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O'Donnell2Every one of our client experiences is a unique story. Some visit every year, others periodically, then there’s some who only visit once. We know that each group visits expecting the best, which is why we always strive to make theirs the trip of a lifetime.

Steve O’Donnell and ten of his family members from Hawaii, North Carolina, and Utah planned to unite for a two-week vacation in Southeast Alaska this summer. The trip was a one-time adventure with his father-in-law Paul, providing the inspiration for this special trip. Steve did most of the planning – from what towns to visit, to what attractions to explore. One detail he hadn’t nailed down was which charter company to fish with in Sitka. He had a short list of names, but one day, as fate would have it, the Lahaina resident ran into Aleta, our former office manager. They eventually got on the topic of Sitka and the rest is history. Steve found Angling Unlimited and contacted us to take his family fishing.

They planned to split their trip with a week in Sitka and a week in Juneau. Steve did his research. He planned to fish both places, but was especially excited to fish Sitka after learning that its high catch rates gave them a better chance of catching king salmon. They booked a one-day charter with Captain Bo and Deckhand Mike. Six anglers including, Steve, his mother-in-law Mary, daughter Ruby, father-in-law Paul, and friends Jeff and Jameson Hill set out in pursuit of catching Sitka’s regarded seafood. Prior to their day of saltwater fishing, they fished some of the streams and lakes in town where they caught 1-2 pound rainbow trout on spinning tackle. They had no idea how different the ocean would be.

Their day began by travelling to the Cape to fish for kings. Captain Bo chose to anchor and it wasn’t long before they were hooked up with the first salmon. It was an incredible fight that had so much more power than the trout they caught the day before. Each angler hooked and fought a king while mooching. Paul even had one stolen by the sea lion, which he thought was an exciting experience. To this day, Steve says, “My father in law still is talking about it and wishes we would could do it all over again.”

Steve’s favorite part of the day was seeing his daughter, Ruby, holding her king. He was an extremely proud dad when he saw her glow with happiness after catching her fish.

As the morning quickly passed by, Bo knew they needed to find halibut. He took them to 700 feet of water. The action was fast – they had their limit quickly. Not the same thrilling fight of a salmon, but the group found the technique, bait, and fishing entertaining. They also took this time to enjoy lunch during a flat, sunny day on the ocean. After their quick halibut fishing, it was back to the Cape for afternoon salmon fishing. They caught three more legal kings, releasing some that were undersized, and one silver. On their way home, they stopped at Saint Lazaria to view the unreal island scenery and all the birds surrounding it. They returned to the dock with their haul for some classic dock photos to showcase their successful day.

After the day of fishing, they still wanted to see more of Sitka. The great thing about Sitka is that the fun doesn’t stop once the fishing is done. They hiked Herring Cove to Beaver Lake, visited Totem Park, the Raptor Center, and Fortress of the Bears. They also toured the museums and shops on Lincoln Street.

Once their time in Sitka was complete, it was on to Juneau. They planned to take a floatplane tour, fly-fish, and explore Mendenhall Glacier while leaving some time for last minute ideas. They undoubtedly made the most of their Alaska experience.

This was an incredibly memorable vacation for everyone. Getting the family together from such great distances and spending two weeks in beautifully serene Southeast Alaska was a vacation that no one will forget. Steve’s father-in-law, Paul dreamed of experiencing Alaska and had a goal to catch a king for his bucket list. Now he can now officially check it off. We tend to use the cliché a lot, but as Steve said, “It was truly the trip of a lifetime.”

To read other stories from our clients, visit our testimonial page.

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