Monday, January 28, 2013

Fish Whacker

Fish whacker.  Bonker.  Anesthetizer.  The Ol' Wood Shampoo.  Clubber Lang.   When it comes to dispatching a fish, fisherman are a crazy bunch.

Call it what you will but when it comes to taking care of your salmon one of your most important tools is the fish whacker.   It may seem neanderthal but thumping your catch on the noggin' is critical step in preserving the fish.  It neautralizes a thrashing fish which prevents bruising of the flesh and the build up of lactic acids.  Both will affect the flavor and it's not for the better.  Also, whacking your catch is the humane thing to do.   A blow to the head won't kill your fish but it  knocks it out.   This is good because the heart will still be able to pump out blood when a gill raker is cut.   You've heard me say this on the blog before but I'll say it once more:  whacking a fish and bleeding it are the two most important things to do to ensure the best table fare possible.

Fish whackers come in many shapes and sizes.  I wish I could take credit for being the first to use a bowling pin, as pictured above, but this style of fish whacker was used years ago by my mentor Jeff King (imitation is the sincerest form of flattery).  His words to me,  "it's all part of the show, Grasshopper...."

Here's a photo of the collection of fish whackers that are in my boats.
Here's the natural, wood line up (major league level).
Here's the metal line up (college level).
And, this is a souvenir wood bat that my friend Sam made up for the 2012 silver/pink season.   He wanted me to use it while he was here but I told him it was too nice to be used.   It's now proudly displayed in my office.

So, the next time you're out salmon fishing, don't forget to bring a fish whacker with you. If you forget one, keep in mind that a rock or stick will work just as well.  It doesn't have the same panache' but it will work in a pinch.

"Whack 'em and stack 'em, me boy....."

Monday, January 21, 2013


On one particularily tough day of king fishing in 2012 my buddy Gary decided to have a little fun with the dreaded banana "curse".   On all four of his rods he had a banana peel draped over them.  When asked he said he was daring the salmon gods into proving him wrong.   Apparently they weren't amused.  12 hours later they never had a bite.   Thanks Gary for convincing four more people that bananas are bad luck in the boat.

A note to Rick Zweig:  I know how you like fishing with bananas so if you want Gary's phone number let me know.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

MN Sportsmen Show Recap


Jane and I had a great time at the sport show in St. Paul.    This was our first of the year and I have to say I get the same giddy excitement waiting for the doors to open that I do when I make the first troll of the year on the Kenai.   Another reason this show was fun was Mac, who is on break from college, was able to join us for a couple of days.  This was his first time seeing the other side of running a cabin rental and fishing guide service.
It was nothing but pleasure to visit with quite a few of our old friends/clients at the show.   Peter Medchill, Dave Anderson, Lory Brasel, Rick Zweig, Ed Bauman, Fred Glidden,  Myron and Cindy Angel, Don Anderson, Tom, Jacob, and Mitch, Johnson, Steve Collette, April and Duane Schuman. and Pat O'Connell.  If you're reading this post and you were at the show and I forgot to mention you, I apologize in advance.   That's the problem with lists, inevitable someone is left off of it.
Jane and I were very encouraged that the interest in Alaska continues to be very strong and we look forward to introducing new guests to the Kenai and Beaver Creek Cabins.  All in all, this was a good show for new business, and to our surprise, we were even approached about using our facilities for a destination wedding.   Jane is still putting together a package for the bride and groom to be.  Kind of fun.       

I thought I'd share a few photos of the unique items that were being sold at this show.   It's been a habit of mine to walk the aisles each morning before the doors open just to see what other vendors are selling.   This was a new product line for one vendor.  I wonder if they'll give you a can opener if you buy these by the case.      

Ah, no explanation needed for this product.

This was at the Brainerd International Raceway booth.   Brainerd is a couple of hours north of Minneapolis/St. Paul and when they're not hosting a racing event they offer a driving school to the general public.    Definitely a booth that stands out at a sport show for outdoorsmen.
A staple at the sport shows is the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Wall of Shame.   It's a booth of confiscated fish and game.
This angle gives you a little better view.
That's about it for the recap.  One sport show down, two more to go.  We still have a few free tickets available for the St. Cloud and Duluth shows, so, if you're interested in going, let me know.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Sport Show Season 2013

This year Jane and I will be attending 3 sport shows and they're all in Minnesota.  The first one is in St. Paul and the show dates are January 10th through January 13th.  The second one is in St. Cloud and the show dates are February 8th through February 10th.  Show details can be found at   Our final sport show will be in Duluth and show dates are February 13th through February 17th.  Show details can be found at

We have a limited amount of complimentary tickets available for each show.   Drop us an email if you're interested.  As always, first come first served, and when they're gone, they're gone.

Hope to see you at the booth!