I have finally made it to Alaska and the first town on this inside passage cruise, Ketchikan. This place is mostly known for fish and my plan for the day is to head out on a boat and, hopefully, catch some lunch.
Once again, I am fortunate to have sunshine on my side in yet another place where it usually always rains. I’m quite thankful as the thought of going out on a boat in the rain is not something I’d be looking forward to doing.
My team and I are met at the port dock by Chuck Slagle, owner of Baranof Fishing Excursions and our boat guide/Captain Todd who is extra happy to take us as it’s only his 2nd day back in the water this Spring season. They walk us over to the boating area where I am suited up in rubber overalls and handed the coolest pair of Xtra tuff boots to wear. (I find out later that they are a gift for me!)
The water is quite calm and it’s an easy ride to our first stop where we throw in some crab pots to be picked up later on. As we carry on to our fishing location, we see eagles and a couple of sea lions and then Todd spots some whales. He cuts the engine and we wait for the whales to “bubble”, This is when whales form a circle to catch prey by blowing bubbles as they swim to the surface. The bubbles trap small fish, plankton etc. for the whales to devour. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen but we did get to see a couple of whales breaching.
As soon as we get moving again, the boat is surrounded by a family of porpoises jumping and zipping all around us. It was really incredible but they were too fast for anyone to get any photos.
Eventually we made it our fishing location and I was handed a rod and instructed to let the weight stay at the bottom of the ocean and as I felt it move, reel out a bit more to keep it there. My husband was also fishing and within minutes caught the first fish, a rockfish. He then caught what we think was a flounder. I also caught a rockfish and then an even bigger yellow eye rockfish. Since none of us were catching any halibut which is what we were hoping for we moved to another spot and with Captain Todd’s fishing rod caught a 42 inch ling cod. We had to let the smaller fish go and then went back to pick up our crab baskets. Although full, Todd had to measure each crab and see what we could keep, Not too many in the end.
When we got back to the dock, we were met by Paris, the Chef of Alaska Fish Company who wanted to see what we got since he was planning to cook up our catch after Todd gutted and cleaned them. He was so thrilled to see we had a ling cod that he said is one of his favorite and tastiest fish. I was really looking forward to this meal.
The rockfish was battered in panko and fried to perfection and the ling cod was served 2 ways. The first was with a simple dill butter sauce and the second was blackened with special spices. Although we didn’t have enough crabs for a meal, Chef Paris added some other ones so we could get a taste of those as well. I enjoyed all of this with a flight of delicious Alaskan beers. As it turns out, Chef Paris didn’t use all the fish we caught so they planned to ship the rest home for me. I was excited to share that with all our friends and family back in Florida.
This was such a fun day and I have to admit I’m ready to get my own fishing rod and see what I can catch back home.
Cheers and all the best,