Sunday, June 12, 2016

2016-16 Redfish Bay, Whale Bay, Sitka

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

On Wednesday 7AM we pulled the hook and headed deep into the head of Redfish Bay to retrieve our crap traps.  Our hopes of dining on fresh crab evaporated when we noticed a pair of sea otters lounging in the back bay.  The otters have steadily reduced the SE Alaska crab population over the years such that when you see one, you can be assured there are no crabs remaining in the area.

Redfish Bay looking one mile inside to 1st Narrows.  2nd Narrows and
the Head are not visible at 3 miles from the mouth.
After pulling the empties and exiting the Bay, we turned towards Whale Bay, our favorite King salmon fishing zone. During our smooth cruise northward, we passed the yachts Canadian Mist and Shearwater headed southward.  During brief VHF conversations we learned that Whale Bay hadn't yielded any Kings for them.

We entered the Bay with lowered expectations, dragging hootchies along the North side. Soon we were elated to land our first King of the season.  The Bay was generous to the Wild Blue and after four Kings in two hours we anchored in Kritoi for lunch and a nap.  At the evening slack tide, we netted two more kings completing the daily limit for our three guests.

Next it was up Small Arm for the nicest anchorage in the Bay.  Alex marinated King fillets in soy and lemon juice with crushed garlic, salt, pepper, lemon olive oil, wine and capers then slowly barbecued them on ocean soaked cedar planks. The entrée was served on the plank with rice and peas and was tasty enough to delight the pallet of the most discriminating epicurean.  “Hunt for the Red October” was screened for and enjoyed by Shawn.

Roger knows how to pose for a fishing photo: wear the Wild Blue
boat cap, look serious, and s-t-r-e-t-c-h that fish!
Shawn is learning from Roger.
Four of the six fish landed on Wednesday which are 29 to 32 inches long.
Fresh King salmon fillets on cedar planks in the BBQ.
Thursday and Friday, June 9-10, 2016

Thursday’s fishing the northern side of the Whale Bay entrance and the Krishka Island’s NW corner yielded just four kings. That’s pretty good and there is still Friday.

Anytime while trolling for salmon near the bottom, sometimes “by-catch” such as small fish go for the bait or lure action.  These so-called “shakers” usually don't even wiggle the rod.  They reduce fishing time because they’re large enough so that target fish, the King salmon, will not go after them.  A good fisherman periodically reels in to check his bait and only then are the small fish are revealed.  The fish is then quickly unhooked and returned to the sea.  Many are the bottom fish which take a couple minutes to recover and swim back down into the deep. Just seconds after being sighted while still at the surface, most are talon-fetched for the an eagle's dinner.

Such was the case today for Shawn as he quickly reeled in a small rock cod.  As the flasher and hooked fish broke the surface 2-feet of the boat's stern, unbeknownst to Shawn, a hungry eagle sighted it.  Before Shawn could remove the rod from the holder, the bird grabbed the still-hooked fish and flew.  There was a slight pause, then a loud crack as the eagle powered off breaking the fishing rod in half!
Eagle dive-bombed rock fish still on the hook.  Instead
of the line breaking, the rod broke!
After dinner, continuing in tour patriotic movie theme, we enjoyed “The Patriot”.

Friday mid-morning after four hours of hootchie dragging, we reeled’em in and headed away from the Bay for Bjorka Island.  Due to the low tide on the inside route at Second Narrows, we took the outside route which featured a light breeze and low swell.  By 11 AM we again started trolling but without action.  After 2 hours we called it a day and headed to town.  Sitka Harbors found the Wild Blue moorage at familiar Eliason Harbor where we cleaned up for the evening concert at the Sitka Classicial Music Festival.

Each June for the last five years or so, Alex, Pat and crews have enjoyed the sounds of the Sitka Music Festival.  Tonight’s performance features the world renown Cypress Spring Quartet of San Francisco.  This classical music group has practiced and performed throughout the world for the past 20 years, recording 16 albums.  Amongst their numerous accolades, they also have been heard on the Netflix original series House of Cards. They play exceptional music instruments including violins by Antonio Stradivari (1681), and Carlo Bergonzi (1733), and a cello by Hiermonyous Amati II (1701).  This is their final year together and tonight’s performance is 3rd to last as the Quartet.

Over the past four summers or so,  Patrick and Miriam of the Selene 55 Spirit and Alex on Wild Blue have hosted the Cypress Spring Quartet and friends for fishing excursions out of Sitka.  They've done well landing their daily limits of King salmon.

On stage at the Sitka Classical Music Festival
CecilyWard, violin, Tom Stone, violin, Jennifer Kloetzel, cello, Ethan Filner, viola
The Sitka Fishing Musicians: Cypress Quartet, Zuill Bailey-Music Director,
friends and kids with Patrick and Miriam of the yacht Spirit and
Alex of the yacht Wild Blue.

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