Getting Ready to Fish – June 14-19, 2012

  • The weather has been really up and down these last few days. The only constant is the wind. A few days ago we had warm east wind blowing off the land. The sun was shinning and we did our work in t shirts and without shoes. Out of the wind it felt like it might be approaching 70! Today and yesterday have been a different story entirely though… The wind direction shifted to west/northwest and the temperature dropped with it. This wind is common and blows right in off the Bering Sea, carrying with it all the angry seas and chilly air of the Arctic. Daytime temps have been in the low 40s with a 15-25 degree windchill effect, making the temps something like 20-35 deg most of the day. It’s almost impossible to wear enough cloths we find. The wind cuts through our fancy garments with ease and we are reminded how harsh this environment is and how fickle and unforgiving the weather. But, that’s part of the appeal I suppose–feeling small, remembering that there is a vast wilderness right out our front door, wondering what will blow away in the night, worrying about the boat on the mooring line all night. But then being blown away when you wake one morning and the wind has stopped, the sun is out and you know to appreciate it fully because the wind and the cold will be back soon.

    The other day was drama-filled. Another fisherman’s skiff was swamped in the surf on the beach so we all came together to help him retrieve it. The 20 footer was full of water and we were worried the outboard would be ruined as frothy, brown waves broke over it. Tom Slate’s son, Grey, saw it first and ran out there without waders on to save it from a certain death in the breakers. Freezing waves broke over his head but he never let go. Pretty amazing. We pulled it out of the surf then baled about 1000 gallons of water out of it with 5 gallon buckets. I’ll post a video soon with some of that footage. Ironically, Grey’s skiff broke loose from its mooring about 30 minutes later and I saw it as I walked back to our cabin after helping with the other skiff in distress. It broke loose and blew in and probably would have swamped if I hadn’t got to it in time. I held it bow out for a bit while Grey and his grew threw their gear on and came over to get their boat. Grey had just dried off and he was out there, this time saving his own skiff. He came over later that night and gave us some lovely elk meat–an animal his crewman had shot. Looks tasty.

    We have been seeing bears tracks on the beach! We are excited because we normally don’t see bears in the spring. Marc says it’s a 10 foot bear by the track. It’s always so impressive that he can tell just by the track. He always ends up being correct when we finally do see the bear. We also had wolf tracks in some mud about 10 feet from our cabin window. It’s surreal to think about these large wild animals walking around in the dusk of night–their searching snouts just feet from out sleeping heads on the far side of the wall.

    In other news, we are hanging a new net. This is something I have never done before so it’s quite a job and intimidating too. Hanging a net is building a net from near scratch. We have corks, cork line, lead line, web and a needle and from this pile of nylon we make the most important tool in our arsenal. Surprisingly there is a lot of math involved, which for me, an art school graduate, can be quite challenging. We have our lines measured and marked every 7 11/16 inches so today we are going to get to it today. We have to tripple tie everything because of the incredible wind and current forces at work in our river. If we single tie everything like most setnetters do, they all just break loose eventually and the net starts to look pretty ragged.

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Traveler Terpening

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