There are many questions that run through a guide’s head on the first day of the season. “Where should I fish? Did I tie the right flies? Are the fish going to cooperate?” However, the more time and seasons spent out on the water, the more these questions begin to fade and become easier to answer. Nonetheless, I would be lying if I said the thought never popped into my head, “What if we don’t catch any fish on the first day?”
Day one of our season here at Alaska West commenced as expected. Wake up, grab a quick shot of coffee, a bite to eat, then off to prepare.. Chrome bright King Salmon were on the brain. As soon as my two anglers for the day were in my boat, we sped off. There wasn’t a huge tide in the morning, but enough to give the hope of some fresh fish moving into the system. We quickly jet down stream and glided into the gravel bar we wanted, gave a quick double check to flies, leaders, and sink-tips, and the first casts were sent out across the river. Then the second, third, fourth..
“Ok, where are they? That swing was perfect, he should have had a pull through there, right?” Those first few moments of each day always seem to last an eternity as you scan the water for movement, listening for the first reel to start screaming.
And then, as expected – Nice cast, mend, swing, bump, bump bump, pullllllll, and we have a fish on!
The sound of his Loop Classic reel having the line pealed off of it was a beautiful welcome into the morning. Then, after a few minutes of battle, and a quick lift of the fish’s head, she was in the net. Chrome bright with sea lice, a beautiful twelve pound fish. Not the monsters we may be dreaming of, but still about as beautiful and perfect as you could imagine. Then, just as she came, after a quick thanks and a strong kick of the tail, she disappeared back into the depths.
After a quick handshake and a big smile, it was done. 8:40 A.M., the first fish of the guide season was in the net. Exhale.. It is officially King season!