We caught our limit of fish
It was everything that we could wish
But we lost a rod
After a fine black rock cod
And we ate a halibut dish
Four things went into Prince William Sound today, two objects and two people.
Lee is a remarkable man who has mastered the Zen of fishing; he is the skipper of the thirty-four foot boat we’ve taken out after halibut, ling cod, rock fish, cod, salmon, and shrimp. He knows the places to go, he knows what the fish eat and how deep they are. He had a beautiful fillet knife, custom-made by a prominent Alaska knife maker, serial number 1 of 250. It was last seen sinking into seventy fathoms of water.
We started with a minimum of poles. We had plenty of other tackle. Two of the rods were good for salmon, rock fish, and ling cod; the other two rods were very heavy-duty and were for halibut. In essence, because the location and strategy for halibut is so different from the others, we could only have two people fishing at once. Which was OK till one of the rods went over the side and straight into 70 fathoms of water.
It didn’t keep our party of four from limiting out on silver salmon, catching four black rock fish, throwing back two ling cod that didn’t quite meet the 35 inch limit, and bringing in a halibut weighing about twenty-five pounds.
There was also an immature silver salmon I caught, not much bigger than the bait fish, about 9 inches long. I made the comment that it was bigger than the vast majority of fish I’d caught up till now.
Six years ago Les left a plastic container with ten gallons of gasoline on a charming, small island in Prince William Sound. After we lost the rod we decided to come in early to process fish and to take showers and get more poles, and because we were in the neighborhood, Les decided to retrieve the gas can. He rowed the dinghy up to the island, with me on board.
I’m not nautical at all. I still say things like “downstairs” instead of “below decks.” Les, however, is very nautical and maintains a keen sense of what should happen on the water or in small craft. He is patient with me, instructed me where to sit in the row-boat, and how to keep my center of gravity low. He rowed up out to the island, telling of seeing an orca pass right between two islands while he was eating lunch.
Getting out of the dinghy was easy, I found the island charming as advertised, and I picked up trash/flotsam while he retrieved the gas can. He loaded it with care into the dinghy and I sat up forward for the row back.
But we didn’t quite clear the beach before Les and I dumped into about a foot of water. By then the sun was out and we were warm enough. We came up sputtering and laughing, and launched back to the Nanny Kay.
Firsts for this trip: rod and reel on salt water, getting sea legs, bringing in a halibut the size of my dinner table, tasting fresh salmon roe, limiting out on salmon, catching a black rock cod, falling out of a boat.
Yes, I had my life jacket on.