Nick C. Varney

Silvers have yet to make appearance

I did a bit of scouting over the holiday weekend in hopes of spotting a silver or two hurtling out of the sea around the Spit. Nada.

Why? Because I have received numerous inquiries as to when I think the first coho will make their summer debut at The Fishing Hole.

So, at the moment, how can I put this delicately? I don’t have a ^%$#*&@ clue.

I’m a bit more cautious now about throwing out pompous prognostications after what happened a few years ago.

Harvesting the best of Thanksgiving

The days orbiting Thanksgiving are usually as quiet as a puppy’s snore in our little patch of paradise. The only sounds drifting through our cabin are some soft instrumental jazz and the tinkling of ornaments as my wife prepares to decorate for the holidays.

She is a master at turning our log home into a wonderland so cool that Santa leaves her cookies and milk.

Nothing like enjoying dawn of new day with canine pal

I’m one of those offbeat types who enjoys the early morning hours where the eastern sky has yet to develop its personality and merely glows with a muted silver patina.

It gives me time to have my first cup of fresh ground coffee before stepping out on the deck to inhale the scintillating breath of the ocean’s morning air and let out our psycho dogs to rediscover everything that they excitedly detected the previous day and then promptly forgot about. It’s as if they start their life all over again every time they touch down on the dew-laden grass.

Column wraps up for season, not fishing

Now that we are beginning the slow tumble into the deep fall season where land hunts rule, don’t forget the stunning silvers and steelhead swaggering into some of the streams.

 The attitudes of these gleaming finned missiles have a tendency to morph into ravenous pack-stalker mindsets around the crack of dawn and the pre-snap of night so you might want to give them a shot instead of blowing up a duck. 

Wild weather here, but fishing still fair

Well that was a pretty wild weekend. High tides, high winds, a dash of termination dust and snagging opened at the Nick Dudiak Lagoon.

 Surfers off Bishop’s Beach were riding what looked to be walled up waves while other high cresting lips spread debris along the Homer Spit Road.

At the Anchor, coho flaunted wicked attitudes when the glimmer of dawn suffused the river’s flow with a gossamer patina of silver.  

The frenzied bite dimmed as the first light brightened.

Anglers should remember manners

One of the golden perks associated with writing this column is the cornucopia of remarkable posts that land in the R.E.I. gmail inbox. 

Sometimes the missives are so colorful that their only printable components are the quotation marks. Others have run the gamut from palpably 90-proof enhanced rants to hysterically funny yarns worthy of “Depends recommended” status.

Anglers should remember manners

O

ne of the golden perks associated with writing this column is the cornucopia of remarkable posts that land in the R.E.I. gmail inbox. 

Sometimes the missives are so colorful that their only printable components are the quotation marks. Others have run the gamut from palpably 90-proof enhanced rants to hysterically funny yarns worthy of “Depends recommended” status.

Life-saving tips: Learn to swim, wear a PFD

Last Monday I opened a voicemail from my compadre Turk. He was so riled up that residual smoke leaked out of the receiver.

He started off suggesting that since the Kachemak Bay Coho Salmon Gillnet Fishery is now open, why shouldn’t anglers at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon be able to take a shot a snagging them? He figured there wasn’t that much difference from thumping the silvers with a treble hook and hanging them up in a gillnet. He grumped that more anglers would get a shot at what was left of the run that way. 

Fishing? Know what you’re catching

have received an unusual amount of email asking how to report angler evil-doers to the Alaska Wildlife Troopers without tying up 911. 

The local number to turn in the violators is 907-235- 8239. Use it. Advise them where you are and what’s going down along with a description of the miscreant(s), their vehicle and its license plate if you can do it without being challenged to a cage fight.  

Silvers pickier than pinks (and taste better, too)

Let’s face it. Putting the hammer on silvers while they are cruising beneath our inlet waters or doing acerebral loops inside the infamous Nick Dudiak Fishing lagoon can be a spectacle of aerobatic fights and unruly runs.

Yes, I realize that pinks are also fierce and insolent battlers, but it takes more skill to keep them off your line than getting them to hit. The only thing stupider than a school of humpies is a canned one, but not by much. 

Minnesota woman takes lead in derby

It was an interesting past week for the sports fishing crowd. A distaff member of the flatfish hunting group shot into first place in the Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby when Linda Scott of Bloomington, Minn., hammered a 224.4-pound halibut while sinking bait with DeepStrike Sportsfishing off the Grand Aleutian captained by David Bayes. 

Staring at the picture of her and the ’but, I’d say Linda must be packin’ some class act biceps under her jacket’s sleeves. I got a kink in my back just eyeballing the photograph. 

It’s not just the out-of-towners who can’t read or follow sport fishing regs

Back in late June this column reported on a plethora of angling misconducts Alaska Wildlife Troopers had to deal with because of clueless dipsticks.

 

I was hoping that things would chill out with the scofflaw crowd because the piece sent a pretty blatant warning that they were being watched and enforcement officials were packin’ bottomless ink pens along with enough ticket books to fabricate an emergency shelter. 

Hunting for lingcod? Nick’s got a few tips for novice anglers

I was asked yesterday what I thought about lingcod. I deliberated for a few seconds and then replied, “Well I know from personal experience that they are Freddy Kruger gruesome, have a set of choppers that would give a salmon shark a coronary, and enjoy making a brunch out of their own relatives. 

“Other than that they are kind of laidback unless you insult them by staring them dead in the eye or get anywhere near what they consider their personal space. 

You never know what you might see when you’re fishing — or watching

I need to start this column with a warning: There is a despicable sneak thief roaming the Homer Spit and the area prowler can ruin your day if you have your head up and locked even for a few seconds.

I have spotted this miscreant myself or at least his E-Vile twin.

Homer News reporter and all-around cool guy Michael Armstrong decided to pass the sordid tale along to me although he usually handles the local crime beat.

 Why moi? Well, he’s a hard-hitting professional who deals with the intense stuff. 

Anchor River looks like it’s making a comeback

It’s always righteous to be able to start out a column on the upbeat although things may slide a bit backward as the initial subject matter develops.

 The good news is the Anchor River seems to be on the comeback. As of Sunday, 3,119 kings were tallied by the weir. On the same date in 2014 there were 1,859 easing up stream. 2013 reeked like a dead seal with serious decomposition issues when barely 306 pushed through by June 7.  

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