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AU’s season got off to a running start with Hook It and Cook It on May 14. The fishing for the first two days was solid with mostly limits or near limits of kings, halibut, and rockfish. On day three the chinook (king) fishing broke wide open with limits for all by 8 AM. After salmon, boats headed out on the ocean where everyone got limits for halibut. Next came the pursuit of lingcod (May 16 is opening day) and rockfish. A fair number of legal-size lings hit the dock along with limits of the always-obliging rockfish.

The big surprise of the day came aboard Albatross with Captain Jack McNamee and the Fischer party. With limits of halibut, kings, and rockfish aboard, they decided to pursue lingcod in 30 feet of water. Curt Fischer hooked something big that took off and ran 300 feet of line. Captain Jack fired up the engine and went in hot pursuit. They caught up to the line to find it pointing straight down 30 feet down with 250 feet still off the spool. They managed to free the line from the kelp and the pursuit renewed. It all ended with the landing of the first GAF (guide angler fish) halibut of the season – a 66-inch halibut (estimated live weight of 148 pounds). Fishing doesn’t get much more exciting.

The fishing days of “Hook It and Cook It” include an evening of gourmet meal preparation and cooking instructions courtesy of Ludger Szmania and son Lucas. Ludger’s resume includes a stint as executive chef at the Seattle Four Seasons Hotel and operating his own restaurant, Szmania’s, in the Magnolia neighborhood of Seattle. He and his wife Julie now operate Warm Springs Inn and Winery in Wenatchee, Washington.

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