Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Now what ?

Every year when I do my last trip I ask myself that...just like I did after graduating High School in 1971. And just like that although it feels a bit different this year because, well you know, I got a bright future ahead and I'd bet ya dollars to donuts the last part of my life is going to go as well as the first...I'm gonna make it happen. On my last trip down the world famous I took this pic to commemorate the day...I don't think I even need to say a thing...everything's better than O.K.
Speaking of MP, did I tell you about her melons ? Instead of waiting to be where she can grow fruit she decided to take a chance this year with her valuable green house real estate. Well, they ain't as large as we'd both like but they're about the cutest little melons you've ever seen. The look, taste and smell just like the Mexico variant, just a bit smaller....I guess not everything is big on the Kenai.
If you want to see big check out this Silver salmon that Ty caught on my last day of separating people from their money for fishing...somehow that still seems somehow strange....But around here 18 pound silvers are a rare breed. I think I've only seen a few and I do believe I've most likely seen more of them than anybody to date. On my registered scale this baby was 17 3/4 . Usually it goes like this, that silver that you just caught that looks like 16 is 14. The 14 is twelve and on it goes. So for me it was a bit of kismet that one of the largest Silvers of my guiding was also one of my last.
That last day for me was bit serendipitous. It was fun and sad all at the same time and I want to thank my 3 friends who came along, I'll never forget this day...and we did pretty darn good for the waning days of an average silver run. Between the 4 of us we definitely had the experience advantage at work.  I grew up with Tom Beneventi and he was on his 4th Kenai trip but his first visit to Mile 14 in the 20 some odd years we've been here. Ty Tobias first fished with me in the early 90's when I was in Cahots with Thompson's Halibut Charters and he's a veteran of many campaigns. Keith Holtan and his dad were a couple of my first good customers when Keith was playing Hockey at U.A.F. What can I say about Keith, he's as crazy to fish now as the day I met him. We've shared a lot and I wish him the best for another 10 years or so of guiding here on the world famous. Check out the sign in the background, I built it as part of my tuition for Loren Stewart in 1984.
I've learned a lot of different things from guiding and I'll save all those life lessons for another blog. But ol guide # 003 can flat take a fish pic....Here's Keith with our first fish of the morning, not bad eh ?
If anything that goes with me everyday and has for 30 years tells the story of a hard guy hard guiding it's this. I have different ones for egg flavor and sardine marinade...oh baby the secrets to success. If any of you out there want it just send me a message and we'll work a deal....really now....it could be yours...

Monday, September 17, 2018


It's something we're always waiting for. Tomorrow it'll be better, tomorrow's a new day...and tomorrow for me is ' it's over'. The only new things that ever really bothered me was the unknown of a new job so I'd have anxiety and when I got there tomorrow it was always alright, they liked me and I liked them. But the guiding thing that besides loving MP is the only thing I've ever been really really good at is going to be a hard no tomorrow. It's my identity, it's my social life, it's my work and my play...it's been everything to me and now, it's over.....but hey, we still got fish and 10 days in September so if anybody reads this and says lets go then lets go ! One of my oldest and best buddies that I went to High School with came to help me along the way . Thanks Tom....today on a ' no fishing from the boat day we hung out and bank fished at Mile 14 like the kids we were...it felt good , I guess it was good practice to get used to new things....
And of course I caught the first silver salmon of the morning on my yellowbird side planer with a K-15 behind it in the perfect riffle on a gorgeous fall colored river.
So I've been a little nostalgic lately, 100 % guys get that way ya know so it was cool that we had a beginning here at Mile 14 to go with an ending. Our friends Jackie and John got married here on Saturday, the rain held off and the ceremony was beautiful...And like most everything else in my life guiding delivered their friendship to me...and friends they are. You see MP has always told me that I use the word friend too liberally. she says those customers are not all your friends. Well in Jeff's world they are until they hurt me like a 20 year group of customers who were recently here and never called, never smiled, never cared. So onward for a good life my friends Jackie and John and thanks for sharing with us, your friends....
And what would a riverside Alaska wedding be without your Extra Tuffs ? We're a little different around here don't ya know.
Speaking of different....Kenai High Schools Cardinals are having their homecoming this next weekend like schools all over the U.S.A. But who else would have one of these babies for the bon fire ? Only in Alaska I'd say.
We got these guides here at Mile 14 that got some really cool stuff. And what looks cooler than a gorgeous Willie Boat going down the road with the rods raked back in the rod holders like a blue water boat and it's rocket launchers...well...it's also how we collect lures and line at least a few times a year. They leave the launch and one of our overhanging tree branches grabs the fishing line and walla, off you drive to an empty spool. One year I noticed 40 bucks worth of fly line going from the road to the launch so I got a fly reel and spooled it up as I walked, still got it. The funny thing this year was that it happened twice in two days, this time it was that small plug and a spool of mono...and hey, if that's your and you're reading this whats with the 40 or 50 pound test, c'mon lets give ol slimey a chance.
Here's pic of a very unusual fish. Obviously a Steelhead which aren't supposed to be in the Kenai River. As you can see they are totally different looking than our native Rainbows which are robust , round and colorful unlike this skinny little guy. He was in the tidal area as well. ADF+G used to stock them in the Kasilof River and quit that practice many years ago with concerns of them straying and messing up someone elses gene pool....well, add it to your list of things that didn't work out for you ADF+G.
I know, I know,...where's the dead fish pics. We've been killin em pretty good in the last 10 days...oh by the way sorry about the lapse in Mile 14, the dog ate my homework. But here's Sunday, Tom Beneventi ,  Jay Merritt and his buddy John. Jay has a fish camp on the Kenai and has watched Guide # 003 for years and decided to go with me while he could, I was really flattered and we caught really pretty good.
OK... I need a favor. Please let me know what you think I should do with the future of Mile 14. The left side of my brain says that when the books over you should close the cover ....but...Even though I won't be guiding on the world famous I don't intend on dieing either and me and MPeasy are going to do some serious adventuring, with fish I'm positive. And it's going to take a while to break camp here at Mile 14 so please, please take the time to let me know if I should continue and if you like it enough to comment....would mean the world to me......JK 😎😎💙💚💛💜...and I wish you all peace.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

In a Fog

I'm not complaining, really....but...we're experiencing about the longest and best run of clear fall weather as I can remember. Every morning it's cool and as we get to sunrise it gets foggy and foggier and foggier. Which is actually good for the fishing and of course promises a nice day to follow with the burn off but it's stressful for the guy running your boat here at Mile 14. Every morning with the tides at night I need to get down to where the fish will be and boy howdy, it's just not as easy for me as it used to be. Yesterday morning I make out a green light dead ahead which means I'm seeing his starboard side which means I need to bear left to avoid...which is absolutely contrary to safe boating practice. Then he changes his mind and I see red so I bear right and we cross red light to red light as we should but for a second there he was dead ahead and in the fog who knows how close...got my adrenaline running. How's this for a gorgeous all be it foggy sunrise. And oh, I decided yesterday morning that is the very LAST time I run miles downriver. When it's foggy from here on out we're entirely on the side of safety and will sit tight here at Fall-in-hole and fish until the fog clears.
I guess it can't hurt to publih this pic again as a fog reminder...
You can get a great sense of the feel from this pic of Ryan Moran with the first coho of the morning. It took me a bit to get settled in as the shore looked closer than it was and the boat behind me looked farther and well....it seemed to be the right place.
Pat Moran I met in the 1980's through Geno, an F troop legend. We've given new meaning to the 'friend of a friend' deal. As we move into new stages of our lives Pat and Barb will be friends we see and fish with whether it's the world famous or a trout stream in Mooootana. Maybe even a a back bounce river in Oregon eh Patrick ? What a wonderful time I had spending two days with Pat , Barb and there son Ryan and his wife Omily who live in a small town in China ( 6 million). I learned a lot, I laughed a lot and caught a lot. Here's a pic of those 4.
In Mexico I routinely see people using hand lines to fish with. My friend Alejandro is an expert with it , he routinely prefers it from the rod and reel when he needs to toss the real light feather jigs that will get you a Snook real close to shore. But the other dayon our walk  me and MPeasy saw the hand line used like I'd never seen before. This father son team from Switzerland were using them along with a rod while fishing bobbers at the bridge. Very cool, I was just wondering how the outcome would have gone if either of them were to hook a hot 16 pounder.... I kinda got the feeling that if and when that happened they'd be on their way to the reel dept. at Trusty Hardware and Fishing.
Got me a new guitar from Sweetwater coming so come back next week and I should have a pic of a gorgeous semi hollowbdy electric in Aqua Marine color...I kinda like the looks of this one too.