All posts by Chris Cocoles

Across Alaska Adventures showing you the “Real Alaska”

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Photos courtesy of Across Alaska Adventures

Let Inlet Charters Across Alaska Adventures help show you the real Alaska!
Halibut fishing, salmon fishing, bear viewing, lodging, the list of
activities goes on and on and can all be arranged by a toll free call to
1-800-770-6126. The pros in the Inlet Charters office are experienced
professionals and can get you all the information needed to plan an
ADVENTURE OF A LIFETIME!

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Halibut fishing full day or half day trips are
very productive with the result being some great tasting fish dinners. The
salmon trolling in salt water can also be very productive all summer long.
Bear viewing flights to Katmai National Park as well as coastal Alaska
should be on every ones to do list. The experienced pilots stay with you
and do their very best to make sure you see bears.

There are a variety of flights offering a vast array of bear viewing opportunities that can all be
arranged through our office. Your lodging options are virtually limitless.
From secluded B&B’s to private homes to hotels and apartments, your
personal preferences can all be accommodated. Give us a call for all the
information you need to create your Across Alaska Adventure.

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Sled Dogs Of The Yukon

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Photos courtesy of Bush Alaska Expeditions

Thanks to a find by Rachel Alexander, our Western Shooting editor, we are able to bring you a December cover story on a bunch of hard-working dogs and their rugged owners of a dog sled adventure outfitters, Bush Alaska Expeditions, located near the Alaska/Yukon, Canada border. Wayne and Scarlett Hall, pictured above, were gracious enough to give us an inside look at their adventures with their beloved huskies and other sled dogs who take guests out for a hardcore trip in the remote lands of Alaska. Here’s a little taste of the story:

 

Our sledding trips are full of incredible stories. Often over the years we have found ourselves on American Summit as the 40-Mile Caribou migration has been passing through. Some winter hunts have been very successful via the dog teams. But never doubt that when caribou are in the area the runs with the teams have been full of excitement and speed. 
Wayne once fell off his team; his wheel dog, realizing it, allowed himself to start dragging, slipped his collar and then jumped off the trail into the deep snow. The dog effectively became a doggie drag brake and slowed the team to a crawl, which allowed Wayne to catch up and regain control over the dogs. Well, he had as much control as you can have with hundreds of caribou all around. ..

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Way, way, way out in the Barren Islands

A nice yellow eye to go with the lingcod.A small but beautiful lingcod-1

 

Photos courtesy of Steve Meyer

Steve Meyer loves to hunt and fish in his home state of Alaska. His latest adventure is on a deep sea trip he took out to the Barren Islands, far out in treacherous waters in Cook Inlet. Steve shared with us how far out of Homer his charter boat had to travel. Look for the full story in December’s Alaska Sporting Journal:

 

The further we go, the fewer boats we see. There are a small number of charter boats that operate out this far to ply their trade. Seventy miles from port is a lot of fuel and a lot of alone time, which is certainly a part of what makes these trips so special. When you’re fishing off the Barrens or Gore Point there is often not another boat in sight; you are really alone.
These waters are the frontier for rod-and-reel anglers; it is absolutely fishing at its finest. With that brings seas that are not for the faint of heart. Many times we find ourselves looking out at a wall of water as the huge swells we are riding drop from underneath the boat. These waters produce some of the most magnificent seas in Alaska, with waves up to 50 feet during the period between late fall and early spring, when storms overcome the area. Wild places are supposed to instill a bit of fear and respect and there is no disappointment in this part of the world.
The southern tip of the Barren Islands has some phenomenal seafloor structure that is the home to lingcod, yelloweye, black rockfish, quillback rockfish, halibut and the occasional salmon. But fishing these waters comes with a price in lost tackle.
The jagged structure below the surface requires the captain to constantly watch the depth finder and bark out orders. “Reel up, pinnacle coming, drop back down 30 feet,” and up and down as you drift across what has to be gorgeous underwater rock formations.
And in the process, jigs inevitably hook into these formations and, as often as not, there is no getting them back. This day we lost 23 jigs to the sea, roughly $230 in gear. So if you go on one of these trips you will understand the insistence in the captain’s voice when told to “reel up!”

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Grayling: The Sailfish of the North

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Photos courtesy of Dennis Musgraves

Our correspondent Dennis Musgraves spends almost one-third of his year fishing the endless waterways of Alaska. He and his buddies call themselves the Alaska Salmon Slayers. Dennis’ latest contribution, for our December issue, is fishing for Arctic grayling on the Delta Clearwater River. Here’s a sneak preview:

The motley crew on the boat consists of four anglers, including me. Chris Cox and Paul Ferreira both sit close to the bow of the boat, and Ron Ely takes a seat beside me at the steering console. All of them are accomplished anglers and veterans of the Clearwater. 
We are armed with fly rods with weight sizes ranging from 4 to 6. Our fly boxes are full of an assortment of dry fly patterns in different sizes, including Adams, midges, and ants. However, it’s been our experience that the dry fly of choice for this watershed is a large 14 or 12 blue dunn. I suggest the bigger the better. They seem to perfectly imitate a mayfly hatch that occurs during this time of the year and are irresistible for the active grayling.      
Chris and Paul watch with intensity as they survey the clear, blue water out in front of the moving vessel. They are looking for groups of fish sitting deep in the holes as we skim the surface. We only get about a ½-mile away from the boat ramp when Chris yells out “Slow down!” He spotted a large group of fish as we went over the top of them. By the time I throttle down the boat the area he had seen the fish at is already about half a football field behind us.
I think about turning around in the narrow river for only a moment, but decide to press on forward. This is the Clearwater, after all, and the river is jammed-packed full of Arctic grayling. It does not take long to get going again and round the next turn to find the water in front of us boiling with active fish. A great stretch of river approximately 200 yards long, perfect for the four of us have room without having to be right on top of each other.
Upon all of us seeing the rising hoard I quickly slow down and angle the boat over to a high cut bank and tie off.  All of us disembark simultaneously looking for a place to spread out and start casting. The spring-fed river runs very cold, so all of us are wearing a good warm layer under our waders. Not only is the water frigid, but the current is deceptive, thanks to the crystal-clear clarity of the water. The quick rate of flow is noticeable even at knee-deep depths, and it’s easy to lose your footing.        

 

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Meet The Flying Moe

 

By Chris Cocoles

First and foremost, Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone gets to enjoy some turkey -or whatever holiday meal you traditionally enjoy- and some football, today.

When I talked to Alaskan adopted native son Tommy Moe, one of the more iconic men’s skiers in United States history, I could tell in our 45-minute conversation how much he loves life. What’s not to love? If you ski, fish and paddle, which I discovered are all passions of Moe, you have all those bases covered if you’re Tommy Moe. He spends most of year living in Jackson Hole, Wyo., and as a part owner of an Alaskan lodge skis and takes guests on fishing trips, all in the same day! My conversation with Moe, who won a gold medal in the downhill and silver in the super G at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway,  is running in the December issue. Here’s part of our conversation, with some photos, courtesy of the Tordrillo Mountain Lodge, which Moe co-owns:

CC Tell me how buying the lodge came about.
TM  I think it was in 1997; my brother, Michael, my friends, Mike Overcast and Victor Duncan, and I did a hunting trip on this remote river way up in Skwenta in the Central Alaska Range. We did some Dall sheep hunting and some caribou hunting. And we flew to this river and were dropped in the boonies for like 10 days. We floated down the river for about 80 miles. We looked at the mountain ranges and thought ‘Wow, that looks like it would be good skiing.’ We came around the corner and kept looking at these huge glaciers and steep mountains. We told ourselves we needed to come back and ski this. The next year we pulled together some resources.
We all pitched in a couple thousand dollars, rented a helicopter and flew out there. We found this lodge we could base out of, we pioneered some of the ski terrain, we flew to the rivers and checked out the fishing. We had an idea to start what we called the “Kings and Corn” program for fishing and skiing. We did some great rafting. We did that at the lodge for six years, and in 2004 we were looking at our own place. We found this Tordrillo Mountain Lodge on Judd Lake. We had to find some investors and ended up buying it in 2005. And now we have a great business in the winter, and our summer business does well. Mike and I are still the founders/owners. And it’s such a beautiful property.

CC Talk about your lodge’s “Cast and Carve” heli-skiing and heli-fishing package for guests. I love the idea of what a rush that must be, to combine salmon fishing and skiing on the same summer day.
TM We try to ski in the morning when the snow is usually at its best. We’ll try to wear people out. We’ll ski the corn and go out on like three runs, which is perfect. We’ll have a little mountaintop lunch, take some pictures, look at some wildlife and then fly around to do a little sightseeing from the chopper. Then we fly back to the lodge, take off all our ski gear and change sports. We’ll put on our fishing waders, get the fishing gear and then float down the river that’s right there near our lodge. So it’s kind of multi-sport because you really can’t do that anywhere else in the world that easily. We try to mix it up so people can ski and fish and raft, all in one day. Then they can fly back to the lodge, have a nice meal, jump in the hot tub and sauna, pass out and do it again. You don’t get a lot of sleep in the summer because it’s so light. Sometimes we’ll eat dinner a little earlier and then take them out skiing afterward because you get the nice evening light. It’s also kind of a unique experience.

CC Is there an epic fishing experience from Alaska that you can share?
TM A couple years ago I had a group up from the Midwest, and the fishing was really good; the skiing was really good. We ended up flying down the river, and everybody was catching kings like every 10 minutes. That went on and on; we’d get them in the boat, then we’re taking pictures and letting them go. This one guy hooked into a really big salmon. I thought this was unbelievable that he was going to get this fish in. I didn’t have a net because we were sitting in this raft when we were fishing. The guy got it all the boat and I couldn’t really grab it by the head. And I ended up grabbing it by the tail and I could barely lift it into the raft. From the photos we saw it was over 50 or more pounds. It was like 58 inches on and like 30 inches round. It was just a massive salmon. He ended up letting it go because it was catch-and-release then. I think in fishing up there for over 15 years now I’ve only caught two fish of over 50 pounds. Those were definitely trophies.

 

 

Subscribe to Alaska Sporting Journal today and get a full year of Alaskan adventures like this one for just $19.95. Click here for details.

Bald Mountain Air’s Bear Viewing

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Bald Mountain Air Service offers daily bear viewing tours to Katmai National Park. Katmai is the premier spot to watch brown bears in Alaska. We guarantee you to see bears and it will certainly be ”A trip of a lifetime’.”

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From the lush, coastal rain forests of the Kodiak Islands to the rugged volcanic coast of Katmai National Park, we have developed unequalled brown bear viewing opportunities to excite the most seasoned traveler, adventurer and photographer. Your flight is over some of the most scenic country Alaska has to offer. Prepare yourself for the awe-inspiring beauty that awaits you on your adventure with Bald Mountain Air.

 

Link to a nursing bear video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=OAFpHPtkDBU

Our website: www.baldmountainair.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bald-Mountain-Air-Service/108685895879132

 

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Photos courtesy of Gary Porter and Heidi Herzog

 

 

Alaska grizzly hunt goes awry

An Alaskan  grizzly bear hunt that took place four years ago has gotten a pair of respected Michigan hunters into some trouble.

The Alaska Dispatch with the report:

 

One of the “Michiganians of the Year” for 2013 has been ordered, along with her son, to pay more than $50,000 in fines and write a public letter of apology to Safari Club International, an organization that maintains records of trophy game, for getting a jump on the 2009 bear hunting season on Alaska’s North Slope.

Sixty-six-year-old Charlotte Peyerk and 40-year-old son Mark Peyerk of Mio, Mich., so badly wanted to put a trophy grizzly in “the book” — as big-game hunters call the register of records — that they started the 2009 hunting season in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge a day early, according to federal prosecutors.

On Monday, Charlotte and Mark were sentenced in a Fairbanks court for crimes in connected to that hunt. Charlotte and her husband, Dan, enjoyed a better moment when they were recognized as outstanding citizens earlier this year by The Detroit News. The newspaper described them as “environmentalists from Glennie, Mich.”  They were commended for hosting disabled children at their lodge in the Great Lakes State.

 

Looking for an easy holiday gift for that hunter or angler in your life? Try this subscription deal from Alaska Sporting Journal.

 

Kai USA Announces Exclusive Partnership with Duck Commander & Buck Commander

kai usa• Kai USA brands Kershaw Knives and Pure Komachi 2 will team up with Duck
Commander and Buck Commander to create a series of new knives

• The new series will include every day carrying knives, hunting knives, kitchen cutlery,
and more
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
TUALATIN, OREGON—Duck Commander, makers of best-selling duck calls, and Buck Commander,
makers of quality deer-hunting gear and apparel, are partnering with Kai USA ltd. on an exciting series of
new knives.

Duck Commander owners, the Robertson family, have become famous through their phenomenally popular
A&E cable television show Duck Dynasty. The show’s fourth season premier recently became the number
one nonfiction series telecast in cable TV history. The Buck Commanders have their own popular television
show on the Outdoor Channel.

Kai USA brand Kershaw Knives, Duck Commander, and Buck Commander will work together on a
selection of every day carrying knives and hunting knives, in both fixed-blade and folding styles, as well as
a selection of machetes and accessories. Kai’s Pure Komachi 2 brand will partner with Duck/Buck
Commander on a kitchen cutlery series, which will involve the “Duck wives” of Duck Dynasty.

“Kai USA, Duck Commander, and Buck Commander are all well known for the quality and innovation of
their products,” said Jack Igarashi, Kai USA Chief Operating Officer. “That makes our partnership a natural
fit and we are very proud to be the Official Knife of Duck Commander and Buck Commander.”

The first three to four knives in the series will be available by mid-year 2014. Prototypes will be shown at
the important industry trade show, the SHOT Show, in Las Vegas in January. Successive years of this
multi-year licensing agreement will feature an expanded lineup of products, from hunting knives and
kitchen cutlery to accessories and apparel.

The co-branded knives will be distributed through all Kai USA channels as well as through Duck
Commander and Buck Commander outlets. Promotional displays and sales materials will be available to
assist retailers in successfully merchandising these must-have product lines.

• Kai USA brands Kershaw Knives and Pure Komachi 2 will team up with Duck
Commander and Buck Commander to create a series of new knives

• The new series will include every day carrying knives, hunting knives, kitchen cutlery,
and more
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
TUALATIN, OREGON—Duck Commander, makers of best-selling duck calls, and Buck Commander,
makers of quality deer-hunting gear and apparel, are partnering with Kai USA ltd. on an exciting series of
new knives.

Duck Commander owners, the Robertson family, have become famous through their phenomenally popular
A&E cable television show Duck Dynasty. The show’s fourth season premier recently became the number
one nonfiction series telecast in cable TV history. The Buck Commanders have their own popular television
show on the Outdoor Channel.

Kai USA brand Kershaw Knives, Duck Commander, and Buck Commander will work together on a
selection of every day carrying knives and hunting knives, in both fixed-blade and folding styles, as well as
a selection of machetes and accessories. Kai’s Pure Komachi 2 brand will partner with Duck/Buck
Commander on a kitchen cutlery series, which will involve the “Duck wives” of Duck Dynasty.

“Kai USA, Duck Commander, and Buck Commander are all well known for the quality and innovation of
their products,” said Jack Igarashi, Kai USA Chief Operating Officer. “That makes our partnership a natural
fit and we are very proud to be the Official Knife of Duck Commander and Buck Commander.”

The first three to four knives in the series will be available by mid-year 2014. Prototypes will be shown at
the important industry trade show, the SHOT Show, in Las Vegas in January. Successive years of this
multi-year licensing agreement will feature an expanded lineup of products, from hunting knives and
kitchen cutlery to accessories and apparel.

The co-branded knives will be distributed through all Kai USA channels as well as through Duck
Commander and Buck Commander outlets. Promotional displays and sales materials will be available to
assist retailers in successfully merchandising these must-have product lines.


 

 

Hunting Trip Becomes Rescue Trip

Two Air Force master sergeants from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage went from hunters far north of the Arctic Circle to heroes when they rescued a trucker whose rig crashed. Sergeants David Barber and Morgan Cabaniss, from 673 Security Forces Squadron, were driving the Dalton Highway enroute to a caribou hunt, when they noticed a truck in distress.

From the United States Air Force:

 

“There was a turn in the road ahead of him, but he was jackknifed and slid right over the edge of the road and hit a snow bank. The truck came to rest with the cab in the snow bank and the back tires of the trailer on the road,” Barber said. “But he was right at the edge of about a 600-foot drop.

“That snow was the only thing between him and the drop.”

Barber stopped their vehicle about 80 yards from the wrecked semi, concerned they might join the driver in a long skid down the icy, treacherous road.

While Barber quickly began putting on heavy winter gear that had been too bulky to drive with, Cabaniss sprang into action – running toward the accident.

“I just did it; just went,” Cabaniss said. “I didn’t really think about it. And when I got to the edge of the road and looked down the embankment, I saw the door of the cab propped open. The trucker was wedged between the door and the side of his vehicle.”

Barber said his friend’s next words made the danger clear.

“We’ve gotta get him out of here – the truck may go down!” Cabaniss shouted.

So Cabaniss went over the edge of the road and found himself in waist-deep snow without even hitting a solid surface below. He half-swam his way to the cab and helped the dazed and injured trucker out.

Unfortunately, the trucker had not been fully geared up against the elements while driving, and the violent impact had tossed all the gear around the damaged cab.

“He was freaking out. He only had jeans and a T-shirt on, and had managed to grab a boot and a tennis shoe when he came out of the cab,” Cabaniss said. “And he appeared shocked … he kind of froze up on me.” …

Barber said the pair then drove about 10 miles back down the road, where they’d noticed a highway maintenance station with a pay phone.

Cell phone service was non-existent in the remote area.

The trucker managed to dial a few numbers and they put out some calls on a citizen’s band radio, but no one answered in either case.

About 35 minutes later, a Department of Transportation safety official finally came by the station and picked up the driver.

 

I think we’ve all seen vehicles broken down on the side of the road and kept driving. (Me too). But these guys sprung to action quickly and saved a man’s life. Well done, sergeants.

 

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