Community casting from the Carcross bridge. AC

Fish This!
Amazing tales from the deep

Part One: A tale of two flashes


Have you ever tried to tell a story so outrageous that every listener seems to gaze back at you more incredulous with every word that passes over your lips? Have you ever been frustrated by the doubtful response to a tale told solely based upon the facts? Have you ever heard the groans of disbelief from an audience to an anecdote whose telling sought no embellishment?
The story presented here is fact. Its truth is not based on perspective, nor is its perspective biased or tainted in any way. In the realm of the unreal, truth takes on a different hue. What may seem like shades of gray are really black and white.
So, please, displace any thoughts of common sense. Put aside the notion that all which is genuine lies within the bounds of everyday experience and join me on a journey to lands of undiscovered legends, where the anticipated runs head-on into the Mack truck of irony, and remember, every word is true.
It was a typical, frosty sun-filled morning in the mysterious land of the Yukon. The month was April, and rumors of grayling schooling under the bridges in Carcross had reached my ears a couple of days previous. My wife joined me for a day of fishing, quality time and possibly a meal of the strange food at the nearby eatery, which the locals dubbed “riblets.”
I purchased two new lures the day before. One was bright red in color, the other a pale green. The idea was to confuse the fish. First use the red lure, red always gets them excited. Then, in the feeding frenzy that would certainly ensue, cast the green lure and watch the biggest fish fight each other for the right to devour this unexpected emerald surprise.
I tied the crimson spoon to the end of the line on my wife’s sturdy angling outfit. While I began to tie the jade temptation onto my own line, my wife cast decidedly into the great blue unknown. I knew the day would hold surprises when it appeared that although she had cast in the direction to her left, the lure rocketed like a bullet to the right, straight into the water, creating a splash not unlike a breaching humpback whale.
She gazed in my direction, and with a mock-smile uttered the remark, “Oops.”
Oops indeed, for when she began to reel in she quickly discovered that her brand-new scarlet decoy lay nestled underneath some unseen obstacle below the surface of the water. Try as I may, I could not relieve the $4.97 hunk of metal from whatever earthly grip ensnared it.
With the snapping of the line so snapped my carefully arranged plans. My own thoughts began to mock me as I imagined those trophy-sized grayling laughing at the sight of my hard-earned dollars laying there on the river bottom, the severed line swaying in the current.
I decided to give my better half the benefit of the doubt. So I cut the green lure from my own line, and fastened it securely to hers. As I handed back her rod and reel I admonished her only not to cast into the same spot, which had claimed the red lure as its victim.
She agreed to this course of action and now faced even more dramatically toward her left. She secured the line with her fingertip, released the bail arm on the reel, reared back on the rod and gracefully arced the rod-tip forward in one poised whipping motion.
While there could be little doubt that her technique was sound, the end result was a mirror image of her previous attempt. The splash echoed off the mountainside as she hurriedly tried to engage the gears of the spool before the lure could sink to the bottom.
I turned away in some unconscious attempt to stave off the inevitable but her words were like thunder rattling the panes of my already fragile psyche, “I did it again.”
Fate will sometimes deal a blow to the most carefully laid plans. I cringed at the thought of the fishing gods, now in league with the arctic grayling, toiling to undermine every attempt I may make to get my own line in the water. Watching us there, on the bridge, in a cosmic comedy of errors, like some weird Abbot and Costello version of The Old Man and the Sea.
I uttered not a word as I took the rod from her hands for the purpose of what I perceived as another vain attempt in freeing yet an additional lure from a watered-down demise. As I wriggled the rod-tip right and left, alternating tension and slack I imagined a group of futuristic looking archaeologists, a thousand years in the future, unearthing what a millennia had buried and shifted. As they dig in an ancient riverbed, they unexpectedly come across a pair of green and red pieces of steel with little hooks attached to their ends. In their fervor to make a “discovery” they interpret the find as ear adornments common to the early 21st century populace for the purpose of attracting the opposite sex in some primal mating ritual.
Then something that defies explanation came to pass. Out of the blue, the lure was free. I smiled at my wife and she smiled back at me as I reeled it back in with renewed dignity. As it appeared from under the water, I noticed something dangling from the end of the hook. I slowed my retrieve to ensure it wouldn’t fall back into the water. As it came within grasp, there was my green lure, entwined hook-to-hook with the red lure lost only moments before.
Unlucky suddenly became lucky. We now held fate in our own grip, giving it a wedgie it would not soon forget.
I quickly explained our newfound fortune to my wife, pointing out that these lures were now endowed with the powers of providence, and that try as we may there was no way we could do any wrong.
I hurriedly tied the ruby lure to my line and we cast in unison. Like choreographed ballet the lures glided through the air in harmony, forming perfect semicircles in the air, gently plopping in the water mere feet from one another.
We began to reel. First she had a strike, and then I had a strike. We fought side by side for a few minutes and by the way our rods were bending and line was being carried out of the spools, I thought that lake trout had taken the bait. Surely these fish were too large to be grayling.
I got my fish in first. It was a beautiful 27-inch grayling, my personal best to date. I then assisted my wife in landing her grayling, a 28-inch behemoth, and the largest I’ve ever seen. Both fish were stunning with sails that reflected iridescent in the light. We released our fish at the same time and watched them scurry into the depths below.
Now it might be easy to dismiss these events as folklore, or a carefully constructed yarn, parts of which are true and others, well, not so true. I can assure you however that much stranger things have happened on the water, stories so unbelievable and inconceivable that reason itself would have to vanish from the face of the earth for anyone to acknowledge their twisted ramblings.
But then, that is for another article.

King salmon limits raised
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has issued special king salmon regulations for anglers fishing in the Taiya Inlet north of Taiya Point between June 7 and July 31.
During this period, the daily bag and possession limit is two king salmon of any size, and king salmon caught in the Taiya Inlet do not count toward the nonresident annual limit.
During the same period, salt waters near the mouth of Pullen Creek will be closed to sport fishing.
In the Chilkat Inlet, between June 3 and July 31, the bag limit for resident anglers is three kings of 28 inches or more. For nonresidents the limit is two kings of the same size. The nonresident annual limit of three kings of the same size is still in effect.