Yes working in Alaska can be very hectic at times and on occasion one can end up being away from home for long periods of time. I arrived home from my safety class ordeal in Anchorage on Sunday evening August 6th and my phone started ringing almost immediately as the people from Aurora Well Service in Beluga were short handed. I decided I would go help them out from Thursday August 10th through Sunday August 13th. So I flew to Beluga and worked from 6 a.m. till 6 p.m. each day.
On Saturday evening co-workers Romey, Mickey, and I went Pike fishing in one of my favorite lakes over there and we caught about ten pike with Romey landing the biggest one of the evening. It seemed like I spent a whole lot more time trying to untangle a weird snarl I found in my fishing reel that night then I did fishing. It ended up being a discarded ball of line in the trash. I never got to bed that evening till after midnight and got back up a little after three to shower and get ready for work.
Sunday night I borrowed a truck after work and drove back to the lake where I fished about two hours in the rain and wind. After getting soaked and only catching a couple pike I returned to the truck at 11 p.m. to put on dry clothes and sleep in the truck till the next morning. Almost all night long I heard the steady patter of rain falling on the truck roof and how thankful I was to have the truck to sleep in than having to camp in a tent.
The next morning at 6 a.m. I eased my Jon boat back in the lake and once again started fishing for one of my favorite fish - the northern pike. A loon broke the early morning silence as its shrill voice pierced the morning air. The distant gruff growl of a jet plane reminded me that despite being in the Alaska wilderness we still have the sounds of modern civilization right there with us. My 14-foot Jon boat is like paddling a doublewide canoe and has proven to be a very effective boat for small lakes. I stopped at my first hole and dropped the anchor overboard and watched as the anchor rope drug the two plastic bags I had my 357 pistol wrapped in with it! I was lucky the pistol never fell out of the two bags as I quickly grabbed it.
I tried the weedless Johnson Silver Minnow, an orange jointed Rapala, huge red and white Daredevil and some new rubber pike looking baits I found at the Sportsman’s Warehouse in Anchorage. All four of these baits did really good as I landed pike after pike. Near the end of my day I had a leader come unsnapped dropping my Johnson silver minnow into the lake. I paddled over to the spot and made a scoop with my landing net and there was my lure hanging in the net! Again luck was with me as I unhooked my muddy tangled lure from my landing net.
The wind and rain pounded me most of the day but I kept fishing anyway determined to use every minute I could before having to fly home. The fishing was great and I never saw another fisherman on the lake all day long. I enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere, which was very pleasant despite horrible weather. Several times I wondered how much longer I could survive the weather. Each time I thought about quitting it would seem to let up just a little.
I got in out of the weather on a spot I have hooked a lot of nice pike before. I cast my orange jointed Rapala out near a beaver dam and let the ripples disappear before twitching the bait a couple times. Suddenly the bait was gone as I set the hook. The fight was on as the biggest pike out of the 30 I caught was peeling out line! He made a run to the beaver dam, then one towards the lake, back towards the beaver dam. Then he fought back towards the lake before I turned him and reeled him towards my waiting net. I lowered the net and steered hi right into the net. My huge pike was mine secured in my landing net and soon to be heading back to Kenai with me. Again I felt luck was once again with me as I glanced where I was putting down my fishing rod. It was only a second’s worth of time that I took to look away but when I looked back my Rapala hung neatly on the landing net and my fish was gone! I never heard anything, no splash, no shaking of the net nothing just a very empty net, perhaps my luck finally ran out!
I guessed the fish to be around 38 inches and 4 to 5 inches wide across the top of his back! A really nice pike but one that will be bigger next time! I brought back about a dozen fish and had a nice meal of fresh pike, some for the freezer and also a batch of pike in the crock pickling.
I did manage to spend part of a day on Elephant Lake fishing rainbows on a very nice sunny day. We caught about 30 fish that day as we had a big crew out and took two boats. I was really impressed with my son Travis as he and Gene Dube from Massachusetts teamed up and caught several really nice bows together.
That evening I had a few errands to run before cleaning my iced down fish. I returned home to find out that my eleven-year-old son already had them all filleted out! Not only that: Colt and Harley McDonald helped him empty out the boats and put al the gear away! Great job boys and for all your special help I’m not even going to tell anyone that Harley never caught any fish today! Oops! Wow! It seems only yesterday my son Travis was learning how to walk and could only say Da! Today he is filleting fish and shooting my 338 Winchester Magnum! Dads out there enjoy them kids now because they really grow up fast. Take a few minutes right now to enjoy your children before it is too late. When you’re somewhat surprised kids say “Gee dad why are you taking me fishing today?” Tell them because “Big John told me too!” See you next week!
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