Row Row Row Your Boat!

The events of the past 48 hours have got me all jazzed up and excited to see what the rest of summer 2009 is going to be like. My folks and I left for Alaska to start up our guided fish camp on the remote Nushagak River in Bristol Bay, Alaska at about 4:30am on the 26th of May. James Muhlbier and Nick Meilander (both guide at camp) were also traveling with us. After some delayed flights and what seemed to be very long plane rides we arrived into Dillingham around 6:30pm. A friend drove our truck up the day before and left it at the airport, when we saw which one he had drove up we immediately wondered how in the world all of us and our baggage was going to fit. To make a long story short we stuffed everything in and all four of us squeezed into the front seat.

Photo By: Camille Egdorf

Photo By: Camille Egdorf

 Once at Aleknagik lake, which is about a 30 minute drive East of Dillingham, we hitched a ride accross and got settled in. My dad was still in Anchorage there for we couldn’t get out to camp yet. After launching the boats, hooking up the water, and doing several other small things, the guys and I decided to do a little pike fishing.



We left the house at 10 pm. Let me remind you that at this time of year in Alaska it doesn’t get dark. It was a perfect setting for a possibly perfect evening out in a pike slew. Completely calm water, warm and sunny, and not a single mosquito. We couldn’t resist.

Photo By: Camille Egdorf

Photo By: Camille Egdorf

Northern Pike are notorious for being very aggressive. I look at them like a fresh water barracuda. Teeth sharp as razors driven by an appetite like that of a 15 year old, they’ll eat nearly anything whether it be a stikle-back minnow, or a small duck. As we cast our lines out to the weeds and stripped back in we could see them follow right behind the fly. They would either follow right to the boat and turn away or they would eat right before you started another cast. Often times that led to pulling the fly right out of their mouths, which really got annoying after awhile.

After seeing 30+ fish and only catching 1 we decided to move farther up the slew just to have a look around. We rounded a bend and decided to throw a few more casts.

“Three casts each,” Nick says. “Then we’ll head home.”

As can be expected three casts turned into twenty. Nick had a monster pike follow his fly several times, so when he couldn’t catch it James and I had to give it a go. The monster was never caught. We packed up our gear, grabbed a beer, and threw on some extra layers for the trip home. Nick was the driver, and to our dismay the boat WOULD NOT START.

We all stood there staring at the motor scratching our heads. Could it be the plugs, do we have gas, is it flooded, and on and on. The thought of being about being nearly two miles from home with a down motor and no oars was not appealing. (In our excitment to go fishing we completely forgot about oars). Finally we came to the conclusion that we ran out of gas. I know, it’s pretty embarrassing to run out of gas. Now we all know to never trust a gas gage. At this point we realized that we were not going to be driving back home, but paddling with our hands. After the first five minutes of using our hands and only moving 20ft, we decided to look around and dig up some better paddling devices. I found a bailer, Nick found the top of the battery case, and James grabbed a life jacket. With all three of us laying on the bow with our new paddling instuments we started moving pretty quick. I estimated about 3 mph. Even though the current situation royally sucked, we couldn’t help but laugh. Here are three fly-fishing guides laying on the bow of a gas deprived boat with no oars paddling home with a life-jacket, a bailer, and the top of a battery case. If there was anyone on the beach watching this, I can imagine it being hilarious. I would have paid money to have gotten it on camera.

At about half-way, the sound of swirling water and endless paddling became to much. “James sing us a song,” says Nick

James sat there for a minute and then began singing. “Row row row your boat gently down the stream.” NO!!!! Anything but that song!! Both Nick and I shout. All of us just started laughing. Pretty soon all three of us were singing different songs at various pitches. I was singing Have You Ever Seen The Rain by Creedence Clearwater Revival, James kept repeating a verse from some rap song which was “I’m on a boat B***H.” Then Nick was singing some Nickelback song. I began thinking to myself, ” If we’re crazy now, what is it going to be like three months from now?”

Nick and James.  Photo By: Camille Egdorf

Nick and James. Photo By: Camille Egdorf

At this point visibility was getting low. Even though it doesn’t get pitch black at this time of year, it can still get pretty dark. We we’re now on the home stretch and our paddling pace started to pick up. We all made a guess at what time we would be back. I guessed 1am, Nick guessed 1:48am, and James guessed 2:06am. By the time we did reach home it was 2am. After all the paddling and excitment there was no way we could go to bed. We stayed up and played some cards and shot around some BS. It must have been 3:30am before we finally went to bed. The next day we decided to go fishing again, and that time we made sure we had gas, and an oar.

The midnight sun.  Photo By: Camille Egdorf

The midnight sun. Photo By: Camille Egdorf












3 thoughts on “Row Row Row Your Boat!

  1. Well young lady if you don’t become the best female guide ever! Then your plan B could definitely be photography, I truly enjoyed the pictures. Could almost smell and here the water! God I can’t wait to go fishin’!

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