Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Rally Hats 'n Reds

I phoned Danielle much later than usual one evening in mid-June after our planned trip with the Dreamcatchers fell through. I had just found tickets from LAX to AK for 300 bones and was ready to pull the trigger. In no time it was decided we had to buy the tickets and were going to see what the AK anadromous fish highways contained. We had no idea the magnitude of traffic we would find. It was an all time year for sockeye salmon on the KP, literally unmatched in at least a generation. Thanks to Terry's hospitality and generosity we were able to stay right across from the river giving us the opportunity to fulfill our 24hr fishing fantasies. Thanks to Mr. Steve we were able to enjoy a roller coaster of a day on perfectly warm and clear Cook Inlet hunting halibut with Rod Van Saun.

Al with a nice red he caught on no sleep after driving all the way to ANC to pick us up at 2 AM and then driving back to the river.

Me n' my bro.
Danielle and I, about to head out on the inlet. It was so calm and warm you would have never imagined this was AK.

Just before heading out these folks came in with an ~280lb halibut that they somehow managed to get into that little boat without capsizing - expectations were high.

Al, D, Laurel
Mr. Steve and Matt.
Matt all baited up. (sockeye carcass)

The fishing at first was pretty good, were into some decent halibut. But we were expecting bigger fish and released a lot of ~15-20lbers. Then it went south, and by south I mean it was cod city. We caught so many cod it was not even funny. Above is a shot of Danielle reeling in a cod DOUBLE! Then, it went dead all over. The captain got on the radio and phoned some friends and we went searching for fish. Eventually we found a spot and set up shop. We said a prayer and put our rally caps on since it was almost 7pm and had to get back soon (we were 30 mi from home). We had huge fish on fairly quickly, but they both turned out to be skates; instead of reeling them in we left them on and moved them over to port. Then all sorts of rallying happened and we caught our limits in the next hour or so, all on the starboard and stern while there were 2 skates at port and Rod was filleting fish! It was madness and a great way to end the 'but hunt.

Rally hats engaged.

All 'buts on deck.

Pray that you have the ability to heed the captain's orders - rally hats in full effect!

Butt o' the 'but - post rally hat success, answered prayers.

Moose, no squirrel.

Matt's first red.
Kiss it. Gotta love fishing straight through the night, taking a break at 5:30 for coffee and mini breakfast then fishing more.

The bounty.

First hen of the last day.

My hens.

Fish highway.

SUSHI reward.

Danielle and I.

We lived by the saying "sleep when you're dead" for 4 days and now we have fish to share and memories that will last forever.

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