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Alaska’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 22 Jul 2009

Location: USA

MapIt's hard to say where we left off, only to mention what has transpired since our last transcription. Events may or may not be in the correct order. We picked up Gwynne's computer in Soldotna on one of our fish runs and are now up and running, taking turns at either the Senior Center OR Buzz's to blog. Sunday was another day of rest as the Jones's spend the majority of the day at church services. We invited Gene over for lunch after his church service and had chalupas and leftover King Ranch chicken. The man is full of stories and we get a kick out of listening to them. He has rarely told the same story twice over the years. Monday was clamming day. This must be done on days when there is a 'minus' tide. The level was -2.5. Although the next several days would have been better minus tides, this was the day we were 'free-er' and so we went....Gene, Bob, Tracy, Sam, & I. We caught 59, a slow day. The clams were smaller and the 'dimples' in the sand fewer. But we got enough to have 2 batches of clam chowder and have a few bags leftover to freeze. The cleaning process takes longer than the clamming process. But.....after we clammed we ventured off with Gene to the Kenai River to try our hand at Sockeye fishing on the 'other' side of the luck, Gene caught '1'. The fishing on the other side is crowded and harder to get comfortable as the shore is at a slant and the feet jam to the toes, which becomes tiring after a short time. You are constantly trying to keep your line from not being tangled up in brush OR in someone else's line. It is obvious that the Sockeyes are in, evidenced by the number of fisherman visible.
Tuesday ALL packed a lunch and, in the van, we packed the six of us.....Bob, me, Gwynne, Jane, Tracy, & to Dixieland. Dixie is a customer of Bob's, buying his Flex-O-Sinkers. She invited us to come, once again, to fish for Sockeyes on the Kenai River. Jane & Gwynne sat on the sidelines, helping when they could, holding things to keep them from falling through the grated pier, untangling lines, hooks, etc, OR taking pictures. Jane sat and watched me snag at least 15 sockeye salmon w/in 15 minutes. You MUST, by law, hook them in the mouth, let them go if they are not. It is not as easy as it would seem. You do not use bait. You fish with a fly OR a hook with fat-yarn attached. As the Sockeyes come up river, they are moving against the current with their mouths opening & closing. The goal is to get a hook to float into their mouth and then you reel 'em in. Much of the time, however, your hook 'snags' their fin, their belly, their tail, or somewhere NOT in the mouth. In many of these instances, they will run out into the middle of the SWIFT flowing river and take your line with them, hook, line, and sinker. We've gone through many flies and weights on the Kenai. Bob Jones had caught his limit within an hour or so. I had '1' and knowing we had to freeze fish and pack them, we gave a time limit. I was looking for a taxi or a bus service cause I wanted to stay, but there is no such thing around here. We left soon after, but just a minute before we did, I reeled one in. I was beside myself. The rest of the day was spent cleaning and vacuum packing fish to freeze. We DID take a few minutes to hae a race....Sam, Bob, & I. The plan was to go Silver fishing the next a.m. early. This trail has been known to have a bear or two and Bob wanted to make sure he was faster than one of us in case he had to run. It is a standing joke. But we did it anyway. Sam was the winner, Bob was second, and I didn't even get off the starting line! We chose to hold off on shipping the salmon. We will be shipping 60 or more pounds of salmon, clams, Rhubarb (donated by the Jones's), and halibut (donated by the Jones's) next Monday. They will be housed in an ice house at the fish processor here in Ninilchik until then as we leave Saturday morning early.
This morning at 5:30, we went with Bob Jones to try our hand at Silver fishing, knowing it was not probable. The Silvers tend to wait until the first week of August to venture into Deep Creek. But Bob has caught them as early as the 23rd of July. Our fishing licenses expire today at 1:30, and so we had intended on going to the Kenai River w/ Gene after Silver fishing. After talking to him, though, he felt it was not a worthy cause. I friend of his had only caught '1' yesterday and it didn't sound too promising for an 80-mile round trip. We chose to stay home and finish our puzzle....and so we did. It is now 3 pm. and I must share the computer with Tracy. Until tomorrow...OR the next day. We have a reservation to go on a boat to Halibut Cover, an artist community off Homer. It is a 5-hour tour.