The second half of our fishing season begins just after the July 4th on the calendar. On the water it’s best defined by the arrival of silvers (coho). This year the coho first trickled in toward the end of the second week in July – slightly later than average. The mother lode showed a few days after. Given all the concern about “The Blob” and weak ocean productivity, the coho of 2018 were wonderfully big, girthy, and robust from the get go. Catching anywhere from a dozen silvers to limits per boat became the norm for the remainder of the season with few exceptions. We saw a few coho that broke the 20-pound mark and lots in the mid to high teens. Kings remained relatively hard to find during the second half.
As for bottomfish, halibut fishing was excellent for the most part. Waiting time for halibut ranged from the 20-minute limit to occasional hours long soaks. That’s fishing for you. Rockfish never failed to deliver and lingcod within the slot limit got easier to find, especially in early September.
Except for two windy rough events that lasted a few days, our guests enjoyed weather as warm and calm as we’ve seen in over 25 years in Sitka. We didn’t lose a single day to ocean fishing due to weather and only toughed out a few days of big seas. The most exceptional stretch of warm and calm came in early September with 70-degree sunshine and light winds persisting right up to our finish on September 9.
Grades for the 2nd half:
Silvers – A for numbers and A+ for size
Kings – D- for numbers. B for size.
Halibut – B+ overall. It would have been an A were it not for the occasional slow day.
Rockfish – A
Lingcod – Passing grade. There are always lots of lingcod but getting them in the slot limit of 30 to 35 inches is a challenge.
Weather – A+ We’ve never seen a better summer overall for warmth, sun, and calm.
Thanks to All:
AU enjoys an exceptionally loyal, interesting, and fun clientele. We have guests who go all the way back to Captain Tom’s early days at Neah Bay as well as our beginnings in Sitka. These relationships, built over decades in some cases, are the foundation of our business and enormously rewarding. And, we have a steady stream of new clients to AU who bring a wide-eyed excitement to their trip that reminds us how lucky we are to spend our days “at the office” on the salt water wilderness of Southeast Alaska. We thank all of you who fished with us this year and in year’s past. We look forward to seeing you again.
Cheers to a Great Crew:
Some folks gripe about “millennials”, but we don’t. AU is blessed with a steady stream of hard working, friendly, considerate, and competent young adults who make the customer experience something special. This is the case each year, but 2018 seemed a high point for quality and harmony in our crew. We had a great mix of returning and new help that fired on all cylinders every day. Captains Chuck and Tom never tire of hearing positives about our crew – we heard a lot this year. We want to thank them all for a job very well done.