As this was my son's first fly out trip, I had been prepping him for the adventure for about 3 weeks. Well the time had come and he was as antsy as I was. He wanted to try on the hip waders, check the tackle box for the lures we would use, and he wanted to know about what the plane would be like. I love his enthusiasm about something that I am so passionate about myself!
We drove up to FAI Friday after work and as usual my son passes out right about Trapper Creek and is dreaming of fishing till about Healy. Once he wakes up he asks if I brought his fishing pole. (Grayling Rod) I let him know that where we're going his pole wont cut it, you get to use one of 'dad's' fishing poles for this trip. For the next two hours he's wide awake with the excitement that A. He gets to use dads fishing pole, B. What am in for that my fishing pole won't work?!?. The questions start to flow... "How will I know if they are on, do they bite like a king salmon, red salmon, or like halibut?"
Side note: Nothing makes a dad smile more than when his six year old has the knowledge and experience that kings and reds are hooked differently, and that with halibut you need to wait till they hook themselves. I wish I could take credit for this, but man that kid sure does pay attention to the details!
I tell him that we'll probably tie the rod to the boat as sometimes these fish will hit the lure so hard it will rip it out of your hand. Once again his eyes light up and his brain starts dreaming...
Who needs an alarm clock on a fishing day. I know I don't, I wake up 3 hrs early sprinting for the door thinking I'm late or maybe I'll get there a bit early. Well the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. My alarm was set for six, at 445am he's tapping my foot. "Daddy is it time to go?" Cobwebs in the eyes all I can say is... Yeah buddy it is
Flight out was perfect. No turbulence and clear skies. Rick did a phenomenal job getting us to our destination.
Water was high...very high but clear. Some locals in the area filling their freezers and had the known go to spots taken (for the whole weekend). With the water high boats from down river were up and tooling around. Needless to say the remote honey hole was grand central station.
With the sun high, not a cloud in the sky we were prepping for a hot one. The fish were scattered and nothing was working of the first 6 lures I put on. Broke out the trusty silver rapela and we had our fist fish on. The fish didn't take like a traditional pike (head first. This one took it tail first, clear down to his belly. Amazingly I was able to free up the three hooks and release him with little harm.
With the sun glaring down we headed back to get some lunch and catch a mid day nap. (neither of us slept much the day before) Well we ended up sitting on the porch of the cabin in the shade talking about fishing, life in Anchorage ( I just moved down from FAI), first day of school and just little things in life. Never could I imagine that doing anything other than fishing on a fishing trip could be so rewarding. I was humbled that afternoon.
After dinner (long but enjoyable break at the cabin) we motored out to known spot... 3rd cast fish on. Then nothing. The rest of the evening was spent navigating the river and sloughs picking up the occasional fish here and there. With the changing of location we also were changing lures to whatever he wanted. I must say it was interesting watching him pick the lure he wanted to use. Very methodical in his choices. He was watching what I was getting action with and wanted to find something similar but not exactly the same... like he wanted to figure it out on his own.
As the sun dropped the action picked up. He was driven to land the next and biggest... as I was driven to give him that opportunity. Well I was blessed to be able to deliver that in grand style.
Trolling a yellow daredevil with red diamonds in front of the bank he picks up an 18 incher and is about to call it a day. I tell him lets get one more for ya then call it a day. (1030pm). He agrees so I straighten out the lure and leader and toss it in the water. Hand him the pole and say "open the bail" as I start the motor. As soon as we start moving the lure is about 3 feet from the boat and his biggest fish comes up out of the water with his lure and buries the rod tip. His eyes lit up and I quickly cut the motor and told him to hang on and reel when you can. I didn't notice this but when my back was to him he had been playing with the drag system resulting in the fish peeling line. (At this point I am really glad the rod is tied to the boat) The fish came in after about 45 seconds of fight in typical pike fashion and I reached down and brought his trophy in. He eyes were lit up like he had just caught the monster!
I must say this is one of those pictures that will be framed and put in the office, man cave, house, and garage..