Sunday, June 4, 2017

What a week....

I chartered 3 out of the 5 available days this week and considering that the river has been closed for a few years and word of the salmons return seems to spread slowly 3 out of 5 is pretty darn good. And it takes trust, Heather here is maybe the only booking I've ever taken completely my texting, I trusted her and she trusted me, that's the key to guide / customer fishing moe -joe. You see I have never taken credit cards in my 35 years of guiding and sometimes people wonder about that...but I trust them to send a deposit or just show up on  short notice and they trust me to be the guy. Just the other day I had a phone conversation with a gal who said it makes her ' cring ' to put a check in the mail for a deposit.....mmmm.....sounds like she didn't really trust me eh ? Well, she'll be fishing with brand x. But Heather and her friend showed up on time and ready to rock. We fished the flat tide with no boats around and walla, an early morning keeper. Pretty girl, pretty fish, pretty morning.
I don't think I've ever seen more perfect conditions for fishing early run King's. It's been so cold in the high country that the river is way behind in filling and the water is ultra clear. It seems to make the fish bite hard and fight crazy. In the morning as I prep and the river is quiet they role in front of the landing like Marine Land Park. That fish she has there I was trolling so slow with the tide that the lure was nowhere near the bottom but with the clear water they just come and get it, crazy. Her friend John caught two that were over the slot, here's a release of one. Kinda crazy on the Kenai always, in the day if you were a meat hound out to keep a fish you wanted bigger the better, now that same person hopes for a smaller on, but still a noble fish.
So John and Heather had so much fun they signed up for the next day 's bonus trip. We had our first campers at Mile 14, Dean and Alex Lovejoy. Alex is an Air Force Jet guy and rotating to Ohio so he needs a King salmon to fill out his Alaskan memories. How about this cool high rise camper they had.
So Alex wants a King really bad so he was gritting his teeth a bit when Heather's rod went off about 15 minutes into the morning. Alex, never try to out fish a 12 year old or a women, ya just gotta wait your turn. So here's Heather' second legal King, Kenai River limited out for 2017.
We fished several hours and finally missed a couple bites which were our first of the season like that, they'd been biting sooooo hard. In the clear water I'm certain that the boats scare the fish, in fact the other day as we had a fish on and floated over the shallows below my house as I watched the bottom I saw several Kings dart away from the boat. So I left the lower river and fished an area all by ourselves and walla, Deans rod goes off.
As I'm really trying to run my own life now in my last years of guiding one of the things I'm doing is that  I'm staying on schedule. I sell a 6 hour trip at a good price and fish as hard and good as I can, but I stop at noon so I can get my exercise and read that morning paper that I missed for 30 years. So It's 11;45 and Alex knows it's the last troll...good things happen to good people. And Alex, being a bit of a WW 2 and Aviation history buff I really enjoyed my time with you. And for all you reading this let me tell you this....Having people like Alex in charge of our Air Force and our security, no worries that deal is in real good hands.
The next day my friend Jaqi and her friend from Anchorage are in the boat. I gotta tell you, I was so busy that I didn't get any pictures, all the fish were over the 36 inch slot. As I waited for them the fish were rolling like crazy. So crazy is what you'd have to be to not fish right there. We had 3 salmon around 40 pounds in the first hour. Our first one hit Jaqi only 5 minutes in. We had on almost spool us, we had one jump about as high as I've ever seen a forty pound fish jump and they all swam away healthy as can be. You know you're getting some work done when you have to break out the first aid kit for the blisters on Jaqi's hands. Yikes.
We ended up with a couple more releases that day that brought us to fishing 8 people and handling 12 King salmon in three days. I have to say that it certainly bodes well for the future and I hate to count my chicks before the hatch but the fishing and the sonars / science of the river show that things are better and they usually trend not just from week to week or month to month but also year to year.

We were down fishing the high tide in pretty choppy conditions with a guy who's Hewescraft didn't have a lot of prop left after he found the bar at the Toilet Hole. He really was flagging all over the river and not to sound like a total jerk but he just wasn't doing it very well and guess what.....yup, there's enough fish around for everybody.
So I'm feeling great, at least about the fishing. MP's knee is better but she can't walk the 3 miles with me like we do most days. But's that's a struggle for me as well with this  Plantar Facittis I have , I'd bet many of you know how painful that can be. My vision is a bit better from the Vitreous detachment I had a month ago so I'm hoping that these things are over with....the 1st hundred years is the roughest you know. I kinda believe in signs and omens, I just believe so when I came across this on my early morning hike across the bridge I figure things are gonna be just hunk dory, it's a sign and I left it right there for the next person who needs it. How cool.

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