Saturday, July 12, 2008

33 Days and Counting

Anyone who flies commercially with any frequency understands the role the internet has played in making the experience much more interactive. I was checking on my current flight reservations and noticed a message above the information that our flight to Anchorage is 33 days away. Wow, there is someone other than me keeping track! Anticipation is what helps to keep us young and I am starting to get giddy about our trip this year. It prompted me to think about past trips and as long as I was just sitting here I thought I would share two of my more interesting pictures. The first one on the left is my cousin Greg holding a very nice yellow eyed rock fish he caught out of Seward. Greg is returning this year after taking 2006 off because he had lost an argument with a ladder. This is the actual color of the fish coming out of the water. The only thing that would have made this picture complete was the addition of Greg's teal colored rain pants. Not only are they a handsome fish but are excellent table fare as well. Our Seward trip turned out to be one of the most memorable fishing trips ever. We caught a variety of rock fish, halibut, lingcod, and sea run silver salmon. The action was non-stop. In 2006 we attempted to repeat ourselves but the weather was not very cooperative. The boys are going to give it one more try again this year and hopes are high for a repeat. I still think Greg should get a graphite reproduction as this fish was truly a trophy sized Yellow Eye.
This is me with an average size silver salmon caught out of the Homer Fishing Hole. This is about a 3 acre hole that was dug out just a few yards from the ocean. The tides in Homer are hard to imagine for a Wisconsin boy like me. They average over 18 feet with some months exceeding 25 feet. Tides are a result of the gravitational pull from the moon and because this also causes a bulge on the opposite side of the earth, 2 high tides occur each day as well as 2 low tides. They are in sync with the moon and high tides are the highest during a full/new moon when the moon is working with the sun and lowest at the quarter moons when it is pulling at right angles with the sun. Because the moon's rotation around the earth is slightly longer than 24 hours, these tides are about 6 hours and 25 minutes apart. If you use the average tide as 18 feet, then the level of the sea changes 18 feet in a little over 6 hours then back down 18 feet during the next 6 hours. Breaking it down to 3 feet and hour, the water level is rising (or falling) at little over 1 inch every 2 minutes. At the Homer Fishing Hole they have an outlet (you can see it behind my head) that only lets water in on a high tide and is at least 10 feet above the low tide ocean level. The Alaska Fish and Game plant salmon smolts into this fishing hole and when they are ready to spawn, they return to this small area, coming in when the high tides reach the outlet and water starts pouring in like crazy! You can stand at the edge of the fishing hole and in a matter of minutes your shoes are covered with water. They will plant Chinooks and Silvers as they are the most prized of the salmon. What is unusual about this picture is that if you look close (you can click on the picture for a larger view) one can see that it was caught with a number 7 fire tiger Shad Rap. Trust me, there isn't a Shad Rap to be had on the Kenai Pennensula! I brought it along just to see if it would work. Unfortunately after catching another fish and losing one, it literally fell apart. I am not sure if it was the salt water or something else but my shad rap lasted about 30 minutes. Being a walleye guy, one never leaves home without a few in the tackle box, and for what little time it gave me I was happy to add this fish to my list of species caught with my favorite bait.

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