Blanketing opinions that I'll probably regret soon.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Halibut and Salmon Fishing Trip in Alaska!

The CEO of the company whose product I sell invited me for a week-long trip to Alaska to fish for halibut and salmon in the Cook Inlet in early June.

I've loved fishing since I was a little kid when my grandfather got me hooked fishing for catfish, bluegill, spot, croaker and crabs out of Norfolk Virginia. As a young teenager, I was obsessed. I used to subscribe to Saltwater Sportsman magazine, even though I'd never been on a private charter boat -- only the cheaper "head boat" trips out of Virginia Beach. I had an old net on my bedroom wall and adorned it with all sorts of finds from the beach. Surrounding that net were cut-out pictures from fishing and surfing magazines, even though I'd never surfed a day in my life. I remember just hanging out in my room as a kid and staring at that wall, dreaming of fishing and coastal life.

But I'd never had the chance to go on a private charter boat until July of 2007. Granted, I've trolled and bottom-fished from my own sailboat, but it's not comparable to paying the experts to take you out for the big ones. Charter boats are no doubt fun, because you catch big fish almost every time, but the mates take away a significant part of fishing's fun because they basically do everything for you until the fish is securely hooked, then they pass you the rod to fight it in. Then they land the fish and take care of the dirty business. In fact, the only time your hands get dirty on a private charter is during that typical goofy smiling-and-holding-fish pose for the camera. I guess we should call this "businessman fishing".

Part of the fun in fishing is the failing part; most of my fishing experiences don't actually involve catching fish. The anticipation hones your tolerance for patience, and it teaches you a lot about the way nature really is. I mean, from watching TV, you'd assume that nature is an all-action-all-the-time phenomenon, but in reality, the lions are sleeping 23 hours a day. You can always spot the fishing greenhorn by the guy who's surprised and pissed that he didn't catch anything. I also love learning about which gear will bring the right fish and how to rig it up. While I hate losing fish, it teaches me how to improve my skills and land them better the next time. And yes, I love unhooking and cleaning and filleting and handling my own fish; having someone else do it all makes me feel -- how should I say -- less like a man. What, does the mate think my dainty paper-and-computer-softened hands can't deal with the messiness of fishing? For me, that all detracts from the fun.

But damn, there is NO WAY I would turn down a trip to Alaska to catch the most tasty fishes in the world -- halibut and salmon. And Jesus H., look at the size of some of the hogs they catch up there:

Don't forget to bring the wasabi and soy!
"...but the mates take away a significant part of fishing's fun because..."

Some halibut charters are definitely more of a "hands on" experience than others. I've been on a couple where all you were called upon to do was reel up the hooked fish and occasionally drop the baited line, while another time I was on a boat that didn't even have rod holders and we as often as not baited the hooks outselves.

Regardless, I recommend working up a little arm strength beforehand. Just cranking in a 5-lb weight from the bottom every time you need to check bait can get tiring after a while.

"But damn, there is NO WAY I would turn down a trip to Alaska to catch the most tasty fishes in the world..."

You'll dig it.
Alaska fishing has a way of exceeding your wildest fishing expectations in a most spectacular fashion. Whatever fishing passion you have, be it saltwater, freshwater, ice fishing, or fly fishing, Alaska fishing has the lakes, rivers, and streams...

Fishing in Alaska
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