Saturday, May 31, 2008

A big butt!

I went fishing with Frank and Leah today, saw whales, porpoise, sea lions, trolled for salmon, and then I had to show them how to catch a halibut! 75 pounder, but not as big as the 85 pounder that Frank caught yesterday.................This would probably do us for the summer, except Leah seems to only catch little ones so she'll be taking some of this home with her tomorrow.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Camping (?) in Swanson Harbor

We had our first full day of charters yesterday, boy that felt good. (See pictures on our Dream Fish website). Near the end of the last charter our friend Chris Erickson of Tok River Outfitters called to say he had just finished his last bear hunt, his clients had flown out and would we like to meet him for dinner in Swanson Harbor. How could we refuse?! So after getting all the halibut to the processor we ran home, picked up Leah and the rest of our junk and headed across Icy Strait to Swanson Harbor. When we pulled in, around 8pm, Chris was waiting with a sundowner for us:

His assistant guide, Lucas, and his wife Brenda, were out scouting black bears for themselves. So Chris had dinner waiting for us, then Frank took Chris and Leah to join up with Lucas and Brenda back on the streams. Frank said when he dropped them off he heard gun shots, so we figured no one would be back anytime soon. I took this picture while waiting for Frank to get back, it must have been around 10:30pm:
Frank and I decided to sleep in our boat so we wouldn't get woke up when the rest of them got back, heard them come in after 11:00pm and went right back to sleep. I got up about 5am, needed to use the head and when I opened the door out of the cabin this is what I came face to face with:
I'm glad I didn't wet myself! I didn't scream like Uncle Chris either! But I did jump back in the cabin and slam the door, did some cussing, then Frank and I had a good laugh. Our friends are so funny! That sure woke me up!
Brenda and Lucas with BRENDA'S first bear (first time hunting anything). That's a beautiful black bear. They even gave us a few steaks to bring home.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Weekend

Franks sister, Leah, flew in Saturday morning, we were thinking of heading over to Funter Bay to meet up with some other charter boats for the week-end, but the LAB the airline she was flying on from Juneau to Hoonah just happened to have forgotten to put backpack on the plane, so we ended up waiting another 3 hours for the next plane to bring it over. Also looking at the weather, it was calling for 4+ foot seas so we opted to spend the week-end close to home and played around in Port Frederick. I can actually say I got HOT today! WOW, that doesn't happen very often and hardly ever out on the water. Trolled for salmon, nothing, but the water is anywhere between 44-47 degrees now, so that will make a big difference. Put the crab pot out and the shrimp pots, first pull, no shrimp, no crab. 2nd pull on the crab pots gave us enough for dinner. Sat on the dock at Salt Chuck bay, caught some bait, laid in the sun, and did a little beach combing. Snuck back into Salt Chuck Lake, between the boulders in the water, with Leah and Jerry on each side of the front of the boat keeping an eye out. Saw a real pretty brown bear at the back of the lake.
Leah getting the shrimp pots ready.........
What is it? Looks like part motor home, part boat, part Beverly Hill Billies! (could be us someday)
SE Alaska sun bathing.
Entrance from Salt Chuck Bay, back into Port Frederick.
Young brown bear.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

It can only get better....

Like Jerry said this am, "the sun actually came up today". Best news first, the engine on the boat started today, and it only got better. Zonie went fishing with us while Jerry got his first day of work in. The water was about 5 degrees warmer, boy what a difference that makes. We had enough crabs in the pot to make Zonie happy, then we headed out into Icy Strait to look for halibut. We weren't disappointed. And I rock! I caught the first one! But Zonie had to outdo me and get the biggest. That's ok, since he leaves tomorrow morning and I'll have all summer to fish
According to the tide book, this halibut weighs 65lbs, nice, makes ours looks so little!
All filleted out and ready to go home
OH YA! Deep fried halibut, fries and crab! At some point you have to just stop!

Monday, May 19, 2008

OH, That Sinking Feeling..............

Jerry got all of the finishing touches on his boat yesterday, the electronics hooked up, and all the other do dads. Got a boat slip for the summer. Then this morning at 7am the harbor master called to tell us his boat was sitting on the bottom of the ocean. That is such an awful feeling, and even worse when you get there to see it. This is how you bring a boat up off the bottom of the ocean when it's in it's slip. First you need lots of rope, and at least one wench, 2 are better. Strong rope is a must, because when it breaks you end up starting all over again. A big pump helps too, once you get the stern and windows above the water line.

Jerry happened to have brought his dry suit up with him, but he did say he knows why it is named Icy Strait now!

Starting to come up, they had to replace one rope after it snapped.

Up high enough to start the pump, then she really came up good.

And to top it off, we were going to put her in the drive way to hose her off (since it's a state road and DOT will not let us hose the boat off in the road) but the bottom of the trailer got stuck on the road, so that took about another hour to get undone. They are still cleaning on her, got the small trolling motor working, lets hope more than that does!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Where are the fish?

Poor Zonie, he only has until Wednesday before he has to head back to Washington......and it has been raining about every minute he's been here. It hasn't been fun out on the boat, with the wind and rain, but they have been out almost everyday. The last couple of mornings and evenings they've been fishing for trout at low tide, just so they can catch something!Today, it has eased up a bit so the boys have ventured out to try for salmon or halibut, and to put out the crab pots. Last week we set out the pots and not one thing ate our bait, where are the crab? The water is still cold, about 34 degrees, I'm sure that has something to do with it. Kings are being caught in Juneau, all the hatchery fish are coming back, it would be nice if we had a hatchery program here!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A quick trip to Juneau

We decided since there was only 1 cruise ship in this week and the weather was lousy that we'd head over to Juneau for our big stock up before summer. OUCH! That cost us a bundle, I think we bought Costco out! We also met our friend Jerry who was coming up from Washington State with his boat. Him and his brother drove up to Prince Rupert and caught the ferry there to Juneau. Jerry will be a charter captain for Icy Strait Point this summer and staying at our house. We met them at the Ferry terminal on Tues., then took them shopping for supplies and we all caught the LeConte for Hoonah today. His brother will be here for only a week, so I guess they will just have to put on their rain gear and fish A LOT! I'm beat, it will sure feel good to sleep in my own bed tonight.
Zonie and Jerry arriving on the Taku

Jerry backing his boat and van onto the LeConte

I don't know what it is about friends that you've had from your childhood, but it seems when you are all together again, it's like time has not passed at all and you are all still kids. It's nice to have those moments of youth again.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A good day for a wedding

We went to our first wedding in Hoonah yesterday. Arely and Sam go to our church, and our church here is very small, I think if 20 people showed up we would be bursting at the seems. Sam has a huge family, I think they said around 200 people were attending. Arely is from Honduras and so none of her family was able to attend. So the priest and deacon set up the alter at the Tlingit lodge down at Icy Strait point. It's a very beautiful building, made of yellow cedar. Then they had the reception at the restaurant that is there also.
The restaurant is located right at the mouth of Frederick Sound going into Icy Strait, it has windows all around so that no matter where you sit you have a fantastic view. There were still a few whales in the area, so that made it even nicer. They finished the evening off with fire works, which I thought was so cool. Frank and I had a great time and it was a good opportunity for us to meet more people in this community and to also see who is related to who. Sam has a great family, they were all so warm and welcoming to Arely. They just looked so happy.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The pursuit of halibut

I have a new friend, he will go out on the boat with us now always. I don't know how we managed without him.

Mr. Heater, oh my, how much better can life get! The only problem I seemed to have had was once I was in the cabin and nice and toasty, I didn't want to go back outside to fish! We've been searching for some halibut, water is still very cold and they just are not in yet. We have a couple of guys flying over from Juneau tomorrow, they're hoping for halibut and maybe a king, but they might be a little disappointed. And of course now the weather is going to turn nasty, and they are calling for 5 foot seas.

Saw a group of kayakers camping on the beach. Now, there are plenty of nice islands very close in that they could have camped on, but why they chose the beach with the BEARS makes no sense to me. That is where the bears are right now, on the beaches. Seems crazy to me, guess they need some excitement in their lives. (They were packing up and leaving today when we went by so I guess they survived the night)
We were heading back in to Port Frederick Sound and could see a whale ahead in the distance, when all of a sudden one surfaced right in front of the boat, we had no idea it was there. Captain Frank managed to bring the boat to a screaching almost halt in time for it to gracefully move out of the way. As we sat there in neutral we noticed about 6 or more other whales spread out all around us. I got this picture before they got too far away.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Cure for the winter blues

We spent a much needed day out on the water. It was a good tide this am for clamming, so that was the plan, but then we couldn't find the clam rakes, so just decided to do a little fishing. Oh, I forgot the salmon tags, so couldn't go salmon fishing, forgot the net too. Boy, it's hard getting back into the swing of things. Went to the back of Port Frederick, saw some whales, a mom and a calf, but they were very shy, you can barely see them in the picture. But look how flat the water was!
Got a good picture of these eagles before they flew off. Saw a nice big bear, but he was too far away for a picture. There were also lots of porpoise and sea lions around.
And Frank got to scratch his itch! We had rock fish sandwiches for dinner, were they good!
Having a few problems with our depth finder, we kept loosing contact with the bottom, hope to have that fixed tomorrow, then get the rest of our goodies on board (the port-a-pottie worked great!) and by the time we get clients on board we may actually look like we know what we are doing.

Monday, May 5, 2008

A quote for today

When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling.

Live your life so at the end, you are the one smiling and everyone around you is crying.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Tourist Season

Yes, the first cruise ship of the season arrived at Icy Strait Point (ISP) today. It was so nasty out we were just hanging out at home not expecting to get any charters and not trying very hard either. The phone rings, can we take 2 people out whale watching, "hello?!" have you seen the price of gas lately?, make that 4 people and we're all over it. Phone rings 5 minutes later, ok, there could be 4 more people can you take 6? Crap, time to get dressed, looks like a long underwear day. Phone rings, what's your price again? Ok, we're about ready to go. Phone rings, never mind we're back down to 2 people. I'm thinking I really should get online and check the weather since it looks so crappy out from our house. Glad we didn't get a charter, there was a small craft warning out in Icy Strait today.

It was a good day to lay around the house and read and snack. Then we decided we should go take pictures of the tourists. Wow, they even got off the boat and many were walking into town, usually this rotten weather keeps them inside too. Maybe we'll start working on Thursday......

Winter is definitely over......

Saturday May 3rd

Got the boat out on the water for the first time this spring, make sure everything works ok, a few things still need fixed, nothing major. Thought we would go out to the rockfish spot and catch dinner if nothing else. Water is still pretty cold, about 35 degrees, no fish showing on the fish finder, so that was a bust, weather was crappy, so we decided to save the gas for charters and drove out the road again to see how far we could go this week.
A lot of snow has come off since last week, but since they are not plowing the roads we didn't make it much farther then we did the last time. It was looking good until we topped a small hill and were immediately in snow!
I had to take a picture of this logging "style" that is done on Sea Alaska land. This was probably cut 5 or more years ago, it's looked like this since we started coming over here to hunt. The town is surrounded by Sea Alaska land and most of it is logged off, just like this. You have to drive through this depressing area for miles before you get to the National Forest, never fails to make me mad. Now Congress is thinking of giving them more land in the Tongass to log because they have ruined theirs. If the Forest Service tried to leave land like this, do you know how many different groups would be screaming?! Ok, I'm done for the moment. GRRRR.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Frank's winter project

I thought I should put a picture of Frank's bow that he made this winter, all by hand, cut it out with a hatchet. This is at full draw, 54lbs. The other day he was stringing it, not with his bow stringer, when SNAP! Awww, dang! Seems most bow makers always break their first was fun while it lasted, and at least he shot 1 arrow that he made from it!

He also put together this little knife, very cool. He made a sheath for it too that you can wear around your neck. I think it's the perfect size, for me................

And the "new" bow

Little Kyler

JC sent me a couple pictures of Kyler today that are so cute I just had to post them. I sure wish we lived closer to them!