A bitter sweet. The Valhalla has been an awesome boat. I bought it in June of 2012 and have fished it since. We have used it for charter fishing, commercial crabbing, sea cucumber dive fisheries, and also a tug boat. 35' Vikings are well built and very comfortable to fish on. Captain Randy Skan is finally doing his own thing. Randy ran boats for other people a total of 6 years and now took the step towards owning his own boat, and being his own man. No one breathing down his neck telling him "That is wrong." I was the one telling him that 3 of those 6 years. Never Enough is coming to completion need about 2 weeks. Here is a picture of Captain Ross doing one of the best shakedown trips ever, 4 Ketchikan King Salmon, WHAT! Wait until Ketchikan sees Captain Tony on the Never Enough again, watch out.
Yesterday was my first cruise ship fishing charter of 2015. The trip went great with my Minnesota folks. These early May fishing trips are tricky. A captain is fully aware that the possibility of no King Salmon and resorting to rockfish is a reality. However when you "Forget the rest, and fish with the best!" Luckily our trip was a success with 2 nice King Salmon. Possibly Captain Tonys last charter on the Valhalla. The Valhalla is a beautiful boat that is currently about to be sold, wont know until the MONEY is in my hands though. I have owned the Valhalla for 3 years. I have charter fished, commercial crabbed, and commercial dove for sea cucumber off of the Valhalla. It has been an awesome, comfortable, stable boat to fish from. Also got the little glasply up and running for some of that economic bombing around in the little boat business.
Trying to sell Valhalla to another Ketchikan Charter Captain. Valhalla is a great boat as many of my groups have fished on it and know how comfortable it is. As many of you know I own several boats and consolidating a little cannot be a bad idea. Here is a picture of me sanding and grinding 15 years of bottom paint off of the All Star. Have been working hard on All Star because I will need atleast 1 boat ready for May charters. Yesterday was opening day for Ketchikan Little League. Ketchikan has 522 players this year, lots of fun. Here is also a picture of my 2 ball players, 1 of which just doesn't know how to smile. 1 week until first Ketchikan Cruise Ships start showing up. We have been waiting since September for them to be back. Will be taking people fishing soon showing them how to catch Ketchikan King Salmon.
I keep on bragging about the king salmon we caught a few days ago. It is time to get ready for the season, that means cleaning the green slime off everything. With Ketchikan getting almost 200 inches annual rainfall, that slime just appears. Pressure washing is about the only way to clean things, but with hot water pressure washing it becomes very effective. In December I installed on demand propane fired hot water heater in my house. With a hose nozzle on the side of my house and a plastic pressure washer that hot water does wonders. Keeping these boats running and maintained is a year round job. We work hard in the summertime actually fishing but making sure we make it through the summer without problems is crucial. Looking forward to having a productive summer and having clean maintained equipment sure feels good.
Typically Ketchikan fishing charters don't start until early May. Today was my second charter of 2015. We have caught some nice Dungeness crab and some nice bottomfish too. Today catching that 29 inch King Salmon was awesome. The second I realized my guy had hooked I was pumped. Once it was on deck of the Valhalla I felt even better. Another beautiful day in paradise. Thank you again to the people who have booked me this summer, it is great to be filling my calendar.
Captain Ross and I caught a few herring a week or so ago. It seemed like they were here for only about 2 days and I didn't catch nearly as many as I need. On my first charter of 2015, last Sunday, all the bait we used was fresh awesome bait that I caught. I have always bought bait locally and paid as much as $5 a dozen. It always seemed like I was being stingy with the bait also because it did cost money. Store bought bait never looks nearly as good as fresh. I have had captains from the Florida Keys come to fish Ketchikan, and we always argued about bait. My time in the Keys was always live bait. Though we don't have time for that or the ability to get live ones every day. Catching them now taking good care of them and using my own bait this summer will be awesome. King salmon are very picky and good bait is very important. Any salmon other than kings are often caught on artificial bait and as many of you know that produces a lot of fish. Bottomfish don't care how it looks typically just as long as it smells good. Bottom line the herring are back at mountain point and I will be there bright and early in the morning filling a cooler.
Yesterday I did some bartering and trading, the Alaska way. Since I sold my commercial Dungeness crab permit, I no longer had a use for the commercial crab pots I had. When I sold the pots to another fisherman he started eyeing all my good junk at my boat yard. Didn't take long for him to realize he wanted a nice Canadian built anchor winch I had. He mentioned all the good junk he had and soon this deep drop hydraulic reel was mine. I have been wanting one of these for quite awhile, but never wanted to pay for one. Those days of subsistence halibut and yelloweye fishing is going to be lots of fun. I will not be coming home nearly as tired as I used to after a day of fishing. Better go buy that commercial rockfish permit now. Maybe Ketchikan locals who don't fish, but love red snapper, will be able to buy them off the dock now that Captain Tony will be catching lots.
Today with a little help from Captain Ross, the Valhalla is ready to fish. Since spring is here, I decided 1 boat needs to be ready to fish. I haven't used the Valhalla much this winter due to the leaky raw water pump. The jabsco pump is around $700 was my reasoning for not fixing it. I have received a few calls from locals who want to go crabbing, bottomfishing, and hunting for a King Salmon. Figured I better be ready for those local Ketchikan Alaska people. Going to haul a couple downriggers and some fishing gear down tomorrow and do my first Ketchikan fishing charter on Sunday afternoon. Those sneaky little herring that were making the water boil the other day haven't been around. We should have jigged as many as we could the other day when they were here. The Herring we buy in Ketchikan are no where near the quality of fresh fish. It is nice to get ready for Ketchikan's busy charter fishing season now rather than later.
We went to Anchorage Alaska for spring break. Normally vacations for us are southbound not northbound. Sometimes you need to be a tourist of your own state. Seeing Lake Hood in person for the first time was awesome. Lake Hood is the largest seaplane base in the world. Since the lake was frozen all the floatplanes were off of their floats and sitting in the middle of the lake on skis. Our trips are never in the midst of summer because of our busy Ketchikan charter fishing season, so spring break is our major trip every year. Upon our arrival home we realized the herring were very thick. Krill were also washing up on the shore in front of my house. With a couple herring sabiki rigs, Captain Ross and I filled a bag or two in short order. In Ketchikan we pay around $5 per dozen frozen herring. I have always wanted to catch my own but too busy. The quality of these fresh caught herring vs. frozen, there is no comparison. Beautiful weather had us pulling dead engines out of the Ketchikan charter boat Ketch'em. We have a set of used engines that are going into the boat and will bring it new life. Even saw a couple deer while working on the boat.
Been working on Ketchikan Charter boat "Valhalla" the last few days. Since the days are getting longer here in Ketchikan I am itching to catch a Halibut, King Salmon, Crab or something. Have a group of guys that are in Ketchikan, working at the Vigor shipyard. Told them it wasn't the right time of year for a charter but that we could get some crab and try hard for a King Salmon. You can always catch a couple rockfish, and crab without too much trouble so that is my plan. The boat has to be ready though, so that meant tackling a couple projects that I have been putting off. Replacing raw water pump and some engine room cleaning, was definitely in order. Also reinstalling my downrigger's for King Salmon trolling needs to be done. Stripped all fishing gear off the boat so we could do our Sea Cucumber season, and haven't done much to the one boat in the water since. Soon I will have some pictures of actual fishing to post on my daily page. Keep in mind winter time in Ketchikan Alaska means fixing boats and hibernating time.
Check back for updated fishing reports in Ketchikan.