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Thread: Planning first trip to Alaska, how much meat can I take home?

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    Default Planning first trip to Alaska, how much meat can I take home?

    Here is the background of the trip. This will be my first trip to fish Alaska. I am researching Homer, Seldovia, and Seward. The other current post on help fishing Alaska has been really helpful. My main goal is to put meat in the freezer. I want to target halibut, salmon, and cod or rock fish. I will be flying a commercial airlines up to AK and I plan on fishing 3 days. I have contacted 3 different fishing charters as part of my research and have been given 3 different answers. I was told 25 lbs, 50 lbs, and 75 lbs. There is a big difference between the 3.

    I have a lot of experience in deep sea fishing down in southern California and Mexico, but never up in Alaska. Besides the fishing, I would like to get in some hiking and experience what else Alaska has to offer. I am slowly getting my family off of store bought meat products. I am building up my hunting experience to supply alternates to beef.

    Thank you guys in advance for the responses.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    This is a question for the airlines, not the charters. You can take home as much as you catch under your legal limits, but you'll potentially have extra baggage fees. I'm fairly certain that all airlines cap box weight at 50lbs for their standard per-bag fee.

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    Most airlines will let you pack a heavier bag - up to 100 pounds, but you will pay dearly for doing that. You are best off using coolers or fish boxes that come in at 48 pounds. Pay for the extra bag(s) but keep them under 50 and it will be cheaper for you.

    Is your hiking days separate from the 3 days fishing?

    If you get too many bags, the airlines MIGHT not let you fly it all with you as checked baggage - especially in summer when the planes are full up.

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    One of the best ways i have found was to pretty lightmeaning carry- ons as a main bag. On your return check your fish boxes at thecheck in and i believe it is 50# domestic but each airline is different in thissome will let you do up to 75# for the extra price. If yo have to mail yourcarry on home.

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    If you do a combo trip on a good charter for halibut, rockfish, and lingcod. Lingcod opens 1 July. If the weather is good all 3 days you should end up with 80lbs or more of halibut 40lbs of lingcod and 30lbs of rockfish. Salmon is a hard one. Best of luck. As for what you can take home on the airline that is up to your pocket book. Make sure you on a good charter. Silver fox out of Homer is one, Deepstrike is also very good, Sea flight charters, Falcon charters, Manns charters may be full but you can try him. Try to stay with a 6pac boat that is 30ft or bigger for a better chance that you can fish even if the weather picks up.
    Best of luck

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    In SE, even with our 1 halibut in the slot limit, my 3 day clients bring home 75-100lbs of vacuum packed fillets. A mixed bag of halibut, salmon (king/coho) rockfish, ling, and yellow eye.

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    If you're flying on Alaska airlines, the only practical limit to how many fish boxes you can bring home with you is how much you're willing to pay in baggage fees. So long as each fish box is 50# or less, it is considered a regular checked bag. Flying coach, your first three checked bags are $20 each, then $50 for each additional checked bag (first class fares get the first two bags free, then $20/ea for the next 3, then $50 per box). The Seattle hub has a walk-in freezer to store fish boxes, so if your travel plans include an overnight layover in SEA, just request that your fish be stored there & they'll be happy to do it.

    If you're headed someplace that requires floatplane service to get you in & out, you need to contact the carrier and ask them about their fees & policies for luggage. You might discover that your awesome 600# haul of boxed-up fillets will require a specially chartered floatplane just to get them to a major airport.

    Example: Pacific Airways floatplanes in Ketchikan offer a roundtrip 'lodge rate' which is about $70 higher than the standard roundtrip fare, but it includes two 50# fishboxes per person on the return flight in addition to your 50# baggage allowance. If you have more than two fishboxes per person, they charge $48 per box. If you've really got a lot of fishboxes to bring back, they charge $675 for a charter flight with up to 1,200# of cargo.

    The answers you're getting from the fishing charter operators may be the amount of packed fish boxes by weight they include in their services, with fees for additional fish boxes, vacuum bags and so forth over those numbers.

    I've worked in the airline industry for over 12 years and can tell you that the major carriers all charge significantly for 'oversize' bags, so be sure you keep those boxes under 50# !!

    Oh, whatever you do in your fishing travels ... do NOT fly from Anchorage connecting through DFW on American Airlines during the summer. Otherwise you can expect at least 50/50 odds that your fish boxes will be completely thawed out after being left out on the ramp in 100+ temps for far too long.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kid66 View Post
    I am slowly getting my family off of store bought meat products. I am building up my hunting experience to supply alternates to beef.
    I'd also like to commend you for your choice to do this. Wild, Alaskan fish is a great choice, as well as wild game. I took my family off of beef several years ago, with the occasional steak for a special occasion. Best move I've made.

    I would suggest you begin cultivate a relationship with some fish suppliers, to keep you in fresh fish when your sport caught fish runs out. Find a group of people in your area who want same, and you can keep a steady supply of wild, fresh salmon and halibut coming for your families.

    Be sure to really educate yourself on the different styles of fishing, different grades of salmon, different species of salmon, etc. Friends don't let friends eat farmed salmon.

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    We usually bring home 200 lbs each summer, 4 50 lb boxes. Whichever processor you use will pack the boxes to exactly 50. It is a lot cheaper to pay baggage fees than to pay fedex. We ship our luggage home via usps, which winds up taking a while but you save a ton of money. We have used 15lb boxes as carryons too which worked out fine if we ended up with extra fish. If you are flying first class most airlines will allow you 2 bags @ 75lbs per. Its a lot to think about, but it is good to plan ahead. It is also a pretty large additional cost you have to factor in too, processing fees, boxes, baggage fees, but it is so worth it!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by kid66 View Post
    Here is the background of the trip. This will be my first trip to fish Alaska. I am researching Homer, Seldovia, and Seward. The other current post on help fishing Alaska has been really helpful. My main goal is to put meat in the freezer. I want to target halibut, salmon, and cod or rock fish. I will be flying a commercial airlines up to AK and I plan on fishing 3 days. I have contacted 3 different fishing charters as part of my research and have been given 3 different answers. I was told 25 lbs, 50 lbs, and 75 lbs. There is a big difference between the 3.

    I have a lot of experience in deep sea fishing down in southern California and Mexico, but never up in Alaska. Besides the fishing, I would like to get in some hiking and experience what else Alaska has to offer. I am slowly getting my family off of store bought meat products. I am building up my hunting experience to supply alternates to beef.

    Thank you guys in advance for the responses.
    Not all charters are set up to fully process your fish for you. (fillet, vacuum pack, freeze, & ship) However, in both Seward and Homer there are Commercial facilities that specialize in just that. So rather than asking a Charter how much you can ship, you need to ask them what fish processing facilities are available with/through them. These commercial fish processors can ship UPS or FEDEX overnight for you if desired. But as has already been suggested you'll save a $ or $$ by shipping as baggage on your airlines tickets. And as has already been suggested, you'll be better off booking with a good 6 pack rather than go for the lesser price offered on the bigger boats. The chances of a better catch go up considerably. And lastly, unless you've already made reservations/commitments in Seldovia, I'd suggest you give Dave & Peggy Cloninger in Seldovia some consideration. Good Luck

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    Seward's probably your best bet; if it's just fishing you're after, it's pretty much a wash between the three, but if you want to do more 'touristy' stuff, Seward pulls ahead (SeaLife Center, wildlife cruises, Exit Glacier, etc.), and for hiking, it's not even a contest. There really is no hiking around Homer, and Seldovia's alright but not in the same class as Seward. Hiking above treeline there is truly spectacular.
    " Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

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    Quote Originally Posted by cdubbin View Post
    . There really is no hiking around Homer.
    What
    A quick jump across the bay and there are literally miles and miles of trails in Kachemak Bay state park. Cabins and yurts to rent, glaciers you can hike to, camp anywhere you want.... and for all practical purposes no brown bears.
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    Quote Originally Posted by homerdave View Post
    What
    A quick jump across the bay and there are literally miles and miles of trails in Kachemak Bay state park. Cabins and yurts to rent, glaciers you can hike to, camp anywhere you want.... and for all practical purposes no brown bears.
    I was thinking the same thing....and I know I guy who runs a water taxi down there. Still, the hiking out of Seward is pretty spectacular as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by homerdave View Post
    What
    A quick jump across the bay and there are literally miles and miles of trails in Kachemak Bay state park. Cabins and yurts to rent, glaciers you can hike to, camp anywhere you want.... and for all practical purposes no brown bears.
    +1, absolutely, I should have specified around the Homer town proper...and there ARE trails, they're just pretty weak sisters IMO...but yeah, across the bay's a horse of a different color....world class hiking, just not as accessible (that's where Dave comes in )
    " Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

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    Thank you everybody for the quick responses. i have been viewing this site for a couple of months now and for the most part everybody seems willing to help and share there knowledge. After viewing the thread labeled "trip help", I decided to sign up. Thank you guys.

    The is the information that I am looking for. @270ti - I actually only buy my family "wild caught" fish now. The farmed raised stuff to me is garbage. For my first fishing trip, I want to go to one of the larger cities that are actually easier to get in and out of to learn the lay of the land. Learn the people and customs of Alaska fishing. I plan on going on a 6 pack and a larger boat. I think this will be the best way to get the variety. I was wondering about the amount of fish I will take home on 3 days of fishing. Perfect responses.

    Now for a question that is semi off topic, can I rent crab or shrimp pots and drop them? I didn't see any of the halibut charters offereing this.

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    Thank you, this is very helpful. I want to take some great pictures of nature and drink some good Alaskan brewed beer at the pubs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeek the Greek View Post
    If you're flying on Alaska airlines, the only practical limit to how many fish boxes you can bring home with you is how much you're willing to pay in baggage fees. So long as each fish box is 50# or less, it is considered a regular checked bag. Flying coach, your first three checked bags are $20 each, then $50 for each additional checked bag (first class fares get the first two bags free, then $20/ea for the next 3, then $50 per box). The Seattle hub has a walk-in freezer to store fish boxes, so if your travel plans include an overnight layover in SEA, just request that your fish be stored there & they'll be happy to do it.

    If you're headed someplace that requires floatplane service to get you in & out, you need to contact the carrier and ask them about their fees & policies for luggage. You might discover that your awesome 600# haul of boxed-up fillets will require a specially chartered floatplane just to get them to a major airport.

    Example: Pacific Airways floatplanes in Ketchikan offer a roundtrip 'lodge rate' which is about $70 higher than the standard roundtrip fare, but it includes two 50# fishboxes per person on the return flight in addition to your 50# baggage allowance. If you have more than two fishboxes per person, they charge $48 per box. If you've really got a lot of fishboxes to bring back, they charge $675 for a charter flight with up to 1,200# of cargo.

    The answers you're getting from the fishing charter operators may be the amount of packed fish boxes by weight they include in their services, with fees for additional fish boxes, vacuum bags and so forth over those numbers.

    I've worked in the airline industry for over 12 years and can tell you that the major carriers all charge significantly for 'oversize' bags, so be sure you keep those boxes under 50# !!

    Oh, whatever you do in your fishing travels ... do NOT fly from Anchorage connecting through DFW on American Airlines during the summer. Otherwise you can expect at least 50/50 odds that your fish boxes will be completely thawed out after being left out on the ramp in 100+ temps for far too long.
    This will be my next adventure in a couple of years, I am going to try to go for some caribou up in AK and I believe that I will have to deal with the float planes and serious weight issues.

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    [QUOTE=Old John;1252181]Not all charters are set up to fully process your fish for you. (fillet, vacuum pack, freeze, & ship) However, in both Seward and Homer there are Commercial facilities that specialize in just that. So rather than asking a Charter how much you can ship, you need to ask them what fish processing facilities are available with/through them. These commercial fish processors can ship UPS or FEDEX overnight for you if desired. But as has already been suggested you'll save a $ or $$ by shipping as baggage on your airlines tickets. And as has already been suggested, you'll be better off booking with a good 6 pack rather than go for the lesser price offered on the bigger boats. The chances of a better catch go up considerably. And lastly, unless you've already made reservations/commitments in Seldovia, I'd suggest you give Dave & Peggy Cloninger in Seldovia

    Yes, I saw Dave and Peggy get brought up on another thread. They seem to come highly recommended.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kid66 View Post
    Thank you, this is very helpful. I want to take some great pictures of nature and drink some good Alaskan brewed beer at the pubs.
    Well then, you want to go to Homer. Homer brewing Co makes some of the worlds best beer. Plus there is the Bear Creek Winery out east end road in Homer, that you should really visit at least once in your life. You should email the Chamber of Commerce in both Seward and Homer and ask for a free visitors guide..

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    Quote Originally Posted by kid66 View Post
    Thank you, this is very helpful. I want to take some great pictures of nature and drink some good Alaskan brewed beer at the pubs.
    In Seldovia you can get a can of IceHouse for 4 bucks....
    " Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

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