Well woke up to another beautiful flat calm day! Slightly cloudy, with patches of blue sky. The island is slowly turning green, looks like the temps might get above 50F today, yay!! We took the pups out for their walk, then sat around debating whether or not to call my hubby's dad to ask if we can use the skiff to go out jiggin... it would be our first time going out this year if we went, and the weather is nice out and why not it's the weekend, and I don't think my in-laws were planning on going out today or not.... so finally by 11AM we decided to call and ask.. and they said go a head! Yay!!
On our way down to the skiff we noticed a couple people who came back home, yay! Welcome home Joe and Francine and one of Akutan's newest additions O. Misty Anna B.!! They "snuck" home on the state ferry Tuestemena, which happened to come in sometime early this AM, it should be back later in the day around 7-8PM. It's always good to see family come back home, especially when they are bringing a new baby! They asked my hubby and me to be godparents, we were more than happy and ready to be her krusnas!! Now just need to get a priest/father to come over so we can get her baptized! She's so cute with these beautiful blue eyes! They definitely surprised me to hear that they came in, I thought they weren't coming until end of summer, but I'm happy they are here now!! We need a daycare now with all the little kids we have in the town now and all the working parents!
So we got all our stuff ready, got dressed warm, grabbed our sweaters, coats and rain gear (the life jackets are in the skiff already). Made sure we had our handlines, made some hot tea and put it in the thermos, put the pups away and headed out. We stopped by the net and luckily there was a salmon in there (we need some kind of bait!), then we headed out towards the pass to go fishing in the Pacific Ocean.
We got to our fishing place, which is about 20-25 mins from the boat harbor, baited up and dropped our lines in. A handline is a small spool/handle (imagine a roman numeral 2) with line wrapped around it at about 40 fathoms long (1 fathom=approx 6ft) - the deepest it gets according to the charts I have is about 38 fathoms - we fish in about 30-36 fathoms for halibut. It's always nice to have a little bit of extra.
I let all my line out until my 5lb weight hit the bottom, after feeling it hit I pull the line up about 4-5 feet so my weight and hook isn't dragging. With in minutes I feel small little tugs, I jig my line up and down a bit then wait and feel for any reactions... next thing I know I get a good yank on my line, then again, and again... I look over at my hubby and he's got something too... we both start to pull our lines up. Hand over hand, pulling trying to keep the tension on the line... the whole time I feel something down there fighting, pulling back. I pull harder as the line is starting to pile at my feet, come on already get the the surface!! Finally I see the knots that let me know 10 more feet, then 5 feet. I stop and look over the side of the skiff to see a perfect 4 foot halibut (he's about 30+lbs). I look over and see my hubby taking a cod fish off his hook, then he came and helped me pull my fish aboard without it getting off the hook. For some reason if you don't let the halibut break the surface sometimes they won't thrash around as much and will just float there... almost like they are dazed or something. My hubby grabbed the gaff hook and as I slowly pulled the fish up, he stuck it in the gill plate and pulled the fish aboard. YAY.. my first halibut of the year!!! I think I'm going to clean it up, get my grill going and BBQ some up!
We stayed out for about 5 hours, catching a bunch of cod (I know I pulled up at least 15-17 of those myself and my hubby pulling up a couple more than me, we threw almost all but 3 back-1 for bait and 2 for dinner) and a lot of halibut, but to me they were more like flounders, poor little tiny fish. I feel so bad for having pierced their little lips with my hook. I take so much care in trying not to hurt the little fish as I'm taking the hook out, then gently putting it back in the water. Wishing it luck and telling it to bite again when it gets bigger... or telling it to tell the bigger fish to bite the hook not the small ones... LOL
We saw the plane fly over a couple times, once when we were just getting out there around noon, and again around 4:30, just before we decided to head back in. So at least we know the plane made it in!
After trying multiple places around our usual area, with the tide switching and the wind blowing, it was hard to know what way we were going to drift or how fast... once we realized it was getting a little too breezy we finally pulled our lines up and decided to head back. Sipping on some nice hot tea to warm up, we gathered our line back up and rewound it back onto the handline, cleaned out the skiff a bit (lots of small pieces of bait, blood and a couple fish carcasses that needed to be washed over board). We stopped by the gill net and checked for any more salmon, there were 5 red salmon in the net so we picked them out and went to the boat harbor to tie up.
I was happy that we at least caught one good size "keeper" halibut, we brought in 1 cod for ourselves and 1 for my in-laws (I'll just clean it and freeze it for later) and the 5 reds - which we asked to keep so we can finally get some fish salted!! The fillets of those 5 fish filled one 5 gallon bucket for me! Yay, I can make fresh pickled fish in about 4 weeks!! I need to get a couple more buckets this year, I'm sad that I don't have time to be drying any right now... I hope there are still fish around when we come back... I really don't want to have to deal with drying humpies (pinks) again this year....
We got home and noticed that the ferry was at the dock and there were a good amount of tourists walking around town - wow actually tourists getting off this time! Usually the ferry isn't here that long, just long enough to get people off and back on then out of here... this time they are staying around for a bit... we cleaned our fish up and threw the carcasses on the beach... what a photo-op for all those tourist, who were enjoying standing in my nicely cut lawn taking mass pictures of the eagle feeding frenzy right there on the beach. They all got to smell my halibut that's slowly cooking over the grill in their aluminum foil packets, all lightly buttered and peppered (damn no bacon or onions.. oh well.. it'll still taste good!). After getting the food on the grill and cleaning the rest of the fish we put them in Ziploc bags and threw all the fresh fish in the freezer. We were getting a lot of questions from all those tourist, we were more than happy to answer anything they wanted to ask.
The ferry departed from the dock just as my dinner was getting done, after dinner I figured I'd clock in some workout time on my Wii Fit (like I didn't get a good enough workout from pulling on that line all day....). Steam bath is going to feel good when we cook it tomorrow!! After dinner I called my sister-in-law and sang her happy birthday and asked how her day went and wished her the best, as always. She's been my best friend since we were teens, we grew up together and I always considered her my sister (then I get with her brother, get married and now she's officially my sister my law!). I love all the crazy, fun moments we shared together as we grew up and I'm happy to still have a friend like her in my life! I hope you had a great day Amanda, I can't believe we're getting this "old" already... 30 around the corner... OMG!
Well, I had a great day today!! Hopefully tomorrow will be just a good or better!! Until then, TTFN!!