Sunday, October 23, 2011

Halibut Fishing in Homer

I finally got around to posting some pictures of our halibut fishing trip from this summer.

We went to Homer, AK for a long weekend. The plan was to deep sea fish on Friday, then salmon fish on Saturday in Soldatna, AK on our way back to Anchorage.

Much like Seward, Homer is right on the water and is surrounded by gorgeous mountains. It's about a 4 hour drive.

View from the Homer Spit on Friday

Our back-of-the-truck campsite
When we showed up to board our fishing boat on Friday morning, we found out that the trip had been cancelled due to rough seas. No boats were going out. The earliest they could take us was in two days on Sunday. So, we spent the rest of the day sleeping, relaxing and checking out beautiful Homer.

You can see the Spit out in the bay in this pic
On Saturday, we drove north to Saldotna to fish for some salmon on the Kenai River.

Here's Heather, looking very Alaskan
Unfortunately, we only caught one fish that day. But it was a whopper! Not a salmon, but a cod.

Nathan's catch of the day!

Below is a better picture to get some scale.

Proud fisherman

Sunday finally came and we boarded our boat. It was a two hour ride out to open water where the fish were. There 16 people fishing on our boat plus 1 captain and 2 crew members.

Back of the boat where most the action happened

With so many people fishing all at once, at the beginning things were a little crazy--lines got tangled, people got twisted up, tripping over one another and two people once caught the same fish.

To get to the halibut, we had to let out line out all the way to the ocean floor, which was about 300 feet deep. This took about two minutes, maybe. Then we waited...but not long. On average, the wait time between getting your line to the bottom and feeling a fish nibbling at it was about 30 seconds. Then the hard work began. It took at least 10 minutes, or more to reel the fish back up, and our arms were aching.

We look just like Deadliest Catch!   Sort of...
Current Alaska law allows each person to keep two halibut per day. You could keep which ever fish you wanted, but after you decided to keep the second, everything else you caught had to be thrown back.

Heather, with one of her catches that she threw back
Average fish size that day was around 12-15 lbs. The one in the above picture is more like 10-11 lbs. The deck hands would take these off the hook and throw them back without even asking you if you wanted to keep it. One lady almost smacked this guy, saying that was the biggest fish she ever caught, and it was hard work getting it up here. He just looked at her and laughed.

One of my catches
By the end, Heather had chosen to keep two fish of about average size. Arms tired, she went into the cabin to rest after keeping the second, though she did later come back out to catch a few just for fun.

I was stubborn and fished the entire time we had. The two I kept weighed 23lbs and 21lbs, the 2nd and 3rd biggest on the boat. One lucky guy reeled in a 50 pounder. It was a lot of fun to watch.

On the way back, the sorted and cleaned all the fish. The bigger ones they kept in tact for pictures back at the dock.

Below is a video of one of the deck hands cleaning a fish. Amazingly, he does the entire thing in about 45 seconds.

Our group and some of the fishies!

Our trophy catch
We ended up with 45 lbs of halibut meat in the end. Mailed some to NC and stocked our freezer with the rest. This something we're definitely doing again next year.


Scott Rogers said...

So glad to see a new post! Been missing your writing. That fish was really good too! We all loved it. Mom

Audrey said...


Erin Miller said...

My favorite was the first fish caught! great trip!