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Thread: Who is the Best Halibut Charter Captain in AK?

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    Default Who is the Best Halibut Charter Captain in AK?

    I am planning a trip back to AK with my family, and want to find the best Halinut Charter Captain available. (Within certain parameters) I fished a few years ago out of Valdez, but did not care for the long ride out of the bay. Although I am open to a long ride if the trip is worth it. I am planning my trip 2 years in advance, so, I hope to be able to get a reservation with the best.

    I have looked into fishing out of Dutch Harbor, but flights from Anchorage are $1,000 and up. That is a lot to tack onto the airfare and other expenses for a family of four. In other words, there are some limits to how far I will go.

    If you post a recommendation, please tell me why you think it is the best. Does he stay booked over a year in advance? Does he out produce other boats? Or is it your cousin Billy Bob who just really needs some cash?

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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    "....want to find the best Halinut Charter Captain available."

    Wutz a Halinut?

    If you want a short ride go out of Deep Creek for a half day chicken hunt!

    IMO Valdez has the best charters - and the ride is long if the weather is okay. In Valdez they work all day for you - not 3 hours and back to the launch for another load.

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    We have fished a few places. Homer, Seward, Kodiak and Yakutat. I suggest you try Yakutat. Short trips out. Large fish # and size. The best Captain is Captain Knutsen at Glacier Bear Lodge IMO.What ever you decide have a great time.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    The thing about halibut fishing is different people have different goals. Some people's goal is to get a 100+# fish, some people want to catch as many fish as possible in a day, some people want to each catch their two fish with as little effort as possible. So first you need to nail down what is most important to you, size of fish, wearing your arms out, or a short boat trip and everybody getting a pair of chickens.

    The other concern and consideration is the limit on halibut has been changing and will likely continue to change in the next couple years. You might be able to find a great captain in one part of the state, but find out you can only keep one fish under 37" per person.

    Personally I'd lean towards an overnight or multiday long range trip where you live on the boat, and target many species of fish: halibut, ling cod, rock fish, and salmon. With the multi day trips you spend alot more time fishing, whereas with day trips over 1/2 the day can be spent on getting out to the fishing grounds, and trying different locations to find the best bite. I'd look at offerings in Kodiak, not much extra air fare from Anchorage, and the fishing can be phenominal relatively close to port. But weather conditions can also be world class, with you exposed the Gulf of Alaska, once you leave port.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

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    This is like asking who the world's best dad is...

    awkward-family-photos-worlds-best-dad.jpg

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    Member pike_palace's Avatar
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    Outta Homer you can't beat Capt. Tony on the Falcon or Capt. Mike on the Beausoleil. They consistently put clients on big Halibut.
    "Ya can't stop a bad guy with a middle finger and a bag of quarters!!!!"- Ted Nugent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.No View Post
    This is like asking who the world's best dad is...

    awkward-family-photos-worlds-best-dad.jpg
    WOAH...Umm That pic actually scared me...Umm moving on lol In valdez Try to check out fish central and they can hook you up,In seward I will say crackerjack charters simply because the captain is on this forum and an active member and I have liked what i heard.If your military pm me and i will let you know which MWR is the best.
    There's a fine line between fishing....

    and standing on the shore like an idiot! ALLEN BRADLEY-TANGLE LAKES ADVOCATE/FANBOY

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    Well said Paul.


    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    The thing about halibut fishing is different people have different goals. Some people's goal is to get a 100+# fish, some people want to catch as many fish as possible in a day, some people want to each catch their two fish with as little effort as possible. So first you need to nail down what is most important to you, size of fish, wearing your arms out, or a short boat trip and everybody getting a pair of chickens.

    The other concern and consideration is the limit on halibut has been changing and will likely continue to change in the next couple years. You might be able to find a great captain in one part of the state, but find out you can only keep one fish under 37" per person.

    Personally I'd lean towards an overnight or multiday long range trip where you live on the boat, and target many species of fish: halibut, ling cod, rock fish, and salmon. With the multi day trips you spend alot more time fishing, whereas with day trips over 1/2 the day can be spent on getting out to the fishing grounds, and trying different locations to find the best bite. I'd look at offerings in Kodiak, not much extra air fare from Anchorage, and the fishing can be phenominal relatively close to port. But weather conditions can also be world class, with you exposed the Gulf of Alaska, once you leave port.
    The only thing worse than a Subaru is the as*hole who drives it.

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    Thanks everyone. This is great info. Regarding goals, i do not have a certain criteria; I just had a bad experience with a captain who was content to sit on the same spot all day while I boxed two chickens. It would be nice to catch a 3 digit guy, but I really hope to put two a day in the cooler that are good eats. I'll sum it up this way: I want to get my line stretched!

    The multi day trip sounds great. I've done a lot of those in the Gulf of Mexico for snaps, grouper, AJs and tuna. It is a great way to go. You get more fishing time and the multi day trip helps with your limits. I would like to find some good options on multi day trips.

    And thanks for not beating me up too bad on the typo: I really am not after Halinuts. :-)

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    I am VERY pleased to see a charter service I will be using this July- Saltwater Excursions Makes me feel more confident that I have made a good choice. I am very happy so far in the communication I have received from the Captain.
    My halibut charter experiences are limited to mainly one- Ninilchik Charters with guide Al Henderson. I will also be fishing with him this year.
    I have fished with one other service that was a nightmare- I will not post them here. If interested PM me.

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    There was a guy working charters out of Juneau, must have been 15 years ago. Name was Mike and he ran "the king and I". I used him twice and learned more about halibut fishing with him in two days than all my time on a commercial boat. Juneau not known as halibut meccca, but the clients of his that I knew always got good butt. Was a Wrangell guy, IIRC.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rode Warrior View Post
    Thanks everyone. This is great info. Regarding goals, i do not have a certain criteria; I just had a bad experience with a captain who was content to sit on the same spot all day while I boxed two chickens. It would be nice to catch a 3 digit guy, but I really hope to put two a day in the cooler that are good eats. I'll sum it up this way: I want to get my line stretched!

    The multi day trip sounds great. I've done a lot of those in the Gulf of Mexico for snaps, grouper, AJs and tuna. It is a great way to go. You get more fishing time and the multi day trip helps with your limits. I would like to find some good options on multi day trips.

    And thanks for not beating me up too bad on the typo: I really am not after Halinuts. :-)
    Your experience is not unique. I was invited on a group trip a company had booked on a Delta with one of the bigger outfits. One would think if a company books an entire large boat, they'd put some effort into moving around to get a good bite on, but they were content to let us sit on the hook off of Montague for most of the day. I think we had 16 people fishing, and at the end of the day about a dozen halibut, dozen silvers, a couple of lings and a few misc rock fish was the sum total. They reluctantly hit a chicken hole on the way in, but it was infested with dog fish, so in spite of great weather, the fishing was lackluster due to a lack of effort on the captains part.

    I had the opposite experience a few years previously, same deal, a group trip on a Delta, but that time it was Lucky Pierre out of Homer. They ran to 4 or 5 different spots before we got a good bite going. I doubt any of the fish went over 30#'s, but I kept throwing fish back trying to get a bigger one and must have hooked 20 halibut that day, and it was one of my most enjoyable trips.

    I never expect any charter to limit out day after day, that's not realistic, but I do expect them to put out the effort.

    Knowing what you're looking for, I'd say the multi day trip is the way to go. There was a pretty good writeup a few months back in Fish Alaska on one of the long range outfits out of Homer. The other advantage to the long range trips is they fish areas that the day fleet can't reach (weather permitting) You should have no problem getting a cooler full of halibut, lingcod, rockfish and depending on the timing some salmon. Most importantly you'll get your fill of fishing.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

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    Reel pleasure charters Valdez, Captain Dave Bruss, Runs" No Excuses"

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    out of valdez Halibut Grove was great for us, he really worked hard to get eveyone their fish, and we all did. he anchored us 3 different places and also drifted. On a previous charter the year before all we did was sit in one spot all day, the weather was great but we wanted to fill the freezer and not many fish were put in the coolers

    good luck and have fun!

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    Deep Creek has the shortest runs to halibut grounds that I know of. Especially this year with gas likely being close to $5.00 a gallon close trips could mean less you pay. Deep Creek has consistent fishing and you are nearly guaranteed to go home with a limit, size is the only thing that is tough sometimes. The slower spots generally have bigger fish but tougher to get limits, where as the better spots have almost guaranteed chance at limits but sometimes tough to hook into fish bigger than 30 pounds. Chihuly's Charters and Afishunt charters have the nicest boats, and trust me a nice boat like these are worth it. I have lot's of experience with Chihuly's charters and the guides there have had over 20 plus years experience fishing off Deep Creek and they don't run double trips like many outfits do. The edge in certain cases I would give to Valdez, Seward, and Homer would be during late July or August when you could go hook into silvers, ling cod, halibut, rockfish, and others.

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    Member Mkay's Avatar
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    If you go to Ninilchik/Deep Creek call Ebbtide Charters. We work at Elmendorf AFB together in the ICU and he works hard to get you your fish.
    Plus his prices are cheaper than most.
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    The Charter Captain that worked the hardest and put in more big fish than any one didn't get a permit!!! Tony and Mike are great and so is Brain Nollar on the Belle Ile, Rick Zielenski on the Arctic Envy, David Bayes on the Grand Aleutian and the young one Tyler Stotz on the Daze Off All out of HOMER. Any one of them are the best on any given day!!! Chad is gone! But will he be back?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    The thing about halibut fishing is different people have different goals. Some people's goal is to get a 100+# fish, some people want to catch as many fish as possible in a day, some people want to each catch their two fish with as little effort as possible. So first you need to nail down what is most important to you, size of fish, wearing your arms out, or a short boat trip and everybody getting a pair of chickens.

    The other concern and consideration is the limit on halibut has been changing and will likely continue to change in the next couple years. You might be able to find a great captain in one part of the state, but find out you can only keep one fish under 37" per person.

    Personally I'd lean towards an overnight or multiday long range trip where you live on the boat, and target many species of fish: halibut, ling cod, rock fish, and salmon. With the multi day trips you spend alot more time fishing, whereas with day trips over 1/2 the day can be spent on getting out to the fishing grounds, and trying different locations to find the best bite. I'd look at offerings in Kodiak, not much extra air fare from Anchorage, and the fishing can be phenominal relatively close to port. But weather conditions can also be world class, with you exposed the Gulf of Alaska, once you leave port.
    Good post, Paul H.
    We have had good trips with most charter services, but prefer local businesses mostly.
    With 3 of us fishing, we always end up with our coolers full and enough halibut for a year, which is our main goal; a safe, fun trip and full coolers.

    We like Marvin Newman/Ebbtide Charters Inc for our family trips. Marv put us on a LOT of fish last year (http://ebbtidechartersinc.com/). Andy Meizerow CrackerJack out of Seward http://www.crackerjackcharters.com/) has done good by us for late season trips too. I've heard good things too about Hill Norvell (http://www.fishwithhill.com/index.htm). Note on his website says that he's booking into 2012 now.

    In 10 years, we've had a lot of good charter trips here. In the early years, even when we chartered randomly, the trips were great. Just luck probly, but when we go, our expectations are few, plus it seems that different crews do different things well. We let them do their thing.

    One interesting thing we've tried a couple of times is tipping at the beginnning of a trip, figuring crews never know whether they'll get tips or not. We always do, usually 10% up to 20%, so why not let 'em know. Anyways, never felt like we got shorted.

    Have a great trip.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pike_palace View Post
    Outta Homer you can't beat Capt. Tony on the Falcon or Capt. Mike on the Beausoleil. They consistently put clients on big Halibut.
    I agree with Pike Palace... I've known both of these Capt's since the early 80's.. they know the waters out of Homer, and they know Fishing...!!

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