Friday, November 20, 2015

Alaska: Day Four Captions

Fly for an hour plus which in Alaska means a barely-discernable distance on the state map; bring one fly box: pink and fuschia.  The difference is obvious in photo above.

Ocean fish.  Silver.  Hot.  Sea lice.  First stop on this day was a slough.  A resting/holding zone for coho salmon.  We set up and immediately wore ourselves out hooking big fish on gaudy streamers.  Cartwheels.  Tumbles and rolls.  Good number of doubles.

Our guide Pete was on the money with every call he made.  Stop here, look in there, be ready now. 

We lunched on a cobble bar; cleaned some fish too.  I made a point of participating in it; wanted to follow through to extent possible.  These fish come apart pretty easily; big fish, big meat; easy dimensions.  Here is the orange; eggs, flesh that are nutrition for stream life; for angler.

One cast over lunch break.  No more no less.

Having put down a serious chapter with streamers, we stopped (good eye by Pete on the boat-by) at this shallow water setting and spent a couple hours engaged in some highly memorable sight fishing.  Walking streamers up high in the film.  And then switching to poppers....

This is a legendary popper; caught a couple fish on it and then switched to a smaller model.

Double silver silvers.  

Double red buck silvers.

We watched these toothy beaks come alive in the shallows and follow flies....  sometimes breaking the surface and swinging side to side in pursuit of a popper (this fish above ate pink gurgler)....    rise up and set down on a fly.  

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Carmel Point

The extraordinary patience of things!
This beautiful place defaced with a crop of surburban houses
How beautiful when we first beheld it
Unbroken field of poppy and lupin walled with clean cliffs
No intrusion but two or three horses pasturing
Or a few milch cows rubbing their flanks on the outcrop rockheads
Now the spoiler has come: does it care?
Not faintly. It has all time. It knows the people are a tide
That swells and in time will ebb, and all
Their works dissolve. 
Meanwhile the image of the pristine beauty
Lives in the very grain of the granite
Safe as the endless ocean that climbs our cliff.-As for us:
We must uncenter our minds from ourselves;
We must unhumanize our views a little, and become confident
As the rock and ocean that we were made from. 

- Robinson Jeffers

…poetry must deal with things that a reader two thousand years away could understand and be moved by. This excludes much of the circumstance of modern life, especially in the cities. Fashions, forms of machinery, the more complex social, financial, political adjustments, and so forth, are all ephemeral, exceptional; they exist but will never exist again. Poetry must concern itself with (relatively) permanent things. These have poetic value; the ephemeral has only news value.   - R. Jeffers

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Alaska: day three captions

Fly to a remote mountain lake; land the plane on it.  Walk up an inflowing stream reach.  Had never done that before this day.  I think this pic here is en route but is not the lake on which we landed. 
This was the vibe for the ~1 hour morning flight.

This was the stream we fished, working up from the mouth.

Mooring the plane.  Berries in dung. 
Lining rods.  

We worked upstream and broke into two groups of three.  Not many people fish this water; some low number of instances per year was cited; can't remember it now.

Much of this day was a lot like fishing at home.  Nymphing.  Fish were a step bigger.  Dollies and char and rainbows.  Here's a nice orange nose.

Wanted to remember this hole because many many fish came out of it.  Standing on that gravel/cobble point making good use of all three thirds of a standard drift with indicator.  At the end of each drift, as the egg started to rise on the swing, a fish would crush it; meaning jolt the indicator about a foot.  All were nice big char.

Our guy Mike; he started out this morning assassinating fish; beautiful leopard here.

DF working some great outside bend water.

Photo credit to DF.  Wow.

This was a favorite fish from the small stream.  After hooking a good number this one came on and for some unknown reason as soon as I hooked it I was moved to hold the rod high and start sprinting downstream.  I think that the fish was indeed running downstream.  Our guide Corey K. was deft with the net and kept the char out of various woody debris (thanks man).  One thing I noted about these char is that they are pretty good at holding tight and strong to the bottom.  Not particularly athletic or big runners, but a really tough bull down deep.  Corey taped this fish at 25 inches. 
Mike, Corey and I got off the small stream first and so I got first shot at the seams running out into the lake.  The plunge point from the delta shelf of sand down into the deep was absolute money and it brought four dollies to hand before Mike finished his first cup of coffee.  Corey came over and netted the last one; this colored up beauty.  Great kype too.

JM, DF and Tyler followed shortly thereafter and one of JM's first fish was this great chum.  First such entry in his log book.  

This was the only day that showed any moderately cool weather.  It rained.  Hands got cold for a few minutes but barely noticed.  We were fishing as pictured here, groups of three, on either side of the inflow.  We knew it was thick with fish and so the cold didn't matter we just pounded on it.  Mike was into them right away.  I caught onto his drift then and landed quite a few.  JM and DF on other side pounding out fish.  It was a good deal.

We caught a lot of great char, mid-twenties, beauties.  But we wanted the nuclear char.  Here is the story on this fish - just the facts - each reader can conclude.  Corey standing next to me, we watched the fish porpoise.  I cast to intercept it and stripped the streamer.  Strike felt.  Hookset.  We watched the fish swim around as it should, with line going to head/mouth, streamer apparently eaten.  Fish death-rolled multiple times, which could be felt intimately.  When the fish came to net, it was no longer hooked.   Meaning not fair hooked, and not foul hooked.  It was lassooed around the big paddle tail.  Meaning the tippet trailing the streamer was simply held by the trailing egg bead hook.  And it cinched down tight on the fish.  My first inclination was that it was a caught fish.  How could one discount a fish that was never foul hooked.  I've asked various folks and received different answers.  When did the hook come out?  If a fish comes off the hook at your feet, but you are still able to net it, is it a fair fish?  What if it comes off ten feet away and you dive and net it?  What if, in its own death rolls, it comes off but tangles itself ten feet away and you are able to net it?  At this point I'll stake no particular claim.  Just the facts.  And the beauty of this fish.
Another angle.  It was taped at 29 inches.

After the dollies, char and rainbow, we targeted some of the giant salmon that were laying at the mouth of the river; wadded up in the slack water.

JM hooked up; Corey looking on.

A favorite photo of JM with a giant beak.
In looking here I see that I don't have a single pic of DF holding a fish on this day.  JM has some but we haven't shared all pics yet.  Sorry man.  Also missing is a great pic of a salmon caught on a popper.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Alaska: day two captions

Second day we split our group of four; DF and I flew to a braided river some 60-70 minutes from the lodge.  Main quarry here is big rainbows; upwards of 30" fish logged each year.
The joinery of the planes, boats and gear was remarkable.  Very little time spent in transition pieces; focus on fishing.

This was the only day we ran into anglers in any meaningful way; and it was quite an extreme: popular river and so boats were common.  

Third cast of the day was a hookup.  Not a rainbow because no leaping and no big fight...   immediate intrigue wondering on the fish...    turned out to be first chum salmon in my logbook.  Caught two more later on.

We started out stripping streamers.  And it was hot right away - many rainbows, number of salmon (mostly sockeye).  We were juiced up swearing and hooting up and down the boat and I think our guide for the day BK got some good chuckles at our enthusiasm.  Morning was just on fire though, fish after fish ripping streamers.  We taped this one at 25.5 inches.  Chromey.  Leapt approximately six times; pretty dramatic.  Photo by DF. 

It didn't seem like good nymphing water but there were so many small side channels, BK had us drift some eggs for a short time.  Interesting change in that we just started hammering fish after fish in seams.  Bunch of rainbows and grayling.  
Big wide water.

Fly of the day was Dalai Lama.  What we fished probably 85% of the time.

Sockeye tooth.

At start of day I wanted to get a sockeye; by end of day we were spouting "effing sockeye."

Lunch minute.

Salmon going back to dirt and flesh bits to be consumed.

DF big of day, which I believe we taped at 24 inches; he got it quartering down and swinging at our last stop.

Flight home; more lessons.