Over the years “The Anchorage” has shown up on the river in many different shapes and sizes. He usually makes his presence known at least once year at the peak of the sockeye run. He can be identified in the following manner:
As you or one of your fishing neighbors leaves his spot to land a fish, all of the sudden out of the brush, a fisherman will emerge and splash his way directly out to the spot that was just vacated by the prior mentioned successful fisherman. Though obvious to all that the spot is occupied by the fisherman landing the fish, this mysterious arrival, typically overweight with a sloping forehead, seems oblivious to all of the fishermen telling him that he’s in an occupied spot. Instead, this solitary figure will un-sling his rod and reel, cast his line, and announce to no one in particular, “I’m from Anchorage. This is my river. I’m fishing this spot. None of you f**king tourists are gonna tell me differently. That’s why they call it combat fishing. You can all go to h*ll.”. (This is obviously a paraphrase, since I don’t know how to type in guttural grunts and caveman moans, but you get the idea).
For the rest of the evening, The Anchorage – now easily identified, will spew forth various combinations of these venomous verbal attacks on any willing to challenge his authority. Anchorage will become especially riled if a nearby fisherman identifies himself as a true local (i.e. from Soldotna, Kenai, Kasilof, or somewhere else on the Kenai Peninsula). This apparent attempt to undermine the authority of The Anchorage will often be met with the extension of the middle finger on The Anchorage’s free hand, a fresh gob of drool dripping down his chin, as well as, a fresh verbal abuse that goes something along the lines of -“Oh yeah….who cares? F-you. I’m from Anchorage. This is my river.”
The Anchorage is also identified by his tendency to “yank” real hard during his cast and drift routine – leading to a high degree of tail and belly snagging of fish. This predisposition to snag is usually offset by the 80-pound line that is rigged on Anchorage’s reel – enabling him to reel in any snagged fish without too much effort.
Occasionally, during successful spawning years, The Anchorage will travel in a pack of two or more “Anchorages”. This is a very bad scenario for sockeye fisherman, as it is most difficult to cope with two unruly “Anchorages” at the same time. Granted, coping with one is not easy, but it can be done with keen effort and great patience. Encountering two Anchorages though, is nearly always a disaster – and usually leads to verbal fisticuffs, sometimes physical altercations, and on occasion someone being tossed down the river.
Anchorages typically range along the Kenai River and other systems on the Kenai Peninsula during the summer fishing months, but have also been sighted north in Gulkana and Fairbanks as well. Use extreme caution and do not approach if possible…
**Note for those of you who live in Anchorage and are offended – relax – this is sarcasm and is intended to poke fun at those few idiots who act like idiots on the river