Monday, October 20, 2008

Bank Fishing: AK2008 Days 4-8

Fishing and Alaska, continued.
pixieMy favorite lure for catching silver salmon in the Kenai River - a bright orange pixee. Bright green is also good.
sand area My favorite bank-fishing area.
gravel area 1 The bank from which we actually fished.
gravel area 2Another view of the bank we fished from, taken from a boat in the river.
fisher My favorite fisherwoman - actually, our best fish catcher; she usually catches fish even when no one else does.
boots Yours truly after catching more than enough pink salmon: I needed to take a break. We don't generally keep pink salmon. As soon as they leave salt water for the river, they start "turning" - as do all salmon - but fast, with the males getting a large hump on their backs. So they are also called humpies. They are smaller than silver salmon, are kind of bony, and are often mushy, especially the males. Sometimes a good, silver-looking female pink is okay to keep and eat. Sometimes they are good for smoking. I read recently that they are underrated, but quite frankly, I don't think so! Pink salmon is fine as commercial fish caught out in salt water and sold in cans; it is merely okay to much less than okay if eaten out of a river.
bucket The famous empty bucket, waiting for a silver salmon. Fishing for silver salmon on the Kenai River in even-numbered years is challenging, because the pinks (humpies) run every other year - odd-numbered years are preferred, because the pinks aren't running. Fishing in even-numbered years goes like this: cast, hook or snag a humpie, drag it in, unhook it, throw it back in. Cast again. Cast again, drag in another humpie. And so on. You will probably catch a humpie on about every other cast.

Catching a humpie is like snagging your line on the bottom of the river - so much so, that sometimes you really can't tell whether you are snagged on the bottom or have managed to catch a humpie. It's especially similar if you happen to be standing in a boat. Silver salmon, on the other hand, are exciting to catch, and will usually jump out of the water, trying to throw the hook, and will run with your line, and jump again, and jump again. You are lucky when you catch one. Make sure the hook is well set!

It's fun to be catching something, but I've done this pink-humpie thing enough times in years past, to get tired of catching humpies pretty fast after the first or second day.
lure Finally, after a couple days, we decided to change lures to a Vibrax No. 4 or No. 5. [Be sure to check fishing regulations each year before using any particular lure. Some are too big, or are otherwise illegal, and regulations change.]
pink And what's that? Another humpie? Aaargghhh...
cast A great cast by our most persistent fisherman, and hence, our top catcher of silver salmon!
grass When fishing, remember to go out when it's early, mid-day, late, later, foggy, cloudy, sunny, rainy - in fact anytime that you aren't doing something else.
rocks If you get bored, at least there are rocks to look at!

A Geology Reference:
Richard D. Reger, R.D., and Petrik, W.A., 1993, SURFICIAL GEOLOGY AND LATE PLEISTOCENE HISTORY OF THE ANCHOR POINT AREA, ALASKA: Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys, PUBLIC-DATA FILE 93-50b, 8 pp.

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