Before I get into the story of this particular fishing trip, I need to say how thankful I am to my best friends DC and AJ for all of their help and support in making this happen.  Not only did they graciously open their home to a group of my friends that they had never met, but they welcomed them with open arms, fried halibut, cold beer, and treated them like family.  But then again, what would you expect from good people like DC and AJ.  Thanks again guys, I am eternally grateful.  Now, on to the story…

It was a cold January day in 2008 when out of the blue I get a phone call from long time friend Craig Rickaway.  Craig lives in San Antonio, TX these days and was thinking about making the trip north to Alaska for some fishing in the summer.  I promptly told him to start making plane reservations for a week in July and I’d take care of the rest.  Over the next few months the trip started to take shape.  What had initially started with Craig and his wife Bonnie possibly coming up, morphed into Craig, his brother in law Mike from Wisconsin, his friend Kirk from Oklahoma, and his friend Tim from San Antonio making the journey.  Talk about logistics!  I knew it would take more than DC’s boat to pull off this fishing trip, so I called down to the military resort in Seward and booked us two days worth of halibut charters and 3 nights in a townhouse.  Since room wasn’t an issue anymore, I invited my hunting partner Gary Byers to join us as well.  Of course, a fishing trip without DC just wouldn’t be right, so I talked him into joining us as well.   

Craig and his entourage arrived on 12 July, and after a few logistical issues (I still owe you big AJ), we were back at DC’s house getting acquainted and catching up on old times.  The next morning, 13 July, we drove down to Seward and checked into our townhouse.  Along the way we stopped for the guys to take in some of the beauty that Alaska has to offer on the scenic drive.  When we reached Seward, we checked into our townhouse and began to explore the area.  We were already having a great time and we hadn’t even gotten a line in the water yet.  That would all be rectified the next day, 14 July, when we struck out on our first charter.  Now the charters out of the Seaward Military Resort are a bit different than most.  These charters put 14 people on a boat instead of the usual 6, you leave at 7:00 am, take a 3 ˝ hour trip out to the fishing grounds, fish for about 4 hours, then make the  3 ˝ hour trip back to the harbor because boats are due back by 5:30pm.  4 hours is not a lot of time to get 14 people 2 halibut each.   Needless to say, I was not too optimistic that we would catch our limit and was really just hoping Craig and the guys would at least each get one fish out of the two days.  Well, my fears were unwarranted because the boat had barely come to a stop in the halibut grounds when we heard those beautiful words “FISH ON!”  After moving a couple of times and fishing hard for 3 hours, we had limited the boat out with halibut.  A couple of the guys even caught silver salmon after they caught their limit of halibut.  What a perfect day of fishing in Alaska, and we still had another day to go.  We got back to the harbor, took a few pictures, cleaned the fish and celebrated the day with a few Alaskan Ambers wondering what tomorrow held in store.  We got up on the 15th of July ready for another great day of fishing, but truly not expecting to have the same luck as the day before.  Once again, our expectations were exceeded.  Within 25 minutes of the boat stopping, we had limited out on halibut.  I have never seen anything like this in my life.  28 halibut on the boat in 25 minutes has to be some kind of record.  But the fishing wasn’t over yet.  Our captain knew that with the tides the way they were, there was a small window of opportunity for ling cod.  After swapping out gear, and moving to another spot, the captain had all of us on one side of the boat jigging the bottom for ling cod as he drifted back and forth over a certain spot.  In about 45 minutes all 14 people had a legal ling cod on board.  It was another amazing feat.  Had I not been there myself to live it, I probably wouldn’t believe it.  What an experience for my buddies to have in Alaska and for me as well since it was my first ling cod.  We got back to the harbor, repeated the previous nights events, got some rest and departed Seward on the 16th with a total of 28 halibut, 7 ling cod, a couple of silver salmon and a rock fish.  It was a great time and another wonderful Alaskan experience with a great group of friends.