Here we are in the middle of the coldest November on the Kenai Peninsula in many years. Below zero weather has been here with us on a daily basis, in fact on many days it was warmer on the frozen North Slope then here. For me cold weather is good as it means good hard water or should I say ice. Wonderful beautiful ice that I use to separate myself from the fish below that I enjoy catching each winter. Winter time in Alaska is perhaps my favorite time of the year, as with it comes tourist free streets, no bugs and often times I find myself alone fishing on a frozen lake.
As I excitedly planned my days off while working on the slope I made the comment to family members that I could not wait to get back out on the ice. I was quickly asked when I was planning my first ice fishing adventure and I replied “Saturday as I might not arrive home in time to get out Friday.” There was a pause at the end of the line for a brief moment when I was reminded that Saturday was when the Perkovich family was celebrating their Thanksgiving.
I quickly started presenting my defense by saying that one of the kids could throw an ol’ turkey leg out by the fishing shack and I would try to pick it up before the ravens or eagles stole it. Or if that method didn’t work perhaps you could wrap it in tin foil and then place it in one of those blue newspaper bags and have Jake (the family golden retriever) carry it out to the shack and drop it by the door. After all you have been teaching him to fetch the paper from the driveway each day. You could even tie a thermos of hot cocoa on him too!
“No John, Saturday is also Harley’s birthday and he really wants you to be there too.” “I will be there,” I replied, “Right beside him while we are fishing!” “And we are also celebrating Earl Bolvin’s birthday that day too and you will have to help prepare the food for the big party, as I have to work on Saturday too.”
I decided to try one more attempt at still being able to get out fishing by suggesting we move Harley’s birthday to January since we already have 4 other birthdays that month anyway. “Offer him an extra present and the chance to go fishing with John and see what he says.” “No John!” “Ok how about I get up early and go fishing then come back in time for the party?” “No John because if the fish are biting you will not leave the ice till dark and you will be late.” “How about never mind I guess fishing just isn’t going to work for Saturday but what about Sunday? I could go out early Sunday and sit there all day. Besides the Packers don’t play till Monday night so I will be home free.” “ No John, Pastor George from Funny River Community Lutheran Church will be at the party and I don’t think you will want to explain to George you skipped Church to go fishing when you have two whole weeks off to go fishing!” “Ok, then I will go Monday, that will be the day that I go ice fishing!” “No John, That is the day you have to drive to Anchorage so you can fly to Texas to go on the big alligator Gar fishing trip near Dallas in the Trinity River.”
Instantly I picture myself in the hot Texas weather fighting those huge monsters of the south that guide Capt. Kirk has become famous for. Fish that are often times more then 8 feet long and weigh from 100 to almost 400 hundred lbs. I quickly check the weather map on the computer and it shows the temperature for Dallas at 81! But then after calling guide Capt. Kirk I was told it is just too cold to go out at this time of the year! So the Gar fishing trip I have wanted to do for years is off after I already bought tickets. Well maybe it will get really cold in Texas and I will be able to go ice fishing after all.
I can just see me being led out of the Texas airport now by those guys in the white jackets. My jiffy ice auger over one shoulder, wearing bunny boots, refriger-wear pants and jacket and my favorite stocking hat. “No honest guys I am going ice fishing soon as you show me the hard water lake” “Where you from? Why are you dressed like? What is that contraption on your shoulder? Down here we stay inside after it gits cold, y’all actually fish in the cold? Is there a number we can call to check out your story?” “Yes, call up Pastor George, he will tell you who I am and how good those Lake trout are in the winter time and he will even tell you I WAS in church Sunday!” See you next week!
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