Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Thirty days out plan

The thirty day prep:

By June 30:
✅Order flies
Inspect fishing gear:
 ✅  Fly lines (make sink tip)
 ✅Reels lubed, lines cleaned and wound
 ✅ Flourocarbon leader material (15-20 lb)
   Decide on how to stow flies. Thinking about slim box with hook stow
✅Inspect waders (purchase new glue thing)
✅Test boots, know how to lace and changs soles
✅Buy a cool new shirt for better pictures
Decide on new camera. ( tell the wife its for shooting kids on wakeboard).  Leaning toward Olympus 860 
✅Compulsively obsess

July 1-10
Pre stage
   Stack gear and clothes on staging table
   Make final clothes decisions
   Review toiletries and meds, refresh as needed
   ✅Buy line crockies
   ✅Test IK and pump transportation method.  Using old wheeled luggage, not bringing pump, put other gear in there to slimline carry ons.
   Order more flies (floating egg, small mouse, something strange)
    Designs for Rod caddie finished and approved, built? NOT DONE YET
Review last two years packing list
Buy something else you don't need: new reel, crocs
Compulsively obsess. (Reread journals, watch film, act insane (great at that )

July 11-19
Final Stage
Prepack, make sure everything fits
Buy license ( print and stow)
Pack ( Hondo film packing, pretend your les stroud)
Print boarding passes

July 20  board plane,



Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Count Down

For generations fisherman and maybe some more enlightened hunters, have debated the count down.  Not the need for one, sheesh, every kid waiting for Christmas universally embraced the count down as a mandatory part of all anxiously anticipated events.  No, the debate is focused on how long, when is it too soon to start marking the calendar?  My vast analysis of this topic (was considering it for my PHD thesis) has lead me to two simple principles to guide the countdown to your countdown.

1.  The bigger the event, the sooner you start.  I vaguely remember a wee little Pablo once mention only 364 days till Christmas.
2.  The more psychotic and desperate the participant, the sooner the tally begins.  If you just stepped off your second most favorite river after an epic day, who cares when the next trip is.  If you've been confined in some office somewhere and you can't remember the last time cold water circled your waders, get out the calendar, you need to know how much longer you have to survive!  

So, AK 2015, the count down begins.  50 days for Hondo, cause #2 above surely applies most to him.  40 for me, Pablo and our two or four, new com padres!   So, below is the thought meant to take your mind for a brief moment today to the river of your future and dreams and give you a quick jolt of endorphins usually saved for the real moment.
I'd never caught a Dolly Varden (excepting bull trout on big creek) till AK 2008. That year I took a couple of small Varden, but it wasn't until Vinuk 2009 and again in 11 that I really grew to love these fish.  Why are they so decked out?  I'm sure there is a scientific reason probably related to spawning etc, but to me the artistry of these fish (and many others) is just a gift from God, a sign of his love and joy in his creation and I am grateful that I am one of the few people on the planet who recognize that and have been blessed to experience this untouched part of his handiwork.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Pay the Price

6:45 am MST, boop-beep. That's the sound of my phone receiving a text. It's the Gov. He's gone off the deep end. Stayed up all night watching "The Return" parts 1 and 2. Now he's messed up good. Got the AK Fever something hard. After exchanging texts for the better part of an hour, I'm messed up good. Spiraling down, headed for rock bottom, wishing I was standing on that rock bottom, feeling the cold current press against the back of my knees. Waiting for the tug. But no, not today, not for another 100 days. Technology... HA! That's the price I pay. Next time I'll not look at my phone till 9 am, maybe.

Friday, November 21, 2014

What the Crap?!

It's as common as mosquitoes, Hondo hogging your run and bows behind the king in the land of the midnight sun.  But on Wilson's creek and just a couple weeks after season ended?  Really?  I could just see the little dude (compared to his cousins) sitting on this rock river left, nice view from the throne, pondering the meaning of life.

Hail to the Chief

Reunited with my old Kvichak buddy Steve (big Chief).  He graciously put us on to some private water on the famed Davidson River outside of Brevard, NC.  Interesting water, reminded me of the Smith River in VA, which Pablo and I fished (so called) on January 1st about 20 years ago as naive eastern newbies.  Wide with good depth in rock and sandy runs.  The depth made spotting fish difficult but the run below the "island" was gorgeous and produced nice bow's ranging 12-14 with good girth.  Amazingly the sandy run above the island yielded bows as well.  A cold weather start yielded to sun and although breezy, cool and pleasant.  Big Chief's day wasn't as productive as his first outing on this water, but with his typical class, he took it all in stride.

Feeling full of vim and vigor, basking in new water, as Steve headed back to the grind stone, figuring I wouldn't get back this way for some time, I determined to explore the North Mills River.  I was pleasantly surprised to learn there are 5 road-less miles of DH.  A beautiful stream, definitely not a river , a stream about 20 feet wide with long stretches of shallow water over slabs of exposed bed rock.  Much like the Jacob's fork, you walk between runs likely to hold fish.  With such sallow water I wanted to hunt and peck in secondary runs with a caddis, employing my surfing the current technique.  I was pretty much done after 30 minutes, just finding the little water not as appealing on that day after enjoying big (for me) water.  Walking fast, flipping infrequently, I came to a promising run, couldn't see anything do to dimming light but got in position and started dragging the elk hair caddis across the current.  Just before I was going to pack it in and head home, an unseen strike brought a fat red stripe in the 14 range.  Good fish to end the day with (although I admit I fished more when I saw another great run and took another bow - though much smaller).

Will Big Chief ever make a return to the great north?  I've become a bogart, all vacation plans revolve around the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.  But some men are less selfish than I am, and can live peacefully, if not wistfully, knowing it was truly a once in a life-time trip.  Hail to the Chief, a gentleman piscator with his priorities in tact.

Monday, November 17, 2014

2015 Sockeye Forecast

Usually it's June, fights are scheduled, gear being whored and maybe even staged, when I turn my focus to analyzing the return, the run, the spawn.  Cruising the AK fish and game website, updating charts with new counts every three days trying to surmise how this year will compare to past years and when the run will peak with steelhead in tow.   Well it's not even Thanksgiving and look what came across my network.... Visions of rainbows dance in my head!

State fisheries biologists are forecasting a run of nearly 54 million sockeye salmon in Bristol Bay in 2015, which is 40% more than the last 10-year mean of total runs.

Read more here: http://1.usa.gov/1uzCY3t

Monday, October 6, 2014

Then Took the Other, as Just as Fair

JBeen a month since we were trekking the Stough Basin of the Winds, having rolled the dice and hit the weather jack-pot.  Finding new lakes, rarely if ever fished.  Catching fish till we're silly and pondering a rise in a sterile looking lake and then later, the big tail splash rise seen only by Pablo.  Exulting in hot, cold, wind, rain, sleet- repeat, and scrambling to rock shelter under blackening skies only to moments later peak out to bright sun.  Seeing one lone hiker in five days.  Welcoming a four point muley into our evening camp.  Spending a morning unable to walk but finally busting it out a day early, in record time, in the mind numbing pain of a cut foot because going was easier than stopping.

Winter is baring down on us.  Expeditions now only in memory or scratching their way on to 2015 calendars.  Everybody dreams, but only a few live those dreams- life is good men, dream on.