363-Combat Fishing – Alaska

You are not going to believe this, but this really happens up here in Alaska. Every year the king salmon season opens for just a few days. King salmon are supposedly the best tasting and thus rare of the numerous salmon species. Thus, the fishing season for king salmon is tightly controlled. This year’s season opened on a Friday night at 12:01 AM and closed the next Monday at 11:59 PM. Fisherman line up at the choice fishing spots for hours before the opening time and wait until midnight to begin the quest for the giant fish. I went fishing for my first time on that Friday night at 12:01 AM. We fished until 2:00 AM and then quit (only 3 fish caught by 200 fisherman). This is called combat fishing here in Alaska. At this location over 200 fisherman were lined up shoulder to shoulder along a 50 yard beach. When someone got a fish, everyone pulled in their line to let the fisherman pull it in. There is some level of courtesy in the combat fishing world. All of these photos were taken after midnight. As you can see, it is the night of the midnight sun.

Around 2:00 AM a small beaver came swimming up the river through all of the feet of the fishermen. It was luck that it didn’t get snagged by a hook or stepped on.

CIMG4342Combat fishing at it’s best.

CIMG4345This was taken at 12:00 AM – midnight sun?


Dammit, I hooked my pants.

CIMG4362This is what they are all trying to catch – a 40 lb salmon.

CIMG4357Beaver swimming up river trying not to get snagged by a hook.