Stranded but not forgotten

Bill Miller of Ninilchik is pulled to shore after his motor stopped working on a recent fishing trip on the Kenai River.

On Aug. 16, my wife and I embarked on what we hoped would be an enjoyable day fishing for silvers on the Kenai River.


Upon launching at Stewart’s Landing, we pulled out into the middle of the river in order to motor downstream. However, to our dismay, almost immediately our motor started to sputter and lose power.

As I worked on the motor, trying to figure out the problem was, we proceeded to float down the river, sailing past boats full of fisherman.

One fishing guide who noticed our dilemma asked if we needed help and I told him I thought we’d be OK. Later, a private operator hollered over to us asking if we were OK, and again my response was that I thought I could get the motor going.

Finally, as we approached the Pillar’s launch area, we gave up on the motor and decided to try to row toward shore. Immediately it became obvious that with the feeble rowing effort of the two of us, if we were going to reach land, it was going to be miles below our present location.

Yet again, a third individual, this time another fishing guide, offered to lend us a hand. This time we took him up on his offer to tow us into the launch area.

As we were in the process of throwing him our tow rope, the first fishing guide we had encountered a mile-and-a-half up the river reappeared.

Realizing we were a considerable distance downstream from where we had launched, he offered to tow us back up the river to Stewart’s Landing, where our truck and trailer were parked.

Needless to say, we jumped at that very welcome offer.

Forty-five minutes later, upon depositing us at our launch area, he further amazed us at his generosity by refusing to take any payment for his expenditure of time and fuel.

But he wasn’t the only person who was charitable toward us. He had a boat full of guests whom I’m sure had paid good money to catch fish — not tow unfortunate anglers up the river. And they were more than pleasant toward us, calling out to us as they left us at the launch, “Good luck with your motor.”

As my wife and I drove off to get our motor checked out, our hearts were warmed as we reminisced at the kind generosity of sportsmen on the Kenai River — guides and private individuals alike.

They showed us by their actions that they are never too busy to lend a helping hand to someone in need.


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