Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Kwikfish names

What's in a name? Plenty.

Luhr Jensen the maker of the Kwikfish has several stock colors. Some are descriptive like purple, cerise, and chrome, while others are unique. Here are examples of the creatively named lures: Funky Chicken, Slammer, Flame Thrower, Willie's Secret,Trapper, Bubba, Gummy Worm, Xmas Tree, Blue Magoo, Glad Clown, Gay Boy, Green Machine, Grinch, Double Trouble, Cheese Measles, Green Butt Skunk, Fickle Pickle, Dill Pickle, Scarlett Fever, and Electric Blue.

These are the actual names on the packages and believe me there are many more (Trustworthy Hardware claims to have 55 custom colors). Kenai guides, being a creative bunch themselves, have given many of these lures "unofficial" names. Here are a few examples: Dennis Rodman, Michael Jackson, Vancouver Canuck, Mandingo,Tammy Faye, Fancy Pants, Sarah Palin, and the Redoubt.

I prefer not to tell you about how one of the lures became known as Fancy Pants but feel free to ask me about it in the boat. I will, however, tell you how the Popsickle color became known as the Sarah Palin plug. Joe, a great client who has become a great friend was out fishing king salmon with me this past July. After several hours Joe's Popsickle kwikfish was slammed by a king salmon. After about a ten minute fight we get the fish next to the boat and before we can see the fish the lure pops free and floats to the surface. Joe turns to me and says, "don't ever put on that Sarah Palin lure on again." A bit stumped I asked what he meant by "Sarah Palin lure". Without missing a beat he said "she quit on me!" Great story and a great name for a kwikfish.

So, anybody else have any names, actual or created, for their kwikfish? Post them on the comment section and please try to keep it clean!

Monday, March 15, 2010


If I had to choose one lure to fish for silver salmon and king salmon it would be Luhr-Jensen's Kwikfish. There is something irrestible about the slow wobble of a kwikfish to a salmon. I'm not sure if they think it's a food source (wrapping the bottom of the lure with a sardine greatly increases effectiveness) or if it's an irritant to them. Either way a kwikfish flat out catches fish.

There are several sizes of kwikfish and a huge selection of colors. The guys and guides that are in the know believe color is not as important as the wobble of the lure. Straight out of the box many kwikfish are out of balance and a small adjustment is needed to the eye hook. Either turning it left or right will "tune" your lure to run straight. The lure will also need to be "tuned" after a sardine wrap is applied, or after catching a fish or getting caught on a snag.

When it comes to guiding on the Kenai I've noticed that there a three types: plug fisherman (kwikfish and variations of them), egg fisherman, and a combination of both. I fall into the latter. If I'm fishing four people I'll have two kwikfish and two eggs out. I feel options are good and I'll let the salmon tell me if they want "steak or eggs" that particular day.

In my next post I'll discuss the names of the kwikfish. Believe me, there are some very, very interesting names.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Bananas Part Two

Salmon have an incredible olfactory sense that allows them to smell molecules in the parts per billion. This is the reason why after living in the ocean for up to five years they can return to the streams where they were born. As you can see, scent plays a big role in the life of salmon and I initially assumed that potassium in bananas was offensive and if you touched a banana and then touched your lure you were destine for a day of bad luck. This made sense until I noticed that banana scented plastic worms were being sold to bass fisherman. So, what is the deal with bananas and why do they cause bad luck?

About ten years ago I read in our local newspaper an article about bananas and bad luck. There were two versions and, of course, it all started a long, long time ago. Version one happened on the high seas when a crew member on a boat slipped on a banana peel left on the deck. The individual fell into the ocean and drowned......bad luck. Version two,, which I find more plausible, happened back in the days of transatlantic crossings by wooden sailing ships. These ships would often stop in tropical islands to gather food and water. Bananas were brought on board in wooden crates and in the crates would be bugs, spiders, vermin and snakes. Bad, bad stuff on board that would cause damage to the ship and often death to the crew members. The article also said that the gases emitted from bananas would eventually rot the wooden ship from the inside out. Another bad thing to say the least.

So, flash forward to the modern era of Willie boats and superstitious fisherman. I've come to the conclusion that people who believe in bananas as bad luck believe that bananas themselves don't CAUSE bad luck but rather are ASSOCIATED with bad luck. Nonetheless it still cracks me up how excited people can get about bananas in the boat.

My finally thought on luck: I am a big believer in luck but I find the harder I work the more of it I get. Now go out and enjoy the rest of your day.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What's the deal with bananas?

I can remember the first time that I fished the Kenai and what a great day it was watching my dad catch the only king of the day. I can also remember that during the trip I pulled out a banana and the guide we hired came unglued. Hey said, "don't you know that bananas are bad luck in a boat?" Obviously I didn't because I had a whole bunch in my duffel bag. Anyway, as I continued to eat my banana I couldn't help but ask our guide questions about bananas and luck. I didn't get much detail other than "they're bad luck" and since we caught a king that day I thought we were very lucky so I didn't put much thought into it.

All these years later and countless hours on the Kenai I amazed at the banana as bad luck story. There are those who are very serious about this and there are those that like to have fun with it. You will see fishermen with the red slash "no bananas" sticker on their boat and then you'll see a guy with a plastic banana with hooks on it telling people the fish he just landed came on the banana lure. Often there will be days when you'll see a banana peel floating down the river (anything biodegradable can be thrown in the river) and then you'll see a fully intact bunch floating down the river. I can imagine the scenario when a person unaware of the luck of bananas pulls out a bunch and the guide grabs them and throws them in the river. I've never witnessed the actually throwing of bananas but I have witnessed dozens and dozens of whole bananas floating peacefully down the river.

I often talk about two situations that I've had in the boat when a client has pulled a banana out for a snack. Situation one was a group of hardcore fisherman from California. Before we could let out our first line out one of the gentleman pulled a banana out and I asked him if he knew that many people consider bananas to be bad luck. He asked me what I thought and I told him to ask me again at the end of the day. Sure enough, not a single fish to the boat and I told them they are bad luck. The second day they all made sure that no one brought a banana. Fishing wasn't exactly red hot but we managed to land one king that trip. All four guys were convinced that bananas are bad luck. Situation two was a family of three from Hawaii. Dad caught a king, the daughter caught a king, and we were down to our last rod for the day. The daughter pulls a banana out of her backpack. I asked her if she knew that people considered bananas to be bad luck. No she didn't but she asked me what I thought. I said they can't be that unlucky because we had two fish in the box. So, she finishes the banana and is holding the peel looking for a place to set in the boat. I told her to toss it in the river because anything biodegradeable can be thrown in. She was reluctant but as soon as the peel hit the river her mom's rod is pegged and a large king is on the other end. We fight the fish for half and hour and finally net it. An 80lber! From that day forward every time some one throws a banana peel in the water I keep thinking we're going to get a bite. It's never happened again but I sure do think about it every time a peel is tossed in.

All this banana talk has made me hungry. Time to end this discussion but in my next post I will explain WHY bananas are considered bad luck and how this superstition came about.