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Started by AK Aaron, February 08, 2012, 23:23:32 PM

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During the summer my brother Steven and I would escape on our BMX bikes after we had done our chores and ride down to our local stream. From the age of 9 or 10 on we had three hours of chores a day. At first only Steven got the chainsaw, being a couple years older he could start the saw while I couldn't that being the test as to whether you were old enough to use it or not. A wood stove for heat kept boys busier during the Alaskan summers than it ever would in the winter. We would fall trees, limb them, haul off the brush to be burnt and cut the logs down to rounds to be split and stacked along with the normal chores of youth.

Our dad had made a deal with us where we had free reign after the chores were done as long as we left the house, if we stayed around he would put us back to work. For us the local was two miles away down a gravel road. It was a solid trout and dolly stream that also had good numbers of spring kings and silvers, steelhead and a few humpies throughout the summer. With rubber hip waders on and old threadbare backpacks loaded with supplies we would race off through the plumes of dust raised up by passing cars down to places called slide hole and cottonwood. Steven and I would spend every free hour beating the banks, catching fish or wading out to snags we knew to retrieve the lures that the tourists left behind. We took these spin-n-glo's, rooster tails, okie drifters and pixies back around the campgrounds along the river to the new crop of tourists up from the lower forty eight in RVs and sold them for half what they would cost new at Curley's tackle shop.

We got into fly-fishing by default. I was given an old bamboo rod that had belonged to my grandfather and Steven got the use of a four piece fiberglass Eagle Claw that was a present to our older brother who didn't fish. Our dad didn't fish and I don't recall how the idea of us fishing came along it just did much the same way that once I got into high school I started working on charter boats in the summers as a deck hand and then fished commercially for years after that. It was as natural a progression as could be, given the circumstance of location. The hand me down rod I had and the borrowed one from our brother was a cheap way of introducing us to the sport for our dad, not knowing if our interest would stick or not. Seeing us get better he signed us up for fly tying lessons that we took after school. The instructor was a recent transplant from the steelhead waters of Oregon and Washington, a hopeless fishbum who moonlighted as a school bus driver when the rivers were frozen over in winter. He was as unpretentious as you could be. With a red ponytail and beard and eyes glossed not just from personal tastes but also from retelling stories of great days spent fishing. We learned a few patterns, mostly flies that had worked on the steelhead down south and got a solid supply of materials to go with the lessons. I never got too good at tying and usually fished with some variation of a bucktail.

While fishing was an escape for us we also kept a lot of fish that would be smoked, eaten fresh or put up in cans for winter and a few dollies cooked on the bank over a small fire made from willow sprigs.  At a certain point our dad put limits on us that were more stringent than the state fish and game had set. Size limits on dollies went to 12" and later 14" and finally he would tell us as we left each day not to bring any more dollies home. Salmon were never refused and as an added bonus to us if we caught a salmon our dad would come down to the river in his truck and load the bikes in the back and give us a ride home. Curley's tackle shop was right on the river and had a pay phone we would use to call home. If we had a dime it was spent on a jolly rancher or some bazooka gum and not used for the phone. Calls would go through without change and we could hear our dad answer on the other end. He wouldn't hear us but could hear the beep when we pushed a button on the phone. We would hear him ask, did you get a salmon? We would push once for yes, twice for no. A yes would be followed by our dad letting us know how long it would be before he would be down to pick us up. A no, well a no was just that no ride, use your bike.

Steven was always a better fisherman than me. He could read water better, could cast, impart action and work a section better than I could. In many ways he is the least patient person you could meet but on a river or in pursuit of fish his impatience goes away. I caught my share but next to Steven I was playing in the sandbox.
We kept fishing through high school with friends of ours joining in. The adventures led to remote stretches of our stream, the roadless and trailless areas more traveled by moose and bear than by boys or men.

A friend from childhood shared this picture with me that I had not seen before. The picture is of my brother posed next to a king salmon he had just caught. It was taken around the time we got into fishing and it brought back memories of those days when days lasted forever.



 'c;  A good read before I bed down for the night.
Quote from: Transylwader on June 03, 2011, 21:56:17 PM
The Davidson. It's full of wild fish.


I couldnt reply on this thread earlier so I left my reponse in SOTD. 

Woolly Bugger

cool, thanks for sharing...
ex - I'm not going to live with you through one more fishing season!
me -There's a season?

Pastor explains icons to my son: you know like the fish symbol on the back of cars.
My son: My dad has two fish on his car and they're both trout!




Yup, going fishing


That is a fantastic memory.

Thanks for putting it out there.

"maybe procrastination is another word for fishing..." ben
"Just butchered my first silk kitty...." Wooly Bugger  January 26, 2018, 12:41:27 PM

Big J

blue ridge angler


Aaron, thanks man, I enjoyed that.


Man that's a great read.  Memories like those are what life is about   'c;
!!!Tying, building, fishing!!!

Quote from: Transylwader on June 25, 2012, 09:04:59 AM
This creek was so big that a high hole was virtually impossible.


When you read good writing you realize how accustomed you've become to drivel. 'c;


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