Halibut Fishing

Martina and I decide to go halibut fishing. Enroute to town we encounter the Chugach–the last of a fleet of US Forest Service boats. I tied up next to the Ranger IX for about 5 years when I lived on the Katahdin in Seattle. The Chugach still patrols the coast here and ties up about a mile from us….. but it’s time to catch some bait.

We’re after fresh herring for bait. We’re guests in our neighbor Tom’s boat and he’s the one to find these fish! Just look for gulls and other sport boats with the same idea….

Another favorite boat slips past–the St. Lazaria bound for the fishing grounds. After the Winimac sank 20 years ago, I looked at this for a replacement here in Alaska. Well, it’s still fishing under the guidance of Cap’t Thompson. This is a beautiful vessel!

We’ve now a bucket of herring so it’s off down the narrows to Round Island and the sea lion rookery….

After most of the day, we come home empty handed…..and at the cost of $200 for fuel! Not to give up when we can do it again the next day, but this time we drive north into Frederick Sound….

Here, in Frederick Sound, we’re baiting hooks–and placing the herring way down deep; so we secure the herring with ligature wire. Where Frederick Sound meets Stevens Passage near Cape Fanshaw is spectacular. I’ve always seen whales here where these waters converge and this is also where the halibut hang out on sea-mounts three hundred feet below….

and some tail action….

But, enough of whales. We’re after halibut….. and we don’t catch one here either. The sport fishing limit was lowered this year to one fish (guided–out of state fishery but not locals). So we motor to Thomas Bay (where our good government wants to build a dam) and put down some more bait. No sooner than we bounce off the bottom, a halibut strikes!

Tom rams a harpoon through the gill area and bleeds it while still in the water. A small, yet, tasty one!

Martina makes the best Thai curry halibut soup…..and thanks Thomas….this was really your fish. Some day I’ll get with the program and learn where these critters hang out.

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