Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Clams, Tides, and Kids

Lovie took the kids clamming on Saturday, and we took the results to Uncle Virgil's Saturday for supper. That, along with his gourmet spaghetti, made for a good meal. This photo is about half-way through the cleaning process--just for those who are a little bit squeamish about food that isn't pre-packaged! We've already removed the shells, but haven't separated the necks from the feet, or cleaned the innards out yet. Plus, you can't quite communicate the aroma via blog -----

Anyone interested in a great place to stay when you come to Alaska, check out Uncle Virgil's cabins at the Anchor River. Great fishing available nearby, and I highly recommend the management! http://www.northwoodcabins.com/

So we've had a very sporadic week fishing, due to the high tides and low fish counts in the rivers. The high tides washed out the bottom 3 feet or so of our road down the bluff, so getting the boat and trailer off the beach ( which is completely awash in any tide over about 18 feet) has been impossible. We made arrangements to use the neighbor's road, but it was still a problem. Their road also washes out, but they are aggressive with their front-end loader in between tides, and generally access is possible.
The high tides have brought logs and all sorts of debris floating up and down the inlet, so net picking sometimes resembles a logging operation more than a fishing one!
The fish escapement up the river has been a little low, so they cancelled some regular fishing days, and we had a stretch that was pretty slow. Right now the only fishery opening at all is the 1/2 mile corridor along the Kasilof beach area -- the drift boats and all others are shut down. The 1/2 mile is where we are fishing, so we may get back in the water again today.
Monday, they didn't open us up until 10 am, and we shut down at 9pm. Emery and Todd came on Friday night, so Lovie got a break while they took over in the boat. Emery was back in her element as "Super Set-Net Emery" or "Pigtails" as she was known by before! Once an ocean fisherman, it doesn't take but a minute back on the sea to feel at home! We caught 2 smaller kings in amongst the 50 or so Reds, and it was great to see Todd's eyes and smile as he helped get them in the boat!!
It was a long day -- up at 5 to check the message regarding whether we would fish or not, then 1 am by the time we got the boat and nets all sorted out and ready to go again -- we also filleted a box of fish for the kids to take home for their troubles.
We almost had a catastrophe -- when we put the boat in at low tide, we miscalculated how far up the beach the tide would come, so the truck and trailer got parked right up against the breakwater, between surf and log wall. When we returned on high tide, waves were already breaking against the passenger side door. We still had a half-hour of incoming tide, and knew that the truck would be completely submerged if it didn't get move. I jumped in, and luckily it started! My only way out was to back the trailer along the breakwater and then pull it as high as I could up on the gravel. The breakers kept slamming me on the side, but I kept the backing straight and managed to keep the engine running long enough to get clear! Moments of adrenaline -- something I seem addicted to! All's well that ends well...
I had to get up at 4am today, take the 4-wheeler a mile down the beach and recover an anchor that we had to cut loose -- it had fouled around a rock, and we couldn't get it free from the boat when we were picking up gear at high tide. At the 4am low, I drove right to it, dragged it out from under the rock it was hung on, got the buoy, and drove back home. Lovie, bless her heart, was very kind to let me warm my frozen toes and fingers on her when I crawled back in to bed. She did scream a time or two, but that's reasonable!
We are waiting to hear about an opening later today, but some part of me hopes it doesn't materialize... !
Emery and Todd fly out this evening, then on to home tomorrow morning. Les and Annie come home tomorrow, and then we leave at the end of the week.

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