First fish

Spent yesterday getting the trapping stuff out of the boat and clearing the decks so we could fish. My friend Jeff, after what seemed like careful consideration of any excuse not to go, said he was in.

I put the new used 8 hp Yamaha outboard on, and found I needed a gas hose for it. Two of those I had had hard squeeze balls, but the third had a squeezer. Then the fitting didn’t fit. No big king nets in the garage, either, so the smaller coho net would have to do. So off to Western Auto for a fitting and some herring.

I got the fitting on, the kicker mounted, gas mixed, and the boat hooked up to the truck. I awoke ahead of the alarm at 325 am, got the coffee going, and made some egg and prosciutto sandwiches. I left the house after 4 am, and Jeff pulled into the boat ramp parking lot shortly after I did.

The morning was overcast, in the 40’s, and I told Jeff it looked fishy. Maybe I always say that… Jeff had his usual new rig. This time an itty bitty bronze/silver dodger and a strip of herring. I had the usual cut plug on a big troll hook and bead chain.

The tide was at 546 pm, and I couldn’t believe there were no other boats or people fishing off the rocks. About 535, Jeff’s rod bent double, and I thought for sure he was on the bottom since we were in 12 feet or so of water. But sure enough, we knew it was a fish when it rolled as he set the hook.

I did my normal hoot and hollering while Jeff played his fish and I gave advice like “don’t lose him”. Jeff took his time, and the fish was tired as we got it in the small net on the first try. A beauty with purple sides, big black spots and lots of sea lice by the anal fin. Probably a 16 or 18 lber.

Jeff had a mile-wide smile. It may have been the first time we’ve ever fished together where he caught the fish, and that made me even happier than if I’d caught it. A few boats and shore fishers showed up, but we didn’t see any more caught before we left about 7 so Jeff could clean his fish and get to work by 8.

Mark Stopha
Alaska Wild Salmon Company
4455 N. Douglas Hwy
Juneau, AK 99801

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