Alaska Ride – June 20th – Day #26

Today is halibut fishing day! We woke up to blue skies and no wind – it doesn’t get any better than that. We walked down to the charter office to check in and get our licenses and derby tickets. There are only 6 people going today, so they are putting us on a smaller boat. We walk down to the boat an meet Monica the bait girl. This is only her second trip! We’ll try to be nice 🙂

It is a 1 1/2 hr ride out to the halibut fishing spot, but there was still tons to see along the way. Lots of sea otters – didn’t get any good group pictures, but did get this ok shot of an individual.


There were also views of several volcanoes. Don’t remember their names though (I suppose I could go look at a map and figure it out, but I’m a bit tired and lazy tonight)

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We get to the spot and the captain anchors the boat. Put my line down and I get the first fish on! Which I promptly lose – we are using circle hooks and it is bad to try and set the hook. We re-bait my line and I get another hook up right away. First fish on the boat! The limit for halibut is two, but one of them needs to be less than 29”. This fish counted as my “small” one.


There was a little bit of a lull, and then I was on fire. I probably caught the most fish on the boat. I lost track of the number I was throwing back – my goal was to catch a “big” one for my second fish. Eventually I get a pretty nice one – the captain said it was 25#, so I’m gonna believe him. I think it ended up being the 2nd largest fish on the boat. This also sets me as the first person with a limit.

Meanwhile, the old man can’t catch a thing. He keeps getting strikes and no hook ups. The captain was worried that the boat was going to run out of bait. Eventually, he does finally catch his fish.DSC03594

about to come aboard!


we took a picture on the way back in. The fish closest to us it the largest one…it doesn’t look that much larger in the picture, but it was.


Once back in port, we had a fish processor come down to the boat and pick up our fish. They will vacuum seal it in 1# bags for us, flash freeze them, and then FedEx them home. Although, it is probably cheaper to just buy the fish at Costco (the whole process ended up being ~$12/lb)

After taking showers, we went down to the Salty Dawg Saloon for a beer. It is a pretty cool place, but the beers were expensive.


We moved on from the Salty Dawg to a restaurant and had a nice shrimp dinner. After a 15 minute walk back to the hotel, my dad realized he forgot his camera at the restaurant. So, we got a little extra exercise tonight.

Tomorrow we start pointing our bikes toward home! Right now it looks like we should be home right around the end of the month.


Lake Pleasant

After the big race, I decided to stay in Arizona for a few more days.  My parents drove their RV down from Seattle to find the sun, so I hitched a ride on their couch for a few days.  We stayed at Lake Pleasant Regional Park.  This is a big park around, surprise, Lake Pleasant.

The campsite was on top of a small hill overlooking the reservoir.


We brought kayaks along, and my dad and I spent quite a bit of time fishing. As much as I hate to admit it, I did not catch any fish while my dad caught a nice Largemouth Bass and a decent sized Striped Bass.

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I love stargazing while I’m out camping.  Unfortunately, the moon was out making things difficult because it is too bright.  One night, Jupiter was very close to the moon (the picture came out surprisingly well for being a handheld photo).

jupiter and the moon

There is really only one short hiking trail in the park – a bit of a disappointment given the size.  I spent one afternoon with my Mom following the trail through the desert.


There were a few critters around, but not as many as I expected to see.  There were a few rodents and lizards around, and the coyotes would howl like crazy at night.



Overall, the park was ok – it would be better for a one night stay, there just aren’t enough activities to keep things interesting longer than that (unless you want to fish all of the time). This was a great extension to my trip, allowing me to hang out in the sun and relax while my legs recover.

Day 13: I think we’re gonna need a bigger boat

Today was one of those days that reminds me of how wonderful my wife is…she let me go fishing while we are on vacation. To top it off, she came with me! We were up bright and early to get to the boat by 6:15a. Fortunately, the marina is right next to the hotel, so it was about a 2 minute walk.


In the past, I’ve gone on fishing trips while on tropical vacations, but I (or the rest of the boat) never seem to catch anything. Hopefully, this won’t be like all of the other trips. When we get to the boat, it looks promising – it looks like a charter boat from back home – 42′ long w/a big back deck. We get our stuff situated and start heading out to the reef to go fishing.


The cruise speed on the boat is about 10 knots – on the way out, we troll for fish (a little faster than salmon fishing). We make our way to the first spot, and we caught nothing on the two trolling rods. They set the anchor at the first spot, and everyone baits up and drops the line down. We fish for about 10 minutes and catch a lot of nothing. A typical tropical fishing trip for me.

So, we move on to the next spot. Out go the two trolling rods again – yeah, like we are gonna catch something…However, the unthinkable happens – we get a hookup while trolling. The deckhand grabs the rod and hands it off to one of the other fisherman. After a bit of a fight, we land a Salmon Mackerel.

We finally get to to the next spot, and we drop down the lines again. Uh-oh, I’ve got one on, but it swam into the rocks! We let the line slack, and the fish swam out and I cranked it in. Don’t remember the name of the species, but here is a picture.


They had an interesting way of pulling up the anchor – the boat did not have a windlass. They had a big red buoy with a ring on it attached to the line. The process started by running the boat over the anchor at full cruise speed. The buoy would slide behind the boat, and the anchor would get lifted up to the surface. Once the anchor got up to the ring, it would stay at the surface. They would turn the boat toward the buoy and the deckhand would bring it in.

Well, we cruised on to the next spot and one of the trolling lines hooked up again – this time it was a barracuda. Check out the teeth!


Well, we get to the next spot and put our lines down again. I get another one on…no it is the bottom again. Wait, how come I can crank the bottom in? Fought the fish for about 10 minutes and I “High-rodded” it. With the short rods we were using, if you lift it “high” (like you are fighting a salmon), one of two things happen – the rod breaks or the line breaks. Well, there was a massive pop – I thought I broke the rod, but it was just the line. Don’t know what kind of fish it was, but it was by far the largest fish anyone had on all day.

We jump around to several more spots, I caught several little ones that we either threw back or kept for bait. At the final spot of the day, I ended up catching a reef trout.

overall I caught 5 or 6 fish, two of which were keepers, plus I lost the one big one. Kim only fished at the first couple of spots, so she didn’t end up catching anything. There were 5 or 6 other people on the boat, and they averaged about 1 keeper per person.

The captain apologized for the slow day when we got back to the dock – didn’t seem that slow to me, but apparently they typically do better. We gave one of our fish to the captain, and the other to another fisherman – we don’t have any place to store or cook fish here.

Tomorrow we move on to our next destination (ayers rock). Don’t know if we’ll have internet access for the few days.



Gone Fishin’, Again

Well, the plan this week was to go halibut and lingcod fishing on Wednesday and Thursday.  On the weekend, it looked like the weather was going to be bad, so we started to prep for fly fishing in Eastern Washington instead.  However, on Monday, the wind forecast improved, so we decided to hit the Halibut and Lingcod after all.

On Wednesday morning, we stopped by John’s Sporting Goods to get some pointers on where and how to catch halibut.  He talked us out of going to Hein Bank, and told us to go to Partridge Bank instead.  After dropping $100 on gear that we probably didn’t need, we continued our way up to Anacortes.

Halibut is only open Thursdays-Saturdays, so we decided to hit the lingcod on Wednesday afternoon.  Did I mention it rained on Wednesday?  It pretty much rained nonstop, the entire time we were out there.  Fishing was good though, and we had our limits in about an hour.  Threw back several that were too small, and one monster (38”) that was too big (there is a 36” maximum size limit for lingcod, all of the really big ones are females).


Thursday came and it was time to chase after halibut.  There was a slight breeze in the morning, but we cruised out to Partridge Bank at normal cruising speed for the Arima.  We got our lines down for the first pass and things were looking good.  As we moved around for our second drift through the area, the wind started to pick up, to the point that we were having issues keeping our bait on the bottom.  Then the seas started to pick up, so after about the fourth pass, we decided to head to the islands to see if we could get a better drift while going after lingcod again.  So, no halibut for us.

The ride back up to the islands was a little bumpy.  We decided to pull into McArdle Bay to get out of the seas and relax for a bit while we changed from halibut gear over to lingcod gear.  Then, it was off to the secret lingcod spot.  Well, it was just as windy there as it was out halibut fishing.  In order to keep the line down, I backed the boat into the wind while my Dad fished.  We nailed one right away using this technique (see video here).

We tried a few more passes through the secret spot, but it was tough fishing and we were worn out from getting banged around all morning.  We then had a bit of a rough ride back to port.  Overall it was a great trip – three lings in two days, plus threw back an oversized one.  Better than a good day of trout fishing!


Video that my Dad took:

Opening Day of Lingcod Season

May 1st was opening day of Lingcod season.  So, we made our traditional trip up to Anacortes to go after the big ones.  Grandpa and I went up on Saturday afternoon – we needed to go put the boat in the water so it would be ready to go first thing in the morning.  I bought an adjustable drop hitch for the new truck on the way up, slapped it on, backed the truck up to the boat by myself with the cool backup camera, hooked on the boat – Uh Oh, the plug doesn’t reach the outlet on the back of the truck!  After doing the rounds at the auto parts stores in Anacortes, we ended up getting a cool adapter at West Marine.   Once the trailer was plugged in, went over to Washington Park and dropped it in the water.IMG_0080

Tide change was around 9:45a, so we wanted to leave the dock around 7:30a.  Actually left around 7:45 and got to the secret spot around 8:15.  On the first pass through, Mark nailed one about 29” long.  Next pass, I got one that was barely legal (26”).  We ended up catching a few small ones, and a rockfish before catching a couple more keepers.  The limit is one – we had the whole boat limited by 9:45.

Towed the Jeep back from Anacortes so that Melissa will have a car to drive.  The new truck handled it without issues – got 13mpg on the way home.  Not too bad.

More Pictures….

Caught this one lookin Smile.


Mark and Ryan with one that was just a little too small – had to throw it back.


Awesome day!


Limits of Lings!


More pictures and a video can be found at