Little did we know that we would spend the day fishing with a “newbie” from Florida named Diane who quickly developed into a fish vacuum sucking every available fish in the river to her hook…

As it turns out, the previous visit by our son and grandson and their finned encounters merely whet our son’s appetite for a more in depth Alaskan fishing experience.   Thus followed the “2010 Kenai Challenge”…

But, in the end, justice prevailed and I ended up with both the largest fish of the day as well as the most…

That’s a 16-pound Silver, one of 3 we caught in addition to 9 Reds…

Give a boy a fish and you’ve fed him for a day.  Teach a boy to fish and he can feed himself for a lifetime.  Teach your son to fish and he’ll follow you to Alaska! 

The competitive equivalent of the Iditarod dog sled race, this quickly developed into a full blown “Catch fish or swim home” event between the “Senior” and “Junior” Bryan boys.  We decided on the world famous Kenai River since both the Sockeye (Red) and Coho (Silver) salmon were running during the 3-day period he was able to come back.   We booked 3 days through Alaska River Adventures in Cooper Landing ($275 per person per day) and headed out that first morning with our guide, Gary, and brimming with confidence that we would soon have limits of fish on our stringers…

I had high hopes that a new guide would also portend a change in my luck and I would soon be leaving Junior in my wake.   The day did not go exactly as I had hoped…

Although we carried out 2 limits that day, it should be noted that the day’s tally was Senior (6) and Junior (2) with Tyler responsible for 4 others Junior tried to claim.   I don’t know if you folks have been keeping track of the count, but according to the official non-partisan referee (me, again), including the “old fart 5 fish handicap,” the final score was Senior (106) and Junior (-3).  This was after the assessment of a few penalties for bribery, cursing, throwing your equipment into the river, taking time out to eat lunch and jumping into the river to catch fish with your teeth instead of the approved fishing gear.   After 3 days, we had 73 pounds of Red and Silver salmon filets…

If all goes according to plan, the end result is this…

   Alaska 2010 - Part 7                                                  August 20, 2010

Not exactly a good start for the old guy.   On Day 2 we traded in Gary for a young honey named Natalia…

The woman truly is evil and is singularly responsible for my newfound belief in “beginner’s luck!”   It wasn’t until after she had her limit that Jeff and I finally managed to catch a few fish and ended the day with Senior (1) versus Junior (3).

I figure our accumulated bounty came in at just under $23 per pound which is actually a vast improvement over our previous $80 per pound.  My bride is in piscatorial Nirvana right now eating salmon 3 times per day and sporting breath that has every cat in the neighborhood following close behind her.  I am on a quest for an industrial strength mouth wash!  See y’all next time, Chuck and Tigger.

The guide disgorges the hook and hands over your prize.   You then get to pose for a picture, adoring woman by your side, while thinking of yourself as Nanook of the North, Slayer of Great Fishes…

At the end of the day it was Senior (1) and Junior (5).  Again, a bad day for Dad!   It should be noted that, although Junior landed more fish than I did, I actually caught more fish…they were the ones that got away.   Additionally, Natalia actually hooked a fish and then handed him the rod to land it.  The “Rules Committee” (me) decided that not only did this fish not count but also resulted in a 2 fish penalty.  AND…at one point Natalia “adjusted” my rigging thereby ensuring that I would catch no more fish that day.   She, of course, denies this.  The third day we were scheduled to go out with Natalia once again and I was not looking forward to another day of fishing with a guide whom I knew had been bribed by the competition.  Thanks to a last minute SNAFU at the office, Natalia was reassigned to another group and we were given Tyler for the day.   He turned out to be a paragon of virtue and steadfastly refused all attempts by the other team to bribe, intimidate or coerce him.   Junior did manage to catch a couple of fish that day…

In no time whatsoever the kid had hooked into his first of the day…

When you hook a salmon from the river bank, you have to keep the end of your fly rod perpendicular to the fish and actually drag it toward shore while reeling.  The guide, carrying a salmon net, has the task of stalking the unsuspecting fish (we’re assuming that the fish has yet to realize that he has a problem)…