Halibut Fishing in Homer Alaska
Halibut Fishing in Alaska
People form a ring completely around the boat. Heads are craned over the boat rail, everyone is looking down into the water intently waiting to feel that steady pressure on their fishing pole. The boat rocks choppily with the ocean. The wind brushes everyone with the smell and taste of salt water. Suddenly someone calls to the boat's mate. The mate hurries to the side and helps haul a ridiculous looking flat fish into the boat. This fish does not have sides, it has a top and bottom, both eyes are on the top side and give the angler a glassy stare. This flat fish is the famous Alaskan halibut.
A halibut fishing charter is an absolute must for any Alaskan adventure. Maybe you are a comfort traveler who hangs out in gift shops and stays in hotels. Are you a cruise ship passenger who is stopping in Homer or Seward for the day? Are you the backpacker who hasn’t slept in a bed or showered for several days? Maybe you even came to Alaska to climb Denali. Whoever you are no trip to Alaska is complete without catching your very own halibut.
In the Kenai peninsula south of Anchorage, halibut charters are heavily advertised. Many charters leave from the town of Seward, while Homer is called the halibut capital of the world. In Homer a passage can be booked at many of the shops that line the spit road. I started my charter by rambling down a wooden stair to the Homer boat harbor. After travelling several minutes out into Kachemak bay to the fishing grounds the boat's mate helped the passengers set up their rods.
An aggressively barbed circle hook was baited with a chunk of bait fish, a huge weight was then attached which sent the baited hook plummeting to the ocean floor. The goal of the charter is for everyone to catch their daily limit of two halibut. My charter was not long, in about an hour everyone had caught their two fish. If you want, you can gamble on the second fish and release him to try and catch a bigger one. I released my second fish and caught a third which wasn't bigger but I got to catch three fish instead of two.
When a fish takes the hook the fisherman does not feel a lot of movement, some people describe hauling a halibut a hundred feet off the bottom like getting your hook caught on a wet mattress. They don't fight they don't flop they just have to be lifted and lifted off the bottom like a dead weight. After the catch was complete the mate filleted the fish on the ride back to harbor. The guts were dumped overboard for the huge flock of ever present seagulls. Everyone had the opportunity to have their fish sent to a facility to be vacuum packed and shipped home in dry ice.
The halibut fishing experience was very fun. The real happiness though comes after you are home. Halibut yields a mild white meat. When you prepare your meat, you can not only enjoy some of the best fish in the world. You will be eating a piece of your vacation. A fish you caught yourself out of the murky, green waters of Alaska.