I’ve been fishing for halibut in the Cook Inlet of Alaska since 1997. This summer marks my 20th anniversary living in Alaska. 20 years. How did that happen? While it’s hard to believe that much time has passed, I’ve grown to love deep sea fishing. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean that I’m an expert or even remotely good at it, but I know how to do it-kind of, and I just get out there. During fishing, I’m grinning inside all of the time and on the outside, almost all of the time, regardless of what is happening: sea sickness, crazy weather, annoying tourists, or even slow returns.
The summer before last, I managed to get on my buddy’s boat for the best tide of the month, but something unusual happened. For the first time ever, I was the last person to limit! Nowadays in Alaska, each person is allowed two halibut, and normally, I’m somewhere in between for finishing. That time though, I spent most of my day catching pop tarts, otherwise known as tiny halibut not suitable for keeping, but I ended up with some great chickens, otherwise known as halibut perfect for keeping. It was good for me to have to keep going and trying. Along the effort line, I caught two pretty huge bass that made for some cool pictures. My friend that has those probably won’t get around to sharing them with me until next year because that’s just her style.
This season has started off with a bang, but instead of going out of the Cook Inlet, we fished out of Homer. This is due to the fact that one of my best friends retired from being a fishing captain. I have spent many summers with my friend Arthur and I know we will continue to build memories fishing together. Despite being without my partner, the charter still awarded me gifts both in and out of the boat! I was on a combo so got to bag my first King as well as halibut. Even better, my Aunt got to go with to experience her first fishing trip ever! We both had a blast being on the boat, catching fish, and experiencing it in the moment. While that was a gift itself, the best ocean wildlife viewing experience of my life happened as well. A pod of killer whales swam near and around our boat for over 5 minutes. Hearing them breath, and seeing them swim so close to the boat, I was reminded why being out in the ocean is so special, and not to be taken for granted. It has its own level of offerings for us. River fishing is wonderful, don’t get me wrong, but the ocean absorbs you at all levels. Each time I go out, I understand more and more why people get hooked.
Here are just a few random fishing shots; I’m too lazy to deal with scanning in the oldies. It’s amazing how many of my pictures don’t have fish in them, but I promise, I’ve been enjoying eating halibut year round. In fact, it’d what’s for dinner tonight.
Happy Solstice everyone!