Man, it was fun getting back to Alaska. Escaping the Texas heat at the end of July is worth the trip by itself. I want to circle back and post information for others to maybe use. I have used this site extensively for research and trip planning, and I want to give feedback/input to the cause.
We rented a car and drove from Anchorage to Seward, Homer, and Soldotna, fishing along the way. A week fishing in Alaska cost us about $5K per person, with airfare ($1K), guides ($1,700), lodging ($700), car, food, etc. We had 5 guided days of fishing, usually 6 packs. Bought groceries for sack lunches in Anchorage before driving down. Off-airport car rentals save you considerably (Midnight Sun recommended).
We used J-Dock in Seward, Coal Point in Homer, and Custom Seafoods in Soldotna. They all passed the "got it done" test and prices were all in the same ballpark. J-Dock was chaotic, again. They make you sweat whether you are going to get your catch (if they make it past the common cleaning grounds). J-Docks uses a young, distracted intake and counter staff. Coal Point and Custom had experienced people handling the ticket, and we appreciate the difference it made. Kudos to Coal Point for coming to the boat and hauling the catch up the ramp. We had our fish boxed and flew it home as checked bags at $25-30/box.
In Seward, we enjoyed the convenience of staying within walking distance of the dock, food, and drink. Beau of Just-in-Time lead a fine combo trip, and I would go fishing with him again. Wally of Way-to-Go took us on a silver charter and he seemed pretty stressed out for most of our day as he tried to put us on the fish. The nice big boat was comfortable, but he was barking at his daughter deckhand and not social with the clients.
In Homer, we used Capt. Pete of the Julia Lynn for 2 days of halibut fishing. He was terrific again. Very knowledgeable about the resource, and I hope to fish with him again. Caught an 87 lb butt by the way. Loved eating at Cafe Cups. Spit Sisters makes a nice breakfast sandwich and cup of coffee before getting on the boat. Homer remains my favorite place on the KP.
Soldotna during prime dipnetting season is an interesting social gathering. So is staying at Hooligans in Soldotna. They put us around back, which was sketchy enough until the drunk maintenance man stumbled by to pass out for the night in the maintenance shed. It can be a pretty rough crowd in Soldotna. The pancakes are good at Sal's Klondike Diner, and the owner is a sight to watch work. We fished with a guide set up by Andy Szczesny, and floated the upper Kenai for trout. Beautiful stretch of river - I have to remember to do this again after the reds run, not during. Best place we ate was Suzi's just east of town.
All in all, I want to do it all over again. Thanks to all who contribute to this site.