Saturday, July 26, 2008

Alaska '08 Day 39, Homer

Sun July 20, 2008

We took a halibut charter today. Mike got us reservations on the "Big Easy" of Alaska Saltwater Adventures. They put us together with 4 other people (a retired couple from Portland and a couple from California). Weather at the spit was great, no wind. But on the radio we were hearing 25 knot winds around dangerous Cape/Port Graham. Captain Steve decided to chance it because we would be close to shore. We had a rough ride out and there was a little chop and roll but not too bad. We fished two places; first around flat island in 80 feet of water then later out towards the middle of the inlet on a hump in 200 feet. We fished the first spot until the tide got too fast then moved. We jigged 2lb lead with a 24" rope leader with herring on a big circle hook. We just jigged slowly on the bottom. I picked up the first fish, about 15-20 lbs. All the fish we got were about this size, no big fish. Lost quite a few, hits were pretty quick. We moved when the tide ran so fast our lines ran off and we had a hard time finding bottom. After this the wind dropped a little and we ran out into deep water to fish a hump for the "next tide". Here you got a hit within a minute of hitting bottom, most times almost immediately. Again, I lost quite a few. The captain let Mike and I sort, I threw 4 in a row back. Got pretty tired reeling in all that way. Had to reel in for each lost fish cuz they usually cleaned your bait. When you hooked a fish sometimes I had to lay the rod on the rail. The last reel in of the day I was so sore and tired I didn't think I would make it. The other 4 on the boat had a harder time getting fish and stopped once they got their limit of 2 and did very little sorting (one couple did no sorting). Everybody was done while Mike and I continued to catch and release until the tide changed and the captian suggested we keep the last fish and head in (around 1:00). While we were out we saw puffins, otters, a minke whale and several humpbacks. One humpback surfaced within 200' of the boat. We caught two cod (~20lbs), used them for bait cuz they were "too wormy".

After fishing I met up with the kids for an "Under the docks" tour in the marina. The docks have all sorts of barnacles, mussels, anemones growing below the water line and they take kids out to lay on the docks and look underneath. Its better than any tidal pool because these critters are never above the water since the docks float. You cannot believe all the stuff; huge tree anemones, tube worms, and huge see stars.

- Jon


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