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Based on a true story? Just a matter of perspective

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Based on a true story? Just a matter of perspective

There is a story behind all the fish, but they may vary depending on who tells it. Manteca's Scott Renke, from left, Brian Goulart, Jeff Lund and Dale Goncalves joined Lund in Alaska this summer.

Photo by JEFF LUND/

POSTED July 28, 2010 2:27 a.m.

During vacations there are usually moments or locations that provide inside jokes and stories that only make true sense to those that were there, or have been there at one time or another.

Some events you really don’t have to witness to appreciate, but you wish you did to point out later embellishments or simply to be able to tell the story from your perspective.

Scott, Dale and Brian have been back in Manteca for two days now, and I can only wonder what types of stories are circulating about their trip and their guide.

Chances are some of the best stories are coming from those unexpected moments of brilliance.
Who really cares about the fish they casted to, caught, and clubbed? Good stories rarely come when things go calm and smooth.

You want to hear about the one in which Brian flicked his lure over a mostly-submerged tree in the blown-out river and hooked a 10-pounder.

You want to image his concerned eyes as the salmon neared the log that would surely provide the fish with a means of breaking the line if he didn’t direct the salmon over it instead. From there I’d say I waited for the fish to expose its head, and then whacked it so hard the line broke. With the fish attached to nothing, I scooped it up on to shore.

Simple. Brian might have seen it differently.

I jumped into the river, wildly swung at the fish, broke the line then as the fish tried to swim away; I blocked it like a catcher on a pitch in the dirt, and then proceeded to knock one of its eyes loose from its socket once I had tossed it back into the woods away from the water.

When telling of his experience, Dale will certainly mention the two salmon he caught in four casts to start off the third day on the river, but might neglect the day he lost five lures on rocks, logs and whatever else he could snag.

He shouldn’t feel bad, because if you’re not getting snagged, you’re not fishing.

On Tuesday morning at the Klawock River I flipped the bail then had the line slip off my finger as I drew the rod behind me. Sometimes I wonder how I catch any fish at all.

Two anecdotes that will probably be consistently told by the four of us will not be about fishing at all, but rather the second most important items behind salmon — food and coffee.

Brian, being completely enraptured by the feeling of a salmon hitting his lure, suggested a 4 a.m. start to our third day of fishing. He landed two the previous day, and even brained one by himself.

So that night, though we were out of coffee, and low on cereal, we went to Papa’s Pizza for ice cream then came home for fresh rainbow trout and shrimp for dinner instead of going to the store. It was clearly a risk since Scott has had more days catching salmon than days without coffee.

It was 4:42 when we rolled toward Black Bear Store, about a block from my house if my town used blocks to express measurement or grid the city. I saw the neon “OPEN” illuminated and rejoiced.

There would be coffee. Scott would not be grumpy.

He was the first to fill his foam cup and walk to the counter next to the sign that reads: Shoplifters will be shot and eaten.

As I walked toward the counter with mine, he opened his wallet and was interrupted.

“It’s free.”


“It’s free coffee Friday.”

Scott turned to Brian and I, then thanked Jesus. On a day he thought there would be no coffee, he ended up with free coffee.

The lady behind the counter laughed.

That morning I caught one fish, then told Scott to take my spot. Once we switched, I caught one where he had just stood. Scott will certainly entertain all who will listen about that one.

I felt a little bad, until he hooked and landed five over the next hour.

The last one continued to flip around on shore even after solid whacks, so I decided to gut the thing to ease any sort of suffering it might be unnecessarily, and unintentionally enduring.

Everything went as planned; with the exception of the heart still beating after it had been removed from the fish. I showed it to Scott who was fascinated with its rhythmic thumping in my hand.

Brian and Dale showed up, prematurely leaving their spot due to slow fishing just in time to see the heart still beating after three minutes.

I put the heart down on a rock and still the thing pumped diligently.

The other heart stories will probably differ a bit, so you might want to ask all three.

To contact Jeff Lund, e-mail

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