Journal notes from quality destinations across the country...

Friday, September 16, 2011

More Pink Ponderings

Well, I said I was done fishing fishing Pinks but I lied...  I've been out four more times since I made that original decision and I'm not sure I'm done just yet since the fish still seem to be cooperating even here in mid-September.  So now the action has extended itself for a solid month and, over the past 30 days, I've been out 15 times for an average of a trip every other day.  I'm sure the run has provided lights out fishing for some folks but for me its been more slow and steady the whole way through.  Sort of a slow burn but rather satisfying and we've enjoyed this 2011 season immensely.

These last few trips provided me with some Florida-style run and shoot where we were chasing down visible pods of fish and lining up ahead of them as they moved.  I got my son, Terry, up on the casting deck in the front of my boat and used the electric trolling motor to pull us quietly within casting range.  One time they came by us close enough that he got to watch the lead fish move over and take his fly.  It doesn't get any better than that...  

One of my favorite moments was finding a pod resting on the surface in 300 feet of water.  They were quietly milling about with their fins sticking up above the surface.  I have since seen this several times and it's provided an impressive moment or two when either a seal or a nearby boat motor has spooked the happy fish and the entire surface area explodes as the fish scatter and disappear.  

We're learning lots about their behavior and I'm already looking forward to 2013...

Friday, September 2, 2011

Last Thoughts on Pink Salmon

I've pretty much decided I'm done fishing the Pinks for this season.  It was a lot of fun and there were many adventures along the way.  Below are some of my favorite fish photos...

Who said Pinks are ugly?  Here's proof they aren't...

Terry Jones

David Dietrich

One of Rod's bigger fish.

Seals & Otters

I was fishing off a point with two guys in the boat one evening last week when I saw some commotion in the water, approximately twenty feet off-shore.  The tide was low, the sun was setting, and I was trying to make out if what I saw was a rock in the surf or something else.  I pushed my face forward, squinting to see if I could make out what was going on.  It only took a few seconds to realize I was looking at three otters playing in the surf.  They were rolling and kicking up water.  I stood up, pointed, and called them out for my companions.  We watched them rough-housing for a minute and then saw them hurry out of the water and lope along the shoreline in front of us.  They quickly turned and ran away from the water as if to head into the tree-line above the beach.  

They stopped short, however, and turned in front of an old log to look back.  They seemed to be looking right at me and I wondered if I had invaded their safe zone.  Had I pushed them up on the beach by getting too close?  I was a good forty yards off-shore and didn't think I was too close but they looked agitated, stepping sideways, back and forth, like they wanted to come back to the water but I was in the way.

I was thinking I might back the boat out a bit further and give them some room when the real reason for their anxiety materialized in the water between us.  A seal's head poked up and he was looking directly at the otters.  They were looking intently back at him.

I realized then what was going on.  Harbor Seals are known to enjoy a tasty otter snack from time to time and these three little guys weren't inclined to oblige him.  They turned and ran into the trees, disappearing from sight and far out of reach of pesky seals.

I score that one: Otters 1, Seals 0

Puget Sound Pink Ponderings

JOURNAL NOTE (August 24th):  The bay boat is tied up at the marina.  I've just dropped off two guys who were out fishing with me all day and I'm waiting for two other guests to come out for the evening fish.  Puget Sound has been good to us for a couple weeks now with mostly sunny weather and steady fishing for Pink Salmon.  But this evening, clouds have moved in from the south and the wind has picked up.  The cool breeze feels good on my sunburn.   

This is my ninth trip out in nine days and I'm looking forward to taking the day off tomorrow.  This much time on the water has started to have a cumulative affect on my level of energy.  By the time I'm done chasing these fish I know I will be exhausted and, as a middle-aged guy, this concerns me.  Now that my hair is gray I worry a lot about looking like a wuss.  My  youngest son tells me not to worry so much.  "Just embrace it, Dad."  He says. 

In my youth, I would hike up a mountain and fish fourteen hours on a raging stream until darkness drove me home.  Now I ride most of the day in the comfort of a boat and begin thinking about a nap half-way through.  

My son was fly fishing for Albacore thirty-five miles off the coast of Oregon a week ago.  Next to him was an older gentleman in a wheelchair, hooking more fish than anyone else on the boat.  The next time I want to slack off and blame it on my age, I'll have to think of that guy and suck it up a little...