So you might remember My Mr.s “pre Man-cation” earlier this year (here). That is the typical man-cation with the occasional elongated backpacking trip at the beginning or end. My Mr’s Man-cantion compadre Ben has had a massive crush on Alaska for a year, My Mr. said it escalated to a full blown obsession after he and his fantastic wife took a trip there last year. So it was pretty much a given that Ben was going to do whatever it took to get back there. My Mr. coyly asked what would I think if He and Ben did a trip there together this summer and without hesitation I told him; “Go it’s an experience of a life time!” So they planned, and planned, and planned and . . . well to get the idea, these guys like to plan. Now I turn it over to My Mr, an abridged version as the original write up was way too long to post.
Day 1 – Arrival in AK
I purposefully got a window seat on the flight up so I could see what this place was all about. Majestic is the best word I can think of. Seattle has rivers, ocean, and forests. Utah and Colorado have mountains. Alaska has it all but in Texas-sized portions. Giant mountains that reach ritght to the edge of the sea, giant glaciers that look like massive rivers frozen in time, the place is just amazing. Jack London had good reason for staying as long as he did. It truly is the last frontier even still!
Day 2 – Jim’s Creek and Montana Creek
After off-roading a bit we found the spot on the beach at Jim’s creek where all the other cars were. We fished there for a few hours, but didn’t have any bites. The closest I got was I actually felt a salmon smack into my leg as it was swimming upstream! We saw a huge eagle and the vistas were just unbelievable. Not a bad place to be even if the fish aren’t biting.
In one very large hole I hooked into a pretty nice rainbow trout, it was a beauty and gave a really good fight pulling it in. While we couldn’t target the kings, and didn’t see a lot of rainbow action, just watching those huge salmon swim in the river was an awesome sight to see.
Pretty soon most of the river was empty except for us and a few diehards. We fished until 8PMand finally decided we’d better head back.
Day 3 – Kenai
We drove down the Turnagain arm towards the Kenai peninsula. Some of the most gorgeous scenery I’ve ever seen. Huge mountains pushing straight into the sea, and the giant deadly glacial delta. All of these glacial rivers drain out to the sea in the turn again arm. When the tide is out, the sand stretches for miles, but you’re not supposed to walk on it. The glacial silt goes thousands of miles down, if you walk out you’ll sink, get stuck, and the tide will come back in.
Day 4 – Kenai & Trout Fishing
We got up early and got down to the dock just in time to meet our guide. He was a bit of a character, and once we started joking he joked right along with us, giving Ben the nickname “Benni-san” and Dwanye that of “Johnny High Stick”. The trout fishing was poor. We each hooked a few, but nothing to write home about. We got done with the float and decided to head to the cabin we’d be staying at.
We headed to the confluence of the Russian with the Kenai and I got my first taste of combat fishing! The fish were definitely in more up there, and I hooked in and landed my first sockeye! I hooked another one right after, I probably should have kept it but I decided to release it. We finally headed home well after dark (which means about 2AM in Alaska).
Day 5 – Sunday
We were so exhausted that we didn’t wake up until 10:30! We decided to try another hole on the Kenai. It wasn’t as busy, and we hooked into quite a few, but only Dwayne was able to land one. We headed back to the cabin and fished from the cabin in the late afternoon. Ben and I both finally pulled in another sockeye each, and we tried our hands at fileting.
Monday morning (is it really Monday? The days were all a blur by now) we headed down to Ninilchik to go halibut fishing. We met up at the beach and got in the boat. At both of the beaches they don’t have a dock. You pull up your trailer and drop it off with the boat still on it. A big tractor comes up, hooks up to you, and drags your boat out into the water! We got into the water and headed out in some pretty choppy seas.
As soon as we stopped, however, Kevin started “chumming the water”. Our captain got three lines baited and into the water, and before he could start on a fourth we had a fish on! We never got more than five poles into the water, even though there were six of us fishing, because it was so fast! I pulled in the biggest halibut at 69lbs! It was fast, FUN fishing, and we filled the hold and each of us limited out. We got back to shore and had the fish processed at the guide shop. The kid doing the fileting was a bit redneck, but definitely good at what he did. I videoed (watch it here) it because it was amazing to watch how fast he could filet a huge halibut! We got back to the cabin and spent the rest of the night processing the ~400lbs of halibut meat that we brought back off the boat. Awesome haul!!!
Day 7 – Kenai & Anchorage
Tuesday we packed up and cleaned up around the cabin, and stopped at the confluence on our way back to Anchorage. I got another nice sized sockeye. I had at least four more on, but they all got off before we could net them. We finally packed up at the last possible minute and drove back to Anchorage.
Day 8 – Have we fished enough yet?
Wednesday Ben and I headed out to get some last minute finishing in before our flights that night. We headed down again and tried our hands at California creek. We got the creek and the fish were shoulder to shoulder in the water. It was hard to pull the lure across the stream and not hook into a humpy. Fun, fast fishing. There was a grizzly higher up on the stream from where we were that kept moving down towards us. Finally some crazy Russian fisherman chased it off and started fishing above us. We moved upstream and fished for a while. I decided to cross to the other side, got halfway across the river and heard Ben yelling at me. I turned around to see him pointing at the grizzly that was now standing right where I was before I started crossing! It was close quarters with a juvenile bear, awesome! (watch it here) Finally we had to head back to pack and head home. We boxed up all our fish with dry ice, packed our bags, headed to the airport, and said goodbye to an awesome adventure in America’s last frontier!