|Eating dinner and watching for fish to hit the net|
After work on Friday Stuey and I headed up to Afognak with Mike P to try our hand at catching some subsistence red salmon. We went up in tandem in two boats and the trip was an hour and twenty minutes from town - a quick trip to Heaven! Mike slept in his boat while Stuey and I camped on shore. Not much beats cooking dinner with a spectacular view while waiting for fish to hit the net.
Mike and I like to bleed and ice our fish right away and we marked the 2 fish we did not see hit the net, and thus had pretty much died before we got to them. Back home when we canned the fish the 2 marked fish were noticeably less 'glossy' and firm. So clearly it pays off in fish quality to watch the net closely. When you see the corks bobbing it's time to check the net!
By the time we were done we had caught 10 reds, and, much to Stuey's delight, 2 kings. Our haul filled up 3 pressure cookers almost exactly - 40 pounds of canned salmon.
The only downside to the trip was the arrival at dawn Saturday of another subsistence group who apparently had their hearts set on fishing the exact set we had already claimed. They tried to bully us into leaving by erroneously telling us we were fishing illegally and that they were going to call the troopers. They even started to set up a bonfire and picnic on the beach directly below where we were already camping. It was a bizarre and slightly ugly situation. But Mike and I called the troopers ourselves, made sure that we really had done nothing illegal, and held our ground. They threatened putting nets on either side of ours, but eventually moved off nearby, set their nets, and had their picnic on the beach.
Where do these people come from - what motivates them? It's not like where we set our net is the only good set in the area. In fact, the evening before another group had stopped by, saw that we had already set up, and after a friendly encounter moved on up the bay. The next day we talked to them when they were on their way home and they had caught 40 fish. I guess common courtesy pays!
Anyway, it was still a great weekend. Stuey got to go camping AND catch fish to help feed the family - a most enjoyable and productive trip.
|Keeping warm with the Lucy lamp in the evening|
|And it's a king - not a red!|
|Stuey's first king|
|Afognak is Federal water so the fishing can start earlier and go later|
|Watching the net|
|Stuey killing time in the kayak|
|Checking the net|
|Stuey's second king|