Friday, December 18, 2015

Alaska: Day Five Captions

Many acres not walked by man.  Do the acres follow the topography or do they rest on the two dimensional survey.  Is it a measure of land surface net, or a measure of width x length.  This question came to mind but acres were not any sort of pivot here.  Many places that would receive no footstep of erectus; no tire tread.    And that we could fly in here.  De Haviland Beaver. That we could make our way to this place; that we could land on water and joint our rods and walk upstream.  That alone is adventure.  The setting; the swashbuckling.  Facets of adventure and good fortune; angling a privilege even; and that good fortune.  To set down on plane floats and wade to shore with your mates.  This is the substance of good chapters; good memories; will we remember hours in hotels and in cars; we will not but we will remember how we together addressed some task; some task of understanding the inflow to the lake; the pushing against the current and finding fish in holes.    And I'll be damned if it wasn't exactly three months ago; quarter year that we set down here.   9/18/15 was our fifth day; uninterrupted focus on kinship and fishing; a careful study of both.  I know that there are impacts and effects profound and some understood others more subtle; I accept all. 

The guide with essential gear.  First buckshot then BB and then slug.  Because there are some that may have to find out how blue steel feels.  

Berries just berries but who knew one could walk on hillsides on top of blueberries, peering down into water for fish colored and marked and outrageous as clowns in aqua.

Photo from DF.  The bear beds were common; like deer beds here in MN.

The day's main focus: Dolly Varden.  Colors.  Kype.

A favorite image.  Guide BK working with JM looking for giant silly fish in amongst the salmon.

We had to stop every fifty feet and look: what is the place and how are we here now and what can we do that would be considered sufficient to engage it well and leave on good terms.

First big one BK thought I was going to pull out of the water on the hookset I was so excited and I set the hook so hard after walking the egg home.

Our leader JM.

Corner hole like home only full of giant kyped clowns. 

This one I hooked on egg and lost.  Cried like a little bich and threw my rod in the water.  BK calmly picked it up and handed it back to me and said don't worry you can hook him again on a streamer.  27.5 inches.

Fish made the hollow.

Hard to believe that 20 inch bows were tertiary.  I think we took a picture of only one.


Imagine spending a day giving your best effort to NOT hook these fish.  They were catchable.  Aggressive.  We worked to keep flies away from them so as to target the dollies.

Here are the two walking out fish.  The running out fish running because the plane was going to leave and we were late as you would hope and expect.  BK had saved them on the way in and so on way out we slid down the hill and each made one presentation.  Two of the most badass fish I've come across.  To cap a top day; arguably one of the top all time.


Blogger Piscator Fontinalis said...

Stunningly beautiful salvalinus! Incredible to think about six million of their tails turned in to AK Game & Fish for bounty in the days before good data. What a great trip you had!

10:58 PM  
Blogger John Montana said...

Every time I think about this day J...I can't help but put it at the top of a very distinguished list you and I have shared. There was the lake MI day with all those 20s on the rock pile by 9am; the day I caught 5 20s; several big C days that come to mind and that float trip on the Deschutes...but this day? Landing a plane on a remote lake, hiking the tundra, eating blueberries off the bush and teasing salmon with streamers while deciphering the code of the creek to land giant clown colored dolly varden...that has to be at or very very near the top.

11:32 AM  
Blogger Wendy Berrell said...

PF: I was surprised to read about that bounty too.... wow. Would like to sit down with you sometime and talk through this trip. There's a lot to share and I know you are one who will appreciate it.

1:09 PM  
Blogger Wendy Berrell said...

Right JM... feel the same way. They were not our biggest fish; not the most dramatic fights; not the most fish we've caught in a day. But for the reasons you list here, it rises to the top. The setting, context, companionship; not to mention the absurdity factors. Sign me up for redux.

1:11 PM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

Paradise! Especially after looking at the fishes you caught there. I'd love to visit a place like that soon!

7:11 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

The fish are wonderful -- I have a thing for char -- but as you note the experience really is shaped by the place, how you get there, and who you're with. True wilderness, a DHC-2, and good buddies is as good as it gets. At least until interstellar travel becomes affordable.

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Dan Callahan said...

WD, Tundra because up high, or tundra because you were north of the Brooks? Such a beautiful place. Someplace where mountain peaks still have no names. I spent a few days in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a 'real' wilderness at 19 million acres, compared to our toy wilderness of 'only' 1 million that I love so well up north.

Well said, as well fished.

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Anonymous Piku said...

Awesome post ! Many of the techniques used in kayak fishing are essentially the same as those used on other fishing boats. The difference is in the set-up, how each piece of equipment is fitted to the kayak, and how each activity is carried out on such a small craft. Thanks!

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