Thursday, August 24, 2006

Homer Recap!

Sorry it's taken...geesh, two weeks to get together a Homer recap. Homer is a fishing/art community at the end of the Kenai Peninsula, about 200 miles from Anchorage.

The first thing that happened when we got into our room at Land's End was a call from Captain Scott, kindly confirming the details of our fishing charter the next morning.

That's right -- fishing. Personally, I don't like the idea of killing things, then eating them. In fact, I've been known to be grossed out by the cracking sound of crustacean legs or anything with eyes googling up at me from a plate. In my world, fish filets come in beautifully shaped squares and my crab is imitation. So fishing has never really risen to the top of the list of things to do.

However, I do really, really, like to eat halibut, and the idea of being on a boat in the open water, like a really lame version of "Deadliest Catch", really appeals to me.

So we wound up at dock 4 at 6:00 am, with our newly acquired fishing licenses in hand, ready to catch some fish. As "safety girl" I had brought two extra pairs of hats/mittens and an extra woolly in addition to my blue rain slicker and "Van de Camp" orange fishing hat.

The water started out pretty smooth, then, well, not so smooth. In fact, it made everyone sick, including Frank. I, on the other hand, was having a lot of fun because I am motion-sickness immune. Once we stopped, though, we all had trouble negotiating the deck while handling fishing poles. Oh, and did I tell you it was raining and cold? It was.

To fish for halibut, you use a lot of poles, and the lines have weights on them to help the bait (herring) get to the sea floor where the halibut live. In our case, Captain Scott chose to go along the kelp beds where very big halibut live but also where the water was shallower (which is helpful for us rookies).

Fishing is not nonstop excitement -- there is a lot of waiting involved while you wait for something to catch the line. In our case, we waited quite a while before we caught our first halibut.

As you can see, halibut are pretty ugly fish. They are flat, and their eyes are on the right side of their heads. In some ways, it's hard to not feel sorry for them, kind of like the little bottomfeeder in your childhood aquarium. I mean, they already have so many things going wrong for them, do you really need to taunt them with a herring?

I only caught one halibut. I was fiddling with a pole (called "jigging") and all of the sudden something was on the other side of the line pulling in the opposite direction. Balancing on a boat while alternating pulling up and reeling is not as easy as it looks. I kept falling down and the reel kept sliding all over the place. However, in just a few minutes, with the help of the Captain, the halibut did find its' way onto the boat. It was very exciting!

Here's Frank demonstrating jigging:

Here's the fish:
Mine was the one furthest to the left here:

Frank and his mom can't believe how big the fish we caught were! Honestly, although we did wind up with 54.5 lbs of halibut, Homer itself really stole the show. Homer is an incredible little town, situated in one of the most beautiful bays in the world.

No comments: