The last thing my wife said to me at the airport was, 'Don't forget to bring home some halibut'.
So this was our 'meat fishing' day. Rick Collins of Explore Alaska Charters usually takes tourist from the cruise ships on 1/2 day salmon fishing trips. Today we would be using downriggers in the morning to pick up some salmon and then bottom fishing for a limit of halibut in the afternoon.
The first downrigger was set with a large flasher and a green squid skirt. A 'hoochie'. As Rick reached to set the second rod, the first rod bent double and the reel screamed, signaling a strike. A great start for a day of fishing. My brother, Lynn, was closest and grabbed the rod . After a short fight, a fat silver salmon lay on the crushed ice in the fish box.
It took almost an hour to get the three downriggers rigged and set. The fishing action was so fast that they kept getting hit before all three could be rigged. Rick was really working hard. Every time he went to set up a rod the other two rods would go off.
Since it was the first trip to Alaska for Lynn, and my son Chris, I let them reel in the fish while I used video and digital camera to capture all the excitement. Most of the salmon action was from silvers. We also landed two nice kings and several pinks. Then there was the assortment of bottom fish too. It was the perfect fishing day...... calm seas, a light breeze, and non stop strikes. Rick was earning his pay today.
After lunch we moved to area where the 260 foot deep shelf dropped off into deeper water. Using stand up rods with a 6-0 reel, and a 2 pound weight, we made our first drop for halibut. Rick took away my cameras and handed me a rod. It was time for me go to work, while he took a break. With the braided line you could feel the weight bouncing off the bottom. Then tap, tap, tap. Rick warned me not to set the hook. 'Let the halibut take the bait and the circle hook will do the rest.' Well the halibut took it, the rod was almost torn from my hands. Within 15 grueling minutes a nice 35 pound halibut lay on the back deck. (I don't know how in the world people can land a 100+ pounder.) Meanwhile Chris and Lynn were standing with bent rods draped over the side of the boat. The bite was on.
In less than 2 hours we had our limit of 2 halibut each and sat exhausted as Rick headed the 'NOOYA' for home. At the pier our catch was unloaded, cleaned, shrink wrapped, frozen, and packed for shipment. Final score: three, 50 pound boxes of halibut and salmon fillets, frozen and ready as checked baggage for the airline. Not bad, not bad at all.
Oh yea, we took several fillets back to the B&B and enjoyed fresh salmon right off the barbie as the sun set slowly in the west. Tomorrow night, bake halibut and crab. LOL