Sitka Salmon: Pinks on the Fly

We flew into Sitka in the early afternoon to meet a charter the following day for 3-days of Salmon fishing. We’d be out on the water for Kings and Silvers perhaps picking up a Halibut or two, maybe even a Ling Cod.

Hump-backed Salmon or Humpies, also known as Chum salmon, are perhaps Alaska's least favorite among the delicatessens, but this fisherman had a blast catching them, and in that found a bit of himself. I caught a couple of Pinks too! Photos and story by Dwayne Parsons

Hump-backed Salmon or Humpies, also known Chum salmon, are perhaps Alaska’s least favorite among the delicatessens, but this fisherman had a blast catching them, and in that found a bit of himself. I caught a couple of Pinks too! Photos and story by Dwayne Parsons

What to do in your spare Sitka time

If you are a serious fisherman, and you know you’re going to be in a place like Sitka, Alaska for any time at all, you take a fly rod. The sole purpose for a trip like this, though you benefit from the fresh, wild salmon you’re going to bring back, is to recreate, which for an entrepreneur means “go mindless for a few days and let things digest.”

That was my full intent. Yeah, I confess, I’m an entrepreneur. I also hold an active real license currently under broker John Holler, Jr. of Internet Realty of Idaho. With John, I’m a referral agent, not in the MLS system. I am working a number of projects, big projects I consider important because they are complex land deals involving multiple owners. Not because I don’t like where I’m at, but because I can see the potential of real compatibility, I am considering a move to place my license under Windermere Coeur d’Alene Realty, Broker Pat Krug. My decision, in the works, is part of the reason I needed this long fish-laden weekend to weigh and digest the benefits and potential consequences of moving my license once again.

Among the several real estate projects within which I am involved, I am now willingly and excitedly part of a Bitcoin-community team both as a Public Relations consultant and as an active real estate license holder. By contract, I am the buying agent for Bitcoin Entrepreneur, Alan Golub of Hayden, Idaho who owns some important waterfront on beautiful Lake Coeur d’Alene. Golub has a healthy vision to reunite a discombobulation of divided properties into one 660-acre high-tech working ranch–and he just might do it. Other brokers are involved; it’s complex and hugely dependent on timing, as any important real estate deal is. The land buy-up is a vision of Alan’s to create a concept called “BitRanch” Golub is joined by several bright and rising stars from the Bitcoin community he put together from recent the North American Bitcoin Conference recently held in Chicago.

A bright and shining, blue sky day in Sitka reveals the totally stark beauty of its surrounding mountains.

A bright and shining, blue sky day in Sitka reveals the totally stark beauty of its surrounding mountains.

You’ll be hearing a lot more about the BitRanch project along with other real estate deals I’m involved in. For now, I’ll stay with the fly fishing afternoon and the period of vacant time I took full advantage to enjoy.

Sitka in the sunshine is stunning. I had a southern California day here and nobody’s elbows to crowd me out. The pinks were in and as the tide came up, they staged along the shorelines in shallow water. It was a perfect wading opportunity. I took along a pair of ice cleats to keep my footing strong on moss-embedded rocks. I didn’t even have waders as I traveled lite, taking the bare minimum in equipment.

Blue jeans and tennis shoes are good enough for a man who still acts like a kid when the fishing is on. Photo by my nephew-in-law, John Hawkins.

Blue jeans and tennis shoes are good enough for a man who still acts like a kid when the fishing is on. Photo by my nephew-in-law, John Hawkins.


In the first set, fishing largely by myself, I caught and released 8 pinks that ranged from 3 to 7 pounds, estimated. They were strong fish, everyone of them and I lost as many as I landed. One, tail hooked, gave me a real reel run for my money. My arm is sore even now as I write to tell you about it.

In the second set, I caught and released 4 more Humpies. Twice that many released themselves.

Inadvertently snagged in the flesh near his tail, this male humpy, fresh in from the ocean nearly stripped the line from my reel.

Inadvertently snagged in the flesh near his tail, this male humpy, fresh in from the ocean nearly stripped the line from my reel.


The best part of the day was after dinner, early evening in the bay just across the road from our hotel, The Eagle’s Nest, on Saw Mill Road. Here’s the scene: I tried to capture a split second moment (which happened a lot) where in a number of humpies were airborne with excitement coming in from the ocean, but the best I could do was just this after-affect of multiple rings on the surface of this beautiful cove.

I failed to catch them with my camera, but at times the water in this photo had as many as 15 or 20 salmon in the air at the same time. Yes, really! There were that many, I'm sure of it.

I failed to catch them with my camera, but at times the water in this photo had as many as 15 or 20 salmon in the air at the same time. Yes, really! There were that many, I’m sure of it.


How is it that time spent fishing resolves issues of the mind? I really don’t know. Fly fishing like this takes focus. You have to pay attention to what you are doing and when you hook into a good fish, it commands your attention. You have no choice.

But somewhere in all the activity, problems are solved. Solutions formulate in the mind. Decisions are made. The resolve that rises in the heart may be a little like the salmon returning from their long journey in the large water. They are programmed by God’s Divine Hand to seek out the spawning ground where they hatched as fry. How that’s done is God’s business. We can only guess even within the accuracy of scientific speculation, we can only surmise. But they return, each to its own place of origin and there lays the spawn and sperm of the next generation.

When I return to fishing, like this day in Sitka, alone, wading in blue jeans and tennis shoes like the boy I once was, I find myself. I see who exactly I am. And from that I know better where I’m going and what I’m doing. And that’s the foundation of sound decision.

Strong, healthy and fresh from the sea, these pink salmon helped me realize who I was and where I was going on my journey up the river of life once again to the place of my origins.

Strong, healthy and fresh from the sea, these pink salmon helped me realize who I was and where I was going on my journey up the river of life once again to the place of my origins.

I caught more than the dozen pink salmon this day. I caught a deeper side of myself. I saw and understood better who I am, how I serve and where I’m going in the busy life of business.

On the flight, I sat next to a fellow Realtor, Bob Jorgenson, in the Coldwell Banker franchise of Evergreen Olympic Realty out of Olympia, Washington. We discovered a considerable amount of common ground through our conversation about fishing. There was another fisherman in the window seat, Steve Levi, if I remember correctly. We showed fish photos from our cell phones like grandmothers do of their grand-kids. That’s happy talk for serious fishermen. When Bob asked who I hung my license with, I told him Windermere, Coeur d’Alene Realty, as if I had already known my decision. That was interesting.

It wasn’t until the wee hours of the night, in writing this story that I realized this move could be the best thing for me and for my clients. Now I know why the salmon jump for no apparent reason. They are not feeding. They are excited. It’s the same reason I could not sleep more than a couple of hours. A decision was made. It was weighed and digested fully while I hooked and landed strong fresh salmon from the sea, and lost as many. Like them, I was returning to the roots of myself and there to spawn the best ideas of my still vital future.

I was not lying to Bob; my statement was an inadvertent visionary utterance from my soul. These salmon helped me confirm it.