First Day

Added on by John Sturr.

In bed at 2200 and this mornings 0330 wake up meant a quick night and an early shuttle to the Anchorage airport for, que the circus music, one more time for the try to land on Kodiak Island. The gale force winds subsided and were now at about 10mph with 1500ft visibility - so the chances we were to land were much better - and we did land, just fine.

The owner of bed and breakfast charter, Roger Bower (correction Bowers) also the skipper of the Rooster picked us up. We off loaded our bags received a tour of the accommodations, sized up our rain gear and we were off to buy licenses and then to the boat mooring. His boat is a Starcraft type 30ft longed deck stainless (correction Aluminum) hulled, pushed by twin 300 Suzuki engines. The engines are brand new as the inboard diesel threw a glow plug last year and toasted the motor when he was 15 miles out, (correction - 5 miles out).

I'm new to salt water fishing but I'm seasoned to charter fishing where I cut my teeth with the pioneer of Great Lakes sport fishing as a First Mate with "Whiety" Erwin L Vermulen on the Sportsman in the late eighties. He birthed the sports fishing we know of today on the shores of Western Michigan.

The Alaska fishing has some of the same species and uses the same techniques but the stakes are amplified because of the natural conditions. Waves, currents, and tides can be unforgiving - let alone the corrosion of sea water.

The port is akin to what you see on the TV program deadliest catch and not much different from a Lake Michigan port - yet this is all commercial type vessels and filled with equipment of the dull gray sheen of stainless steel. There is very few fiberglass boats in the yards.

We motored out just past the docks and caught some herring for our cut bait - it was as simple as finding the school and dropping a three tiered jig - and we caught 3 at a time.

Temps were cool in the 50s and winds were very breezy.

Motoring out to sea the boat was impressive - able to handle the 10 foot rollers and the white caps - I was ready to call it a day soon after but the skipper pressed on and after about an hour of searching for non existent protected seas we settled into an anchored position and started jigging for Halibut. One pound weighted 5/0 cut baited hooks attached to Penn 310 reels with 5-8' rods geared us.

We dropped our first lines at 10am and pulled our last at 1630. Of that we landed 5 10-15 pound Halibut and numerous other non-game fish, all of which I've never see before.

As we came in we off loaded the fish to the vacuum packer and kept two for dinner - deep fried - and they were similar to the favored Lake Perch/Walleye in taste.

Lessons learned - it's all about the gear as the Sea is uncomforting. It's cold, wet, and you are wearing rubber rain pants and boots and neoprene gloves to stay somewhat warm and dry.