Saturday, December 7, 2019

In Memoriam: Dean Lageson

It's only fitting that I'm writing a tribute to my Uncle Dean today. On this day, December 7th, I would call Dean-O and ask him what day it was. Without hesitation he would say, "today is the day that Pearl Makki got bombed in Two Harbors." If you're of Finnish descent, from Minnesota, or know my Uncle Dean, you will completely get this joke. Nobody told more cornball jokes than he did.

Dean-O sadly passed away on December 1st. I was fortunate to spend many days with him in the hospital and his apartment talking sports, fishing, and listening to his jokes. “I took a turn for the nurse” is what he would say when I asked how he was feeling. Classic Dean-O.
I blogged about my uncle several years ago and if you click here you can read about my relationship with him. Jane and I will miss him terribly.

Fisherman's Prayer

I pray that I may live to fish
Until my dying day
And when it comes to my last cast,
I then most humbly pray:
When in the Lord's great landing net,
And peacefully asleep
That in His mercy I be judged
Big enough to keep.

Dean-O, you're definitely big enough to keep...

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Cyber Monday Sale

Tomorrow is Cyber Monday. We are joining in and offering a 25% discount for any new guided fishing or lodging bookings for the months of May or June, 2020. This is a one day offer and your booking must be completed before December 2nd. We hope to see you in 2020!

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Go With A Guide, Don't Book With A Crook

Almost always, when we’re fishing on the river and a restroom break is needed, we go back to the cabins. After all, the cabins are convenient and I know Jane keeps them clean. However, on a rare occasion this past September, we decided to stop at the Eagle Rock boat launch to take a break. Upgrades have been made to this site and one of the many new things I saw was a prominent sign sponsored by the Kenai River Professional Guide Association. It was hard not to notice the headline: Go With A Guide, Don’t Book With A Crook. That’s about as blunt as a baseball bat fish whacker...
There’s no doubt illegal guiding has been an issue and continues to be an issue on the Kenai River. It’s good to see the Kenai River Professional Guide Association take an active role in helping address this problem. 

Sunday, November 10, 2019

United States Coast Guard Licensing Hang Up

to carry out (a task) clumsily or incompetently 

I’ll start the post with this: in no way did the United States Coast Guard (USCG) bungle the renewal of my Coast Guard captain's license. The bungle came from an independent clinic where I had taken a Coast Guard physical in October. The USCG did their job; they reviewed the information given to them. Unfortunately, the information collected was erroneous.  

A little background. In order to be a fishing guide for hire on navigable waters, a USCG captain's license is required. Every five years this license needs to be renewed. The three main parts of the renewal are documentation of at least 90 days spent on the water during the past three years, passing a drug test, and passing a physical. 

For the last 15 years I’ve had the same doctor at an independent clinic in Kenai administer a USCG physical. When I called the clinic in October to book an appointment, I was told the doctor I'd been seeing retired and they would schedule me with a new doctor. That would work, I thought. When I arrived for my appointment, I was told my new doctor recently quit and I couldn’t be examined that day. I was asked if it would be okay to reschedule for another time. Sure, why not?  This is now known to me as "red flag number one." 

When I showed up for my rescheduled appointment, a young nurse took my blood pressure (it took two attempts), measured and weighed me, and then administered a hearing and vision test. Everything seemed smooth except the field of vision (peripheral) test. A device was used that I'd never seen before. It was some type of paper halo that I wore like a visor. I had to stare straight ahead and let the nurse know when I could see an arrow in my peripheral vision. It was done three times and every time the arrow was in a different spot. How could it vary this much? This is now known to me as "red flag number two." The number the nurse eventually wrote down was 93. When the nurse was finished a physician assistant came in to complete the physical. When he told me I was the first Coast Guard physical he has ever done, it became known to me as "red flag number three." He told me everything was good and he signed off on the paper work.

Excited to have this out of the way, the following day I drove to the USCG regional exam office in Anchorage to have office personnel check that all my paperwork was in order. It was, and they shipped my renewal packet off to the examiners at the National Maritime Center in West Virginia. 

A week goes by and instead of getting a notification that my new credentials were being mailed, I get a notice that I've failed the field of vision test. My options are to accept the results, which would have me surrender my USCG captain's license, or I could be retested by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. Panic was a mild word for what I felt when I read this. If I didn't pass the retest, I would be forced to retire from guiding prematurely.   

I immediately made an appointment with an optometrist and waited a grueling week to see him. The USCG informed me that I would need a minimum of 100 in the field of vision test. As stated earlier, the Kenai nurse found the number to be 93. When the real eye doctor finished the exam, he said I tested out at 135. Whew! Double whew! It was instant relief to know that I passed and can still be a Kenai River guide.  

What is the moral of the story? The moral of the story is I will not go to an independent clinic five years from now when my license needs to be renewed.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Season Recap Part 2: Silver Salmon

August started out strong with combination trips of red and silver salmon on any given day. By the middle of the month, with declining red numbers, our full attention was given to silver salmon.
Overall, August was a decent month for chasing salmon on the Kenai River. Some days we caught a boat limit quickly, other days we had to grind it out.
September proved to be more difficult than August, and quite frankly, much more difficult that I've been accustom to. An okay day would be followed by a tough day. It was anyone's guess what would happen day after day. There was one overriding factor to the inconsistency of the second run of silvers: there weren't many fish. Except for one glaring exception, we found fish everyday. The exception was the famous banana morning. For those of you who believe in the curse of the banana, your superstition was confirmed. I personally think we were fishless because we only had a couple of hours to find what few fish were in the river, and we ran out of time to track them down. Maybe it was a little of both, maybe...

Well, that's it. It took two posts to basically say we had another fine season of fishing with lots of great people. I look forward to sharing the Kenai experience next year with many longtime friends, and with new ones.

Next weeks blog topic: cabin wipe board thank you notes.

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service