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The Shotem' and Caughtem' Blog is the place to find the latest reviews and commentary on gear, destinations, conditions, events, and general knowledge to inform our readers and give our opinions to anyone listening.

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Wednesday, 13 February 2013 22:19

Salmon Fishing in Yakutat, Alaska

With Valentine's Day being tomorrow (a reminder to those who have not yet got anything for their loved ones) we at Shotem And Caughtem thought we might take the time to remember a trip I took with my father for his 60th birthday.  Though not a Valentines Day gift, it will hopefully remind you that the best times in the great outdoors are spent with the ones we love.  I contacted my uncle who had traveled to Alaska to Salmon fish for many years to see if he could make room for me and my dad on the next trip.  We would spend four whole days on the open ocean trolling for fish, laughing, talking and having a great time.  Though the Salmon run was not what it had been in years past, the weather, conversation and the view could'nt have been better.  We would set out every morning from the lodge situated in a bay just around the corner from Mt. Elias (seen on the left of the mountian line in the photo above) in a 17ft flat bottom boat with a 25hp engine.  I would have to say I was a bit uneasy traveling into open ocean in such a vessel, but while in the bay we were protected from the larger swells (though the cruise ship and humpback whale got a little to close for comfort).  Only on perfectly calm days were we allowed to venture out to the outer rim to fish.  With a heavy duty pole, an open face reel, a line rigged with two single hooks set about a foot apart and baited with sardines, we would troll the ocean back and forth at idle speed and wait for the Salmon.  Once hooked we can tell you that Salmon are not the easiest fish to get into the boat.  A fish that is built to travel against a heavy flowing stream for miles up river makes for one heck of a fight once on the line.  There were three types of Salmon we could catch in the bay (http://alaska.fws.gov/cybersalmon/salmon%20ID%20chart.pdf).  Coho and King Salmon were what we were after.  With a weight around 20-40 pounds of pure muscle, known for their endurance and strength, we would say that it was both a blessing and a curse to have one on the line.  The King Salmon in the photo took about an hour to get into the boat.  It would get close to the boat, see me and then make another 100 yard sprint away from the boat.  Making sure I had enough tension on the line, but not so much that they would break it, began to be the hardest challenge to keeping our prize.  More fish than we would like to admit got close to the boat, breached the surface, spit out the hook and gave us the fin before being taking off into the open ocean.  The Sea Bass in the photo (along with 7 others) were cooked that night for the group and helped renew our spirits from those that were lost.  The remote area of Yakutat, Alaska (http://www.ptialaska.net/~gycc/) made for a great spot to fish.  The four days on the water during prime season were just those from our group and a couple of local Indian fisherman which meant we were not in one of those spots where you are fighting with other large groups for prime fishing territory.  We as a group all made it home with our limit of Salmon.  It was a trip that neither my father nor I have ever forgotten.  We have plans to go back soon and would recommend this spot as a great place to go for Salmon fishing season.  As always post your photos of your favorite trips and tell us your memories in the Caughtem Gallery.