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Melissa & Dave - Adventures at Sea

Wildlife Challenged in Alaska

So we decided that we needed to learn how to fish.  Since Dad was a fisherman, at least in theory, we asked him how we should equip ourselves.  The following diagram came back:

Seemed clear enough.  Finding the line, green/silver Coyote lure, and weight were simple enough.  The three cost less than $30 combined.  But "any cheep rod & reel" turned out to be a bit more complicated as there are a zillion possibilities.  It turns out there are lots of different rods for different purposes: trolling reels, downriggers, flycasting reels, the list goes on.  Fortunately, Wal-Mart intervened with a great deal on a trolling reel and decent rod.  A mere $84.99.

Once we reached Alaska we got a fishing license.  Well, more like, we paid the non-resident tax the Alaskan government charges if you want to go fishing.  A one week fishing license cost Melissa $85.  Had we been residents it would have been $10 for an annual license.  Melissa nearly had a conniption at the check out stand when they told her how much the total was.  Ok, if we are going to pay $85 for the license then we dang well better catch some fish.  So she goes hunting for more than one lure and weight.  Because sure as shooting she will snag the line and lose the one lure we have before catching any fish and then be seriously annoyed.  Best to avoid that.  Oh, and we might as well try for crab too since crabs are covered by the same fishing license.  That cost us another $80 in crabbing equipment.  So we are now into this for a measly $230 in equipment plus the $85 in Alaska fishing license.  Ok, we get that we can reuse the equipment so that cost has to be amortized but still...

Now we just have to figure out how to put the line on the reel.  Oh, and figure out how to attach the weight and lure to the line.  Thank goodness for the internet.  Don't you love YouTube?  The "Totally Awesome Fishing Show" to the rescue.  I swear that is really the name of the show.  I did not make that up.  They had a video on how to put on a line, and one on how to tie fishing knots.  The videos and sufficient wine and we had our tackle all assembled.  Now we just have to find a video on how to cast a trolling reel.

Remind me, do we even like salmon?  Don't we prefer halibut?  Never mind that.  We are on a mission now.

Ok, so several days in a row Melissa put the line in the water and trolled it behind the boat.  All she caught was kelp.  We decided that maybe we were going too fast, so we tried it again at a slower trolling speed.  No dice.  We asked some locals for help.  They said watch for where the little fish are all jumping out of the water.  That's them trying to get away from the Salmon - so troll wherever we see that.  We tried that.

All along we could see giant Salmon jumping out of the water.  Dave suggests that maybe we should just hang a net over the side and see if one jumps into it by mistake.  He might have been right.  We never did catch a dang thing.  Never did lose that first lure and weight either.  Could have made due with just one.   Figures.

Oh, and as for the crab, we know how to catch those.  Alas we got skunked on Dungeness crab in Alaska.  We put the ring down in Ideal cove, but alongside a ton of commercial traps and we suspect that the bay had been crabbed out.  But then Foggy Bay this morning was no better.  There were two really weird looking crabs (spiny rock crab?), but no Dungeness.

And to make wildlife matters even more insulting, we never saw a single bear in Alaska.  Not one.

I think we will go back to eating hamburgers.  That's Dave's favorite anyhow.

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