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My Alaska trip, wow what a trip. We drove to Ketchikan, Alaska pulling my 21’ North River Seahawk with my truck and truck camper. I averaged about 11-12 MPG for approximately 2500 miles round trip. We left home August 6th and drove to Boston Bar BC the first day. I missed the turn off on I-5 before crossing the border and ended up in the middle of Vancouver, BC for the Friday evening traffic jam. I won’t make that mistake again. The rest of the travel was without any problems. Day 2 we drove to Vanderhoof, BC had a nice dinner and spent the night in an RV park. The day 2 travel was very interesting driving along the Fraser River the road was great and the scenery magnificent. The third day we drove to Prince Rupert, BC and spent the night at an RV park right next to the ferry terminal. The drive to Price Rupert was equally beautiful and worth the drive. We drove past beautiful lakes and rivers all the way through BC. I was a little disappointed I did not see more wild life. We saw a couple deer and 2 black bears on the way and on the way back I finally spotted a moose.

The morning of the 4th day we boarded the Alaska Marine Hwy ferry to Ketchikan. Wow again what a beautiful boat ride and the anticipation of finally reaching Alaska was almost more than I could bear. I have dreamed of fishing in Alaska since I was a kid. The ferry ride took 7 hours. The cost for the round trip with boat truck and camper was $990. I would have liked to have taken the ferry from Bellingham but the cost was about $7K ouch! After driving that leg of the trip Vs the ferry from Bellingham I would say the drive was worth it.

We arrived in Ketchikan to a rainy day the afternoon of the 9th. The first day we just set up our camp and launched the boat. My luck was good when we were setting up camp the couple next to us Tom and his wife Carol were very nice people and Tom helped me launch the boat and set up the camper. I offered Tom a fishing trip the next day and he was all over that Tom lives in S. Ca and owns a couple boats and is an avid fisherman so needless to say we hit it off great. Tom turned out to be a very easy going guy and a great fishing partner we boated 5 or 6 pinks in a rainy windy day. Tom was thrilled he had never salmon fished before I wish I could have gotten him into a large king but it didn’t happen.

My fishing partner and good friend Randy flew in the next day with His wife and my wife’s best friend Laura. We had to pick them up in Ketchikan around noon so I just fished off the dock at the resort that morning. The day was a beauty after raining for the first 2 days we were there the sunshine was very welcome. I caught and released about 15 small copper rock fish waiting to go get our friends. The resort we stayed at was Clover Pass one of the plusses to Clover Pass is they have the only full hook ups on the island the other is they have a wonderful restaurant. The camp sites and rooms in the resort leave a lot to be desired the water is brown coming out of the faucets I will leave it at that I could go on. The dock and fishing facilities were great and that is what I was there for. My wife does not fish so I wish the rest would have been nicer for her but she was a trouper and now I owe her a tropical vacation. Back to the fishing when Randy and Laura arrived and unpacked we headed out in the boat to drop some crab pots and shrimp pots. We tried a little trolling on the way back from setting the crab pots after seeing some fish jumping but came up empty it was getting late and we only fished about 30 minutes.
That night after dinner we met an old gentleman named Lloyd he is 81 and he has been coming to the area for the last 14 years. We made plans to fish with Lloyd in his boat a new Grady White 23’er the next day so we could learn the area the idea was a good one but fishing with Lloyd was a mistake. KNOW YOUR CAPTAIN have you ever heard that before? I don’t really want to berate him on here but this was the worst days on the water Randy and I had ever spent I will leave it at that the details are too painful to recite. On the up side the water was great. I will tell the story about the big halibut that I almost caught. The first drop for halibut for the day we had been down for about 5 minutes when my rod gets hit and I set the hook and start reeling now this is my first time halibut fishing so I don’t really know what to expect. We were fishing in 325’ of water I reel this fish up off the bottom probably 50’ and it made a run maybe 20’ of line is lost then I pump and reel until I can see the fish probably 5 minutes of work.. The fish made one more run when it was near the top it ran about 75’ straight away from the boat staying on top of the water. I reeled the fish back to the boat I was surprised at how big the fish was I would have thought it would have fought more. The fish looked to be about 70# (comparing ones I had seen at the dock) Lloyd yelled at randy to get the gaff but he has not seen the fish and I thought it looked too big for a simple gaff and drag in the boat and Randy agrees so Lloyd looks and says we need the gun. Lloyd retrieves the gun and hands it to Randy. Randy in the mean time has grabbed my leader and the fish is just resting next to the boat 6” under the water not moving an inch ( it looks like it is just waiting to die) Randy attempts to shoot the fish but the gun will not discharge he pulls the trigger 5 times no sound. Randy tells Lloyd the gun does not work and in the mean time the jig falls out of the fishes mouth and it just lumbers down slowly while I watch. I was not real upset but pretty disappointed I know Randy feels bad and so I just blow it off and say OK lets get another one. The sad part is this was the first halibut I had ever hooked so I figured the next big one would not be too hard but the rest of the butts we caught were about 8-10 # class.

Randy and I met the next morning at 6 and headed out it was rainy and very windy we crossed the Beam canal about 10 mile stretch of open water with some 3-4’ wind waves close together and then 5 miles up into a protected bay to where we had dropped the crab pots 2 days before. The trip across was a little rough but we were traveling with the swell. We got back in this bay to find a 20 million $ yacht parked next to our crab pots and their tender tied off to the yacht. When we pulled our pots it was obvious someone had already pulled them you would think if you could afford a yacht you could buy your own crab. Our pots had exactly 5 crabs each in them with no females or undersize crabs in them but most were almost empty and we tossed them back. The trip back was rather interesting we had planned on fishing in this area but as the wind continued to build we decided we better cross that big water before we get stuck on the wrong side. The swells now had increased to about 5-6’ and still very close together and breaking. The trip across was a rough one and the windshield wipers were running full time and it was not raining. We were kept away from the good fishing grounds the rest of the day and just fished in close we picked up our limits of small rock fish and a couple pinks and chum salmon. We had a great meal prepared by our wife’s back at camp that night fresh fish and prawns what a treat.

The rest of the time Randy was there the weather was much better but fishing for a big halibut just did not happen we spent most of our time targeting halibut and only catching 8-10 # chickens. Randy is a commercial fisherman out of N. Ca. but he has never fished for sport caught halibut and nether had I and it was what we wanted to catch most. Randy and I have caught plenty of salmon so we really wanted to catch fish we don’t normally fish for. The Chinook were few and far between at that time the run was almost over and the silvers had not really started running good yet. If the Chinook or silvers had been running we would have spent more time salmon fishing.

I talked to several of the local guides and they told me this time of the year the bigger fish are usually found out in deeper water and later in the year when the salmon have spawned they move into the bays and feed on carcasses that wash out of the rivers and streams. I was also told that we would catch more fish anchored than drifting and we had been drifting. The last couple days Randy was with me we anchored and fished for butts we did better but still never got into a big one. The charters were running out to fish in the open ocean the run was 45-50 miles one way. The last day Randy was there we decided to run out where we had been given some numbers. The trip was 45 miles one way and we managed our limit of small chickens but still no big ones.

The next day after Randy left I fished alone and caught 1 nice yellow eye, 5 pinks and 3chum the limit on those was 6 each I also released 3 pinks I thought I had kept 6 already but my count was off and 3 under size Chinook one went about 15# but did not make the 28” length it was fat as all get out and looked like a football. The sad part about releasing that Chinook was it had been hooked in the throat where the gills attach and was bleeding like crazy when I released it. Trolling by yourself is a real fire drill but it was a blast.

One night after dinner I decided to go out and catch a few more fish. I was trolling back to the resort about 9 PM and my rod went off it was one of those one more pass and then I will quit it was starting to get dark because it was overcast. My normal routine is too grab the rod and make sure I have tension on the line before hitting the idle button on the auto pilot and fight the fish in against the slow trolling boat but by the time I got the rod in my hands the drag is singing so I hit idle and the drag is still singing so I put the kicker into neutral the drag is still singing I look down at the reel and realize I need to get some line back so I put the auto pilot on standby and run the kicker by hand in reverse all the time trying to reel did I mention I was by myself oh and in my spare time I hit the button on the down rigger to get the ball up. I am thinking to myself about stories I have been told about people catching large halibut while trolling for salmon could it be and if so how will I land it. I finally get most of the line back and this fish starts feeling like a Chinook they fight completely different than the fish I have been catching. This fish fought harder than any other Chinook I have caught that size she was a nice bright 24# hen. I had caught 6 Chinook on this trip but they had to be 28” to keep and this was the only one that made the mark.

My last day of fishing was with Ifishes IBGrizz and Warren’s friend Jake in my boat we tried again for a big halibut but only managed 3 chickens and some nice bottom fish we only kept one of the chickens hoping for bigger fish. We decided to troll for some salmon and we immediately caught fish. It was a good day and fun fishing with Warren & Jake.

Later the same evening my wife Renee’ had read an add in the paper that said that 3 of the captains from the deadliest catch were going to be in town at a small pub signing autographs and she wanted to go. Laura and Randy our friends that had already left town as well as my wife and I are fans of the Deadliest Catch show. My wife thought it would be cool to get one of them on the cell phone (one of the captains) to say hi to Laura. I told her I doubt we would even get close to them and too many people would be there to do that but lets go check it out anyway. They were supposed to be at the Pub at 7 and we did not get to town until 7:30. Wouldn’t you know it we walked up right as they stepped out of the vehicle that dropped off Phil and Larry about a block away from the pub I looked over and told my wife here they are Phil thought he recognized me and we started talking Renee asked him if he would talk to Laura and he said sure it was all pretty cool and we video taped it all. It is funny Phil thought he recognized me from somewhere and I have always thought I knew him from somewhere watching the show but neither of us could pin it down. Renee got a few autographs and Larry talked to my son on the wife’s cell phone it was a hoot.

The next day we had to pack and get the boat out of the water for the trip home. We didn’t leave on the Ferry until 9:30 PM but we had to be out of our RV spot early. Our resort was 15 miles North of Ketchikan. While we were finishing up packing my wife said look who is here and sure enough there is Phil and Larry looking at my boat they were talking about my anchor and bracket. Larry was asking me about it and I explained that I made them so we had a conversation and he told me that my system would work good up in Bristol Bay. Phil gave me some contacts to people in the Seattle area that he thought would be interested in selling my products which was great because I have been meaning to go up there to find some dealers. I ended up giving them an Anchor Locker to take up there and get it on a boat in the area hopefully it will turn into some future business. I wish I would have been staying another day or 2 Phil and Larry were asking me about the rental skiffs and I wished I could have offered them a fishing trip boy that would have been a hoot those guys fishing with me in my boat. They are just regular guys and it was fun talking with them.

We were packed and headed into town boat, truck and camper most of town was closed up it was Sunday and no cruise ships were in town. The town pretty much opens and closes by the cruise ship schedule. Renee and Laura had been to town site seeing and shopping many times but this was my first trip to town to look around. Hea I came there to fish not shop I was only there 2 weeks actually it was about my 4 trip to town we took the girls to town one day to look around but didn’t make it to old town and the other trips were for dinner and tackle. We walked around town and it was pretty cool there is a large creek running through the old town section and I was able to spot some salmon in it.

We parked the truck in line for the ferry and walked across the street for dinner and guess who was there yep Phil and Larry we all laughed but I felt like we were stalking them. Warren (IBGrizz) his wife and Jake met us and ate dinner before heading to the truck and onto the ferry.

The trip back was a fast one we made it back in 2 days traveling about 12-13 hours a day.

All in all this was a great trip with some really great memories. I ended up bringing home about 70# of fillets 4 bags of cleaned crab meat and probably 8# of prawns. I hope to repeat the trip again next summer. I am planning on going to Prince of Wales Island or Vancouver Island in BC next time who’s in?

Here are some pictures I have some video I would like to capture still images from but haven’t figured out how yet.
Mike

The rig



After the first night of travel.



My grin as we arrive in Ketchikan on the ferry.



Ketchikan as we arrive.



A sunset from our camp site.



My keeper Chinook



The fish I wish we had caught 173# brought in on a charter trip



Randy and Laura rock fishing off the dock.


Phil Captain of the Cornelia Marie on Deadliest Catch writing down some contact info for me for dealers in Seattle.



A moose along the road in BC



The fish before putting it in the freezer

 

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What a trip! Doin' some fishin' and meeting fishin' celebrities.... Thanks for sharing :)
 

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Great story, sounds like you guys had a blast.... Can't wait to make a trip up there someday
 

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wow, great trip, sounds like fun. yeah I dont think I would want to tally up that fuel bill either...LOL....so with all that fish your freezer should be pretty full.
 

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Great Story. Thinking of driving up myself sometime. I was in Coffman Cove this year: Great time. Prince of Wales is fantastic. Next year go to Coffman Cove ( I am planning for next year again). Talk to Greenbuttskunk, he has a place in Coffman Cove!
 

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Great Story. Thinking of driving up myself sometime. I was in Coffman Cove this year: Great time. Prince of Wales is fantastic. Next year go to Coffman Cove ( I am planning for next year again). Talk to Greenbuttskunk, he has a place in Coffman Cove!
Coffman cove is at the top of my list right now for next year but my if my son goes I will probably do Vancouver Island because he can't be gone as long.
Mike
 

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WOW......what a trip..... I loved the story as well, it really felt like I was there with you. To bad on the Halibut that you lost but I'm sure you'll make it up there again to give it another go. Thanks for the post, it was a great read.:applause:
 

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MIKE,,

looks like you had a great time,, some day ill do the same, i hope,, thanx for sharing,,

rw
owin
 

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Looks like an awesome trip. Who cares about the gas bill in my opinion, you'll never forget that trip. Sooo jealous you met Phil Harris.
 

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Did you happen to see the Sourdough Bar on front street? A buddy from
Military days own it.
 

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Thanks for the story and pictures. I've always wanted to take that kind of trip except for the Lloyd part. Wow. And your wife doesn't like to fish. What a trooper.
 

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I got one word for you Gundog. STALKER!



(kidding) Awesome story. Great pics. Way cool to meet Phil Harris.
 

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Thanks for posting and sharing your trip, what a great story!! A Dream vacation!! That's also a really nice outfit you have, with the truck, camper and boat, you're ready for almost anything, the ultimate Northwest RV setup.

Have fun on your tropical vacation, just make sure you avoid the storms,

Gregg
 
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