Friday, September 21, 2012

Remember when...?

We used to take 20 minute shifts on our one computer all day long so that we could play that Warcraft (original) demo downloaded from AOL?  I would have given anything to own my very own computer.

Now I think I need a support group.


In July I went to Alaska.  I went with Steve, who has been every year for 7 years now.  He's pretty much got everything figured out.  Steve brought his friend Reed, who took his two sons in laws, Larry and Nate.  Steve also brought his son in law, Shawn, and me.  Here is my trip:

First we flew into Anchorage and picked up our vehicle.  Everybody wants to rent a car, so it is very expensive.  So Steve likes to take a slightly unconventional route:
He's got it all figured out with fishing pole rigs and an old suburban seat:
We stayed overnight in a hotel, and drove to our camp ground at Alaska Canoe (just outside of Soldatna) the next morning.  We stopped along the way to look at some scenery.

We finally got there, where we stayed in a pretty nice cabin the entire time.

We immediately took off to go fishing.  Nate knew a guy up there who actually let us fish his private property the first day.  His name was Ernie.  He was a retired school teacher, and had his friend Tom staying there for a month, who was also a school teacher. 
I caught the first fish.
And I just kept catching!
We caught many more, right off the bank of his house.
We found out that Reed is kind've a nut for sushi.  Any kind of sushi.  Even raw salmon eggs, still warm from the fish's belly.
They even cleaned and processed the fish for us (this is Tom)!

The next day we had to do "combat fishing", on the banks of the Kenai River.  We realized how lucky we were to fish on private property the first day.
All the fish that we caught using a simple piece of colored yarn as bait.  We walked a long ways down from the parking lot to get to our spot (below), but we certainly caught a lot of fish there.  There was a limit of 2 for each person.  Sometimes we caught it in an hour, or sometimes it took longer.  You would catch a lot more than two, but you had to throw it back if it wasn't hooked in the mouth.
The fish were also so strong that they often just broke right off the line.  We were using 40 lb line.  We used a TON of hooks and weight.  Notice how bent Larry's fishing pole is as he's catching a fish.  The guy next to him we called the "dirty Russian."  He kept coming right next to us, getting in the way, and then expected us to net all his fish for him.

We went halibut fishing two times.  The first time was in Homer, where we went to "chicken holes" to catch smaller halibut. 

They were really easy to catch.  We went way out in the ocean, then dropped our lines 200 ft down in the water, wait 10 seconds, and you'd have a bite.  Real up, and you'd have a halibut.  The limit is 2 for halibut as well.

Mine were probably 15 lbs each.
Apparently dead halibut can still poop though, as I quickly found out.
A few days later we went to Ninilchik to catch some big Halibut.  We put on 4 lb weights on lines that looked like ropes.  You drop them down 300 feet, and it was very tedious to reel up, fish or not on the end.  The boat was just big enough for the 6 of us and 2 crew members.

For hours, all we caught were cod.  We thought the boat captain was crazy and we weren't going to get any fish.  We just cut up the cod and used them as bait too.

We were out there for hours with nothing to show for it.  Then with about 30 mins left in our trip, we hit the jackpot.  HUGE halibut started coming in like crazy!  We had their biggest catch of the year, with one ~120 lbs, and several ~60 lbs (Larry caught the 120 lb one, I caught a 60 lb one).
Larry even got a video of the one I pulled in.
To bring the fish home, you need to "process" it first.  That means putting it in sealable bags, suck all the air out of it, then freeze it.  You'll see Steve and I putting the fish in the machines to suck all the air out of the bags, and then the freezers in the background.  We did all this at the Alaska Canoe campground.
A good time was had by all.