Update Alaska: News From The Front
Stopped into The Fishin' Hole the other day, which happens to be one of my favorite fishing tackle/outfitter/sandwich shops. (Talk about your one stop shopping!!)
I was looking for a good 8 weight line to take to Alaska.
What I came away with was an update from about four different people who had just returned from Alaska.
Now, for those of you that have been following my upcoming maiden trip to The Last Frontier - you know that I am headed up there in a week from now. So it was nice to hear some first hand reports on what is going on, and how the fishing is doing.
Of course I am a little concerned that right there in the tiny town of Shady Cove, Oregon--there were four people who have recently been to Alaska right there at that given moment in that fishing tackle/outfitter/sandwich shop! If you take the ratio of those four people at that given time and the odds that they had been to Alaska and multply that out over the entire nation.... well..... you come up with a pretty dang high number!
And to think I was worried about the mosquitoes.
Anyway, one fella happened to have a photo album and all I had to say was that I was headed up to Alaska--and of course he pulled out that album and showed me some rather dandy Halibut that weighed in at 178 pounds. He also said if he didn't have one of those belts that you strap on to fight Marlin, he would probably be recovering from hernia surgery. I of course said the fish was nice-- but I was more concerned with the mosquitoes.
He told me they didn't bother him. Hmmmm now that sounds fishy to me.
Another person reported that the Kenai--the LOWLY Kenai--- fished well and they caught some really nice King Salmon. They weren't bragging about size so they were either really big or really small.
They also went Halibut fishing and caught some 20 pounders, certainly not big by Alaskan standards. They also reported that every person on the boat puked their guts out.
Now there is something to look forward to. I hope I am fishing out of a Princess Cruiseliner--but I doubt it.
I also asked them how the mosquitoes were?
To quote them: " OH MY GOD - THEY WERE BIG AS BIRDS!!"
Nice. Puking, scratching, and hernia surgery!!
We discussed the various options of Deet and netting, but it sounded like that only made it more challenging for the skeeters to find a way to make your life miserable. They described the mosquitoes approaching, 'like a black cloud' and then enveloping them in a blood sucking frenzy.
Sounds like a Stephen King novel.
One gal produced a bottle of some " natural" deet free repellant, and offered up a very weak, "our friends used this up at Diamond Lake last week and said this stuff is 'the bomb'."
Unless she meant "bug bomb"--I wasn't about to start experimenting with anything unproven. Besides, the difference between Diamond Lake mosquitoes and the Kenai Peninsula mosquitoes is probably like the difference between Peoria and Yankee Stadium. I told her I'd try it but I would need her cell number so I could be sure to call her at midnight if her"natural" spray was ineffective.
She pulled that bottle off the counter faster than a Ford truck recall goes out.
So it sounded like fishing was going about as expected, and the mosquitoes were going as expected also.
I also received a call from another buddy who wanted to go fishing on the Klamath River, in California, the week after I get back. He is an Alaskan fishing veteran so he had all sorts of good information to offer up about catching Silvers, including a "special" fly pattern that he developed and ties himself. I am now going to be his official "field tester" --because I suspect he thinks - if I can catch a fish with it...then it has real marketing potential. So look for it's appearance on the "two guys with flys" website if it works. If not... well... you can always look for my swollen festering mosquito welts.
I have also checked in with my good friend Tom, who if you remember, floated the Kisaralik River last month. He is back and reported a successful trip, in the respect that no one was eaten by a Bear, and they returned with same number of people they left with.
Oh, and the fishing was great for BIG TROUT, and of course--Deet had little or no effect at stopping the onslaught of mosquitoes. As evidenced by his scabbed over arm full of bites and "Calamine lotioned" skin color.
Also received a phone call from Ranger Kurt--and he pretty much just laughed maniacally and kept saying things like: "August in Alaska" "August in Alaska" "HA HA HA ha......."
Perhaps a few to many bites from his last trip??
Well, that is about it from the front.
I'll be busy this week getting ready-and soaking my clothes in Deet...