Since we arrived in Homer late, and we had to get up at 5:00am to catch our fishing charter, we turned in early. Since Homer is really just a small fishing village, we weren't missing anything anyway.
We got to Bob's Trophy Charters at 6:00am. We had to pay for our two days of fishing and purchase non-resident Alaska Sports Fishing licenses. We did and were instructed where the boat was. In the office, they had a huge 5-ft (presumably over 300+ pound) Halibut replica hanging on the wall. That got us jazzed to catch the big one. We proceeded to find the Nauti-Lady and meet our crew and fellow fishers. (Clay fished with Bob's about a decade ago...the boat name is all he remembered. We googled it a couple of months ago and found the charter - last time they caught 80-pounders. We were hoping for that on this trip).
Day 1 was beautiful, but the seas were a little rough. The roughness was countered by the beautiful scenery, including a steaming volcano. Fortunately, fishing was good with lots of action. Between the two of us, we caught at least 20 halibut, but were only allowed to keep two each. I had the biggest on the boat for the day, at about 50 pounds. For the day, we had approximately 32 pounds of fillet meat.
Day 2 was more calm, but the fish weren't biting. We fished a spot for about four hours, with only two caught on the entire boat. The captain stayed there way too long in my opinion, and I got frustrated and took a break. He got a call and we motored to a different spot. Apparently, every boat in the bay did the same, but man were the fish biting. The second your line hit bottom you started getting bites. Clay and I probably caught a dozen each in those couple of hours, with about 50 pounders getting kept. I also brought up a large octopus, but we released it as someone else had just brought one up which was shot and used for bait. We ended up with 50 pounds of fillet meat, which almost became 34 pounds.
Homer has a fish processor that takes your meat, cuts it into smaller pieces, vacuum packs it and freezes it (assuming you want them to). They pick the fish up at the boat on the dock, so the first day, we just let them take the meat. The second day, we decided to go up to the processor to pay for their services. We didn't intend on catching up with our fish, but accidentally did - and noticed that our names were in the wrong color bin (we were blue tags both days). I inquired about this, and the old lady standing near the bin stated that she didn't know which color she was and things "got confused". I told her, "Bullshit they are confused - we are blue!" She proceeded to apologize and switch the names back. The blue haul - 50.2 pounds. The old lady haul - 34.0 pounds. At $15 / pound retail in Dallas, that comes to be $243.00 worth of fish.
We were so pissed, and the more we thought about it, the more pissed we got. We started wondering about our low take on day 1 - we thought we had a similar day 1 to day 2...but the weight was 18 pounds less. We steamed over the situation for the remainder of our stay in Alaska. Had we seen that lady again, we would have really let her have it. We learned a hard lesson - stay with your fish until it is weighed and you get a receipt. There are a lot of unscrupulous old people.
Afterwards, we had some beer-battered halibut, salmon, shrimp and scallops. That made me feel better.
Then American Airlines made me forget about the old lady. More on that tomorrow.