Thursday, July 21, 2016

My Crappiest Day of Fishing EVER!!!!


I have had some crappy days of fishing but I doubt I will ever top July 15th as my crappiest day of fishing ever. Or I should say I hope I will never top it.  It was bound to happen sooner or later as we were having an incredible run when it came to fishing.
After leaving Whittier we made our way back down the Sterling Highway. Back towards our new friends Rich and Susan’s house in Ninilchik for the third time in the past month. This was not on our original plan but Rich and Susan kept extending invitations saying the fishing only got better as the month went on. How could we refuse?
We had been watching the Alaska Fish and Game fish counts for the past several weeks to see when the Red Salmon (Sockeye) run was going to peak. One thing I will say is that they really watch their fish counts up here. They use automated technology on the Kenai. I am told their sonar cannot only count fish but can also tell you what species of fish are moving through and their direction of travel! This is much more sophisticated than the fish counter we saw on the Buskin River on Kodiak Island where they actually visually count the fish. One fishy, two fishy……
Typically the fish run about the same time from year to year so when Rich said that the run usually peaks near the 25th we were kinda bummed as we had were not going to be anywhere near the Kenai at that time! But as luck would have it the numbers this year are almost double what they were last year and really started climbing on July 11th.

The numbers were well above last year but dropped significantly in the last couple days
So back to Ninilchik we went camping in their driveway for another 3 days. Their son Billy had arrived a few days before and their other daughter Sandra arrived the night before we left so we were able to meet and spend at least a little bit of time with the entire Ross gang. What a great family! In the end the fishing had not picked up as much as we hoped. We got out on the river one day with Billy, Susan and Angela (Rich stayed home and painted the deck). It was as crowded as we had seen the river but fishing was very slow. In fact this was our first day on the Kenai that we actually failed to catch a fish!
The following day we went out on the Cook Inlet in their boat for a short whale watching excursion. I say short because the sea got a little rough and we had to turn back and head for the marina. I did not say anything at the time but I was somewhat happy that Rich turned around when he did as I was starting to get a little green around the gills!

Despite the waves we did see a few whales, we would often see a flock of gulls diving in the distance meaning there was probably a whale feeding nearby. The waves made them much more difficult to photograph but we managed to get a few descent shots.
The top of a whale back
 
A whale tail going under!
We would look for flocks of gulls diving and usually there was a whale near by.
That evening Barb and I drove over to Deep Creek Recreation Area where our friends Steve and Linda were camping. They had a great spot within feet of the water and incredible views. We had a great visit but of course forgot to bring the camera.

The next morning we sadly said goodbye to our friends the Ross', we hope to catch up with them this coming winter somewhere in California however! Thanks for everything!!!!!!
But back to the reason for the title of this post……On our way back to Ninilchik from Whittier we decided to stop and fish the Kenai up near Cooper Landing near the Russian River. We found a nice little pull off with a trail down to the river but found the water moving much too fast and the water too deep to wade in. So we moved the truck downriver a few more miles to another pull off and after a little searching found a nice little eddy where the water pooled and slowed down. It looked like the perfect place to fish. The only exception was that the water was 5-10 feet deep, the bank was a few feet above the river and there was really only room for one of us to fish effectively.  But these downsides were quickly outweighed as I could see dozens of salmon resting in these backwaters! I ran back to the truck and got Barb. It was going to be a good day of fishing! So we got our gear together and headed back.


Our little hot spot!
 My goal was to see Barb hook into a few salmon so I sat back while she flipped into the eddy. The seagulls and eagles were flying overhead with cloudy skies and sprinkling rain now and then. Soon enough she hooked into one and it was jumping like crazy! As it made its way to the faster current in the river it rocketed downriver, jumping along the way. She was doing everything she could to stop it but this fish was determined and had the momentum of the river helping it. We watched helplessly as the fish spooled line from her reel. Fly reels have enough fly line on them for most fishing situations, that is followed by a less quality line near the spool called “Backing”. If we did not get this fish stopped all her line would spool out and we would be left with nothing but an empty reel and out about $50 in line. Well this fish has spooled all her flyline and we well into her backing and not slowing down. Finally with just a few feet of backing left I grabbed the rod and stopped the line from spooling and broke the fish off. There was no way we were going to stop that fish but at least we did not lose all our line.
As I was reeling in the line I looked over at Barb she was holding her wrist. If you are not careful you can whack your wrist on the reel handle when fish are spooling you like that…..you guessed it, she whacked her wrist not once but several times while trying to stop that fish. Soon it swelled up and it looked like someone stuck a ½ a golf ball under her skin!

Can you say "Hematoma"?
 
Another nice fish for Barb!






Although sore, she wanted to keep on fishing had her best day fishing on the river hooking fish after fish. She was able to keep most of them out of the current and lost a few others that managed to get out there. I had a great time watching her smiling, laughing and netting her fish for her.
After a couple of hours she said that she was tired of reeling in all those fish and I wanted to try! It had starting sprinkling a little harder but nothing we could not handle. I took my spot at the edge of the eddy and started flipping. Flip after flip, I could not catch a fish! Maybe it was not going to be my day. All of a sudden I was totally drenched! No, I did not fall in the water…. No, it did not all of a sudden downpour…… it took me a second to figure it all out but when I looked up there was a seagull flying away with a smirk on his face. I had been shatted on! Pretty much covered from head to toe in seagull shat! Fishless and dejected I called it and day and headed to the camper for a shower…..
Ya, that's seagull crap!

Time for a shower!
 
All was not lost though as I redeemed myself the following morning while Barb’s was less than perfect. Since Barb was not going to fish she didn’t bother to wear her waders.  We returned to the same spot and I hooked into a nice one. Barb quickly grabbed the net. The fish was being a bugger and refused to come anywhere near that net. Every time I would get it near, Barb would try and scoop it up and it would make a run for it. Finally I got it close to the bank, Barb leaned over to net the fish and…..down goes Barbie! Next thing we knew she was in 5 feet of water totally drenched. I don’t know who was more shocked, me, Barb or the salmon she managed to net on the way in!

22 comments:

  1. Jim, If that is your worst day fishing, it is still was not too bad. You are in Alaska, catching salmon after all. I am green with envy.

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    1. You are right.....Any day of fishing (especially in Alaska) is better than working!

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  2. Poor Barb! She really does take a beating but keeps on ticking:) Probably the best thing for the wrist was to keep going so it didn't get worse. Hope all is well and dry now:) Hope you got all washed up, Jim!

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    1. She is like the Energizer Bunny! We are doing well, dry, showered and smelling much better!

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  3. All I can say is, at least you weren't eating a waffle. Didn't Barb fall in another time up there? Does she like to be all wet?

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    1. That is why I eat my waffles indoors and yeah, that is dip #2 for her in this river.

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  4. Good lord who knew fishing was a contact sport. Hey if that wrist swelling doesn't get better you should definitely have it looked at. That looks nasty.

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    1. The swelling is almost all gone only to be replaced by a bruise the size of a softball! But it is much better and well on its way back to normal.

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    1. She did not miss a beat, she definitely does whatever it takes to net the fish!

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  6. Wow do you guys perserve. Way to go Barb, I guess you did not need to waste water for a shower now! :)

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    1. Life is an adventure right? You have to take the good with the bad!

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  7. Hysterical! Nice job netting Jim's fish! Even if it meant taking a dip! You're the bomb and Jim owes you!! Don't worry Jim, I heard getting shatted on meant good luck. Maybe you'll be in Sockeye Heaven soon! That is the biggest hematoma I've seen! Take care of it Barb and I hope it heals quickly!

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    1. She is quite the netter person for sure! We have move on and are heading away from the sockeye now but hope to meet up with some later in the trip!

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  8. What a day you must have had!

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    1. Hey Dannie, good to hear from you! Hope all is well back in MN.

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  9. The crappiest day fishing is better than the best day working. Hope Barb's wrist is feeling better.

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  10. In Smithers headed north on the cassaire highway
    Bob, Lorraine and Maggie

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    1. Good to hear you are one the road! We are just outside of Denali NP. Will be in the park for a week then a week in Fairbanks.

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  11. Ouch Barb...that looks nasty! I also got shat on by a gull years ago when I was much shorter...not fun.
    What an adventure though.

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    1. Barb is all better now and ready for our next adventure!

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