This was the question posed to me, as I cleaned the road grime off of my boat, by the gentleman in the wash bay next to
mine. I quickly replied, “it’s never too early.” I’ve never been one to winterize my boat, as there is usually open water down on
the peninsula, depending on how harsh a winter we have had.
After finishing up my boat, I headed off with that question bothering me for some reason. Early? Early for fishing? It never
occurred to me how many fair weather fisherman, and woman, are truly out there. I like to think I fish a lot, of course not as
much as I would like to, well, NEED to. For some, fishing is just something they do to get out. For others, you know, like you
and me, it’s more than a hobby or obsession. It truly is a way of life.
Of course there are some wrong times to go fishing, most of those include weather events that are life threatening, and
even some of those reasons are poor excuses not to go fishing. Other than those few instances, there really is no wrong time
to get out on the water. There will be times the catching is much better than others, but easy fishing does not make a good
fisherman. Fishing during tough conditions will definitely help you become a better fisherman, or, it may make you want to sell
all of your gear and take up golfing. But hey, who likes a quitter anyways?
That weekend we had been down on the peninsula putting some break in time on my new motor. If you’re going to be on
the water breaking in a new motor, you might as well go fishing. It’s a no brainer. I made sure to launch from the other end of
the lake, this way I could get a decent amount of time on the motor, and still get a full day of fishing in by running all the way
across to where we were wanting to fish.
The winter here in South Central Alaska has been fairly mild, there was even a worry they would have to move the start of
the Iditarod to Fairbanks again. But, there was plenty of snow in Willow for the start of the race. In case any of you were
wondering, Dallas Seavey won his fourth Iditarod and has won the last three consecutive races. Anyways, enough about the
Iditarod, and more about fishing.
With the winter being so mild, I knew other people would be on the water with the nice weather, so we launched at first light.
It was only 20 degrees when we launched the boat, but once the sun popped up over the mountains, the temperature
eventually climbed into the low 40’s. The fishing had been decent the last time I was down putting some hours on the motor,
but that was an overcast day. Today there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and it seemed to really put the fish down. Well, for
everyone but my buddy Shane. He doesn’t count though, mostly because he always catches more fish than me, so I tried to
ignore how well he was doing. I’m pretty sure he was using power bait. Don’t tell him I said that.
I was spending most of my time swinging leeches and sculpin patterns, mostly because I was too lazy to rig up my other rod
and throw a bead or dead drift some flesh flies. Plus, I had done really well the weekend before swinging. Things started out
well, and I hit two fish fairly quick through the run. This was when the sun was still low in the sky, and as the day wore on, I
really had to work for a tug. Eventually I couldn’t ignore how many fish Shane had been catching, so I walked over to the boat
and rigged up my other rod. I caught a few more fish, but shane had the color bead they wanted and the flesh pattern they
wanted. Come to think of it, I didn’t even try flesh.
It can be tough to constantly change your offering, but some times that’s what needs to be done. If one thing isn’t working,
keep going through your boxes until you find something that does work. Change your leader length, weight setup, etc., until
you find exactly how the fish want that offering presented. Getting on the water when it’s tough is how you become a better
fisherman. Because, lets be honest, you aren’t going to get better by sitting here reading my ramblings.
Christopher Tobias, and his wife Hillery, own Roe Hard Guide Service based out of Wasilla, Alaska. Roe Hard Guide Service
operates on the Susitna River drainage targeting wild Alaska salmon and large wild rainbow trout. Get out from behind that
screen and see what Alaska has to offer.
Isn’t it a bit early for that?
by Christopher Tobias
Copyright 2016 James Marsh
April, 2016 Issue
Christopher Tobias holds a USCG
Masters License, Alaska Guide License
and is co-owner of Roe Hard Guide
Service, based out of Wasilla, Alaska.
Roe Hard Guide Service operates on the
Susitna River drainages and Kenai
Skilak Lake, Alaska