Jesse was in town for 3 days of fishing. A perfect trip length I think, although we can’t run down to Tenakee. Jesse was my last out of town guest for the summer.
We caught seven coho the first day, and five the second. And none today, the third! My first fish skunk day this summer. And we fished for miles and miles. Had several hits that released the line from the downrigger, but no fish. Only saw about 3 fish caught all day by the many boats we passed.
This was the third straight trip (and fourth trip overall as the first trainee was Jesse’s wife Hanni) of training the crew on the first few fish caught how to properly bleed them in water, clean the fish, then chill and later fillet them. I then turned them loose to take care of their fish the rest of the trip. Wow, has that been a good move. I can see the crew improve with each day, gain confidence in their fish butchering skills, and increasingly understand the importance of all the simple, but necessary, steps to make great fish for themselves.
We spent both nights at the Funter Bay dock. The first night a Prince of Wales Islander couple offered us some cooked dungeness crab. They must know I can’t catch legal crabs. These looked kinda small and feminine, but how can you be sure when they are already cooked.
Jesse took the punt to the beach on the second night to check out the remains of some buildings. A sailboat I recognized from Harris Harbor in Juneau tied up to us later that night, operated by a couple more elderly than me. When I got up in the middle of the night, I saw their bow was pointed into the bay, with only the stern tied up. I wasn’t sure if they did this on purpose to take the numerous cruise ship wakes head on, or if they had just not tied up their boat properly. Later when I got up to go again, the boat was along the dock again, so I thought maybe I was seeing things. The next time I got up to go – yes, I have an appointment with the urologist next week – the boat was pointed out again, and the lone late-20’s something guy in the small sailboat in front of us was coming down the dock in bare feet and pulling the couple’s sailboat back alongside the dock. This is when I realized it wasn’t tied up right, and I jumped out in my bare feet and helped him tie up their boat. The couple never roused. Maybe the comforts of old age like poor hearing are something to look forward to.
I set the halibut skate three times. Once with “can’t miss” octopus, which did miss and bait was gone. The other two times the skate was baited with fish heads. Our honey hole has soured, so time to find a new set.
We used the salmon remains after filleting to really load up the crab pot. I finally got a full day+ soak, instead of just overnight, and most of the pots in the bay that were there earlier in the summer were gone. When we pulled the pot this morning, we had a keeper! And a second that was a 1/16 inch too small, but at least it was a male. And a couple females that looked remarkably similar to the crab offered us by the Prince of Waler. That single keeper was our only keeper of any kind for the day, and ended up being our highlight reel!
Today, we fished the mouth of Funter Bay for nothing. Then steamed north and fished Cordwood Creek almost to Point Retreat for nothing. Then fished Hand Trollers Cove for nothing. Thank goodness for one dungeness crab in the morning!
I’ll hope to take the West Africans and Ukranians for a trip or two before the cohos run out, which I hope hasn’t happened already. Funny how one day of catching nothing sends all kinds of gloom and doom prognostications into your conversations, only to be replaced by it’s the best run ever the next day when the fish come to the net one after another. I do love this place.