By Hillary Holman
Do you want to fish with the BIG Boys in Alaska? With travel restrictions lifting now may be the time.
Knowing your water, wind, and tides are essential for a safe and productive fishing trip. Fish Baranof in Sitka, Alaska is a great solution for those who want to get out on Alaskan waters on their own steam. Joel at Fish Baranof provides the boats, gear and knowhow, you bring yourself. I fished with Austin Mosier and Rob Holman on a self-guided trip at Fish Baranof in Sitka, Alaska for a do it yourself experience.
At Fish Baranof in Sitka, safety is top of the morning. Based right off the Sitka dock, Joel met us at 5:30 am in his tackle shop to evaluate the best fishing spots, species and tackle to use based on the wind weather and tides. He went over maps, charts, weather reports and safety precautions to inform us fisherman of the conditions for the day. He set the channel for the radios for all of us fisherman to stay in contact and work the water together as a fleet. He outfitted us with a first class Hewescraft with downriggers, and gear from his tackle shop. Now was the time for us to stock up on any Jigs, lures, bait, rods, scent, weights, or downrigger balls, that we needed. At the tackle shop, you check out all your gear on a clip board, and what you don’t come home with, you pay for. Rob and I bought a downrigger ball on day 2.
The fishing parties headed out together in line, situated in their shiny new Hewescraft as a Fleet. Once we left the safety of the harbor, some boats went their own way and some stuck together. Knowing our fleet was out there gave me the security I needed to feel confident in Alaskan waters. Our NW Fishing guide partners are typically just a holler away. Call names, I dare not say, began to fly over the radio as we left the harbor. This isn’t Canada, and these names aren’t “Nice, AYE”. The fleet was bonded before boats began to break off the line. Austin Mosier led the charge as we headed out toward Baranof Island. With the Volcano in the background and islands of plenty scattered about, it is no wonder this is a fisherman’s paradise. There are hidden coves and narrow straights. It truly is a chose your own adventure. We had a few boats stick with us and utilized our radios. Working together, but led by Austin, we got into the fish. Other boats radioed their finds. We worked and moved as a team. Team Fish Baranof.
It was time to gauge how long our trip back to the dock accounting for the current wind and tide. If you are out on the point and can wrap up quickly, you may have a few more mooching minutes. Otherwise, be prepared to be at the dock by 4:00 pm.
We got to the dock around 4:30, a little late… This is not encouraged. The gas dock closes at 5 and there are plenty of boats needing fuel at the end of the day. We all worked together to make up time.
We were greeted by one of the dock hands to tie off and offload. They began scrubbing and inventorying the boats. They leave the boats in tip-top shape. Don’t forget these guys and gals. Show them they are appreciated, yeah?
We took our haul to the dock and sprawled it out in all its glory for some memorable photos. From there, Austin began to filet, next to the boat. Baranof has knives available, so no need to bring those. From there, I brought the bins up the gangway to the processing shed. There Rob took the bins and began to vacuum seal according to species and label them. We brought the sealed bags to our own designated freezer.
Get up early to pack your fish boxes for the airport. Joel has freezer boxes and a scale. Check your prices with Alaska Airline for addition checked baggage pricing.
We fished 2 days with Austin. We caught up with the Baranys from the General Store Spokane and fished with them a day, both while on vacation at Baranof. We caught a haul of halibut, salmon, rockfish and ling cod. We walked around town and took to the local shops and restraunts. We caught up with old friends from Gig Harbor. All in all, it was a great trip!
“Joel has been running this for 5 years and has brought it to first class. His brand-new boats, tackle and top-notch equipment has kept me coming back year after year.”Austin Mosier
Thanks Austin, for putting Fish Baranof on our radar. We’ll be back!