Meet the Crew of our Homer Alaska Fishing Charters
Homer Alaska fishing charters are abundant, but what makes the charter is the crew! Look no further than Captain Dan and his crew. They will work hard to make sure you have a great time and catch big fish. Get to know our team:
Dan Spies | Captain/Owner
Dan Spies started his life on a farm in Russell, Kansas. He would wake up early in the morning to get all of his farm chores done so he could have the rest of the day enjoying the free range of the farm. He was taught at a very young age exactly what it meant to be a hard worker. Dan was a very adventurous kid and to this day looks for adventures in life.
During Dan’s teen years his family moved to Kearns, Utah. He went from a school that had a graduating class of 13 to a school with 400 graduates. Football was his passion and where the name “Big Dan” originated. He wasn’t the biggest guy, but the hits were huge. “Big Dan” has stuck with him over the years because everything he does has to be big. For 30 years he has found enjoyment in building homes and saw the finished product as a huge accomplishment. Building was a challenge and Dan always loves a challenge. Construction proved to be a very good career, and for the last 17 years he has owned a successful construction company. In 2009, Dan was given an opportunity to move his construction company to Soldotna, Alaska. Providentially, since he was ready for a change and wanted out of the rat race that the big city brought, this move proved to be the best decision Dan could have made for his family and himself.
From Road to Water
The slower paced Soldotna provided exactly the change that was needed. If you have fished in Alaska you know what it is like, and Dan can’t get enough of it. Ocean fishing is by far his favorite. The saltwater quickly became the place he wanted to be every chance he got. After a dozen saltwater trips Dan knew this was something he wanted to do full time, and he knew he would have a lot to offer the industry. He had ideas to ensure the best experience for clients. Dan purchased his first boat in 2013 and spent all his time on the water. Big Dan turned into Captain Dan and Big Dan’s Fishing was in full effect.
Captain Dan has been part of the Homer Halibut Derby and has had two years in a row with two of the largest halibut caught. During the 2017 derby, Dan caught a monster halibut that was a whopping 251 pounds! Dan is goal-oriented and sets his standards high. He hopes that he can show guests from around the world a good time and catch a lot of fish, but also have them leave Alaska with a newfound appreciation for The Greatland.
For the last few years, Dan has managed to run both his construction and fishing companies. Now with the support of his family and friends, Dan is moving away from construction to completely focus on his Homer Alaska fishing charters and live-aboard hunting transportation. The quality of the experience is what he strives for. He makes sure he has the best of everything, from the most comfortable boat, to top of the line gear. The satisfaction he gets from being a captain is knowing he’s helping make memories that will last a lifetime.
Sarah Spies | Office Manager/Owner
Sarah was born in Gresham, Oregon and raised in American Fork, Utah. She grew up in a large household of 10, the youngest of 8 children. Her adventures started from a young age being surrounded with so many siblings. Family activities were spent enjoying the outdoors whether it be hunting, fishing, camping, four-wheeling, hiking or taking long road trips. Having that type of upbringing led Sarah to always having a desire for adventure. Moving around and starting new is something that has always been a part of who she is. When it came time to make the decision to move her family to Alaska, it wasn’t a hard one. Leaving her family so far away would be difficult, but giving her young family the opportunity to grow up in such a beautiful state was seen as a blessing. She and Dan had 4 children that would thrive in a place like Alaska.
New Adventure in Alaska
From the moment she arrived in Alaska, she couldn’t wait to share the beauty with others. It didn’t take long for her family to come for a visit. Sarah enjoyed showing them everything that she could while they were visiting. Hiking, fishing, kayaking, and sightseeing were endless activities to share. Word was going around quickly on how Alaska was the place to go; friends soon started to come up as well as extended family, and even co-workers of her siblings, each one contacting her for information on what to do while visiting. She was more than willing to put itineraries together for strangers to help ensure they had a memorable experience. Sarah loves being able to share all that she can with others. Her friends and family would tell her that she needed to be a tour guide or a host because it came natural to her. The enthusiasm she has to share all that she can is boundless.
Big Dan’s Fishing Charters has become a welcoming challenge to her. Her husband Dan is the dreamer and she’s the one who makes it all happen. Captain Dan admits she’s the brains behind the operation. Sarah’s outgoing personality, customer service experience, creativity, and attention to detail is what makes the experience with Big Dan’s Fishing Charters run smoothly. Dan’s dreams have now become Sarah’s as well.
Sarah will be the first person you’ll speak with in helping get your trip started, and probably the last person you see before you leave. Sarah is very excited to share all of what Alaska has to offer and looks forward to sharing your experience.
Jesse Lindall | Captain
Jesse was born and raised in Alaska and has lived the life of a fisherman for as long as he can remember. He started out as a deckhand on a saltwater boat when he was just 16 years old and became a Captain at just 19! The love for fishing, and the thrill of the catch has led him to continue being in the fishing industry for almost 15 years. Not only is he a Captain in the summer, he is also a successful business owner of Jesse’s Shrink Wrap during the off season. Jesse’s work ethic is unbelievable. He is always striving to do more and be the best at whatever he does.
Becoming A Captain
Jesse and Captain Dan met years ago through mutual friends and quickly hit it off. Being business owners was just one thing they found they had in common. The enjoyment of being on the water and being a captain of a fishing vessel was the other. Swapping fishing stories and giving each other advice on what they knew was a regular thing. When Dan decided to expand his Homer Alaska fishing charters, he knew exactly who he wanted to have captain the F/V Blackjack. Jesse was quickly on board and excited to be a Captain for Big Dan’s Fishing. Jesse’s knowledge of fishing the saltwater is outstanding. The amount of energy that Captain Jesse brings to the boat is contagious and being the comedian that he is, makes for a fun time on the water. The years of experience as both a deckhand and a captain, is something that you can’t replace. He knows how to teach clients how to fish successfully and have the best experience possible. We asked Jesse what the best part of being a saltwater captain is. He said, “the best part about being a captain is knowing that you are part of making memories for people. That you are a huge part of their Alaskan experience. I want them to leave with a smile on their face and a desire to come back. Getting paid to do it is just a bonus!”
Nathan Humphrey | Deckhand
Nathan ” Nate” Humphrey is a disabled retired US Army Veteran who finds fishing therapeutic. Nate was medically retired from active duty from wounds sustained in combat. He had multiple deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq. Nate was a customer traveling from Virginia on his first trip on the F/V Blackjack with Big Dan, when he took out a group of veterans on a halibut trip. Nate made quite an impression on Captain Dan on that first trip. Dan found out that Nate would spend his summers in Alaska and even had his own fish camp on the Kenai River. Over the next few years, lots of fishing trips, a couple of conversations, and a little bit of convincing, Nate became the new deckhand on the F/V Game Changer. Shortly after he started working with Big Dan, he was given the nickname “Vanilla Gorilla”. His ability to break fishing rods, while jigging for his favorite fish, was becoming quite the joke.
Committing to Alaska
Nate recently made the decision to move his family permanently to Alaska from Virginia. His love for Alaska runs deep and he knew Alaska was the place he wanted to be. He is now the regional director for Freedom Hunters in Alaska, a non-profit organization that takes veterans on free adventures nationwide. He’s been able to help Big Dan’s Fishing become more involved with the organization and able to take veterans on a fishing trip each year. Consequently, this is an experience we hold dear to our hearts and it has been made possible with Nate’s help.
When we asked Nate why he made the decision to become a deckhand for Big Dan’s Fishing, he answered, “I’ve been on multiple Homer Alaska fishing charters. When you pay to go fishing, you expect to catch a big fish. Every time I’ve been on Big Dan’s boats, that’s exactly what we did. We caught big fish! The professionalism, friendly family environment, top of the line equipment, overall love and dedication to the fishing industry that Big Dan has is by far the best of the best. Why settle for spam when you paid for a ribeye? One major thing that made me feel the way I do about Big Dan’s Fishing is the love and respect for veterans he and his family have. All veterans want is for our country to love us as much as we love it, and the Spies family does.”
Daniel Winter | Deckhand
Daniel was born and raised in Prescott, Arizona. Living in Arizona made it possible for him to enjoy the outdoors—riding dirt bikes, camping, hiking, and fishing. Living in the heat he would find himself looking for any type of water so thankfully lakes and rivers were never too far away. Fishing has always been a passion of his. He said it all started when he was a kid fishing on the bank of the Little Colorado River with his family. He was happy to catch anything he could. At the age of 16, his love for water became even more apparent when he discovered the California coast. He loved spending his days either surfing or fishing.
Daniel became the general manager of an excavation company at 19 years old—a sure sign that he is a leader and learns well. He enjoyed the work he was doing, but the thought of being tied down to Prescott forever was unsettling to him. Being a young guy and wanting adventure, Daniel wasn’t afraid to try something new. He decided to go and find a place that would fulfill what was missing and thought that Alaska would be the place to go in search for it.
Off to Homer, Alaska
Daniel’s desire to be near water is what brought him to Homer, Alaska. He wanted to try something new and figured working on a charter boat would be a great, new adventure. Captain Jesse gave him his first taste of saltwater fishing on the F/V Blackjack. Daniel had no experience with charter fishing but he wasn’t afraid to learn. Daniel caught on very quickly to the way fishing was done here. He was eager to learn everything there was to know about being the best deckhand possible and having Captain Jesse teach him everything he knew really paid off. Daniel eventually moved over to the F/V Game Changer and became a full-time deckhand for Captain Dan. Daniel’s love for fishing was apparent within the first week that he was with us. The excitement that he found in this new adventure was more than he expected. Daniel said, “The thrill of catching big fish, watching the reactions of anglers on the boat, and the experiences that I am sharing has got me hooked!” When asked if he would come back for another season, he said it’s an easy decision to make.