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Politeness pays off in fish

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Politeness pays off in fish

Danny Lehr with the first king salmon of his life.

Photo by JEFF LUND/


POSTED July 4, 2012 2:24 a.m.

I have polite friends, and there are times I wonder what they are really thinking. If I ask say, a question about their fishing preference, the response will be polite and to the effect of, “I’m cool either way” or “sure, alright”.

My Manteca buddies Danny and Derrick had never experienced the sea in small craft before, not to mention feel the steady roll of open-ocean rollers.

“There will be some waves if we go to the outside because there’s nothing stopping the swell, but that’s where big fish are. You cool with going out there?”

“Sure, alright”.

So Abe turned the corner into the mess of open ocean waves funneled by the shores of Cone and Noyes Islands and we were on our way to the exposed west side of Noyes.

We started at spot number one. I do understand that revealing ocean fishing spots in Alaska to those thumbing through today’s issue in Manteca will in no way provide them any useful insight, but I will keep it a secret nonetheless.

Abe got Derrick fishing off starboard, while I worked with Danny off the port and we started losing fish almost immediately. I could tell when they reeled up empty hooks it disappointed them, but they held it in well. They held breakfast in too, so we continued hitting the water and landed some halibut and rock fish before moving to our second spot. Thus began the real fishing.

Within two hours we had our limit of king salmon.

Being that neither Danny or Derrick gave any indication of wanting to get off the water, we headed further out into the swells in the 26-foot boat to try for larger halibut. We caught china rockfish, black bass, brown bomber and a baby ling cod, but no halibut. We moved again, north and further from the shores of Noyes Island.

The sun was creeping toward the horizon, but on we fished.

At this point I could tell the guys were pretty beat. I was too, but “I’m cool either way” kept us out on the water.

I hooked into the biggest yellow eye of my life, of course I didn’t know that until I had the 230 feet of line re-spooled, but it was a huge fish probably close to 100 years old. Then Derrick pulled up a yellow eye, then Danny. I laughed because my fish could have eaten theirs, but the guys said they were enjoying the variety and colors of the deep water fishing menu.

We finally started in toward the dock at nine, but were side tracked by a pod of humpback whales blowing bubble nets to surround baitfish then devouring them. We hit the dock at 10:30, when there was enough light to see, but not enough for the hero shots with our fish.

By 1:30 the fish were cleaned and we were discussing the next day.

“Get up at 7:30, on the road to Neck Lake for silver salmon snagging by eight?”

There was a slight pause after the sleep time calculation, but the response was what I expected.

“Sure, alright”

We caught 18 salmon.

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