In the Pink

By , July 10, 2011

Yesterday morning I went down to the water to fish while I could on the falling tide. It seemed like a perfunctory effort. I only took the pole rigged with the hot pink BuzzBomb, because if I were to catch anything, I’d need to do it before the water level dropped too low on the rocks. I didn’t really feel like fishing at that moment, but the next good tide would be well after dinner.

I saw enough action to keep me entertained; I released a small greenling, and lost a small Dolly Varden before I could release it. I fished on autopilot, giving most of my attention to the audio book playing on the MP3 player in my pocket.

Suddenly, three large, sleek fish appeared in the water right at my feet. One of them struck my lure and struggled while the other two milled around, looking for an opportunity to steal its prey away. The one that took the lure shook free, and they all disappeared.

I was paying attention now! The salmon have arrived.

Pair of pink salmon

A good morning’s work on the homestead (with Alaska Marine Highway ferry in the background). The smaller one broke my BuzzBomb, but I still caught the larger one with it. (Photo: Michelle Zeiger).

I fished with a will, and shortly hooked another salmon. It too, shook free, so I ran for my sharpener and touched up the hook. Within minutes, I had another on the line. It fought hard, and slammed my BuzzBomb into the rocks before I landed it, breaking the diamond shaped lure at the tip.

I took my catch up on the rocks and severed its gills to bleed it out, then went right back to the water. I had more dinner than Michelle and I could handle alone, but I remembered the three fish at my feet, and wanted more. I could have switched to a cheaper lure, but

I took my two fish up to the cabin, called Michelle to take some photos and help me gather tools, then I cleaned and cut them up, one for baking for dinner, the other for canning.

I was a pretty happy man by the time I cleaned up my work area, but then I thought, “why not keep fishing?” I could still have good depth on the lower rocks north of the Power Point, and if we’re going to the trouble to can one fish, why not do two? With no pressure, I could fish the cheap lures, to see how the salmon like them.

Within an hour I had my third fish, caught on a large green and white Blue Fox spoon I’d bought for 25¢.

pink salmon

The third salmon of the day, caught on a cheap lure (Photo: Michelle Zeiger).

We canned 6 pints of fish in the afternoon, and had baked salmon for dinner. I got a lot of satisfaction from catching as many fish as I saw (I know they’re not the same fish I saw, because, of course, they were way bigger than the ones I caught!). Hopefully, this bodes well for the future.

If you’re an Alaskan, you’ve probably noticed from the photos that all three of the fish are pink salmon. A lot of Alaskans won’t eat pinks, and even look down on those who do, but I maintain that those people have never had a pink salmon dinner cooked by Michelle.

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