By Rob Tucker
In July I flew to Alaska to go fishing. I’ve traveled there at least 10 times, roughly every other year since 2000, with an additional trip to testify in a court settlement negotiation. I made that trip in winter. As a word of friendly advice — don’t go there then. Yikes!!
I’ve been asked why I return to Alaska so often. For one thing, it’s stunningly beautiful. And then there’s the fishing. If you like to fish, it’s paradise. Well, it is anyway, but it’s even more irresistible if you’re someone who likes to be on the water casting a line. When I first moved to Iowa, my father-in-law took me fishing on Lake Red Rock, and I caught a six-inch walleye. The following year I flew to Alaska and caught a 103-pound halibut. I rest my case. Sorry, I couldn't resist the pun.
Here’s the IRL funny part, though: I’ve been trying to duplicate my first-visit feat ever since — without success!
It’s not like I’m not landing, literally, big fish. This year I caught an 82-pound halibut, a yellow eye, a ling cod, a coho salmon and my favorite, a black sea bass, but I’m still waiting for the halibut that will outweigh the very first one I caught. It’s out there somewhere.
Donna Button who in addition to being my sister-in-law, owns Travel Services in Palmer located about an hour east of Anchorage, arranges my trips. They’ve been chiefly to Homer, the self-proclaimed halibut fishing capital of the world.
This year, however, I wanted to experience a different part of Alaska, so my fishing buddy and I flew to Kodiak Island, which BTW is the second-largest island in the United States and famous for the bears that are native to it.
And bears there were! We met up with 35 to 40 of them who were fishing Frazer River the same time we were. Remember that coho salmon I caught? A bear stole it off my line. Oh well. He had more right to it than I did. It’s his (or her) island after all.
A bald eagle landed on top of our camp flagpole, flying the American and Alaskan flags. It was an iconic moment. In addition to bald eagles and bears, I was lucky enough to see moose, sea otters, sea lions and other wildlife. Alaska, you're fantastic.
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