Archive for July, 2012
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Friday, July 20th, 2012
(Lorie Pearson was the first Coast Guard licensed-woman fishing guide on the Lower Cook Inlet in Happy Valley, Alaska)
“Lorie, I’m snagged up again,” said Dave Hall, from San Jose, California.
As I shut down the motor, I thought to myself, Dave how many times do I have to show you how much line to let out?
It had been a beautiful morning, trolling along the shoreline of the Lower Cook Inlet, in Happy Valley, Alaska. We were looking for the mighty King Salmon. We were fishing the spring run and using herring for bait. Our group had left the lodge early so we could catch the incoming tide. We had caught a fair share of Kings but the tide was about spent and it was time to call it a morning and head into the lodge for some breakfast. Our two other boats had already gone in. I told my four fishermen that we’d “make one more pass” through some fresh water running into the Inlet from a small stream. As the salmon are headed to their spawning grounds, they will pool up where fresh water is coming in and sniff it out to see if it’s their river. This particular spot we called The Falls and most of the time we’d hook up in this area, but here was Dave snagged up… once again.
I moved to the bow of the boat where Dave was fishing, and took the 8 foot 10 inch Fennwick salmon rod from him to see if I could shake it lose from the snag. I worked the rod up and down and side to side a few times and to my surprise I felt a likewise tug on the other end of the line. Wow…it must have been a big one. Little did I know.
The radio crackled and my husband Paul’s voice came over the air, informing us that breakfast was being served and to come on in. I told him we’d be in as soon as we landed the fish we had on.
“How big is it?” Paul questioned.
“No idea, we’ve not seen it surface yet,” I replied.
I knew by now that whatever it was it was BIG. The Fennwick rod was almost bent double and the Ambassador 7000 reel was getting a work out. I got Dave situated and he started the battle. Dave was a real Cheechako (a greenhorn in Alaskan terms). The biggest fish he had ever caught was about 5 lbs. Dave set to the task of bringing in whatever it was. His arms were shaking and the sweat was starting to form on his forehead. Fifteen minutes into the fight, we still had not gotten a glimpse of the fish. The fish was moving and fighting but it sure wasn’t coming to the surface.
The radio snapped again. “Have you seen it yet?”
“Nope,” I answered, “But I’ll be in touch with you when we do.”
About another fifteen minutes passed and I could see my husband was launching his boat at a distance. It was then we got our first glimpse of the fish…a HUGE halibut. Its eyes looked like saucers.
I gasped. “Oh my gosh, how were we ever going to land that fish on a salmon rod.”
By now Dave had a pleading look on his face and was getting worn down. I kept going down the 20 pound test Trilene line, thinking of every knot I’d tied. Finally Paul arrived to give me support and was I ever glad. As the fish came up we just couldn’t believe our eyes.
Paul grabbed two gaff hooks and the 410 snake charmer shot gun. You have to shoot big halibut before you bring them in the boat, or they can flop around and cause some real damage. Paul, getting a good grip on the big fish with the gaff hooks, finished it off with a shot between the eyes and the fight was over. We were all cheering, and whooping and hollering and taking pictures. Back at the lodge we hung it on the scales and it weighed in at a whopping 215 lbs. Dave would have a big fish tale to tell, and it wouldn’t be a lie.
I have been fishing most of my life. The oldest of 3 girls, who’s Dad was an avid hunter and fishermen, I was brought up with a fishing pole in my hand, and firing a gun was no big deal. My Mom said as soon as I quit wetting my pants my Dad took me with him everywhere.
When my husband Paul and I met he asked me if I liked to fish. I said, “Sure do!”
The next 13 dates we went on, he took me fishing. I guess I convinced him that I REALLY liked to fish. Little did I know that one day I would be the first Coast Guard licensed woman fishing guide on the Inlet. I’ve had some awesome adventures but bringing in this big halibut ranks right up there at the top of my list of adventures.