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9-16-05 - John gets ready for Pinktopia.

I can't believe Chief is givin' me the "LOSER" sign...I think he's been hanging out with his big sister a bit too much!

9-16-05 - Fat Fest, Day 3

Waters Fished: Garden River
Fish Caught: 2
Outing Date: 9-16-05
Weather: Sunny
Air Temp: lows in upper 30's, highs in mid 70's
Water Temp: 58 F
Water Level: low
Water Color: clear
Fish Species: Pink Salmon
Pattern Fished: Glo Bugs, Tucker Nymph
Pattern Color: Hot Orange, Chartreuse, Hot Pink, Purple, Black
Fishing Quality: Fair

Another cold morning kicked off our final day on the Garden River. Things took a definite turn for the worse. More and more anglers were showing up on Friday, yet fish numbers were at best staying the same, if not dwindling.

John, Gerry, Rich, Chief, Dutton, Matt and Mitch all piled into the vehicles to go check out PINKTOPIA! Granted, for the last 2 days we haven't found a fish there yet. What I failed to mention in yesterdays report was that I DID sight ONE empty redd, and of course we had fish upstream, so the fish definitely have to pass through the area. Maybe today would be different, as the water temps have dropped almost 10 degrees since we first arrived.

I wasn't in any hurry to get on the water, so most of the morning was spent sitting around the campfire. Ari and Sean started tying flies. I waited for the sun to hit the water.

The rest of the group took it easy around the campfire.

Ari watches as Sean ties up a Zoo Cougar.

There it is, Sean's Zoo Cougar, obtained via the trade of a Dragon's Tooth.

Finally, probably around 11:00 AM, I suited up and hit it. Ari hooked up upstream, the first action I was able to capture this morning. Jim worked the deep pool and seam. The FAT tribe returned and Dutton blazed by us, content to fish for "minnows" in the flats above the riffle. I guess he got 18!

Might as well get on the water for a while.

Ari hooks up!

Nice Hen Ari!

One more look at that big female Pink Salmon.

Jim puts in some worthy casts.

Dutton "Puker" Brown is all too happy to pose for his picture.

YEAH! Look at the size of that PINK (the handle is about 7" in length).

There it is, my largest Pink to date.
(Copyright © 2005 John Kohner)

After last nights slamfest, I was on a mission. Tucker tucker tucker...yeah the guys had given me a bit of grief. Rich arguably dishes it out the best..."We got a walleye, in the last 18 days we've caught fish in 32 states and 2 countries, all with the Tucker." Well, as far as I remember the Tucker hasn't touched a Pink Salmon...

Of course I got a Pink on the Tucker Nypmh, and of course I know I'm just gonna get more grief for saying this, but it was the BIGGEST PINK I've landed; a huge, humpbacked male with hardly a mark on him. John snapped a couple shots and for the rest of our trip, every once in a while he'd mutter "Man, that was a big pink...". OK, it's now official, the Tucker has landed fish in TWO countries! It's just the Fat Tribe shakin' in their boots...defeated in the last 2 Pet Fly Smackdowns by the Tucker (and, to be fair, the Tucker ripoff known as the Jubb Jubb ;)

After landing my fish for the day, I headed back to camp. Looks like everyone's up for a bit of fly tying...gosh we turned the mess haul into a regular old fly factory. I didn't tie; I purposely left my tying gear at home as a way to keep myself ON the water, even if things were slow.

I hung out, had a few Mountain Dews, and as the afternoon wore on I got back on the water to take pictures, give some casting instruction to John (who also got a huge helping hand from Sean). John finally got on my camera with a Pink (although he'd really rather I used him and the Male he has a picture with...but that's still locked up in his camera). Bruce patiently worked a small pod with Jim, who at least got some bent rod pics taken.

Gerry, Matt and Sean get to tyin' flies again.

Yeah, you know it's slow when half the group is tying flies!

Jim has tied into a vicious pink.

Sweet Battle Jim!

John with his female pink.

Jim is arguably one of the best casters in our group.

Jim made for some great pics while on the water.

Jim picks up the line to cast again.

Bruce works the seams, looking to pick up a fish.

David wanders downstream in search of Pinks.

So yeah, it was a slow evening. As dinner was getting prepared, and most everyone was back at camp salivating, out came the Scotch and Whiskey. After being fully over-served, the buzz got to my head and I got to thinking - I've NEVER fished with a buzz.

Dinner was coming, but I got the itch to fish. I gotta say, I now understand why so many fisherman go out with a flask - FLY CASTING DRUNK IS VERY ENJOYABLE! Seriously, when you're not catchin', having a little buzz takes the edge off and you really could care less about the fish!

OK, so I'm NOT writing this to ADVOCATE fly fishin' drunk, but hey, it was a new experience ;) Of course, the moment the fish popped up out of nowhere the buzz was gone and I was IN THE ZONE! At first, most only females were around. It was getting really dark, the light was fading, and the LAST thing I wanted to land was another hen. So, out of the 10 or so I hooked, I didn't take a picture and did my best to simply put some slack in the line to get them off.

My last pink of the trip, landed after dusk.

As the very last bit of light was disappearing, the MALES showed up. I had been fishing DARK egg patterns (black with orange dot, purple with black dot) but the bucks were shying away from these. So I switched it up to Red and Chartreuse and in just a few casts I nailed my first buck who promptly headshook free.

I could barely see anything when I connected again. YES, that was all I was looking for! Another big pink from the Garden. It was arguably the best 2 fish day I've had in a while.

Back up around the campfire, I skipped out on Bacon-Wrapped Turkey Steaks; the Irish Coffees had pretty well filled me up. But who am I to argue when Apple Peach Cherry Vanilla cobbler is put on a plate in front of me! My report is simple and concise. "You guys need to get your asses on the water. I tied into 12 down there since I left". The advice was taken to heart by Rich, Matt and Mitch, who stayed out until 2:30 AM nightfishin. It definitely paid off, the trio scored 14 pinks!


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