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Thread: Sodabiscuit and the Sockeye

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Cool Sodabiscuit and the Sockeye

    Today was the day that Jonathan (sodabiscuit) had been looking forward to for a long time. When I had dinner with him a couple of weeks ago, he just could not wrap his mind around the idea that he could actually catch his own sockeye. It's one of his favorite fish for sashimi, and he had been dreaming of catching one for a long time now. Thus we had our mission determined - it was just an issue of connecting the dots.

    I left Eagle River at 3:45 and hit the campground around 6:15. Thanks to AKCheese and his awesome offer of a campsite for Jonathan, I met him and Rose (his girlfriend) there after a good night's rest. I was surprised to hear that they hadn't fished the midnight opener. The guy is a bucket of energy, but apparently he figured that it would be better to be rested for morning. Energetic and wise as well! We had breakfast and then took a walk up the trail to the falls. Once on the viewing platform overlooking the falls our nervous energy turned to wide smiles. There were at least 50 fish stacked in the little calm pool on the far side of the falls, and once we went down the trail towards the legal fishing marker we saw more and more fish.

    The first hole had five or six people in it, so we put our waders on and headed further downstream for about 10 more minutes. We found a good spot (my favorite area on the river) where two of us could cast. While they were rigging their lines I casted a few times. Jonathan was soon to follow suit. I already had one on when he made his first cast, and wouldn't you know it, he hooked up on his very first cast. We had a double two minutes into the morning! It didn't last, as we both broke off, but this sight was a great way to start the morning.



    I had told him on the hike in that I typically lose three fish for every one that I land so that he wouldn't get discouraged. True to form, I landed the third or fourth one that I hooked to finally put the first fish on the stringer. Jonathan....well....it took him just a tad more effort. He must have hooked and lost 10 or 12 in the first 15 minutes. The guy had an awesome cast and amazing technique for a first timer, which he credits to his time on Ship Creek with Jim Lavrakas. He admitted later in the afternoon, however, that he got a little too anxious whenever he hooked one and tried to pull them in a bit too quickly. Actually, it was hilarious when he finally landed his first. I was trying to grab the net for him, but he just grabbed his line and literally lifted the fish out of the water and threw it at his feet. Success!

    (more to come...)

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    For the next hour or so Jonathan completely outfished me when it came to hook-ups. He was hooking one every few minutes. Again, very impressive for a first-timer! Soon Rose got in on the action too, hooking a couple of fish momentarily. At about an hour I had landed my third and Jonathan had two on the bank. He gave a couple of more tips to Rose, and soon she was casting beautifully and hooking fish with regularity. And then....





    More success! Rose did amazingly well, and showed great patience in playing the fish and letting it run when it wanted to. I've rarely seen someone learn so quickly.

    Over the next few hours Jonathan and I both were the cause of Rose losing more fish. We missed the fish with the net, messed up her line, etc., but through it all she kept doing well. She's really a great fisherwoman. Jonathan landed his third a while later, and in the meantime I went through a variety of flies trying to find something to entice the rainbows that were sitting within a few feet of the near shore. I finally figured it out. This was the larger of the two that I caught.


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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    At the end of the day, it was smiles all around. Jonathan and Rose got some great fish for sashimi, and I had a great experience sharing this awesome river with these two. Jonathan is more excited about fishing than almost anyone I've ever met, and I can't help but let it rub off on me. I felt like a kid on Christmas morning walking towards the river this morning, and the result couldn't have been better.



    As we walked downriver after fishing we noticed that almost all downstream holes were devoid of fish. Perhaps we caught the tail end of the first big push of fish to head upriver? I've read others had a disappointing opening morning, so I guess we were particularly blessed. Jonathan and Rose are still down there, so you'll probably read their report tomorrow evening. For now, though, I think this picture sums up the experience the best.


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    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    I was always told that one should never eat raw salmon or roe from freshwater. Apparently it under goes a transformation (picks up a parasite?) and can cause some serious lower intestinal problems. I have had sockeye sashimi from the salt and it is fantastic! Anybody know if there is any truth to this?

    Great pictures!
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

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    Member Stanly's Avatar
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    Default Geez

    Talk about a picture being worth a million words, how can you put a price on a day like that?! Fish, friends and awesome pictures. You know they will remember that day for the rest of their lives. Simply AWESOME!!!!!!!

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    Nice report Brian!

    Way to get'em, soda. Anadah "local" boy catches Russian Fever, brah!

    Just watch it on the sashimi cut from river-caught reds. They do pick up a variety of river parasites on their journey to the Russian.

    I've heard some guys freeze 'em before slicing to kill the parasites. Others say that's what the wasabi is for.
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
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    The KeenEye MD

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    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    Thumbs up awesome

    A standing ovation to all. Also sweet bow Brian. So are the fuzzy critters out yet up the trial. Great pics, great story. Good job my man. Congrats to all 3 of you
    Grandkids, Making big tough guys hearts melt at first sight

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    Default wow thats sweet

    good job on some nice fish, great post brian looks like so much fun .im jealous wish i was there.

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    Member MNViking's Avatar
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    Oh my god this is going to be a long year..... Making it worse is one of the guys that works for me just got on the plane this morning to head up there for 30 days of leave. He timed his leave for the Russian reds.

    Thanks for the pictures, it's what's keeping me going!
    Finally, Brad Childress is GONE!

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    Just watch it on the sashimi cut from river-caught reds. They do pick up a variety of river parasites on their journey to the Russian.

    I've heard some guys freeze 'em before slicing to kill the parasites. Others say that's what the wasabi is for.
    We'll be freezing his fish in my freezer for at least four days before cutting them for sashimi. There is a thread about this in the Pantry Forum, and the general consensus seems to be that it's safe after a freezing period.

    Chuck - No bears where we were, nor did we hear any reports of any.

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    Default russian reds

    hey brian what was youre set up for reds

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    Member jmg's Avatar
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    Fantastic report Brian!!! Loved the pictures.

    By the way, which fly finally enticed the rainbow?

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Rip - Nothing fancy - an 8wt flyrod, two #2 splitshot and a variety of fairly standard sockeye flies.

    jmg - a sculpin pattern. Wouldn't you know it - it was the last one I tried.

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    great amazing wonderful pics... and an even better report, now im anxious for the rest of the red season!!!

    Way to go guys (and girls)

  15. #15
    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    Thumbs up One more thing

    That is one handsome bow. What color on the plate. That fish has been around the russian for a while. It is a leopard fish for sure with those spots. I have never used the sculpin on the russian. I have on the kenai. From the sounds of it you worked hard to get him. Great pic and great day. It had to be a blast watching soda and rose. Good to see rose in on the action too. Up there by the falls is gods country too. Way to take care of them Brian. Good fish karma for you the rest of the year.
    Grandkids, Making big tough guys hearts melt at first sight

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    Default how far

    how far of a hike is it up to the falls? do you just hike up the trail up to the falls then hike down to the 600yd marker or do you hike up along side the river till you get to about the 600yd marker?

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alaskachuck View Post
    Up there by the falls is gods country too. Way to take care of them Brian. Good fish karma for you the rest of the year.
    Oh, I didn't take care of much, Chuck. I helped them find a good spot, but they did the rest. When teaching someone new I usually plan on devoting most of my time to helping them, but these two were so capable that I was just able to fish with friends and enjoy myself thoroughly. I will take the good fishing karma, though.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alaskankid13 View Post
    how far of a hike is it up to the falls? do you just hike up the trail up to the falls then hike down to the 600yd marker or do you hike up along side the river till you get to about the 600yd marker?
    2.3 miles to the falls via the trailhead, a little shorter if you follow the river but also more difficult walking during early season high water conditions.

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    Member Anglette's Avatar
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    GREAT REPORT!!! GREAT PICTURES!!! I got all excited just reading your post.
    Brings me back to my first time at the Russian. DANG HOWDY, what a great time. Thanks for the great read!!

    Now I wanna go down there, LOL

    Terri

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    Talking

    Great post and pics Brian!!!
    Well I guess Soda will be moving to AK full time after that!!!!!!
    He was totally screwed before this!!!!!
    What's next in Soda's Saga I wonder??????????????

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