Carnage on the Beach
I timed the trip perfectly to be here when the main 'sockeye" run of salmon start up the Kenai River to spawn and die....but then, you have to ask yourself....don't we all?
As a survival trick, the salmon wait for the incoming tide and then swarm in as a massed group....you can almost hear the leader say, "Let's go together boys, that way some of us will make it".
These scenes are of Alaska residents "dip-netting". They each get to catch 25 sockeyes this way for each family member. They can get "proxies" to catch for neighbors and relatives. If you are a non-resident like me you can catch three with a fly that has a hook no more than 3/8 inch in diameter.
I set the alarm for 2:30 AM. It is fairly light outside. I go to a spot in downtown Soldatna where we saw a lot of 10-15 pound sockeyes yesterday leaping out of the water after being hooked on a fly. It's almost deserted at 3AM . I hook two beauties with my flies but after several spectacular leaps the line breaks and they both get away.
Alaska sockeye is the healthiest meat you will ever eat...it's full of omega-3 and gives you a lot of the good cholesterol....no PCB...only 50 calories an ounce....and delicious...they only eat plankton and that gives them the red flesh and the nickname "reds"....
At nine I find a lovely spot on the Kenai with only a few natives fishing...It's a long trek there with Mrs. Phred's broken foot and we forget the camera. My hip boots have a hole in the right knee and I have a hell of a time removing it after fishing...she stands on the platform behind me and gives me useful tips on casting and form that she sees the other fishermen do. She is hopeful that these tips will land me a fish.
I hook three more big sockeyes with a boot full of cold water. All of the break my line...I have three hypotheses:
1. The pounds of test on my line is too light...
2. The line is old and rotten.
3. I'm tying bad knots for the sinkers, swivels and flies, creating failure points....
I buy new 30 pound test line and get a brochure on knot tying...also a patch kit for my rubber hip boot....high tide is at midnight tonight ...FISH FEAR ME!!!