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August 5, 2012

Day 1 - I was fishing with Dan Cronin.  We spotted a small channel that bled into the main river creating a long, slowly swirling seam.  Along this seam and up into the bleed, silver salmon were porpoising provocatively.  We knew this would be a good place to try a surface popper and see if we could get a “dry fly” take.  Often when silvers are fresh from the ocean and all fired up, they will take a surface popper before you throw a streamer at them. This technique is called a "pollywogging" in these parts.  Usually, a holding spot can be good for a couple of “surface” silvers before an angler is forced to go subsurface to get a hook ups.  Silvers just seem to eventually figure out pollywogs so one or two spectacular surface takes is usually all you get.

Not on this day.  Initially, I tried to raise a ‘bow on a streamer at the seam’s tailout. While I searched, Dan was nailing silvers on a ‘wog.  If he didn’t get hooked up, he got an aggressive strike or heart-stopping follow.  It didn’t take long for me to abandon my rainbow quest and join him “wogging.”

I had no traditional hot pink, spun deer hair, pollywogs with me so I tied on a green & white deer hair frog.  I added a pink bead to the tippet so it was technically an egg-sucking frog.  Good Gawd, you gotta love Alaska! This was one screwy idea! And yet, it worked! I got a chase on almost on every cast - until it was destroyed and eventually lost.

Huge 10 - 12 lb silvers would charge the blipping frog.  With black tails and blue chromed bodies, often they would miss, but many other times they would connect.  The fight was great, but the follows were incredible.  You could see their massive jaws snapping at the frog.  These were all bright silvers fresh from the ocean, some still with sea lice.  These fish were the winners in the tremendous battle waged to bring a proud species' genetic material back to their homeland. These salmon would be the winners at the first and final homecoming. And they behaved like winners.  Hard runs, tight turns and bright leaps kept us engaged us for hours. After going through two frogs, I switched to an egg sucking mouse and had similar results. (see photo below)

Incredible when you think no silver has ever seen a frog - let alone an egg-sucking frog. And an egg-sucking mouse is just plain silly.  Dan and I hooked up with 30 or so silvers before we left the spot.  We kept one silver for the smoker.  What an incredible experience!