Monday, August 29, 2016

A secret to happiness

As you all know, I like to talk. So this job of mine is perfect as we have hours and hours to deepen our horizons and getting an understanding of our places on this trip around the sun. Through the years I've learned a lot from the folks I fish with, financial advice all the way up to medical insight and of course info. But the other day a guy said something that really resonated with me" one of the keys to happiness is to expect more from yourself and less of others "....mmmmm.....I guess I've always known that you can't control others, only yourself, and I guess I knew that you feel better on the right road. It's something I've dealt with over and over, I set high standards and goals for myself and then have an unfair way of applying those standards and goals to others which makes me continually disappointed in some people. So.....expect more of yourself.... So for me it's like this, when I get around hurtful people, expecting more is the forgiveness that I've never been good at, gonna give that a try in Mazatlan this year.

Yeh, yeh, yeh....get to the dead fish stuff, right ? Well I'd say that the old Kenai is experiencing about as slow of Silver fishing that we've seen in 10 years and actually it's not all that bad. Some things in life are good even when they're bad. Even our Humpy's that are mosquito thick every other year are kinda slow. So it does my heart good to know that even with lower salmon numbers if you work hard you can still hit over 500, which we did all week. Last week I asked whats better than a 12 year old with a salmon....mmmmm, a 13 year old comes pretty close. And a 14 year old is pretty darn chuckly to.
Man does that flash at O dark thirty make for a cool pic or what ? Thanks Connor and Cam for coming along, you're the future of this whole deal so welcome to the plate. I do sometimes worry about the future of sportfishing when we live in an area where gill net's are accepted as fair pursuit, which they ain't. The net captures the fish only after he's been tricked into biting the bait and then given a fair chance to break the line, spit the hook, run through the prop, backlash the reel....100 things can go wrong. But when I see kids fishing like this when me and MP were on our walk I feel good, many smiles.....way to go guys. Life jackets, eye protection, early morning, ya got good parents kids.
Seems like lately I've had some expert fish poser's. I don't think these guys even tried to achieve perfect fish geometry but they sure did. Sam, Jody, Cam being anchored by my old friend Howard Brown. Great day guys, mucho gracias.
Just when I thought that the perfect pose was in every fisherman's DNA I caught my new friend Tom getting it done, ahhhh.....he's coaching Rich there pretty good. Now Tom is a fishing guide on the Sabine River is East Texas and he knows the way. So when you get a seasoned poser/cameraman/promoter you pay attention, right Rich ? Tom there doing the tutorial is the only guy who's ever showed up with as much fish guts and blood on his clothes as me.
The guy on the left there is Joe Ray De La Cruz...and he needs to see a fish whisperer. He never had a bite and as you can see everyone else got the limit. Here's Tom and Jane who both guide like I do and Rich....and the fish that Jane got us started with in the morning.
The other day my old friend Randy Berg trolled by. He's a steady guy and we've been friends for 35 years , I guess we kinda kicked this whole deal off. They had just seen us come off the anchor to land a silver and as they trolled by the guy in the front of the boat said " hey I got this lure here that catches nothing but humpy's "....So I asked him how much he wanted for it...

Monday, August 22, 2016

That's a lotta stuff for just 3 minutes

That's what I said as we headed to the end of our Tuesday trip. I had Dr. Shane from the Blinn group along with his wife Beth and son Austin with wife Ashley.  We're anchored up in the Big Eddy or as Greg Davis would say ' at the Edward' and along comes  Melissa the Park Ranger. Being in the mood that I'm usually in I got out my camera, it went like this....
" Is it OK if I take your picture ? ", ' Why, is it going to end up on a blog or something ?" " now what would make you ask that ?'.....( long silence from the Park Ranger ).... "I promise I'd only say good things about you"..." OK" here goes.......well, mmmmm, ahhhhh, she was actually kinda fun that day so keep it up Melissa, we like you best that way.
So I get my Park Ranger pic and as fast as you can say ' let me see your licenses' one of the rods goes off, no wait, two rods go off. I cast off the anchor line and we float free dodging several boats anchored below us and low and behold one of the two is a jumping , going wild Silver Salmon....which we bonk and as you can see old Austin here was mighty pleased with that deal. Catch one, release one, dodge 3 boats and never spill your coffee, I told Melissa " they don't teach that at guides school".
And as I idle back to our bouyed up anchor we get that Marlin Perkins moment with not one but two moose swimming the river within 25 feet of us. With the quiet 4-stroke power you could here them snorting and spitting water, pretty cool and what a way to end a great day.
Shane's wife Beth is kind of a city Slicker and wasn't sure about fishing or even Alaska in general. Well she had a great time and as you can see from this smile liked her first silver salmon. I guess that's the essence of guiding and when Shane thanked me for making her feel wanted there as well as safe and secure it meant a lot to me....that's my job.
It's been wet and overcast here so when the sun comes out everybody notices, one of those ' ya don't know what ya got till it's gone deals' so the other morning we got a glimpse and it caused the most unusual lighting feel. It was this weird band of sun that seemed to start at the river instead of the sky...ya know what I mean ? It was like there was only a little bit of it coming down and somehow the moisture magnified it like my coin collectors glass and....pretty scientific eh ?...that's my theory and I liked it real good.
I think everybody is struggling to catch a lot of silvers, at least I hope so and I'm not the only one. I guess I was trying to be to cute and looking in the sloughs and the high water spots so about mid week I decided to save the gas and throw the pic out and fish one good area hard....and guess what, it works. Here's pic of me and Volker with a nice one. I don't know why they wanted me in the pic but they did.
Shane has nice kids. Here's Brandon with a silver. I left the plug in him so you can see what killed him. And of course Shane was chuckling pretty hard and had to get in on it. I've seen this guy every 2 years for the last 20 years....pretty cool....
The Kenai Peninsula State Fair was a disappointment . All vendors and few exhibits. I guess I'm at a point in life where I'd rather learn something than eat Funnel Cake and buy Bee Wax soap.  And the biggest let down was that with all the B.S. going on in local politics there was only one candidate there ...a democrat if that matters to ya. So I couldn't find an influential person to talk fish politics with and explain how screwed we are being but I did enjoy watching MP watching a goose with is head submerged....kinda the same thing as a politician I guess.
And of course you know I'm on this quest to become a better person and if I could really find the meaning of life it might I'll look anywhere. I just don't understand why the sooth sayer at the fair didn't have a ' includes all boxes box'....ya know a kind of big hit deal, you win it all. I mean....why should a guy have to hit 'past lives' when all ya really need to hit  is ' Love' ?
So I left the fair kinda wondering some of those kind of things....Why are the politicians so lazy ? Why wasn't the Love box on the Wheel bigger ? Why didn't they have Chocolate ice cream to go with the chocolate dip and chocolate sprinkles ?????.....why ?  But I guess it was all worth the drive, I did find a guitar playing pig...and for me, that's enough.

Monday, August 15, 2016

August = Rain

If you fish the world famous Kenai River in August you have to be prepared for our ' liquid sunshine'.  August is traditionally a wet month but the last few years it's been extreme. Once again with all the warm weather and glacier melt in July combined with steady rain in  August we are ' bank full' and just a good storm away from another flood. Our river bank at Mile 14 is taking a beating from boats being tied up where they'd never normally reach...but the good news is the water clarity is holding for's the graph you've seen before. The pyramids on the graph are the 40 year average of where the water level usually is.
Our Silver run seems to be building but it's just not as strong as usual and even the pink salmon don't seem as plentiful either. But there's certainly enough fish around to get a tug and a smile.  This was on the Internet and made me chuckle pretty good.
Alaska Olympians receiving their Silver

This week I fished a young couple from Oxnard California and I got a first....when I asked Jim why they picked me out of all the guides on the Kenai River he said that I seemed liked a ' cool old man ".....mmmmmm....well, I guess I'm there, it's time. Here's a cute pic of his wife Lan with a Kenai Knarly.
This pic of Scott with a Coho will kinda tell you the dark / dank /wet / fluid weather we've been fishing through . Next February Scott's going to be at Emerald Bay, Mazatlan Mexico so we'll do a repeat performance with the fish Scott...and I guarantee it won't rain.
I've only had a couple evenings to work with my new Godin guitar. It's really cool. I can get a really good acoustic sound without having to hunch over that huge Martin HD-28 of mine, but still, nothing sounds like a Martin. When I get two new Jacks I'll be able to plug it into an Electric amp as well as my acoustic amp and the blends should be fantastic. This guitar plays like a Stratocaster but sounds like a Martin....darn proud of you guys making these guitars up in Canada. Here's a song, a bit rough as I'm just learning and of course being in the garage doesn't help....well....It's musicians life. When you're a kid your parents say " take that *&;#% out in the garage " . Next thing you know you're an 'old man' and you're still in the garage...

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Things I learned through Guiding

1. If rain is in the forecast it always starts at 6:01 a.m.

2. It rains Tuesdays 3 times more than on Mondays.

3. Nobody ever voted for Barrack Obama.

4. Trusty Hardware should have a 12 step program.

5. There is no such thing as ' Rain Proof ' .

6. If you think your boat is the only one catching fish, you're wrong...and a jerk.

7. Pro-Cure red hot has a half life of 22,000 years..

8. It's called ANIS oil , not an..

9. Yuri Geller is actually an ADF+G employee.

10.  The worst sound an outboard motor can make sound.

11.  Don't eat hard boiled eggs while guiding.... ( this is very complex, but trust me)

12. Don't ever say " man, we caught a beauty right here back in 73 so we must be due "

13. The river is 6 ft. deep.....period.

14. Insulated  Extra tuff boots with felt insoles under Dr. Scholes arch supports.

15. In Soldotna when people ask what you do for a living....'fisherman' is the correct answer.

16. If it's sprinkling rain in Soldotna, it's pouring rain in Kenai ( hey it's that time of year ya know )

17. If you use the restrooms at Cunningham Park it's possible to hold your breath for 9 minutes.

18. Russian Roulette is safer than a stop at the Pillars Boat Launch

19. Never trust a boat coming at you with windshield wipers on

20. go slow, relax, breath through your nose, exhale, repeat.
And hows a bout a pic of my new guitar...made in Canada eh, Ernie. After months of research, begging, justifying and just basic politicing I pushed the button. She's a Godin Hybrid Ultra A-6. Has dual exhaust for either a mellow acoustic sound from an under saddle peizo pick up or a hard rockin electric sound from a bridge mounted Humbucker....a song on it for ya'all soon.

Monday, August 1, 2016


I guess that's the best word to explain how I feel every year at the end of King season. It's a heck of a life where 3 weeks every July can make or break you financially . But MP and me mustered through it just like we always have in the 20 some years we've owned the boat launch and the 30 some years I've guided....somethings in life don't get easier just because you know how to do them. We're up at 3:30 every morning to open the gate, MP has the hardest job as she deals with literally thousands of people, me, just 4 a day....and of course the usual banter at the boat launch. Here's pic that shows my life...I go the entire week without going into town. I usually get to the garage with things put away by 1:30 or so and have a beer. I'm usually a Pacifico guy but those clear bottles reassured me this July that there wasn't a bee in them.
This is how my work bench looks when I purge the black boat #003 of all the King gear and transfer to all my silver gear,,,I got a bunch of stuff....
For 13 years ol Jet-dog would wait for me on the picnic table everyday of July. It always really helped me. Now with her gone I guess I'm a little more alone  but this year my new buddy Cameron here really stepped up to put that ol smile on my face no matter how the day went or the weather hurt....Thanks Cameron....mischevious looking little guy ain't he ?
We had great success this July, lots of King salmon to the boat and it makes me feel good to know I still have what it takes, no laziness. Starting with when bait was allowed we never got skunked. This fish here was a 9th inning rally that saved that streak last Tuesday...Ol Jaxson there ain't as good a poser as Lowell, but pretty close.
Ginny Simpson caught a beauty. I don't know why she needed help holding it up because she sure didn't need any help landing it.
The last 4 days of the season I did something I've always threatened to do and that's plan my trip around the tide so we fish the best part of the day. The first day it went off without a hitch and we caught 4 Kings and then....the wind hit. It was blowing 15- 25 for two days and although we fished pretty well it was hard on morale. One day I retreated from Mile 5 up to Mile 7 just to get behind the lee of the bluff. As we fished in 2 foot whitecaps at Mile 5 in a 21 footer with 32 inch sides boats half as big made there way to the dip net fishery. It's amazing nobody was killed. Here's a pic I took as we ran around Mud Island on Saturday, it really doesn't do it justice but you get the idea.
So with the wind and tide it's high risk, high reward. It was very flattering to be hired by Mick
Wykis my neighbor to take his friend and family out. He knows many a guide and chooses me, thanks Mick for the trust. Here's a pic of the Friday catch with them, Mick, his daughter Aly and friend Larry. As you can see we fished all alone in the lower river, that takes some confidence.
It was like magic....on the last day of the season my new friend Jaqi caught our first silver of the year. Everybody knows that it's my favorite fish and fishing so I took it as a harbinger of good things to come. Not only was it our first silver but it was an exceptional one to boot. Jaqi had her King salmon cut off by an incompetent boater on my birthday and I was so hoping she'd catch one on Saturday but she settled with a smile for that nice Coho. We'll get that Chinook next year Jaq....I promise.
Through the years I've been a little hard on the State Parks Agency....The Rangers are like Jack booted Hitler youth and their lack of respect for our Private property is stunning....and of course they're trying to put us out of the boat launch business... But lazy they ain't. Any agency that has time and effort to put their ' don't have fun here'  signs on a floating objects deserves a 2nd chance from me. So based on that and the fact that the Director is one of my favorite people in the whole wide world I'm going to chill out with State Parks and give them a break....for now.... that is.
Actually it's brilliant. Like a roving billboard. Now EVERYBODY on the Kenai knows what not to do....maybe someday they'll let us know what we CAN do....