|Saturday, 27th August
Halibut fishing in Cook Inlet
A dream come true! I have always wanted to go Halibut fishing in Alaska! We knew that it is the end of the season for this species, but made arrangements for a charter, as we have been seeing some boats coming in with Halibut.
Fishing for salmon filled up our morning, followed by our main dinner at 1:00 PM on the beach at Ninilchik, halibut given to us by Jens, (delicious baked in the oven with lemon and seasoned bread crumbs), mashed potatoes, and beets).
Then off to the charter boats, just up the street a short ways, called "Afishunt". We were scheduled for a 2:30 trip. They are scheduled according to the tides as it is difficult fishing the bottom for Halibut unless the tide is fairly slack. Our boat named "Exciter" was a 35 foot welded aluminum fishing boat with two 225 HP Mercury engines. A very comfortable boat, with seats under cover. The captain was a pleasant guy in his 40's who works in Alaska all summer, then travels to Alabama where he hunts and fishes. He also does some guiding for hunters in the fall, here in Alaska. The 2nd mate was a young fellow, Tyler, who graduated from high school in May, and has worked on gill nets this summer, earning $8000! He started this new job just a few weeks ago. He hopes to save enough money to attend college soon. He is almost as handsome as nephew, Tye, and reminds us of him, including his great personality. He was the starting quarterback in high school, as well as wrestling. Sound familiar!!
Back to the boat - it was launched in a very different way! We drove to the beach, in a "paddy wagon" vehicle, with the boat trailering behind. Then a log skidder launched us into the water (no boat launch). That's a first for us! Very efficient, that's for sure. We went west into the Cook Inlet about 17 miles, then began fishing. Several Halibut were caught, but the sharks found us and too many were tying up the lines. So we went a few more miles out, and fished again until about 7PM, which worked out well as everyone had caught their limit of 2 Halibut each. You can release as many as you want, but they are strict about the number kept. Dad/Ed and I both let several go, hoping for a bigger one. We caught fish that were in the 25 pound range. I would love to go again some year, earlier in the season when the real large ones are caught, but Dad/Ed says I wouldn't be able to reel it in anyway. The captain and Tyler were real good about helping me hold the rod still, while I reeled, and they got bait on the lines very quickly, so as not to waste anyones time.
The day was perfect for us - sunny with absolutely calm seas! It certainly isn't Dad/Ed's type of fishing, and he is not accustomed to having bait put on, lines checked, etc., instead of doing it for everyone else, but it was a super experience and a quality boat, crew and 5 other fishermen. Butch went along, and caught his 2 Halibut, but Myrna stayed home and went shopping. She had gotten slightly seasick when out in the boat with Jens and didn't want to take the chance with a 6 hour trip.
The captain and Tyler filleted the fish back at the charter site, and we had them wrap, freeze and send the fish home. We will have a Halibut party for your birthday party, Brett. I will try to cook Jens' delicious deep fried fish.
Another great day in Alaska! The time is going by fast now, unfortunately, and we don't have too many days left here, until we have to travel on the long road thru Canada to the US. We had hoped to take the ferry, but due to the extremely high cost (About $3000. for us, the truck and camper, which includes a berth, etc.) Even with the high price of diesel, it will be much less expensive to drive. Then on to Washington and Oregon, where Dad/Ed's reunion begins on Sept. 14. Good night again.