SUNDAY, JULY 8 – HOMER >> ANCHORAGE, AK
We woke up bright and early, ate our fruit and cinnamon rolls, and headed to the harbor by 6:30 am. We met Captain John, two crew members, and 15 other guests at Dock C-17. Nautilady pulled out of the harbor and went around the top of the Homer Spit past the Lands End Resort. We motored for over an hour before the crew put the anchor down.
I was surprised that our fishing poles were not mounted to the side of the boat. I asked one of the crew members what happens if I drop the pole. He just responded, “You better not.” The poles had two-pound sinkers and about one pound of chopped herring on the hook. We dropped our lines in; the three-pound load nearly took the pole out of my hand. I had no idea how I was going to hold on to the pole when I got a bite.
Within a couple of minutes, I had a fish on the line. I reeled in a 2 ½ foot cod. The crewmember tagged it with a green twistie. I caught about a half dozen cod, and I still hadn’t caught a halibut. There is no limit on the number of cod we can keep. The first halibut I did catch was pretty small. I had the crew member throw it back. I finally caught a keeper halibut – about 25 pounds. So much for T.J.’s plan! Then, I caught a couple more cod. I was exhausted from reeling.
A couple hours into the trip, T.J. already had his two halibut limit; he, too, quickly dismissed his plan from the night before. He was down in the cabin when an older woman asked him if he was done fishing. He responded, “Yes, but I may have to help my mom.” She replied. “Your Mom? I only saw you with your wife earlier.” Poor T.J.
When I finally got the last halibut on my line, T.J. did help me reel for a while. I eventually took the pole back from him and continued reeling. I kept switching the pole from my right hand to the left hand, contorting my body to get the best leverage I could. T.J. calmly said, “I don’t think you’re using proper form.” Really? I laughed so hard; I didn’t think I was going to be able to continue reeling.
The captain and crew were great! It was time to go back, but they kept dropping lines and allowing guests to reel in until everyone had their limit. Once everyone had two halibut, they pulled up the anchor and Captain Jack headed back to the dock. The deckhands spread all of the halibut out on the deck. We watched them filet fish all the way back.
It was after 1:00 pm before we got back to the dock. A guy from Homer Fish Processing met us there. We gave him our names and tag colors. He wrote up directions to have our fish shipped overnight to Wisconsin on Tuesday, July 17.
We jumped in the car, got some groceries, then called Homer Fish Processing to give them my credit card number. On the car radio, we heard about a murder in Anchor Point.
On our 225-mile drive back to Anchorage, the traffic was horrible around Bird. We eventually realized drivers were slowing down to watch kite boarders on Cook Inlet.
We got to the DT Avis office lot exactly at 6:00 pm. The office was closed. Hours on the door said open until 5:00 pm. I looked at my paperwork. It clearly said to drop off by 1900. I called the airport office. They said to park the car and leave the keys and paperwork in the drop. We called a cab and then followed the instructions. The cab driver was a hoot. He took us to the 9th Avenue Hotel.
After checking in, T.J. and I walked to the Anchorage Glacier Pilots college baseball game against the Mat-Su Miners. We got there by the 3rd inning. $7 for third base box seats. We spent $20 for two burgers, two sodas, and popcorn. The sun was shining so brightly that T.J. bought a $20 Anchorage Pilots cap for me to wear. We left about the 7th inning. The home team was winning.