A splashing noise in the distance accompanied the sight of a jumping fishing 30 yards off the stern. It caught the attention of one of the anglers on my boat. Thrilled by the sight, said angler told the rest of us to look as she watched the fish jump repeatedly. My deckhand Tyler soon figured out why that silver continued to jump. The line of the excited watcher pointed straight in the fish’s direction. He chanted the ceaseless mantra of silver fishing: “Reel, reel, reel.” We landed a 10-pound silver shortly thereafter – the jumper. Our angler remembered that fish more than any of the many others she landed because of the visuals.
Later that morning, as we drifted along mooching for salmon, a full-grown humpback whale surfaced a couple hundred yards behind the boat and blew. Then the tail came out of the water as it sounded. We had a terrific day of silver fishing, but for all aboard the sight of the jumping silvers and whales passing formed a lasting memory of the salt water wilderness. It’s what they talked about on the ride in.
There’s no doubt that our guests come first and foremost for the fishing, but that pursuit comes with an added benefit – the ecotour. On the routes out and back to the fishing grounds we commonly view sea otters, deer, whales, seals, sea lions and eagles. Occasionally we spot a bear walking the beach. On the ocean we search for areas of high productivity that attract salmon plus all kinds of seabirds like puffins, rhinoceros auklets, murres, shearwaters, albatross, and an array of gulls that take an expert to identify. Whales feed on herring, needlefish, and krill – the same prey as the salmon we target. All congregate in the same stretches of the ocean.
We sometimes get a request, especially from new clients to fish for three days then have an ecotour for the final day. The problem, and it’s a good one, is that after three days of fishing, there is little left on the checklist for the ecotour. We can’t think of a better way to observe nature than on a beautiful run to the grounds or with a fishing rod in hand.