North to Alaska
For many fishermen Alaska is the ultimate "mecca" of fishing. Early childhood dreams of Salmon choked rivers and Bears of every shape and size basking in the sun, their bellys full of fish - and the occasional "slow" fisherman - help to fuel the vision that is Alaska.
The north country.
The place where even a blind man can catch a fish. At least I hope so, because after forty-seven years of talking about it, buying books on it, watching videos and saying "next year"-- the time has come for me to make my Alaskan pilgramage.
Bags packed and flights booked.
Come mid August I will be on the upper Kenai River casting bugs to Silver Salmon and Graylings and Dolly Varden Trout. I sure hope I don't get skunked.
I literally have travel guides that date back to the mid 1980's, that I picked up, because that was the year I was heading north. For one reason or another the trips always got cancelled or put off.
Not this year!!
Every time I picked up a map of Alaska, I was always amazed at the immense size of our 49th state. So much so, that I always felt I needed three full months to explore it. With that kind of self-imposed mind set, I just kept putting it off.
I finally decided that one week is better than never, so I'm going!
A friend of mine has a son who will be guiding up there this summer, so it seemed like an ideal time to go. Besides, now I can blame him if I come home fishless. My real worry is that I am a lot slower these days so I will have to be selective as to who I fish with while I am up there. I have been having time trials here in Southern Oregon and anybody that can outrun me over 100 yards has been eliminated as a fishing partner. You know the old saying about not having to "outrun" the bear--you just have to be faster than the other guy. Unfortunately, if the bear happens to be a "long distance" bear-- I'm screwed, because I think both of my current fishing partners are marathoners. Maybe I can size up some of the other fishermen while I am up there and situate myself as close to a 250 pound out a shape smoker as possible. If he was to have a prosthetic leg, that would help also, but I'm not sure exactly how to check for that. I certainly don't want the guy to be too large, because then the bear might be intimidated by his size and opt for me as an appetizer??!!
A lot of things to think about before fishing in Alaska.
Another concern of mine that I have heard about, is the abundance of mosquitoes that apparently are everywhere. If there is one mosquito in a 50 mile radius he will find me, so I am concerned that millions of the tiny buggers might cover me like a bee colony drawn to the hive. Based on past experiences, I think my body must be made up of 90 percent carbon dioxide-- which I believe is what they are drawn to-- because I can stand next to ten people outdoors and while I am flailing and swatting like an epileptic, spasmatic fool-- they will stand there calmly looking at me like.... well... like I'm some epileptic, spasmatic fool!!
Again, not being one to enter a wild country unprepared, I am currently undergoing some slightly painful yet necessary skin grafts with a very fine screen mesh that should do the trick.
If not, I will be offering myself up to some rather slow and undernourished Grizzlies.
I know this sounds rather drastic, but my wife was once able to read the entire braille alphabet on my back after I was bitten so many times on another fishing excursion. That and the fact I have heard of guys having metal plates inserted into their head from to many bites. Oh, and of course there is always West Nile virus to worry about--but I can get that here in lower 48 as well.
Other than that, I can't wait to be fishing in Alaska.
AJ Klott-Author, blogger, and peddler of "fly tacks". AJ writes of fishing humor, and the events, people and characters that surround the fishing world. His first book is due out in December of 2005.