Captain Chuck just wrapped up a three-day trip with his #1 fans, Ann Delahanty, Mark Fenn, Mark Woods, and Steve Barton of Washington. Clients for many years, this group has experienced a lot in Sitka, but nothing like they did on this trip.
Since last week, king fishing has slowed. Chuck’s group landed nine kings over their three days of fishing. They also fed some to the sea lions. All of the salmon they landed were at The Bowl. Other boats in the fleet explored The Cape, Vitskari, Shelikof, The Shark Hole, and others, with less successful results. The kings are scarce. However, the group landed their limits of halibut and rockfish. The halibut were fast, reliable, and of good size offshore. The group caught fish around the 40-inch mark and one that was well over, that they had to release. The wind continues to blow from the Northwest at 15-20 knots and no rain.
As for the wildlife experience on the water, this group had the most unique encounters of any trip thus far. In their three days of fishing, they saw a brown bear on shore, black tail swimming across a channel, sea lions, sea otters, humpbacks, a rare minke whale, northern fur seal, and countless sea birds. In fact, two of the more entertaining stories from the trip came from the birds and the seal.
Day two, the group anchored at The Bowl. With a few lines hanging at 100 feet in the rod holders, they got what appeared to be salmon bites. But, one after another those bites turned into surfacing common murres, chomping on salted cut-plug herring! Each one diving to a depth of 100-plus feet to steal the herring. It wasn’t until a common murre followed a herring to the surface that the group was able to identify the thief. They figured the murres stole over a dozen baits!
The last day of their trip, they were anchored on the halibut grounds, when a curious creature appeared. Easily identifiable by it’s pointy ears, the Northern fur seal swam around the boat checking out the scenery. It spy hopped next to the boat, ate scraps that fell in the water, and swam next to a halibut as they reeled it up. Most of the time, wildlife can be very elusive, but this seal was the least bit shy.
The group knew their trip was exceptionally special. The king fishing was challenging at times, but halibut and rockfish were reliable. And, with the unbelievable wildlife encounters, it’s just another reminder of the pleasant surprises that come with each day in the saltwater wilderness of Sitka.