Our boat for the day
Bob, Steve and I got up for fishing at 5:45 this morning. Not too early when I think of the time they get up to go fishing on Lake Michigan back home. We would be getting up at 5 or earlier. We decided to go with CrackerJack’s charter. My aunt recommended them to us as she use to own a sailboat and was docked right next to these guys. She described them as clean, safe and serious about fishing.
We left the docks at 6:30 to head out into the Gulf of Alaska. Our boat was the Voyager and our captain was Andy (owner of the company).
His crew hands were Jeff and Floyd (a school teacher from Louisiana). We had a full boat of 14 (not counting crew) and it was raining. It took 3 hours to get out to the fishing spot and waters were a little choppy, so we had some people get sick, and I was very close. I felt ill and was thinking about going to “feed the fish” when we reached our destination. We were able to identify an island nearby but considering the crew uses the same radios used by the Israeli military so other people can not listen I better not disclose their location. We spread out along the boat and I was near the front concentrating on feeling for a bite and trying not to vomit. Bob and Steve were in the back of the boat when Steve got the first fish. No big surprise. I’d go out fishing with him at home for a few hours, I would catch one fish and he would have 20.
Unfortunately it was too small and was thrown back. We were looking for big halibut. About 15 minutes later Bob got a bite. I missed the action but Bob was fighting the fish for quite some time. Well over 10 min when I heard him yell (Hey Steve, it’s a shooter!” They actually had to shoot the fish with a gun before bringing it into the boat. It was the biggest fish of the day at 100 lbs and after being cleaned and packaged it gave us 52 lbs of meat.
cleaning the fish on the way back
When people stopped catching fish we relocated. Bob and Steve both had 1 fish and I still had zero. But I had a bite that got away and instantly felt better, no longer wanting to vomit.
In the new spot Steve got his second and then I got a small Halibut, maybe 30 lbs, and Bob got his second. Two Halibut per person is the limit. At one point I got hooked up on the bottom pretty good. I needed Floyd to come over and help me out, I thought I was snagged on the bottom but he was determined I actually had an octopus. Of course we will never know, but octopus definitely sounds cooler. Andy moved us again so everyone on the boat could get their limit and within 5 minutes I got my second halibut of 45-50 lbs.
Not us, but one of the Lingcod
It was not starting to get late. We had a three hour trip back into Seward and everyone on the boat had their limit in Halibut, but very few had even caught a Lingcod.
So Andy took us to one last spot. Told us we had one chance, we would drop our lines drift through the area one time and take what we could get. If we were snagged or tangled we were done. We dropped our lines into the water and before I even found the bottom of the ocean I had a hit. “Fish on!” We were suppose to yell this so a crewmember could come help. Lingcod have a poisonous tip so we couldn’t touch them with our hands without the right gloves. Then I heard another “Fish On!” We were prepared for a massacre. At one point 10 of the 14 people had a fish on at one time. We were there for 20 minutes and everyone got their limit of Lingcod (2). I even caught three in the time period but one was too small.
Some of our Halibut.
We were so tired out, and the crew didn’t even have time to put the fish away in their storage so be the time we were finished the back of the boat was filled with these large fish. The smallest caught was probably 35 lbs and the largest had to be nearing 60-70 lbs.
We made it back to meet up with the girls (who took a day of shopping and visiting the sea life center) and get our fish processed. We will find out we have about 150 lbs of fish to take home with us. Of course transportation of that fish is not cheap and the best way we found was to have it deep frozen, packed in freezer boxes and paid to have extra luggage with us on the airplane. It would be good for 48 hours.
We went out that night to the Salmon Bake, a nice little restaurant outside of Seward on the road to Exit glacier.
We bragged to our waiter about our day and he was very enthusiastic and showed us some of his fish. It’s not often you find a waiter who really enjoys his job, but this guy was fun and clearly enjoyed what he was doing. It made for a great dinner. After dinner Janet would return to Anchorage and we stayed at the Salmon Creek cabins again. On our drive back to the cabins we and a Black bear cross the road not far from the cabins. An exciting end to the great day.
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