Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Going to the bench

During our last trip, it became abundantly clear that the fish were keying in on a particular fly/color combination. With that in mind, The Wife and I just spent the past hour or so tying in anticipation of tomorrow's outing.
We'll let you know how it turns out.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A developing theme

Since arriving in Alaska, few things have been as predictable as me getting out-fished by The Wife. After yesterday's evening foray, she's up 3-2. However, if you dig a little deeper into the record books, you'd realize I had to go fishing twice by myself to keep the score as close as it is. Otherwise, I'd be staring down a 3 point deficit trying to decide if it's time to throw in the towel. Perhaps I will win out yet, and persistent once again will triumph over skill. Or, maybe not.

Yesterday was an exploratory mission. We didn't even leave the house until nearly 5:00, so, looking back, yesterday's trip would totally be doable after work. We drove for about 1 1/2 hours, wasting about a third of that looking for a good spot to access the river. There were spawned-out pinks out the wazoo, but expectations raised a bit when we ran into another couple holding fly rods and hiking out with a few silvers. As a totally anecdotal aside, it seemed that all the hardware chuckers were snagging pinks while the fly angers were managed to hook into mostly coho.

After a few minutes of hiking, we found a suitable spot without too much competition from other anglers and geared up. The Wife moved downstream just a bit and, before too long, was screaming and hollering in her typical "I got a fish" manner.
The bank-side brush was overgrown and the shore was really rocky so I lent a hand in landing the first of her three silvers.
Who says you can't look good with a big ol' flower on your fly vest?
After I helped land the first fish, The Wife wanted to run the show solo from there on out. She hooked and landed another smaller coho before eventually grabbing onto another biggin.
With The Wife having run a clinic up to this point, it finally was my turn to get in on the action. It must have been the new-school low-rider waders that finally did the trick...
With The Wife wrecking havoc with the silvers, I hooked lip with a nice chum, somewhat making up for the chum I lost a while back.
They sure are crazy-looking fish. Where coho are more apt to make a few strong runs, chums prefer bulling you around the depths for most of a fight. They're a very different fish, that's for sure.
Understandably, The Wife has been pretty proud of herself and her fishing conquests. However, in order to fully understand the irony of yesterday's tally, a little background information is in order. You see, The Wife went to Juneau a week or so ago and had plans to go fishing. Although unable to put line to water, she did manage to wrestle a number of flies out of my box and into hers. One of which was this hotrod, the only fly of its kind in either of our boxes yesterday. Fish weren't interested in black and pink, red and purple, purple and black, or pink and pink . . . just pink and purple. Time to hit up the tying bench . . .

The Mighty O

There were at least two ducks fans in Whittier the other day. Me and this guy:

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mmmm, Halibut

When Jan was visiting Homer a number of years ago, she caught a 127 pound halibut--something that outweighed her by a significant margin. Since history repeats itself, as they say, we made a trip down the peninsula to give it a go. Eager for the next day's fishing, we stopped in The Salty Dawg for a drink. This traditional watering hole out on the Homer Spit had no problem living up to it's reputation.

We decided to break up into teams, with Jan and I taking on Ash and The Wife. All I've got to say on that point is that I'm glad Jan was on my team. That woman ran a clinic, catching the first and two largest fish of the trip. Here's Jan going after the first one:
As our guide, Peter, says, "it's a shooter." With all the rust on his little shotgun, I was a little surprised it could fire. This was the largest fish for our group, topping out at 92 pounds.
Despite the impressive size of her fish, Jan remained composed the entire time and barely showed any emotion.
Ash getting in on the action.
The Wife caught a few fish, and managed to keep me in line for most of the trip.
With Jan having already caught a 92 pounder, she was all wore out by the time she hooked her second fish. Worried she was going to lose grip on the rod, I became the designated hitter part way through.
This puppy weighed in at 68 pounds. With Jan catching the largest fish and hooking the second largest fish of the day, our team beat out the sisters with ease.
All in all, it was a very good day on the water. We all managed to limit out, and had a great time. Our typical fish was in the 35-40 pound range--a perfect eater--and, thanks to Jan's big fish, we had quite the haul.
Here's the whole lineup, with our fishing partners Kent and Kendall included.
When it was all said and done, we brought 184 pounds of halibut home. Good eats!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

"I'm getting a beer, I think it'll help"

-- Jan August 8, 2009

So The Wife's sister and mom are visiting for a couple weeks. In anticipation of our upcoming halibut fishing trip out of homer, they've purchased team-colored T-shirts for all of us. Jan and I are taking on the Ash and The Wife. Somehow (?), my team T-shirt is pink--or, as they put it, salmon colored. As I write, Ash, Jan and The Wife are decorating their team shirts but, despite the fact that I'd look like a piss-poor Elton John imitation if I took part, they are a little disappointed in my lack of enthusiasm for the shirts. I'll just have to out fish them this weekend.

Turning the page back a few days, we headed up Turnagain Arm last weekend for a little exploring. Not to fear, I managed to take the fly rod along and, with The Wife largely abstaining from fishing, I finally managed to out fish the competition.
We tromped around the tidal flats, throwing sticks for the pooch and playing in the mud.
We also managed to see a number of sockeye. These fish sure are sweet.
And a couple chum.
I'm going to have to hook into one of those hogs this weekend. Trip report to follow.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Finally getting out on the water

The local rivers get hit pretty hard around here. Grade-A combat fishing for everyone involved. Nonetheless, The Wife and I ventured out after work today for a few hours. The first stream out of town was shoulder-to-shoulder on both banks for as far as we could see. We kept driving.

After motoring about 45 minutes out of town, the crowds had petered out. Lazy bastards. Finding a convenient place to stop, we ventured down to the river to give it a once over.
Things were looking up. I'll let the pictures do most of the talking. Bear tracks...
Fish tracks?!?
I managed to lose my first chum of the year. It horsed me around for about five minutes before I got impatient and let him get the better of me.
The Wife slayed the pinks--one after another for a bit. For those at home keeping track, she's up 2-0.
Happy birthday Karta!
Rippin' lip.
All in all, a pretty good way to spend a couple hours. I foresee doing a lot more of this in the near future...