Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Wednesday, 12 July 2006

Fleece and Release

Kenai River, Alaska - July 12, 2006

I must have had a feeling when I put on my Pink Floyd shirt this morning to get on the boat. Syd died yesterday at 60. Pink Floyd won't be getting back together in this world.

after the service when you're walking slowly to the car
and the silver in her hair shines in the cold November air
you hear the tolling bell
and touch the silk in your lapel
and as the tear drops rise to meet the comfort of the band
you take her frail hand
and hold on to the dream

We had another fisherman on our small boat named Otto yesterday. He talked incessantly as we fished for king salmon. He's on the cell phone six times. He whistles when he runs out of things to say. Otto has 12 kids. He tells about finding his naked wife in the snow with blue nipples after the last one. He warmed her up in the shower. I'm not surprised at her behavior after sitting next to him for six hours. We caught nothing. I snagged several rocks and logs. It’s very cold when the boat moves.

Danny caught and released a seven pound king salmon. We kept a two pound rainbow trout for dinner. You only get to keep one king a day and we were hoping for a 90 pounder later in the morning.

Last night the moose came back in bright daylight and I snapped way too many pictures. Since Carol is not here I get to drink as much bourbon as I can handle every night. I woke at 3AM as the sun rose. At five we headed downriver again in search of Chinook (king salmon).

I hook a big one...about 50 pounds...I work him slowly to the boat over a 30 minute period...he looks at me and dives under the boat, circling the prop and breaking the the time we are back to shore he has grown to 75 pounds....I think he may be a new world record by the time I return to Tampa..

We leave Soldatna and drive down the peninsula to Nimilchik to watch several hundred people digging clams on the 28 foot low tide…the tide here is only six feet less than the Bay of Fundy. We continue to Anchor Point and talk to Captain Tim about our Halibut charters…he is a nice man and gives us a 3 pound chunk of fresh Halibut for dinner tonight.

We are checked in to our new home in Homer... The view from the front porch is spectacular

There is a Billy the Kid 24-hour movie TV extravaganza going on here Billy has been the subject of more movies than any other human.

The wind died down today and we and we went out again 20 miles into Cook’s Inlet on a small boat. Danny loved it…we are shipping 100 pounds of flash-frozen, vacuum-packed halibut back to his house. He just called me out on the cliff in back of the Inn to show me the sea otters working the clams a few yards way at high tide. A bald eagle buzzes the cliff about once an hour but I can’t get my camera cycled up quickly enough for a photo. The tide here varies by 28 feet over a six hour period. Just pulling up four pound weights from 200 feet down for a bait check is a workout. When the tide is ripping they don’t hold on the bottom. I catch the biggest halibut taken on the boat both days. One is 75 pounds. It’s a workout to bring him up. Limit two.

A black bear trotted by the back door last night only ten feet away. My camera was off. On the trip back we spent an hour watching fly-fishing anglers catching 15 pound sockeye salmon. They take a fish every four casts on average. The bag limit is three. Last year an emergency order lifted the limit to six as too many fish entered the river. The plane left Alaska at 9:40 PM. We gradually flew into darkness as we headed south…the cloud cover was broken by brightly illuminated snow-capped mountain peaks. I arrived home at noon today.

A bumper sticker observed on the back of an Alaska fishing Captain’s pickup truck:

The Tourism Run Is In
Fleece and Release

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