Kodiak : In the Autumn of 2014
I went fishing in Kodiak, Alaska this year again. It was my eighth time and the sixth year in a row. There are a lot of places to catch salmon in Alaska. However, if you plan to do bank-fishing and want to catch easily, I believe that there is no place like Kodiak. In addition to fishing in September, I naturally set my destination to Kodiak.
This year I added one more day to the return trip than last year. The flights between Anchorage and Kodiak are always dependent on the weather, so this fact made my trips very thrilling. Mr.Oki, a Japanese fishing guide in Kodiak, told me there were no flights for 2, 3 days in Kodiak last year. Although I had stayed one night in Anchorage on my return trip so far, I decided to stay in Seattle two nights this year. Even if flights were delayed for a day in Kodiak, I would be able to make my booked flight from Seattle to Japan. It was a kind of one day insurance.
I also arranged my flight tickets. I had separately purchased the flight tickets between Narita and Anchorage, and between Anchorage and Kodiak. It was a very easy on-line shopping. In the case, that the flight from Kodiak to Anchorage was cancelled, there would be no guarantee for the flight from Seattle, of course. I would have to negotiate with Alaska Airlines. It could be tough and would need an extra money.
This time, I purchased the flight tickets from Narita to Kodiak via Seattle and Anchorage, and for the return trip I purchased from Kodiak to Seattle via Anchorage and from Seattle to Narita. Even if the bad weather delayed the schedule, I would be able to arrange the flights in Kodiak. In addition, on the way to Kodiak I left my baggage after passing passport control and customs in Seattle. I didn't need to pick it up and leave it again in Anchorage. On the way back, I also didn't need to pick it up and leave it again in Anchorage. My arrangement worked very well this time.
August 29 Friday : Cloudy
Alaska Airlines flight 49 took off on time, at 3:05 pm, from Anchorage with all the passengers. There were 40 people on board, and almost all of them seemed to be fishermen.
After checking in to the Russian Heritage Inn as usual, we went grocery shopping. Surprisingly, the supermarket that we used to visit had closed down. I had to go a little further to a supermarket. This supermarket stocked more and better goods than the grocery store, but it was not convenient for us.
We met up with Mr.Oki at the Chinese restaurant. I had asked him to guide us on Tuesday and Wednesday. He told us that salmon running was not good in the main island, so that we would have to fly to Afognak Island on Tuesday. The island was located at north-east off-shore of the main island. I asked him to book a flight. Well, my Alaska salmon fishing had just begun !
August 30 Saturday : Sunny
I woke up at 5:30 am. The daybreak was around at 6:30 am, so it was still dark outside. We left the inn at 6:15 am, and headed for the Buskin River in the darkness. We would fish at "Broken Bridge" upstream, where we were able to catch lots last year. I stopped my car in the park's parking lot, and prepared for fishing. We walked on the beaten path and went down to the river. There were already a couple of fishermen at the river. I guessed it would be not so easy to fish because the water was very low. I began fishing anyway.
We started fishing with sockeye salmon eggs that Mr.Oki gave us. I fixed a sack of salmon eggs to my fishing hook with an egg-loop and cast it. After a while, I got a bite. Although I was so excited with the bite, I had to be patient until the fish was hooked enough. After a couple of minutes, I jerked my fishing pole. However, the wait was not long enough. The fish broke away.
After a while, I got a bite again, but I couldn't catch it. Again, the wait was also not long enough, maybe. I had never failed twice in my fishing life. What happened to me ? Mr.Shiraishi decided to move downstream because he had no bite so far. His attempt was successful. He came back with one silversalmon in his right hand. He said he caught it with a spinner. I decided to go downstream.
"Broken Bridge " was one of the most popular fishing spots along the Buskin River. A lot of people visit from early morning till evening. I found a deeper place on the opposite side, where there were many silversalmon. I cast a spinner many times, but didn't get any bites. I guessed the salmon became so nervous after seeing many lures. In spite of casting many times, the anglers around us couldn't catch any more. They began going back home in twos and threes. It was lunch time for us.
After lunch, we headed for the river upstream. I drove down Chiniak Highway south, and turned to the right before the airport. The road was side by side with the Buskin River. I stopped on the roadside and went down to the river where Mr.Oki had told us last year that that place was very productive at the late fishing season. However, I saw only one silversalmon and many pinksalmon in the river. We decided to return to "Broken Bridge" at 3:00 pm.
I saw many silversalmon still staying at "Broken Bridge" spot. They were not interested in any lures we cast. At that time, I saw many Filipinos coming to the river and they began fishing around us. Their fishing ways looked like fly-fishing, but were very different. They were using very strong fishing line with heavy lead. Their hooks were very big with sparse yarn. They cast these rigs in front of the fish and hauled lines quickly when the fish came close. This way was so-called "Flipping". But, I thought it was snagging and therefore illegal. Anglers have to hook on the fish mouth. The Filipinos were very skillful with this way, and hooked very close to the mouth. "Bite" are not dependent on the fish's choice, so they could catch any nervous fish. It was time to withdraw. We headed for the river mouth.
It could be a good tide now. I saw many local people coming to the river mouth. When I was looking at the river on the river bank, I found ripples on the surface. "Seals !", I thought. I had seen a couple of seals many times so far. There were also two seals. They came here chasing salmon. When the seals appeared, the fish disappeared. I had to quit fishing. I couldn't catch any salmon and had exhausted myself.
August 31 Sunday : Sunny
We would do saltwater fishing this day. We met Mr.Oki and handed over Mr.Shiraishi's catch. We had chartered the boat "U-Rascal" several times so far, but would take "Reel Fun" this time. It was a big catamaran, and 4 guys were already on board. Three guys were locals and one was a businessman just visiting in Kodiak. The fishing boat departed at 8:00 am.
Before the open sea, a deckhand fished for herring for baits. But fish were very slow, so he couldn't catch any more. The skipper gave up trying to catch fresh bait and headed for the fishing spots. We would have to use frozen herring as bait.
We would fish at the northeast of Kodiak island. It would take one and half hours from the harbor. The sea was very calm and the waves were at highest 3 feet. The catamaran fishing boat was stable, so we enjoyed the short voyage. While watching outside in the cabin and having coffee, I noticed two or three whales were breathing further away. It was very easy to find where they were because they had to breathe every minutes. After while, we saw an island ahead where we would fish.
The rigging was very sturdy. The deckhand put a cut herring on a big hook. The skipper sank a lot of cut herring in a net by a downrigger to lure the fish. The water could be about 200 feet deep. Using a very stout fishing rod and reel with a 1.5 lb lead, it would be a very tough job to reel in with or without fish. We would use a reel with a strong motor in Japan.
A local woman caught the first halibut. It was a 2 feet 4 inch halibut, and was the beginning of the catching time. One after another guy caught a nice halibut each. I also caught a nice one. It was very hard work to reel in a big fish with heavy rigging. All the anglers had caught halibut by noon. I wondered if halibut were getting smaller year by year. Fishing regulations have also gotten strict year by year, and a bag limit for halibut was 2 a day and one of two was less than 29inches in 2014.
We jigged for black rock fish in the afternoon. I love jigging, so I brought my reel and jigs from Japan. My fishing line was a PE #5 tying a 4 feet #12 leader, and the jigs were a 3 oz and a 6 oz. I attached them to the fishing rod that I borrowed from Mr.Oki. My reel had a depth meter. Let's fish ! I reached the bag limit, 5 fish, within 30 minutes.
The next target was ring cod. We would fish it with a huge rubber jig. My fishing gear was not strong enough, so I used the captain's. But the fish were slow to bite. Although everyone on board tried to catch, only two guys caught a ringcod each.
We quit fishing at 3:30 pm. Because we had been fishing changing spots from farther to closer, it took one hour to the harbor. Although we didn't salmon fish due to the bad tide, we caught not only halibut but black rock fish, yelloweye, and ringcod. A container 4 feet square was almost filled up with our catch.
We handed over our catch to Mr.Oki at the pier, and other guys asked a sea food company to process their catches. The local guy who did saltwater fishing for the first time caught the biggest halibut. It might have been a 150 lb halibut. He was all smiles having his pictures taken with his catch. It was exactly a beginner's luck.
The boat left the pier and returned to the harbor. We could enjoy fishing very much in the clear weather and the calm sea. We would be able to enjoy seafood when we returned to Japan.
We had dinner at a Japanese restaurant, the Old Power House. It was a fine and very popular restaurant run by a Japanese chef. I ordered a cutlet bowl and Mr.Shiraishi ordered a sushi set. Generally, Japanese food is more expensive than the local, but this restaurant was different. We could enjoy every food at reasonable price. I also ordered a soba salad, but it was too large for me. I had to ask a doggy bag.
September 1 Monday : Sunny
I woke up at 5:30 am. After breakfast, we left the inn and headed for "Broken Bridge". I intended to do the bobber fishing this day, so I had prepared for the rigging. "Bobber fishing" may sound so cool, but it is so simple that I would do a bait-fishing with a bobber. I would attach the bobber 3 feet above the bait, and let it drift in the river. The method is very simple, but it works very well in calm water. I saw an angler easily catching a couple of silversalmon with this rigging last year.
In the case of the bobber fishing. a small bite appears clearly. But you have to be patient. You have to wait untill the fish is sufficiently hooked. When the bobber is drawn into the water, it is the time to jerk your fishing rod. I saw my bobber drawn into the water. I jerked my rod quickly. It was a Jack. The Jack is a young silversalmon that comes up to the river one year earlier, and the size is less than a half of an adult. I didn't release it because it would never spawn and return to the sea.
My next catch was a big male silversalmon. I had waited long enough, so the fish swallowed the bait and the hook. Because it would take a couple of minutes to remove the hook and I would miss a good opportunity, the breakfast time for silversalmon, I cut my fishing line and changed to a new hook. After catching one more Jack, I had no bite for a while. After casting many times, my bobber was drawn into the water. Although I jerked quickly, I couldn't catch the fish. I guessed my fishing line had too much slack, so I couldn't hook sufficiently. At the next bite, I couldn't catch again. Maybe, it was the same reason.
When the tension happens on the fishing line, it is quite difficult to let the bait drift naturally. I need a small slack on the line. But, too much slack makes hooking very difficult. I have to learn how much slack is necessary. To use a flourescent fishing line may be a good idea.
I missed two fish, but kept persistently on fishing. After a while my bobber was drawn into the water. I jerked my rod quickly, and received a strong pulling. I hooked enough. I reeled in carefully so that the fish would not break away. I saw a big silversalmon in the water. When I was just about to land, I heard "Snap". I saw the egg-loop line broken with a sharp sound. The line was a #6 line, a 25 lb test line, that was strong enough. I guessed it had been slightly damaged when I caught the first silversalmon. The salmon had very sharp teeth. I hadn't checked my fishing line after that. It was my mistake. I fully realized I would always have to be careful and to prepare for a perfect rigging if I want to catch a big one.
As the time passed, the number of Filipinos increased. They began flipping with sharp noises around us. We had to move upstream where We had fished two days earlier. I did bobber-fishing and spin-fishing, but didn't get any bites. After lunch on the bank, we headed for the Olds River.
When I drove down Chiniak Highway south and came close the Salonie Creek, I saw a couple of people standing on the bridge and looking at something in the creek. "Well. it's a bear !", I thought. I know a couple of bears are living near here and they often come to catch salmon in the creek. A lot of people had already seen them so far. I had also seen them many times.
I stopped on the roadside and went to see. There were two bears in the creek. The local told us that they were a mother bear and a cub. The mother bear didn't move in the creek, and the cub was trying to catch pinksalmon. I guessed she was teaching her child how to catch the fish. There were many shallows in the creek and they were good places for the bears to catch salmon easily. Of course, the bears knew this, and the cub was running around there. As long as there were many fish in the river, we would be safe.
Before visiting the Olds River, we dropped by the American River. I stopped on the roadside and looked down to the river on the bridge. The water was low and there were many pinksalmon but no silversalmon in the river. I felt that the number of pinksalmon was smaller than last year. I asked Mr. Oki about this phenomenon the next day. He said the number of the pinksalmon decreases in even years and increases in odd years in the Kodiak east-side, and the Kodiak west-side is the opposite.
The water of the Olds River was also low. I stopped on the bank and went to the river. The bridge downstream is usually very productive when high water, but I didn't see any fish this day. I saw many people fishing a little further downstream. We went there and found a couple of silversalmon had landed on the bank. For a while, I did spin-fishing, but I only snagged one pinksalmon. It was time to quit fishing for the day.
September 2 Tuesday : Sunny
I had asked Mr.Oki to guide us for two days. He picked us up at 7:30 am, and we went to the Andrew Airway's office in Near Island. We would fly to Afognak Island that day. The island is in the north of Kodiak, and it takes about 20 minutes from the island by seaplane. Mr.Oki arranged the flight schedule, and we bought the licences at the office. The island is owned by native people, so we wouldn't be able to fish without the licences. We paid $50 dollars each.
The seaplane had four seats including the captain's. After fastening safety belts and setting head-phones, we were ready to depart. The seaplane took off after a short gliding on the sea. I wondered if we were flying at an altitude of thousands of feet. We soon found the island further away.
Afognak Island is not a uninhabited island, but bears are more than people. We have two options to visit the island. One is coming by seaplane and another is by boat. However, these ways cost. Not everybody can enjoy fishing there. We saw the Marka Bay ahead.
The seaplane needs a sufficient water to land. Because it has no wheels in the body, it is unable to land on anywhere if the floats are broken. The captain had to find out a good landing place before descending. During high tide, the seaplane would be able to go deep into the bay, and we wouldn't need to walk so far. Luckily, the tide was almost high, so we didn't walk so much.
Mr.Oki asked the pilot to pick us up at 5:00 pm. After loading down our fishing gear, we saw off the seaplane. I found a lot of new bear footprints along the sand beach. I wondered if he had walked here after the high tide. It meant he was here at most 30 minutes ago. I soon checked out my bear spray in the bag.
The fishing spot was just 1500 feet upstream from the river mouth. The spot was slightly deep and looked like a swimming pool. Silver love such a place. It's not so difficult to catch a fresh silversalmon that has just come up from the sea. We catch a lot of silversalmon here every time. At first, we began fishing with bait. The fish which had never been persecuted by any anglers undoubtedly bit the bait. A big and lively silversalmon fought strongly. My fishing rod was bent like a full moon.
The fish just coming up from the sea were bright and still had sea lice on the belly. We caught our bag limit of siversalmon, five a day, by 10:00 am. They were very nice fish. We also caught many Jacks. The bag limit of Jack was 10 a day.
After catching my bag limit, I tried a couple of methods to catch silversalmon. I tried a minnow at first. I cast a 4 inch minnow painted fluorescent yellow and green, and reeled it in slowly. It worked very well. I caught a nice one soon. The next was a red and gold minnow. It also worked well. I caught a nice one again. I figurred out those color minnows worked well for the freshly arrived fish. I tried jigs next. I had made four colors jigs, red and fluorescent green and yellow , and pink and yellow, in winter. I tried four colors in turns, and I was convinced they worked very well.
The beads fishing was my favorite. It was the second time for me to do bead fishing in Kodiak. I was a little bit excited because this time I brought better beads than last time.
I guess there are not so many people in Japan who know about bead fishing. You can buy beads at a one dollar shop. You start hand painting your beads with fingernail polish. They look like real salmon eggs. You peg the bead in place within 2 inches of the hook and you are ready to fish. The fish does not bite but swallows it as it would be a real egg. As soon as it realizes it is a fake, the fish tries to spit it out. Then, the fishing hook sticks into the fish's mouth inside. You may not understand this method soon, but I always see the hook inside of the mouth when I catch the fish. When the fish are not interested in any spinners and spoons, the beads work very well.
Not only my experiences but a lot of fishing magazines in America say the beads work very well for trout and salmon fishing. But, I have no idea why they work so well. Generally speaking, salmon coming up to spawn don't eat anything in the rivers. Many people say the lures and the flies are something to lure and entice the fish. I believe they have never seen salmon eggs in their sea life. Why then do they swallow the eggs ? Some guys say salmon eggs are very nutrious and good food for their long journies. Really ? It's cannibalism, salmon-eat-salmon. In spite of a lot of different opinions in the world, I haven't found out any convincing answers yet.
While we were keenly fishing, a group of people came up from the river downstream and walked away along the river upstream. I guessed they came from the fishing boat anchoring at the bay mouth. After a while, they came back without any catch. They came close and said they wanted to fish near us. Of course, it was no problem. They began spin-fishing soon, but got no bites for a while. Then, the ADFG ( Alaska Department of Fish and Games) staff member appeared. It was the first time for us to see such a member on the island. He asked us to show him our fishing licences. After that, he went upstream alone.
A little bit before his visit, we saw a bear walking thousands feet away on the rightside bank of the river. It went somewhere soon. That guy was walking alone in such a dangerous place with a canister of bear spray. After a while, he came back and said he had seen four bears upstream. His job requires not only knowledge and experiences but courage.
After lunch, I began fishing a little bit upstream. My beads were still working very well. I felt that the fish caught with the beads were bigger than the fish caught with the spinners and the salmon eggs. My SAGE FTL #9 rod also worked very well while enduring strong pulling. Although the fly-in fishing needed much money, we could exclusively enjoy fishing in the beautiful river and catch a lot of bright silversalmon. We were now in the anglers Paradise.
Mr. Oki told us at 4:00 pm that a new group of silversalmon would come up to the river with the high tide. We decided to move downstream to catch them. Many silversalmon had already appeared at the river mouth. We saw a couple of salmon jumping around. I tied a yellow fly on the tippet and cast to them. I got a bite soon. Fish on ! It was a big and bright silversalmon. Because the pick up time was coming soon, I stopped fishing and moved to the place where the seaplane could pick us up easily.
The seaplane came to pick us up at 5:00 pm. After circling over us to find a good landing place, it began descending. Fortunately, the tide was high. The seaplane would come close to us.
The seaplane took off after loading 3 guys and many fish. There are allegedly over 10 millions anglers in Japan, but there are less than 10 people who can fish at such a wonderful place as this. I hope I will be able to fish like on this day for many years to come. It was such a blissful day.
September 3 Wednesday : Sunny
Mr. Oki picked us up at 6:00 am and we headed for "Broken Bridge". It was 30 minutes before dawn, so it was very dark outside. I put a headlight on my cap and walked on the beaten pass. The spot was so popular along the Buskin River, that we had to be at the bank as early as possible. It was "First come, first served". When we went down to the river, I saw two guys at the bank.
After preparing for the fishing, we began bait-fishing in the darkness. I was very careful not to let the bait stick in the bottom. My first catch was a Jack and I caught a nice male silversalmon next. The fish seemed to be very active.
It was not so easy to watch the rod tip in the darkness. When I felt something different happening on the rod tip, I lifted my rod slowly to make sense whether it was a bite or not. It was a bite, so I jerked my rod quickly. A strong pull came back. My fishing line was a 25 lb test line and strong enough, but if it had any damage anywhere the line would break easily. While following the fish moving, I carefully reeled it in. It was a nice male silversalmon.
I reached my bag limit within one hour from the beginning. While sun rose, the anglers increased along the river. Their casting spinners and flies made the fish very nervous. Finally, the fish stopped biting completely around 7:30 am.
I quit bait-fishing and began fly-fishing. I cast many types flies but got no bites. My next choice was the beads. Although I didn't get any bites soon, after a while, I saw my indicator pulled. As soon as I jerked my rod, I received a strong response. It might be a nice one, I carefully reeled it in. It was a big bright silversalmon as expected. After taking pictures, I released it tenderly.
There were many anglers along the river. I hate a combat fishing, so I decided to move. The Pasagshak River flows in the south of the island. I had caught a lot of nice silversalmon so far. We headed for the river.
It takes about one hour from the Buskin River driving down Chiniak Highway and Pasagshak Bay Road. After driving south along the beach, we would cross the pass. On the way to the river, we dropped by the coffee shop nearby the airport. The shop carried many types coffee, but I ordered a cup of American coffee as usual.
The Pasagshak River is so popular that it is always crowded during the season. When we arrived at the river, I was so surprised that there were very few anglers along the river. Of course, I welcomed that there were few people in the river, but "few" meant the fish were very slow. The tide was low, and the water of the river was also low.
I stopped at the roadside parking lot and went down to the river. It was easy to cross the river in low tide. Mr. Oki said the salmon would run up to the river while the tide was moving, and 70 % of them would come up in high tide and 30 % in low tide. The low tide would be a big chance to catch silversalmon as well. He had taken us here while reading the tide book. We had been looking at the river for a while, but couldn't see any fish. There was no angler who was fishing.
I had been wanting to do surf-fishing for a long time, so I had brought the gear for it this day. I began preparing for surf-fishing. I put a cray fish worm on the hook and attached a lead on the line. My fishing rod was not for surf-fishing, so my casting range was about 50 yards. After casting, I reeled in slowly. I expected to catch a little halibut and rock fish, but I often snagged my hook on seaweed. I guessed there might be a seaweed zone 40 yards off the beach. I quit fishing soon and went to lunch.
The Olds River Inn opened nearby the Olds River two years ago. The inn has a fine restaurant and it serves delicious hamburgers. Before entering the restaurant, we had to take off the waders to keep the room clean. It was a little troublesome job for the anglers, but we had to be patient because delicious hanburgers would be waiting for us.
After lunch, we headed for the Buskin River upstream. The river was largly crooked and deep. It looked like a swimming pool and was a good place for the salmon to take a rest. However, I only saw many pinksalmon.
There are two weirs between the river mouth and Lake Buskin. The ADFG staff member counts the number of silversalmon that come up to the river. If their population is too low to reproduce, fishing won't be permitted. We returned to near the airport and headed for the first weir upstream.
When we arrived at the weir, the ADFG staff members were cleaning it. I saw a lot of silversalmon staying at the weir downstream. They were stopped by the weir and were waiting for it to open. Their journey would not be so long, but they would still have to meet a lot of anglers.
The water was still low and there were only pinksalmon at the weir upstream. We did nothing and returned to the car. We went back to "Broken Bridge" again at 3:30 pm. After a while, I caught a nice one. But, my #3 tippet, a 12 lb test line, was not strong enough and broke before landing. I usually used a #4 tippet, a 20 lb test line, but I had changed it to #3 because the fish were nervous. My consideration backfired at the last moment. I quit fsihing for the day.
We had dinner with Mr.Oki at the Old Power House as usual. We talked about a two day fishing excursion and paid a guide fee to him. Owing to his guidance and support, we always enjoyed fishing very much. We promised to see again next year.
September 4 Thursday : rainy
It had been rainy since the previous evening. The rain is always welcomed by the anglers. Of course, the quantity is the matter, but the rain makes the fish active. The source of the rivers in Kenai Peninsula are the glaciers in the Kenai Mountains. However, the source of all the rivers in Kodiak is only rain. Our catch is always dependent on the rain. On the rainy days, the fish are not nervous and we catch the fish all day.
The flight schedule between Kodiak and Anchorage is always dependent on the weather. When it begins to rain in Kodiak, the fog physiognomically occurs soon. The fog delays the scheduled flights because the pilots fly visually. I heard later that a couple of morning flights had been cancelled because of the rain and the fog while I was fishing at the Buskin River in the morning.
Mr. Shiraishi doesn't fish in the rain, so I headed for "Broken Bridge" alone. There were already fellow anglers on the bank, but I had more than enough room to fish. I began spin-fishing. At first, I chose a yellow spinner. A yellow one is very effective in the darkness, but it didn't work that day. I changed to a red orange one soon. When I cast it down-cross and reeled it in, I got a bite in front of my foot. Because it didn't pull strongly at first, I thought it might be a small silversalmon. However, while coming close to me, it began fighting. I managed to land it. It was a big female silversalmon.
The second one was caught at the same place, and I reached my bag limit within one hour. The rain and the darkness, and the stress free water made fishing very easy. I had experienced both no fish all day and days like this. After catching my bag limit, I took in breaths on the bank. I wouldn't be able to breathe such fresh Alaskan air until the next year.
I returned to the inn at 8:00 am. The rain was letting up. I hoped all the filghts this day would be on schedule. I cleaned my fishing gear and packed them anyway. The last day in Kodiak is always stressful. If all the flights this day from Kodiak to Anchorage were cancelled, we might not be able to make the Delta flight 155 from Seattle to Narita the day after next.
Because the last day of Kodiak is always stressful, I had arranged the flights booking this year and had a spare day in Seattle. Even if all the flights on this day were cancelled, I would be able to get on the booked flight in Seattle the day after next, as long as we could reach Seattle by the next day. This arrangement gave me an opportunity to fish in the morning. However, Mr.Oki told me later that there was no flight for three days in Kodiak last year. I would have to pray to God for help.
My flight was at 3:05 pm, so it would be okay to leave the inn by 2:00 pm. But, I felt a little rushed, so we left the inn early. We smoothly checked in at the airport, but the airlines staff member said the departure would be delayed 45 minutes. According to my plan, I would change the flight in Anchorage and the waiting time for the next flight would be just one hour and 45 minutes. We would lose 45 minutes, but it might be okay. I felt a little stressed, but I decided to visit the Buskin River during the spare time and would return the car after that.
I saw many Filipinos flipping in the river. It is not so easy for us to fish in the low water, but the low water benefits flipping. They can find and snag the fish easily in the low water. There were a lot of splashing noises in the river.
The river mouth was calm, and it wasn't rainy. I guessed we would be able to reach Seattle on my schedule and wpuld visit my favorite Irish pub in downtown Seattle at night.
I returned the rent-a-car at the airport. The airplane hadn't arrived at the airport even 45 minutes behind time. It arrived after further 20 minutes. We would have only 40 minutes in Anchorage. It was barely in time for the next flight. We only moved on. We got on the airplane anyway. When I fastened safety my belt, an airline official came up into the airplane. He talked about something with the passengers in front of me. While I listened with all my ears, he said they wouldn't be able to take the next flight in Anchorage on this day and he arranged another flight on the next day. It was their choice whether they would stay in Kodiak this day or go to Anchorage and wait for the rebooked flight in Anchorage, he said. They decided to go to Anchorage and they would return to Minneapolis. I felt as if it were our own affair. I expected that he wouldn't call our names. Then, I heard "Mr.Shiraish !", my companion's name.
He said we wouldn't be able to catch the next flight that would leave Anchorage at 18:00 pm. He changed it to another flight, leaving Anchorage at 1:35 am om the next day. That airplane would arrive in Seattle at 6:00 am, he said. We had no choice. We would have to stay at Anchorage Airport for a long time.
We arrived at Anchorage Airport at 6:00 pm. We had more than 7 hours wait for the next flight. At first, I called up the hotel in Seattle and explained that we would be very late but could they please not cancel my reservation. After that, we headed for the smoking section at the airport. It would be a long night.
Just waiting for a long time would be wasting time. Taking this opportunity, I decided to tour the airport. The airport buildings were rebuilt a couple years ago, and changed beyond all recognition. There is a connecting railway with Alaska Railways and Sports of Fame in Alaska at the airport. I looked around those facilities. After dinner at the bar, I didn't have anything to do but go to the boarding gate and sleep on the chair.
September 5 Friday : Sunny
We arrived at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport at 6:18 am on Sep.5. We picked my baggage up and headed for the hotel. We checked in to the hotel at 7:00 am. I had never checked in such an early time. Although I had taken a nap on board, I wanted to sleep much more. I fell asleep soon.
I woke up at 10:00 am. It was a short sleep but I felt refreshed. I decided to look around the city. At first, we visited Pike Place Market. Seattle is surrounded by the sea, so the people can enjoy seafood easily. There is a big fish market and many shops carrying fresh seafood and vegetables, and local products in Pike Place Market. There are also many seafood restaurants along the streets. This spot is very popular with the tourists.
Passing throught the market, we visited Seattle Aquarium. It shows not only marine creatures but creatures living in fresh water. Its main theme is the life of the salmon. There is a small waterway connected with the open sea in the aquarium. The salmon can come up to the waterway from the sea and spawn in the aquarium. Their babies will return to the aquarium after 3,4 years, maybe. Unfortunately, we didn't see any fish in the waterway. I didn't know whether we were too late or too early to visit. We saw a scuba-diver feeding the fish in the big display tank. There were a lot of fish including salmon and rock fish that might have been caught near Seattle.
Mr. Shiraishi went back to the hotel, but I continued sightseeing. I heard a one hour bay cruise would depart from the 56th pier. I bought a ticket at the office. Because I had spare time before the departure, I had lunch at the seafood restaurant. I ate a half dozen baked oysters with a cup of diet coke. The oysters baked hot from the oven were delicious.
The cruise boat left the 56th pier at 2:30 pm. I had a seat at the last row of the third floor, because I wanted to bathe in sea wind. I didnt know whether it was now summer season in Seattle or not, but there were many passengers on board.
The boat was sailing left-handed along the coast in the bay. The crew holding a microphone interestingly explained buildings' history along the coast. Although those buidings didn't look so beautiful when I saw them downtown, now they made a picturesque scene in contrast with the sea and the sky.
I saw many ships, that came from all over the world. I found a Korean ship loading a lot of containers among them. I had seen many Korean and Chinese in the downtown. There might be a large trade between America and Korea, China.
We went to a dinner show in the evening that I had previously booked in Japan. It would take 30 minutes on foot from the hotel. The show style was a little different from usual. We would have dinner not before the performances but between each performance. The show consisted of magic and acrobatics and had a story. Because every performance was excellent and powerful, I was excited very much. The three hour show passed quickly. We would return to Japan the next day.
Mr.Shiraishi will never go fishing in Alaska again. This was the last time for him. I will go fishing in Alaska as long as I can. I am still fascinated with the bright green silversalmon, and I don't have an alternative to it. What will happen in 2015 ?