Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Quite possibly the most insane day of fishing in my entire life.  There have been times in my fishing life that I felt like a horrible angler (cough, learning to carp fish, cough) and there have been times when I felt I had finally figured this fly rod game out.  On this day and on this river, anyone (and I do mean anyone) would have felt like an all star.  Basically, if you could get your fly into the water, you could catch a fish.  Thinking back, we hooked at least one fish while taking photos and my dad actually attempted three roll casts unsuccessfully...because his fly was stuck in a fish. There were other boats on the river, and I don't recall one instance of looking at a boat without seeing at least one of the two anglers hooked up to a fish.  It was so ridiculous and insane that partway through the day our guide Tyler said to me, "ok...no more blind fishing for you.  You need to spot a fish and call your shot the rest of the day."

That barely slowed me down.

Oh, and we are not talking about tiny fish here.   Check out this bow:
The bulk of the fish were arctic char, which had me really excited.  I was hoping to catch a big one and I caught several in the 25 inch range, with my biggest char measuring 26.5 inches long.  Char are awesome fish...they bulldog deep and pull hard and in the heavy current it was a battle to bring a fish to the net.
To top off what was just a crazy, silly, obscene day of fishing...we landed here:
Alaska is simply beautiful, and being there, looking around knowing that no power lines mar the horizon, no concrete pushes aside the grass and no exhaust fumes poison the air is indescribable.  Plus, you get to fish.

The method was the same as our prior day, but different.  Bigger river, more salmon, more current...basically the entire river was a broad, knee to waist deep riffle covered in salmon.  Back at the lodge Pat told me they get about 500,000 spawning sockeye in that river, and most of them spawn in the top half mile or so.  I believe it.  The river was carpeted in salmon, and the rainbow and char were just stacked up eating eggs.
The trick was to cast right on top of the salmon.  You wanted the bead to be too high in the water column to bump or snag a salmon, but drop into position within a foot or two of the salmon's tail.  If you did it right, you hooked a fish.  With so many salmon in the river, you had to steer around them quite a bit...the trout and char were basically everywhere the salmon weren't.  So much life.

We had our first bear sighting as well.  Our poor guide Tyler had been hinting about lunch for quite a while. In fact, I was literally speeding to hook fish quickly so he couldn't pull us to shore...then we saw the bear eating lunch in our spot.  Worked out for me...

The day ended too soon.  Out of nowhere our float plane cruised by overhead, and we zipped up the river to head off to the lodge.  We got back with sore arms and big smiles...

After a huge dinner, I went back out for another bundle of grayling.  

I just reread this post...and first off, my apologies for the general suckiness and lack of direction and structure.  Pretty poor piece of writing but as I reflect on that day, it fits. Day two was a mass of chaos and bent rods, fish being hooked and lines getting twisted.  I kept leaping out of the boat to fight a fish or stalk a big gray shadow I saw just out of range, we took random pictures of random fish...I don't have a clue which fish were the really big ones.  The entire day was a big jumble, much like the crappy post above...I will just leave it at that.  It still makes me smile.


Bigerrfish said...

Wow! what a trip that must have beebn. I would have liked to be a fly on a hat on that one...
Thanks for sharing.

Lawrence Pearson said...

Awesome! I've never see in my life, extraordinarily photo. Thanks a lot