Personal Fishing Notes of a Beginner
by Douglas AultThe Seward Silver Salmon Derby runs during the Month of August and 2004 was going to be my 1st
August 14th, 6:30 a.m., we (my neighbor and brother-in-law) launch at the North boat launch and we quickly review our life/safety wherewithal: life jackets, VHF, flares, first aid kit, whistle, oars, fire extinguisher, throwable floatation device…well, we’ll just use this extra lifejacket. Safety - check! Now the essentials list: full fuel & oil tanks, poles, tackle, herring, camera, food and beverage. Weaponry - check! We’re all set. Pony Cove, here we come!
After an hour of run time, we approach the Island, which up close, looked
nothing like the map’s image - must be some mistake - let’s follow our lead
boat to the next island and see what that looks like. Over to the right I
notice some seagulls flocking around (baitfish signal) and make my 1st Note
to self: hit that spot on the way back. We continue to try and match the
coastline to the map obviously created by Mr. Magoo, when we realize we are
now heading west and are in a gentle rolling swell. We soon realize we’re in
the open Gulf of Alaska and had passed our objective. I look at the fuel
gauge, which reads ¾ full. No sweat. We turn about and head back from whence
And so we begin. Vinny (my neighbor), is the first to hook up. Then Sam (Brother –in-Law) and, almost simultaneously, myself. Vinny’s and mine are around 7-8 lbs. Sam’s looks to be a bit bigger, around 12 lbs. He’s using a green hootchie skirt over the herring. We notice the fish are about 25-30’ down (just beyond sight of our bait). We continue this routine: Vinny & I reel in 7-8 pounders, and Sam’s hooking up with
By 2 pm the bite is off. Tally: 12 fish. 3 for Vinny, 3 for me, and Sam has his limit of 6 and not one under 10 lbs! Plus he appears well rested. Humiliated, I figure it’s time to head back before the afternoon winds/chop increase just outside of the harbor. I look at the gauge, and inform the crew “it’s gonna be close”, and off we go. I settle in at 4000 rpm (2 stroke 40hp Johnson), which hopefully gets us the best mileage. We round Calisto Head, and just as I figured, the chop is up at 2ft. The gauge now reads less than ¼ full. And this is underway (see 3rd Note to self above). We round Caines Head, and we’re in to the home stretch with 1/8th showing (underway). Enter: Coast Guard safety check.
The Coast Guard cutter “Mustang” was anchored in the middle of the bay, with
a little orange Zodiac running from boat, to boat, just like a bee
pollinating flowers. We watch them leave a boat about 1,000 yds to our East.
I continue to head North to the harbor when Vinny informs me that they are
making a “beeline” straight for us. So I figure, what-the-hey, we’re good
for a safety check. Maybe our boys in orange could spare some fuel. We shut
down and wait for them to arrive.
Tight Lines & God Speed
More information on Saltwater Fishing in Alaska
Where next on www.outdoorsdirectory.com?