeter I really never worried about bears to much...but now I sing and talk to myself and do what they tell you to be bear wise. This is how fall-in-hole looked just the other day.
I cruised up the outside of our island to check on what the human activity at the new sonar site had done to the vegetation. It was something that I was worried about with this new program as we all hate to see more human footprint in the wilderness....I was happily surprised. It seems that ADF+G is getting this part right. There are no trails beat down or garbage lieing around as I feared. They put up temporary metal grating and it must be working so here's something they don't hear much from me...Kudo's to ADF+G for looking out after our habitat. BUT....I was a little dumb founded to see this paint ball on a tree right where the sonar sits. I ain't Inspector Closeau but I guess somebody figured it would help them relocate the same place over and over, pure science.
And of course I found my first treasure of the 2015 salvage season. With all the ice it's still hard to get to the good places but I found this half a twenty dollar fishing rod....I'd call that ten bucks, wouldn't you?
I'm going to take a chance with the next pic. I came across it several month backs but out of respect for all my Canadian friends as well as my own safety I decided to hold onto it until I was out of gun shot range....C'mon you guys, ya know I love ya and ya gotta admit that's pretty darn chuckly.