One of our good friends took us out on his boat this past Monday to see if we couldn’t harvest a few silvers for the freezer. Now the Kenai River is known for its king and red salmon, but the silver fishing it yields is not to be over looked. The river flows swiftly, but not rapidly. The water is often a silty mush green color. It is true silt, silt that tinkles of the bottom of your boat as the river sweeps it under the hull, ocean bound into the Cook Inlet. There are fewer relaxing things for a man than sitting in a boat with the engine off, a full thermos of hot coffee with just a touch of vanilla creamer, four rods out tempting the fish with your “super secret special” bait, and good quiet company as the sun rises over the tops of the spruce trees adding color and heat to the gray morning.
Then all of the sudden a rod tip slams down into the river, line peels off your reel and crushes the silence as you jump to your feet, doing your best to act as you are not half asleep, as you fumble to grab the rod out of the rod holder; mumbling under your breath to hide the embarrassment of not doing all this in one swift graceful move. With the rod firmly in both hands and clear of its cradle you set the hook pulling back with one strong swift pull, praying you feel that all familiar tug at the end of the line signaling to you that the fight is on. Can this 200 ( okay, 200 +) pound man subdue this 15 pound fish? And most often you can. But every time, without fail, the biggest fish, the one that would have made the cover of every sporting magazine, gets away with nary a glimpse and is relinquished for all eternity to a story. And always it is never the one holding the rod’s fault; Oh no, it is the hook, the old line, those around him, or that pitiful knot. Yet as quickly as it is gone, as quickly as your heart leaped at the first click of the reel, you are ready to try again, and this time you tie your own knot ( just as you did last time).
Now that is what fishing is all about. It is one of the best ways I know for a dad to spend a morning with his sons, and I wish we could do it more often, as do they. This past Monday was a very good day of fishing, six silvers and one released 35 pound blush king, not a great day. A great day of fishing would entail every one of my boys catching more and bigger fish than me, and being done in time for a hot breakfast where we could tell, for the first time, the story of the one that got away and the land lubber’s knot that freed it.
I had to do an audio swap on this video, so it is not as I intended.