Unhinged Alaska: Thar’s gold in those silver winter kings

The Unhinged Alaska staff has been inundated with questions, beefs and psychotic rants about the new marijuana law.

We have somberly discussed the situation and the team (myself, a miniature poodle with an attention span of a dust mote and schizoid cur the size of a cement truck) has agreed to address the aforementioned concerns in our next column. By then lawmakers should have completed rewriting the rewrites of the rewrites so we might be able to partially ascertain what the smoky future holds.

As the moment, it’s difficult to adroitly address significant questions pertaining to what the implementation of the law will mean to various communities.

For now it looks as though local officials can draw up specific polices for their fiefdoms, thus giving rise to questions such as, if Tok Junction really wanted to, could it opt out of being just a small burg at the intersection of the Alaska and Glenn Highways and cash in on its name to become a stand alone, Branson-like, bong infused, major tourist attraction for those in need of weed?

Stay tuned. 

Let’s move on to more timely matters such as some serious fishing and big bucks.

The equinox celebration on the 20th of March will probably be somewhat sedate due to the fact, except for the last week or so, it’s been pretty much like a spring-with-a-cold for most of the winter.

The weather’s been so mild that this is the first year local sourdoughs can remember more green grass on the ground than under grow lights.

Be that as it may, soon things will genuinely heat up when fisherpersonages start thundering into Homer in search of chinooks and buckets of cash during the 2015 Winter King Tournament on March 21.

If the past few months are any indication of what my friends and charters have discovered lurking under our pristine waters, trolling success for oncorhynchus tshawytscha a.k.a blackmouth badasses could run from righteous to as rippin’ hot as the tide changes that day.

Turk, Willie and I have entered the contest off and on since its original launch back in 1994 when the entrance fee was $25 and 38 boats hit the water. Those rabid 179 anglers brought back 51 kings with the winner tipping the scales at 29.36 pounds worth $1,760.00.

I was working and missed the inaugural outing but still felt very fortunate because the only thing my buds brought back were individual cases of severe lower digestive tract malfunctions that nearly blew them out of the boat after they snarfed down a couple of egg salad sandwiches that Willie prepared the previous week. I really didn’t think that W would survive but Turk finally cooled off enough to stop promising him an E-ticket ride in a Bering Sea crab pot although it wasn’t until mid spring that he laid off the single digit salutes when they passed each other.

Regrettably, we haven’t been able to participate in the winter gig for a couple of years.

Turk’s vessel hasn’t been exactly reliable during the summer months because it has a tendency to blow more gaskets than its captain when he has to radio for another tow.

Last year after 906 fishing fanatics forked over a C note fee and charged into the bay aboard 270 vessels that nailed 202 kings, T couldn’t stand it any longer. Especially, when a 30.6 pound head shaker took first place and coughed up $19,026.

What really fried his acorns was that he had hitched a trolling trip with his next door neighbor just two weeks earlier and had slammed a 32.3-pound chinook not thirty minutes from the boat harbor.

Unfortunately, T was out of luck for the 2014 contest because the gentleman had family standing in line for a slot waving signed wills designating him as their primary beneficiary if he’d let them on board.

So this year, Turk figured that if the tournament was going to continue to fork over major booty, he might be able to convince his brother to haul his 23-footer down from Palmer.

He informed his bro that if it wasn’t for the ice cold water and the survivor probability of a mutant clawed Dungy in a restaurant’s live tank, there’d be folks with IQs lower than their box lunch contents flipper trolling from inner tubes just to take a shot at the gold.

He took the bait and will be headed south.

I won’t be able to join them but Willie will.

I hope he remembers to do some basic maintenance on his gear so things don’t go sideways as they did in 2005.

Just after mid day, he had a titanic take-down. The gang figured he had either hooked into the winning fish or a profoundly annoyed Navy SEAL. The battle went on for about ten minutes before his Shimano abruptly froze and catastrophe struck when the line snapped for the lack of a functioning drag.

That evening he retired the faulty reel with a prudent explosive and has since refused to admit that he was anywhere near that year’s competition.

Hopefully, next weekend they’ll have an excellent outing as long as they keep Wild Willie away from any moving parts on the stand-in Bayliner.

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com.

More in Life

Will Morrow (courtesy)
Older and wiser, or not

Turning 50 has been a more laid-back experience

Sara DeVolld performs as part of the Waltz of the Flowers Corps de Ballet in “The Nutcracker” with Eugene Ballet at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Shona DeVolld)
Becoming part of a ‘magical holiday tradition’

Local ballet dancer Sara DeVolld performs in Anchorage for ‘The Nutcracker’

A copy of Sherry Simpson’s “The Way Winter Comes” is held in the Peninsula Clarion offices on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Off the Shelf: Inhabited by winter

Juneau writer spins haunting tales of Alaska’s darkest season in 1998 short story collection

Charles Riddiford, far right in the back row, posed for this Spokane Post Office staff photo in 1898 when he was just a clerk. The photo appeared in a 1922 edition of the Spokesman Review, along with a discussion of the post office’s tremendous growth.
Riddiford: Story of a Name Change — Part 1

So who was this Riddiford, and why did this name hold such sway at the site of Joseph Cooper’s boat landing for more than a decade?

These festive gingerbread cookies are topped with royal icing and sprinkles. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Rolling out the gingerbread

With Christmas around the corner, it’s time for the holiday classic

Paper chains made of gratitude strips adorn a Christmas tree at Christ Lutheran Church in Soldotna. (Photo courtesy Meredith Harber)
Minister’s Message: Grateful and kind

What if, instead of gathering around tables and talking about what has already happened TO us, we challenge ourselves to return kindness to the world around us

Roasted broccoli Caesar salad provides some much-needed greens and fiber to balance out the rolls and gravy. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
A toasty, warm salad for a cozy Thanksgiving

This warm side dish provides some much-needed greens and fiber to balance out the rolls and gravy

Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: Some things never change. Nor should they

In the dawdling days prior to Thanksgiving, things are usually as serene as a gentle snowfall within our modest piece of nirvana

This photo from the early 1960s shows Jackson Ball enjoying the Christmas holidays with his eldest three daughters. His fourth and youngest daughter was born less than a year and a half before Ball’s death in 1968. (Photo from Ball Family memorial slideshow, 2022)
Human Complexity: The Story of Jackson Ball — Part 3

Misfortune was written across the recent history of the Arlon Elwood “Jackson” Ball family

Most Read