Another d8dlo comes to visit

This one catches fish

From: Dave Mong
Sent: Wednesday, July 09, 2003 12:27
To: Wilson, James

Thought you said that guy caught a BIG bass, compared to your head it don't look too big.

From: McNally, Catherine CAPT 
Sent: Wednesday, July 09, 2003 12:22
To: Wilson, James; 'Sandy Brawand'
Subject: RE: Another d8dlo comes to visit = This one catches fish

Fish???? Where I live, we call that "bait."

Limited out on halibut in less than two hours in my new boat on Saturday.
Took two SYCAMORE sailors w/ me and can attest that it's a real advantage
to have qualified deckhands & fish cleaners along. Ate well Saturday
night (sauteed the halibut cheeks in a little butter and garlic after
dipping them in Alaska Amber beer and Cajun fish fry breading), and have a
freezer full to share w/ this summer's company. It was a perfect Alaska
day: mixed sunshine, light breeze and flat calm water. We motored south
to a closely-held secret fishing position that's been handed from Coastie
to Coastie for generations, and anchored in 335' of water (I have 600 feet
of anchor line) on a "shelf" (everywhere around it was about 1000' and
it's not uncommon to hit 1500' in Behm Canal.) I can tell I'm not in
Louisiana anymore....

Mr. Wilson, Mendy and Sandy.... I bought a 22' fiberglass Arima Sea
Legend, which is basically a hard-top no-frills fishing boat with a 140
h.p. Suzuki outboard. Pretty beamy so it's stable but not fast. Very
comfortable with a good fishing platform. I like the boat's design, and
so far have been very impressed w/ its performance in rough water. I'm
still adjusting to a heavier boat with a bigger sail area and have not
exactly distinguished myself (favorably, at least) in my attempts to enter
and leave the marina in which it's moored. Luckily I've had very
experienced Academy-trained deckhands who've been able to fend off the
moored boats that get in my way.

We've had a beautiful spring and got some real summer (68 degrees and
bright sunshine) in mid-May. Took advantage of it with a typical SEAK-CG
camping trip with a group of two boats, five adults (me, my XO & his wife,
my Dentist & his wife), four little girls (two each) and one Big Red Dog
(mine, though after you hear my story you'll know why I'm not always glad
to claim him.) The weather was sunny, with a brisk breeze from the North.
The water temp was a balmy 55 degrees. We boated through sheltered waters
to a remote Forest Service cabin about 20 miles from town. 

The trip was great except for the photographic evidence (gathered by my
XO's wife) of a sunburned captain making a rapid, wet and unplanned exit
from the inflatable boat as she attempted to row a rather stressed and
stubborn Red Dog from the beach to the float pier (unconnected to land) at
which the boats were moored. Dog wouldn't shift; I thought I could get by
him; I was wrong. SPLASH.... Wasn't too bad as I'd already been swimming
once (briefly) that day, but the first time I wore a swimsuit and my XTRA
Tuffs. (I'm chagrined to say there's probably photographic evidence of
that venture as well.) The kids had been asking why we had to wear life
jackets during small boat evolutions; this was a SAR demonstration and
that's my story....

We had beautiful weather. The cabin is too far from the beach (especially
at low tide) and we way overpacked, but we ate, drank or used up almost
everything we humped up the beach so humping back was a lot lighter. The
cabin was beautiful: slept eight, stove and picnic table inside, firepit
and picnic table out. We caught enough Dungeness crab (nine) to feast
Saturday night, then pulled one pot on Sunday to send my XO's family home
w/ a few more. Crab were big and delicious, and I've validated my
recollection that crabbing is a lot more fun than fishing (except when
monster fish hit two minutes into your trip) because you've either got
crab or you don't have crab: a moment of suspense and instant
gratification. None of this wait-and-see stuff. But I do have a GREAT
fish story as well.

Took a "women's only" fishing clinic (already a subversive concept) about
eight weeks ago and went out in a skiff trolling afterward with a friend
who was playing hooky from her wife-and-mother role and reveling in a free
day on the water. I told her that my favorite thing about fishing in
Alaska was baiting the eagles. When she asked for a demonstration, I
reached into the bait bucket and pulled out a herring, stood and waved it
back and forth over my head. A BIG eagle on a BIG tree along the shoreline
glided silently toward the boat; I flipped the herring into the water
about six feet away and, talons foremost, he went WHOMP and accelerated
away w/ the herring firmly grasped. We went through about half our bait
that way, so people probably shouldn't expect me to catch a lot of fish
this season. But then we decided to put our lines in the water. Brenda
got hers in without incident. I managed to hit the wrong button on my
reel, which caused it to spin freely and left me with a tangled
backlash/bird's nest. Bummer.... I got it straightened out and promptly
did the same thing again. Frustrated.... I finally got my line in the
water and-not two minutes later-my reel started screaming
ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ and my line started paying out very fast. I had
hooked the biggest king salmon Brenda or I ever saw. We were totally
unprepared to actually CATCH a fish and kept trying to remember the things
they'd taught us in the clinic. We played him for almost 15 minutes,
passing the pole between us because he was big and strong and this fishing
business is stressful. He broke the water several times, dived very deep
and swam around the boat checking out his exit options. We finally got him
alongside the boat for the third time and thought we had a shot at him;
when we stretched out with the net he figured the fun was over, winked at
us, snapped the leader and was gone. So we're left with a story bigger
than our monster fish, but we were laughing so hard it didn't matter. Both
of us knew that if we'd caught that fish two minutes into our fishing
careers, we would have to return to the dock, break our poles and never go
fishing again because nothing could top that. We fished for a couple more
hours, caught (and landed and released) a couple that were undersized and
fed the rest of our bait to the eagles. Fine, fine day.

Life is very good indeed in the Great Land. Visitors are welcome but I
have already scheduled nine different parties this summer, ranging from
five Midwest Runaway Moms to our own Miss Barshaw and sister Erma
(who already came through on a cruise ship and were having a GREAT time.)
Hope all is well.



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