The Great Alaskan Fishing Experience

Sitka Alaskan ExperienceIna Mae and I were invited to go fishing yesterday. The day started bright and early at 4:45 a.m. I rolled out of bed, grabbed my camera and went to the rain gear room to find some rain gear my size. I quickly grabbed a pair of bibs and some size 9 mud boots off the shelf. I was ready for the fishing trip! I met Ina Mae at the breakfast line and she enjoyed some delicious crepes, bacon and eggs, fruit, oatmeal, toast and orange juice. I only had oatmeal and eggs because I did not want the “Helminen Curse” (of seasickness) to get me.

After putting on my mud boots and rain bibs, I picked up the backpack full of candy and goodies Ina Mae and I bought from the store the night before.We both have a huge sweet-tooth, so this was a definite necessity.

We strolled down to the dock where Captain Johnny and his deckhand Nate Smith welcomed us on board the HIGH ROLLER along with the other guests.

Before Captain Johnny drove us out of the harbor, he explained the safety steps in case of fire, man overboard, radio call procedures, where the fire extinguishers were, and what we should do.

The protected waters we traveled on the way to the fishing grounds were smooth as glass. During our journey we saw a few bald eagles perched in trees waiting for a tasty fish to cruise near the water’s surface. There were a several groups of deer staring at us from the beach at various spots along the way.

When we arrived at the fishing grounds we started making slow passes over one of Captain Johnny’s fishing spots to see if there were any fish showing up on the sonar.
“Nothing here,” he said. “Let’s go to the next one about 15 minutes away.”

Captain Johnny powered into the big ocean swells as he explained to us how it was “a lot calmer than yesterday.” This shows how much I know about the ocean; I thought it was pretty rough.

When we pulled up to the next fishing hole, we dropped lines 120 feet down with bait cut herring, and it wasn’t twenty minutes before Ina Mae was fighting a big King Salmon! This got us all excited, and pretty soon we had a double going! Ina Mae was instructed and aided by Johnny while the King Salmon did circles around the boat. Under my rod, over Karan’s rod! The flurry of activity was contagious! Ten minutes later Nate and Johnny assisted in landing a super nice 25 pound King! Ina Mae had a huge smile on her face. She looked at her fish on the deck. “My arms feel like rubber!” No time for breaks. Johnny tagged her King Salmon on her license while Nate was baiting her hook for another cast.

Ina Mae King Salmon

Soon everyone had their King Salmon, except me. They all put their rods in the rod holders so if a rod got a bite, I could run over and start reeling on it. Since I touched the rod first and set the hook I could legally tag it on my license. Soon I was hearing my name being yelled and I raced to grab the rod that Ina Mae’s was pointing at and start reeling. I saw a huge King as it broke the surface and with a flick of its tail, it was gone. A few minutes later I no longer felt anything on the line, and reeled in empty hooks.

One more time my name was yelled, so I ran over and began reeling again! It was hard to reel, but a few minutes later it was worth it. It wasn’t what we were expecting though. It was a nice 35 inch chicken halibut!

A short while later I got a nice King Salmon on my own line, and Captain Johnny helped me fight it while it did a couple of laps around the boat. After it was landed, I knew exactly what Ina Mae was talking about. My wrist was sore from holding my fishing rod tip up, and my arms were sore from reeling. But it was so much fun!

We moved a little ways away to catch some Black Rock-fish, and it wasn’t long before we were all reeling them up. They put up a good fight, but not as good as a King Salmon. Mike (another guest on board) was the first to get his limit of Black Rock-fish, so he switched to a halibut rod to try for some halibut.

After an hour of fishing for Rock-fish, we had all caught our limit and decided to move somewhere more protected so we could prepare some sandwiches for lunch, and then head home. We were tired out from all the fish we caught. Captain Johnny expertly prepared sandwiches to order while the rest of us enjoyed the scenery.

On the way back to the dock, I took a nap as did Ina Mae, Karan, and Chan and his nephew. The whole experience was exhausting! Mike and Captain Johnny talked, while Nate filleted fish on the back of the boat. He was being pelted by large sprays of water for a good part of the time. It made me appreciate my job more. I sit indoors, staying warm and dry all day. 🙂

Ina Mae And Martin Holding King Salmon And HalibutOverall the day was super fun! I got to spend the day with Ina Mae, something that doesn’t happen often. We both caught good size fish and were tired out from the experience. We got pictures to show our families back home, and I didn’t get seasick! Maybe I broke free of the Helminen Curse! I really look forward to going fishing again in the near future! Thanks to Captain Johnny and his expert deckhand Nate!

~Written by Martin, Catch of the Day Artiste

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