During such free time as comes my way here at Whale Pass, I have been reading Peter Matthiessen’s The Snow Leopard. Published back in 1978, it is a brilliant piece of work, masterfully written and full of profound insights into human nature and the fleeting nature of one individual’s life.
At one point Matthiessen writes, “Amazingly, we take for granted that instinct for survival, fear of death, must separate us from the happiness of pure and uninterrupted experience, in which body, mind, and nature are the same. And this debasement of our vision, the retreat from wonder, the backing away like lobsters from free-swimming life into safe crannies, the desperate instinct that our life passes unlived, is reflected in proliferation without joy, corrosive money rot, the gross befouling of the earth and air and water from which we came.”
A guy I know says, “Life is short. Go fishing.” Or hiking. Or anything else that gets you out into the world, away from devices and documents and deadlines.
During the long summer I miss my family but I’m so happy to be at Whale Pass.
The Snow Leopard contains a couple of haikus. It inspired me to write a couple…
Sinker thumps bottom.
Big tug. Set hook. Fight to boat.
Fat, flat, halibut.
Faux fly garners strike.
In response, fish jumps and runs.
God gives sacred gift.
So, here’s the haiku challenge. Consider your passion for the outdoors. For most of my readers fishing is an obvious one, but it could be about any other outdoor interest you may have. Write a haiku about it and email it to me using my contact form. The ones chosen by our panel of judge (me) will be published in upcoming blogs. If your haiku is published you will eventually get a complimentary copy of Flyrodding Florida Salt when I return to Florida, around September 1. Please keep in mind that internet access at Whale Pass is at best intermittent, so I may not receive or respond to entries for several weeks.
Ah, yes, there is supposed to be a fishing report in here someplace!
One of my goals for this summer was to try to figure out how to catch ocean salmon on light spin and fly tackle. I have not yet had much opportunity to experiment with that. On Monday, while out with the Bergers from New York, I managed to hook a silver salmon near some rocks on a Sting Silver, made by Haw River Tackle of North Carolina. The Sting Silver is one of my favorite lures for Spanish mackeral and little tunny at home. Hooking an ocean salmon on one was a small step toward my goal, but it was a step. The Bergers each got a silver salmon while mooching cut herring, and hooked and lost another.
I got an hour or so of fishing in by myself on Tuesday, fly fishing near the Neck Lake Outlet. The first cast garnered a strike from a feisty silver. It ran at me faster than I could reel. The slack line that formed wrapped around the rod tip. When the line came tight again the fish immediately broke off. The fly, a chartreuse #4 Clouser Minnow with luminescent green Sili-legs, had been tied that morning and was on my leader for exactly one cast before being lost. Fortunately I tied six, and so have a small strategic reserve.
Tuesday’s foul weather was accompanied by the loss of our last guests while we waited for another group to arrive. We performed routine maintenance on a number of systems and attempted to amuse ourselves.
Wednesday was son Maxx’s birthday. Happy birthday, Maxx! Natbug and I had Eram and Christina out bottom fishing on the Blashke. Although the weather was beautiful, it was a tough day fishing-wise, three halibut and little else. But Christina, a lovely and bright young woman, looked great holding the biggest fish we got, a halibut of 30 pounds or so.
Our other boats went salmon fishing and did quite well on silvers, with a 20-plus pound king and several pinks thrown in for good measure.
Thursday found me on the Etolin as a deckhand for Capt. Julian. Our anglers were Jerry and Greg. We trolled for salmon all morning, just south of the Triplets. The downrigger wires sang their eerie song as they always do, sounding like undecipherable communications from deep space.
Periodically a rod would go off. We bagged a mixed catch of silver and pink salmon, with one short (and released) king taken as well.
We tried halibut fishing for an hour in Snow Pass but did not get a bite, and were back on the dock at about 3:30 PM.
Some of you, suffering in the summer heat, won’t sympathise with this, but it’s been cold and wet here for a couple days now. High temperatures have only hit the low 60s, 100 percent relative humidity, with wind. If it were any colder it would be miserable. As it is I am having trouble staying warm.
Friday’s guests arrived late. John and his children Jack and Eva joined me for a trip to Neck Lake Outlet. The silver salmon are nothing if not reliably there. Although they are far from suicidal, they certainly will eat if you keep casting. We got five bites and Jack and Eva both put one in the boat. Since Eva is only 10 years old, this was quite an accomplishment.
Saturday the three of them, plus Eva’s twin sister Grace and mom Leslee all joined Nathaniel and I on the Blashke. Our first goal was to catch some salmon. The salmon refused to cooperate, so we went rockfishing. The happy squeals of the girls made the day a lot of fun, and Jack was pretty fun to have aboard as well. After taking a 10 fish limit of quillbacks and other assorted fish, we went halibut fishing.
Fishing Snow Pass, the halibut were cooperative enough that we caught four, including one right at the 42 inch size limit. Everyone got a chance to pull on some fish, some folks maybe more than they wanted to!
And that is the Haiku Challenge Whale Pass Fishing Report from the Lodge at Whale Pass and Spotted Tail.
Life is great and I love my work!
Life is short- Go Fishing!