How much would you pay to catch a salmon in Alaska? How much did you pay to catch your first?
The question came to mind after yet another fruitless fishing trip — which ended with a screech when I jackknifed my friend’s trailer into the side of his truck after he foolishly assumed I could navigate a boat launch.
That was the first time we had fished together. I wouldn’t blame my buddy if it’s the last.
To me, it shouldn’t matter because at the rate I’m spending money to catch fish, and destroying personal property along the way, the most sensible choice is to donate my gear to charity — wait, no, auction it — and find some other way to pass the time.
So I chose Tuesday to crunch something other than a vehicle — numbers.
Here’s what I paid, approximately, to catch my first sockeye salmon on the Russian River.
It’s also the only sockeye I’ve landed since I moved here last November.
Money spent by this angler trying to catch a king will be omitted because that tab is still open.
As for the sockeye:
- Penn Pursuit graphite rod, reel included — I found one on sale for $74.99.
- Fuel — With gas running about $4.40 per gallon, the trip to the Russian spanning 80 miles round trip from home and my 1993 Toyota pickup getting close to 20 miles per gallon, I spent approximately $52.80 in three trips (80X3 = 240/20 = 12X4.40 = 52.80).
- Parking — Twice in three outings, I ponied up $11.25 for a total of $22.50 for a space at the Russian ferry landing. The other time I weaseled into a free lot. Since I also paid the $11 to ride the ferry once, the total jumps to $33.50.
- Tackle — If they didn’t like me before at Trustworthy Hardware and Sportsman’s Warehouse in Soldotna, they do now. A modest estimate: Trilene fishing line, $25; split-shot and various other weights, $20; Hooks, $15; Yarn, $10. That’s about $70. The slew of lures and flies I’ve purchased the past month easily exceed $50, but most of those items have gone toward trout fishing so they don’t count.
- Food and beverage — I compensate for fishing ineptitude with eating fortitude, packing heavy and carrying out light: Bread, meat and other sandwich-making goodies, $25; junk food (chips, beef jerky, candy), $25; beer … Umm, gulp, $30. No sense in counting energy drinks or coffee, which leaves the tally at $80.
The license was excluded because it’s good for a year and hopefully will lead to more fish, like a king or an ice chest full of silver salmon.
The final count: $74.99 + $52.80 + $33.50 + $70 + $80 = $311.29.
There is the magic number.
Wesley Remmer is a sports reporter at the Clarion and an avid fisherman.
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