Monday, July 6, 2009

#32 – Kalinin Bay, Kruzof Island via Piehle Passage to Double Cove, Chicagof Island

We're up at 5AM and fishing shortly thereafter. Gerard hooks and lands two good-sized Black rock fish and we box'em up. Gerard, who is a boat owner and regular Morro Bay fisherman, says these are the biggest Black rock fish he's ever seen! Hey, this is Alaska. We also hooked another salmon “springer”, or so we thought. It was an 18” Coho salmon which we released unsure of the length requirement. Later we learned that any size Coho are legal catch in Alaska.

Tender Trolling outside Kalinin Bay

Was this a King of a Coho? Regardless, we let it go.

This Black rock fish will make for great eating later on.

Today's route to Double Cove on Chicagof Island

Just before 9AM, we pulled anchor and headed for Double Cove. The first hour was in the open ocean of the Gulf of Alaska. The seas weren't big, but plenty uncomfortable. After 30 minutes we rounded behind Klokachef Island which sheltered us from the swell, but 20 minutes later emerged back into the bouncy seas. Finally at 10:30 we turned from the ocean into the southerly entrance of Piehle Passage. The Douglass Alaska Cruising Guide says “Piehle Passage requires careful piloting in good visibility and fair weather only. It is not recommended for larger vessels or those with limited maneuverability.”

Per the Douglas Guide, Piehle Passage is not for the faint of heart.

Piehle Passage has lots of rocks and reefs, but it is an inside passage with flat seas

As soon as we entered the Passage, the ocean swell abated and flat sea prevailed. It was a bit un-nervy with rocks and reefs close aboard, so we took it slow with lookouts posted on the bow for a “rock hunt”. With Digital GPS and the Douglass Guide diagram we crept along until we reached the open waters of Slocum Arm. It was then a calm run up to Double Cove.

At anchor in Double Cove.

Wow was it warm: 85 degrees and those Los Osians were immediately in the 54 degree water. Here Bob and Tina take a dive off the boat deck into Double Cove's frigid waters.

The fishing was good just outside Double Cove. We hooked more Black rock fish, some other rock fish varieties, and a small King. When we landed a small rock fish, the hook was removed and the fish returned to the sea. Sometimes it takes a little water through the gills to revive the stunned fish, while others just immediately swim away. So after we returned a small Copper rock fish, he lay on the surface. While he was contemplating his fate, an eagle began circling close by, and quickly dove to the recovering fish. Luckily he must have revived himself just as the eagle attempted the snatch, as the eagle missed!

Although a great camera or a better photographer could have done better, at least the rock fish appears to be in focus.

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