Sunday, April 30, 2017

This river will teach you things...

over and over and over again, you just need to be ' part of it '. For your the last 25 years the reigning champion spinner for Silvers / Pinks was the # 5 Vibrax from Blue Fox. When I'd do my spring salvage trips I'd find dozens with only a few of them reusable as they tarnish and rust easily and the longer they're in the water the worst they are....Well this week I got to finding these ' Kodiak Custom' spinners in abundance and walla, not a single one didn't wash up to look like new. Yahtzee ! See the difference ?
Of course I'd seen the Kodiak Custom's in the store and hadn't ever bought any as they  are expensive and I have hundreds of Mepp's and Vibrax  etc...but now I know, people are catching with these babies or they wouldn't be laying around and now I've got a couple dozen brand spanking new ready to go Kodiak Custom's ' ....Just in the way of showing you my Bona Vide's when it comes to salmon spinners, here's a pic of my spinner drawer in the everyday tackle chest.
So you can probably tell that I'm duly impressed with this product. Kudo's to these guys who use quality components meant to last. The colors are vibrant and the action is fantastic ( had to cast one around ya know ) so what else is there ??? And who wouldn't want to buy tackle from a guy with that smile below AND he builds them right here in Alaska......and ahhhhh....I got a hot tip for a certain salvager I know that reads Mile 14....Fall-In-Hole is kinda lure free and the Big Eddy ain't no 2017.
Well once again I took on an apprentice salvager. My friend Ty Tobias was down and he is all about the Kenai River so we both new it was time for him to cut his teeth. I certainly didn't want to create too big of expectations for him so as we prepped in the garage I let him know that the path to success as a Kenai Salvager runs through frustration, patience , hard work, fine tuning your senses and lots of mud....and of course a magnum dose of Jethro which can be, well it's....ah, enough of that. .....But old Ty is a natural. I was duly impressed at his keen eye ( don't miss that pun now ) and work ethic. Only 5 minutes in he found this 30 dollar Scotty brand rod holder.
And Ty actually in just one trip has developed a new class of salvage...the holistic approach. Unlike some of us that are all about the glory and the mystery of the hunt he actually picks up EVERYTHING he see's.... Holy Moly, what a concept.  It's like he's cleaning the river and doing the right thing. Wow, he took a bag along and brought in yards and yards of phantom fishing line all the time muttering about it being a @$*^$* wonder there's any birds around at all. Good job Ty....
That river is good for a few other things ya know and we'll be getting hard after that real soon. It looks fishy. Now if you asked me what that means I couldn't really put my finger on it but trust me, it looks and feels fishy. Here's the pic of Fall-In-Hole that you've seen many times. Next week about 3/4 of the way down that run you'll find that black guide boat # 003 expertly slipping downstream with the kicker running and towing a T-50 Flatfish....stand by.

Monday, April 24, 2017

A hungry hunter hunts best

When I was a young guide just figuring this deal out I would start every guide season flat broke. And I came to find out that being broke was a powerful motivational tool.....but also a kinda stress invoking one as well. But now in my 60's we're a little more ....ah...fluid than we were as kids so I keep a list of goals on my wet chalkboard in the gear shed that I create every year for motivation.  It keeps me on task and although I have life's goals as well these are the things that I try to remind myself of everyday and stay focused on being the best guide/person/husband I can be....So lets see how we did in 2016.
1. Love MP...well that's an easy one. Anybody that can live with their wife for 4 months in a 720 square ft. condo and still see that twinkle in her eyes every now and then must be doing something right. Love is when you think you've got the best part of the deal.

2. 185...Fail....the elusive 185. I've chased it for years and now that we go to Mexico only a month after the fishing season I just didn't have time to lean down enough. I went south at 187 and came home at 195 so this year the plan is to keep the weight down through the summer and then top it off with a hard 6 weeks of training from mid Sept. to Nov 1st and maybe....hit the 185 or less.

3. Get along....pass...After suffering through and pushing back with a couple of the neighbors in Mexico I realized it just wasn't worth it....ya know the old saying ' don't wrestle with pigs because you both get dirty and the pig likes it ' this year I just ignored them and life was good.

4. Write...pass...Although I'm not doing as good as I think I can I've been writing quite a bit and finished the first song in a long time that I really like. As of this addition of Mile 14 goes to press I'm working on two others and of course I really enjoy doing this blog and hope you enjoy reading it.

5. screwed this deal all up. We intended to bus it again to Puerto Vallartta and stay at one of two Mexican Hotels I researched. Well who'd a guessed that by Christmas they were all booked up into spring and we decided to wait a year rather than go stay in a tourist resort.

6. 20 lb if you were to weigh them in aggregate I easily hit 20 pounds as I caught many of them like the ones below. But I did hook him I think. One day I was chatting with my friend Stan as I cast a Mirrolure around and got hit really hard in the rocks close to shore where these Snappers like it . I told Stan that I can't catch this fish on my 20 pound outfit, it was just to strong. He swam into the rocks and I pulled him out and for a minute thought maybe it could work but then he headed to sea and there was nothing to do but tighten up on him until the line broke....darn.
How about the trick photography on this next one. And to think I was skeptical about learning anything when the government made me go to Guide school a few years back.
7.  Guitar Fund....pass....I got er done. If you go back just a few Mile 14 posts you'll see me playing a beautiful Godin Ultra A-6, made in Canada. This baby is a weapon. It's a hybrid guitar that is thin and although hollow it's shaped like an electric so you get a good acoustic sound with ease of play. It has two output jacks so you can blend the Humbucker and Piezo pick-ups anyway you want for a crazy array of sounds. Plug that baby into Sam's Line 6 modeling amp it's an absolute thing of beauty. I could get some work done if I had this set up in Mazatlan.

Now the other stuff on the right of the board my life coach and lover wrote down. I never really did figure out the 'get outside your head ' deal but I have a theory. So,  yup I'm trying to not be so self centered and egotistical as some people through the years have taken me to be....even if they might have been wrong, maybe.

And lastly she's right on with this one...a secret to happiness is to expect more of yourself and less from keeps you from being  disappointed and underlines a simple're in charge of your own life.

AND....big news. Jeff King's Budget Charters has turned it's first $$$. A really nice new generation Blue Fox Pixie worth about 3 bucks . I spotted him laying offshore just a glistening in the sun like a giant DeBeers Diamond. It's going to be a great salvage / fishing / catching season.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Sea Gulls

I heard my first ones of the 2017 season just now here at Mile 14....that means just one thing, ice out is about to happen. It went out in Soldotna several days ago and works it's way down stream to us. I took this pic of Big Eddy corner from our over look just a few minutes ago and you can see, open water...finally.
It's one of the wonders of this place, I don't know where they've been all winter but instantly at ice out we have hundreds of Ducks and Gulls and yes, Eagles. Here's a pic any of you that follow this blog have seen many times. Its from the sand spit 1/2 way down the road to the Launch. The water is running a bit on the top of the ice but that hard water isn't long for the world. Last year was an anomaly as the river never froze but the two previous winters ice out at Mile 14 was on the same day, April 15th.
Friday night is always a big night for me and MPeasy. I played guitar and sang for a couple hours and then we had the best ever fish taco supper. As we always do we walked down to the Launch and check on the ol Kenai's progress and it was sunny and warm as we climbed up on a picnic table to sit....I hear MP let out a bit of gasp and she's in pain, real pain. Ever sense we starting walking a lot in Mazatlan she's had knee inflammation kind of come and go but Friday night she heard something snap so it could be a meniscus problem or even and ACL or maybe a Bakers Cyst behind her knee that ruptured. Today we did X-Rays and tomorrow she see's the knee Doc and we'll know. I don't mind telling you....I've never seen her like this and it bothers me, she's always been the tough one around these parts.
So Saturday we can't walk like we usually do and a she can't tend her garden starts like she loves to do and .....well, cabin fever sets in pretty fast so we decide to road trip over to Kenai and look for birds on the flats and have ice cream on the way.  It's still to early for all the Geese we get but there were a few ducks and these gorgeous Flamingo's....
The tides in the lower river lift and float and break up the ice as the spring progresses,  It's beautiful in a uniquely Kenai way. I got a great pic of Mt. ReDoubt and then a pic of what the ice flows look like at low tide. Ol slimey will be sticking his nose in there pretty darn soon.
One of the things that we appreciate when we return home from Mazatlan is the clean air that along with the clean water makes Alaska what it is......but not during break up. The cities and the State sand the roads so much that run off and the clean up is terrible and disgusting. Kudo's to the city of Soldotna for passing an ordinance finally to make contractors use water to kill the dust when they street sweep etc. I wonder about all this yukey melt water in the storm drains feeding the river but I suppose there's smarter people than me looking out for that, or maybe not. The next pic is a common sight, black snow from the Safeway parking lot full of treated sand and cigarette see the problem eh ?
Friday night fish taco feed was exceptional. MP made the Avocado with heavy cream sauce that's soooo good. I broke out an excellent bottle of Tequila for a couple sips while I sang some of my songs I entertain with in Mexico and of course we had to have Pacifico....It made me laugh to see the coolest Mexican beer display, it just costs a bit more here, that's all....same thing but different. Salud to all of our friends in our second home , Mazatlan Sinaloa Mexico, Mile 5014....

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Early run King

Yup. It's amazing to me at how good the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game is at telling you what you can't do and how terrible they are at telling you what you CAN do. Ya know when the ADF+G used there Ouiji Board management to close our Early run fishing 6 months before the first salmon would arrive they told us it was out of concern for people like us who need to plan a little around the fishery....well, over a month ago they were given a new regulation package by the Board of Fisheries which finally applies some common sense and fishing opportunity for us and they haven't formally announced a thing ,,,,notta. So if you guys are reading Mile 14 over there at common sense headquarters hows about a news release, getting our fishery back on track around here is big news and maybe the public would like to know.

But I trust that by wading through a combination of congo drums, reliable sources and plane old gossip I've got the straight poop. For the first time in a few years we'll start fishing anytime in May we want..... Yahooo! , I love those trips. It will be catch and release for any fish over 36 inches so that the new idea is to let the biggest and best spawners do their thing for the future. Then when the sonar counts suggest we have enough fish it will be opened to keep any fish you'd like and of course if the counts are horrible into mid June or so the fishery could go the other way until a new plan takes effect on July 1st which would open things again. Being able to keep a King salmon 36 inches or less is great and that's actually a pretty noble salmon that will weigh up to 25 pounds or so I figure. Here's a pic of a beauty I caught myself in May just a few years ago that looks like it would fit the new slot.....LETS GO FISHING .Notice the rivers low and clear. No boats. And that fish was tasty I'm here to tell you....
March was a loooooong month here at Mile 14, think I'll be fishing Mexico next time that month comes around. BUT, it's not spring yet but you can see it from here. It's been melting and seems like a pretty orderly ' break up ' this year. I took this pic of the river in Soldotna this morning on our walk. It's hard to believe that I expect a catch a salmon out of that thing in 4 or 5 weeks. It's really some of the magic of this place, It's a dynamic place and the seasonal changes when we hit a gain of 7 minutes of daylight per day are astounding, when the tree's 'green up ' you can almost see it in a day. When the ice goes out behind my house soon we have thousand of ducks, birds and Eagles....instantly. Wow.
To give you an idea of our lingering  snow pack I took a pic of our old house on ReDoubt Street. That Ponderosa Pine tree me and MPeasy planted 30 years ago is now taller than the light posts....and oh, the house now is a Psychiatric office.....mmmmmm.....
Well I really don't have much to report on . My Seattle Mariners are doing terrible and today gave up a 7 run lead to lose to the Angels in the 9th inning. The first week of the season left them with a 1-6 record which is the worst start in the league.  Oh, it's gonna be a another tough season I'm feeling. What I really wanted to do with this blog is to  just to let people know we're ready to go spring FISHING and that's  done so how's about a nice ' ya broke my heart again ' type of love song.  The I-phone is OK but I think a Go-Pro would make me sound better...or maybe not...............