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Thread: Tutka Bay trip

  1. #1
    Member Tolman24's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Eagle River, AK

    Default Tutka Bay trip

    Trip to Seas Star Cove Cabin in Tutka Bay

    I reserved the Sea Star cabin a year ago in hopes of making this trip. The cabin is a public use cabin run by the state of Alaska. It is popular so you need to be ready to make your reservation on the day you want a year in advance which is the earliest you may reserve. I had hoped that the entire family could attend but unfortunately my son and his wife were unable to. That left my wife and I and my daughter, her husband and 2 grand kids. I will say that the comfort of the cabin and beach area cabin made for more camping and less fishing than I had thought. It was just very relaxing to sit around the fire and watch the kids play.

    After a late start on Thursday my wife and I headed to Homer along with our 6 year old granddaughter. The rest of the family would meet us there on Friday. After a 6 hour drive we had an uneventful boat launch and headed the 15 miles to the cabin. The trip consisted of the normal KBay chop but not too bad. Because of our late start it was about 10 pm when we arrived. Prior to our trip I got the materials to create an anchoring system that would allow the boat to be pulled to and from shore to deeper water. This was based on the design by Neil Moomey and . Unfortunately this was the first time I tried to use it and the beach we were at was too shallow and the tide differential to great (~20’) to get far enough out. My wife and I got the boat unloaded and up the long flight of stairs to the cabin. It was starting to get dark so my wife set up the cabin for her and my granddaughter and I went out and dropped an anchor and slept on the boat. The next morning after being rested and seeing the beaches at load tide I moved my anchoring spot to a rocky beach to the left of the cabin and deployed the anchoring system. It worked well but I will need to add some additional length to my floating poly so I can get further out as I would be on the beach at the lowest point of the tide on the third day.


    On Friday morning we got up for a leisurely breakfast and campfire and spent the morning making fairy houses with my granddaughter. OK actually my granddaughter and my wife made fairy houses while I sipped on a Bloody Mary and coffee with Baileys. I could sit by the fire and watch my boat sitting peacefully at anchor.

    We left the cabin around 3 pm to pick up my daughter, my son-in-law and my 3 y/o grandson. The water was pretty choppy going to Homer and we were slightly behind schedule. After a quick pick up we were underway once again to the cabin. The water was even rougher on the way back and we were running about 10 – 12 miles an hour. It was rough and the kids loved it and wanted to bounce higher. I personally thought it was high enough. I was glad to get to the more protected waters of Tutka Bay and we had a nice boat ride to the cabin for the last 5 miles.

    After anchoring the boat we all went up for some margaritas and something to eat. We grilled up some hamburgers and then capped it off with some roasted marshmallows and put them between 2 chocolate chip cookies. Instant S’mores with no fuss. After that it was just sitting by the fire watching the kids play. After it started to get dark about 11 pm I headed back to sleep on the boat while everyone else stayed back at the cabin. My son-in-law and my granddaughter did some shore fishing while I relaxed on the deck of the boat and enjoyed a cigar, something I do very sparingly when the grandkids are not around but I do enjoy one on the boat. As long as I am sitting there I should at least throw a line in the water. It was about 23’ right there and I was using a light pole with a small spinner on it and jigging up little rock fish and small Dolly Vardens. I thought I hung up on the bottom on a rock when the rock started swimming away. Darned if I didn’t hook up a decent halibut for such shallow water. It was a bit of a one man circus for a while but I finally got the halibut gaffed and into the fish box and the only casualty was knocking my bait knife overboard. Based on length the book says it was between 22 – 25lbs. It became dinner the next night.

    Saturday morning when I woke up I could hear the boat just starting to scrape the beach at low tide, which is probably what woke me up at 6 am. The water was like glass so I just stepped out onto the beach and pulled it up as high as I could and the tide went out another foot or so. I walked along the beach and looked at all the star fish. It was easy to see how the cove got its name.

    On Saturday afternoon we headed over to Seldovia and had a late lunch and walked around the town a bit. Unfortunately the wind came up and it was a slow rough slog back to the cabin for the first 10 miles. Nothing unsafe but just a bit uncomfortable and not conditions for fishing with little ones. We got back to the cabin and the cove was protected and we did some fishing with my granddaughter and my grandson. She caught a 2 lb. Dusky rockfish and was quite excited and happy with herself. The little no-see-ums were thick and we couldn’t find a good spot to fish away from them so we headed back to the cabin. When we got back from Seldovia I came into the shallow side to unload. It was just an hour or so from low tide and perhaps I came in a little fast but I managed to get grounded fast before we got unloaded. That is the good thing about the Tolman, it was designed to run up on the beach on an outgoing tide, and then float off again on the incoming tide. This gave me a couple of hours to make myself a margarita, get the fire going, and sit around and watch the kids play.

    A few hours later I ran the boat back around to the anchor system and then headed back to the cabin for some halibut tacos, coleslaw, margaritas and some special roasted marshmallows. In addition to the cookie sandwich my daughter stuck some chocolate crunch pieces into the middle of the marshmallow after roasting it. They were quite good.

    Sunday morning was more of the same, up for a leisurely breakfast by the fire and then took the boat out for some fishing. Unfortunately we did more fishing than catching as the water was rough outside of the protected bay but the granddaughter managed to catch a few salmon and a Cod I believe. It may not be a bass but it still needed a kiss before being released.

    While we were fishing the girls went for a little kayak adventure. The weather was great all the time we were there. Life is definitely good.

    Monday was our packing day and heading back to the real world. The wind shifted from the North and cooled things off and created 1 - 2 foot rollers coming into the cove which made dealing with the boat much more challenging. We were all soaking wet before we were finished but we got it all loaded and the anchoring system stored for the next trip. The trip back to Homer was rough with 4 to 5’ rollers coming in. The wind was whipping and I heard later that there were small craft advisories all around the area. The boat handled it well and no one seemed concerned but my knuckles were white by the time we got in. All in all a great trip enjoyed by all.
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  2. #2
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Eagle River, AK


    Most excellent report! Thanks for sharing that. I've got to say, though, it killed my wife to hear that you caught a halibut from shore - we've been trying in there for years with no success! Plenty of other fish, but we've yet to have a halibut grab the end of the line when jigging or tossing from shore in there.

    Nicely done all around.

  3. #3
    Member Kay9Cop's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Palmer, AK


    Sounds like some awesome family time!
    "Beware the man with only one gun; he may know how to use it."

  4. #4
    Member bkmail's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Palmer, AK.


    Great trip, appreciate the report. Love the smores idea.......will add it to our next camping trip menu.
    BK Marine Services 232-6399
    Planar diesel heaters dealer, service, warranty, and installation.
    Airboats, ocean boats, and river boats serviced.

  5. #5


    Awesome times!!!!
    Early mornings and Late evenings (often 10pm or later) are best on the bay. The day breeze is norm for the summer. Also I'd just let the boat go dry repeatedly if timing allows. On a side note, I have a 9' inflatable that's easy enough to throw on top the boat that would be great for shore transport and allow the boat to be anchored securely and not worry about it.
    Check out Quickwater Adventure water taxi/transport services:

  6. #6


    +1 on the instant Smores idea. Thanks!


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