Re: Alaska Silvers
Frank - my father bought that reel six or seven years ago for my oldest son, for a trip to the same river. I think it was the only large arbor reel Orvis sold then, and it's a size "V" to handle fair size line. Generally I use a Ross Cimarron reel on my 8wt rod, but decided to borrow my son's reel for this trip, mostly because I hadn't used it much and wanted to evaluate it.
On the good side - a fellow can reel in a fair bit of line in a hurry, which is nice when the silver is headed towards ya!
On the minus side - perhaps we put a little too much line/backing on the reel. Time to time when reeling in, I'd feel some resistance as the line wrapping around the spool got piled up too thick and made contact with the reel.
The drag worked fine. I was able to set it light to strip out line for casting, and then tighten it back up for fighting those 12+ pounders intent on zipping back to the surf! Those things took me into the backing a time or two when I had the drag set too light.
You're right about the bears. This is my fourth "vacation" to Alaska, since I first went there in the 1970's, backpacking. Love the place and wish I could go more often. They are a factor, but by and large they tend to leave people alone. At least if you keep a clean camp, and don't attract 'em with gut piles or dead fish or whatever... In my several trips there only one bear, a modest size black bear, gave us any trouble. He came into camp one night and banged around all the pots and pans we'd left near the campfire/cookfire. We never had any trouble with the big brownies while backpacking or fishing. Time to time one will get interested in a splashing salmon, but just letting out more line, and letting the fish get out into deeper water seems to cause the bear to lose interest.
When hiking/backpacking, I've tied bells to my pack and tend to talk/sing while hiking. I do that a lot anyway and it keeps the bears from being surprised by your sudden appearance. I know folks who get all worked up about the bears, but really, if ya don't bother them, and don't tempt them with easy food, they don't generally bother people.
Fishing sure is good up there... Know anything about the "Good News River" ??? A fellow I was talking to told me it was a great place for a 10-day float trip and a lot of trout fishing.