Sunday, June 26 2016 The Boys From Cal Poly aka The Fish Boys
One-half century can be a lifetime. Today it's difficult to remember much from five decades ago. Yet 50 years ago, we high schools kids met in San Luis Obispo at Cal Poly to get an "education". That we did, and we're still around today, all of us trying to relive our past, one story a time, while fishing in Alaska.
Willie, Joe, Mike, Brian and Alex met in 1966 and 1967 and are now The Fish Boys. We grew up to become a turkey farmer, chicken rancher, Certified Public Accountant, pharmacist and real estate developer, each of us in our own independent business. Hanging out with these guys is just like the old days, but the stories have changed. Now it's Medicare, medicines, hearing aids, retirement, taxes, and Viagra, all hot topics in our conversations.
|Mike, Alex Joe, Brian and Willie with Kristina, our Sitka Sound|
Science Center guide.
Monday-Thursday, June 27-30, 2016: Whale Bay
By 4AM Monday, Alex had the boat away from the dock headed for Whale Bay, a favorite salmon trolling area. It was a pleasant ride even though we went the ootside ocean route, and by 8:30 we were trolling the northern side of Whale Bay, without a whale around. That's not a good sign.
We fished all Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning racking up nearly 30 hours. For all that effort we had just 8 Kings and 4 Cohos, with two 31-inch keeper Lingcod. On the Thursday trip back to town we fished Biorka for 4 hours and landed two Cohos. Yuk! But we did see an Alaska Air land at SIT.
|Motor Yacht Ice Bear and entourage fished Whale Bay near us. Their|
radio fish reports didn't sound any better than our fish stories.
|White log beach along Whale Bay's northern shore is completely exposed|
to the Gulf of Alaska's southern storms which drive the weathered logs onshore.
|Rugged Whale bay coastline.|
|Small island near "King" city in Whale Bay.|
Back in town we turned our small batch of fish into the processor and read the weather report. Friday would be need to be a weather day as the ocean was to be miserable. We decided to be tourists in Sitka.
|Sunset over Eliason Harbor on Thursday, June 30th. Something|
about red sky and sailor take warning?
Friday, July 1, 2016: Accidental Tourists
Well maybe not accidental, just weather driven to tour off the water.
First we toured the Fortress of the Bear a safe haven for orphaned bears. Bears become orphaned typically when their parents become a danger. The dangerous bear is put down by the authorities and their cubs are orphaned. Enter Fortress of the Bear to take over raising these orphans.
|"Don't tread on me!"|
After the bears, we had the taxi drop us at the Sitka Sound Science Center. There we met Kristina, our tourist guide, a fellow Californian, graduate of UCSB and new resident of Sitka. Having arrived from Santa Barbara in the frosty chill of last winter, she's come to enjoy living here and plans to stay. Kristina was very kind to our older bunch, restated what we couldn't hear, smiled (sometimes even laughed) at our weak humor and conducted a fine tour the the Center and Hatchery. We wish her the best.
By now our group was thirsty so it was over to the Mean Queen, a new and rather fine establishment patterned after the very successful Village Pizza in Anacortes. You guessed it: a complete bar, excellent pizza and lots of locals filling the seats. For its odd location, on a back street, high up a long flight of stairs, it gets a lot of play.
|Maybe an album cover? Probably better as a Crown advert.|
|Just above the bar are photos of all the boats that ran aground |
in Southeast. As expected, not a single boat carried a GPS antenna!
Otters live in Alaska. There are River Otters who make a mess ashore. They like to mark their territory then roll in it. Best not to get one aboard or on your swim-step.
|This River Otter has come ashore next to the Harbormaster's Office.|
The one in the background is already rolling in it.
|Pretty sure this one is female.|
|This pretty little Sea Otter is a much cleaner cousin of|
the River Otter. It doesn't make a mess but it does like Dungeness crab.
When you see a Sea Otter, there probably isn't any crab around.
Saturday and Sunday, July 2 and 3, 2016: Salisbury Sound
With just three days of fishing left, we chose to go north 3 hours to the Kalinin Bay area. There we could fish salmon and bottom fish. We caught One king on Saturday then anchored up for bottom fishing. Brian landed a nice 34-inch Lingcod keeper. Then the Alaska Sate Troopers boarded.
Of course our licenses were in order, each having been scrutinized. The Ling was remeasured for the benefit of the Trooper. When business was completed, we attempted small talk in hopes the officer would reveal the fishing hot spots. he said "Well someone's catching a lot of salmon somewhere!"
By Sunday afternoon we had boated just one more king then headed back to town, hoping for a big day on Monday at Biorka Island. We enjoyed a great dinner for July 4th, then some of us nodded off before the fireworks started.
|MV Liseron a small passenger ship northbound form Sitka.|
|Liseron calls man overboard drill, throws lifevest into water to represent person,|
announces"Man-Overboard", crew launches small boat which quickly reaches
near drowning lifevest. All within 3 minutes!
|Lifeboat is ready to race for man overboard.|
Monday, July 4, 2016: Fishing on Independence Day
Today we fished at Biorka Island. Fishing sucked but it was great being with our college buddies. Last year this group landed 68 fish including 24 King salmon, the annual maximum. This year just 18 fish total, with 12 Kings. Interestingly last year 2 Cohos per 1 King. This year 1 Coho per 2 Kings. Oh well that's fishing!
As always it's a great time to be fishing with old friends and we already look forward to next year.