This week on Hook, Line & Dinner, we head to Kenai, Alaska, to go fishing for arctic char and silver salmon. Fishing in Kenai is no easy adventure. The trick to catching salmon here is to fish where others can’t. We headed out to a place so far away, few people can figure out how to get there (and even fewer want to bother). We loaded up our pontoon plane, packed our guns and fishing gear and were on our way.
Yes, guns. Each guide had a revolver and a 12-gauge shotgun. Seems a little excessive, no? Well, in Kenai, it’s the norm. And that’s not because you might see a bear; it’s because you most certainly will see several bears. It almost seems the bears outnumber the people in Kenai.
Once we were up in the plane, the fun began. I turned to our captain mid-flight and asked if he’d ever crashed one of these planes. I was expecting a chuckle and a hearty no.
“Yes, three times. But not this one,” he says. And he’s not kidding.
Once we land, there are bears everywhere, just happily munching on salmon straight out of the river.
“Here’s the drill,” says one of my guides. “If the bear wants the fish on the end of your line, it’s his. I’ll try to fire a warning shot, but don’t reel that fish in any further. Just let the bear have it.”
I could tell this was going to be an entirely different fishing experience than I was used to.
As I stood taking it all in — the beauty, the fresh air, nature at its purest — I was overwhelmed. That is, until I snapped out of it thanks to a charging full-grown, very angry moose. I freeze, and the moose shows no signs of slowing down as it keeps coming straight at me.
“MOOOOOOOOOSE!” I scream at the top of my lungs. Suddenly, just as I was seeing my end before me, the boat driven by my guide comes flying around the bend heading straight for the angry moose. Hand on his gun, he runs the boat up and over the sandbank. The moose realizes I’m not worth it, and that this boat is much bigger than he is. He veers off toward land and I scurry on the boat alongside the guide, two other fishermen and my cameraman, Bozzo. We sit there in silence as the moose crashes through the forest away from us.
“That was f—ing close,” says the guide.
Tune in tonight at 8pm ET to see even more Alaskan adventures on Hook, Line & Dinner.