The excitement was tangible as I drove my rental car from the Anchorage Airport. You see, I was about to embark on an adventure of a lifetime. I finally had made it to the “Last Frontier” and was about to spend the next few days catching Alaska’s finest fish from both fresh and saltwater. I found Big Dan’s online looking for Alaska fishing packages.
The journey began with a fantastic trip down the Seward highway. On one side, the mountains seemed to just burst into the sky, while the other side was a view of Turnagain Arm. I pulled over a little way down the highway to take in the sights. In looking at the water, I knew that it was powerful. The tide seemed to make it look like a river. It looks like Alaska didn’t go small on anything.
Back on the road, I saw a busy gas station in the town of Girdwood. I needed to stop and buy some snacks for the trip. After what seemed like an eternity in a socially distanced line, it was finally my turn to check out. After stepping out of the store and still reeling from the disbelief that I was here, I turned on some tunes and continued the drive.
After leaving Turnagain Arm’s view, I entered into the majestic views of mountains, trees, rivers, and lakes. I must admit that I do not like driving places for a long time. However, this felt different. I didn’t want this to end. What can I say? Alaska affects people in different ways.
After some time had passed, I finally arrived at my lodging. This location was spectacular! It is next to the Kenai River and surrounded by nature. I had my place, which allowed me to distance myself safely. I unpacked my fishing gear and ran to the river. After a short time, I hooked into a beautiful red salmon. This fish fought harder than any fish I’ve fought before. After bringing it in, I filleted it and used the barbecue on the deck to cook some fresh Alaskan salmon. What a meal!
After devouring the fish and sitting back enjoying the view of the river, I was beat. I knew I needed to get some sleep to be ready for tomorrow. After getting back to my cabin, I remember having a sense of familiarity when I entered the doorway and made my way to the bathroom to freshen up and get ready for bed. It truly felt like a home away from home. I remember thinking I was glad I checked into Alaska fishing packages. That night when my head hit the pillow, I fell asleep almost instantly.
The next morning I woke up and decided to drink my coffee by the river. As I sat there, I saw a moose walking on the other side. That coffee and those views were just a reminder of why I came here. I looked at my watch, and after realizing the time, I chugged my coffee and ran back to my place to get my gear ready.
After spending a little under 2 hours heading down the Sterling highway, I arrived in a town called Homer. The city, located by Kachemak bay, has a spit (a thin piece of land that continues into the bay) which is 4.5 miles long and has everything from what seems like a boat graveyard to excellent restaurants. However, I was there to board the Blackjack, Big Dan’s 31ft vessel, to catch what the locals call ‘Buts. The Pacific Halibut is a large flat bottom fish that is prized for its fleshy white meat. I knew I had to bring one home, so I was ready to do what it takes.
After leaving the harbor, it felt like time flew by. The sites and the fantastic crew made it feel like I was fishing with close friends. We reached our location and got rigged up with the biggest jigs I have ever seen in my life. After dropping the rig 300 feet, I began to pull-up and down to entice these giants of the deep.
After some time and a few hits, I knew it was about to come. A crash came on the drop, and I pulled up to set the hook. When I began to reel, it felt like I was reeling a stack of 2x4s off the bottom of the ocean. It was no easy task bringing that fish up, but I knew it was a nice fish when this monster got close. I was grateful for all 80 pounds of this fish. I knew that it would mean some fillets in the freezer. As we headed back in, I felt accomplished. I mean, let’s keep it real, I only caught the fish because this crew knows what they are doing and knows how to get people on fish.
After the trip home and a good night’s sleep, I woke ready for the next two days on the river. As we spent time cruising around on the Kenai river and hooking into reds, I could not imagine anything better. I never wanted to leave this place . I began to come up with a plan on how to move to Alaska. This trip with Big Dan’s Fishing Charter was entirely to blame for this. I told the crew about my plans never to leave. We laughed for a while.
As I opened my eyes to the sound of an alarm, I began to realize I was back in my bed. The confusion subsided, and I realized that this adventure was only a dream. Oh, the disappointment I felt at that moment was almost painful. However, I remembered seeing something on Facebook about Big Dan’s running a summer special. They offered significant savings, and it included all the things I had dreamed. Well, I guess you know what happened next.
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