Thank You, Alaska

June 26, 2018

I caught the first halibut of the trip on a jig bounced on the bottom. If you think grouper bite hard, try hanging on to a fat ‘but!

The man, the legend… Andy Mezirow. Even when the fish are not biting, Andy’s stories will keep you entertained.

Travis Mauer (left) and Capt. Jeff Seward with our biggest halibut of the trip, caught in the final quarter of fishing on the last day.

My happy place.

Trolling for salmon requires a lot of gear and a lot of knowledge. That’s part of the reason why Andy loves it so much.

My biggest fish weighed 74 pounds.

Andy and his wife Nicky now offer lodging is this updated three-bedroom house on the edge of a salmon stream.

Weather can change in a millisecond on the Gulf of Alaska.

Probably my favorite photo from the trip. I can picture this as a two-page spread in a fishing magazine.

Jeff and Travis with another nice fish.

It was a bit early for the kings, but we did manage to find one.

I love mountains. I love ocean. Therefore, I love Alaska.

Alaska is one of those special places that makes you want to be outside, all the time, well in the summer months at least. I have not explored much of the great state, but thanks to a friendship with Andy Mezirow, I have now been to Seward three times. This quaint seaside town offers easy access to the Gulf of Alaska and the incredibly fertile waters surrounding Montague Island.

Andy began fishing around Montague a couple of decades ago and he was one of the first to explore the many pockets and rockpiles all around the island. He and the team at Crackerjack Sportfishing pioneered the idea of overnight fishing trips to fill the fish hold with halibut and oftentimes king salmon. The fishing has changed drastically over the last few years. Fishery managers keep close tabs on the catches and you can now only keep four halibut each year. The salmon fishery is also very regulated, and thankfully so.

We arrived a bit early for salmon, but we got to spend one day on Andy’s new boat, the Gray Light. Andy legendary California custom boat builder, Don Radon, build the 32-foot vessel to meet Andy’s exacting standards. This is a very dialed in charter boat with no expense spared. From the electronics to the tackle to the cabin appointments, I have to say she is one bad-ass vessel. She feels and rides like a much larger boat. And, she’s set up exactly how Andy wants her to catch king salmon, which are kind of like the blue marlin of salmon.

We also spent two days fishing with Jeff Seward, who was Andy’s mate. Jeff lived through 14 years of deckhand duties and practical jokes courtesy of Andy. Jeff still doesn’t leave an open water bottle on the boat for fear of what may have been placed inside it, in all good fun, of course. Jeff is a very accomplished skipper in his own regard and I really appreciate how dedicated he is to the sport and conservation. These men understand the effects of over fishing all too well, and they do their part to educate anglers and conserve the fish stocks.

The trip was arranged by Travis Mauer, a past client of Andy’s whom I met and fished with last November in Australia. Travis is one of the hardest working guys I know. He punches in everyday, for more hours than most of us. And the reason he does it? So he can save up and go on several cool fishing trips a year. I really commend Travis for his love of fishing. He says that he always needs a trip on the horizon to look forward to. It’s what keeps him going.

Our trip to Seward this past June was a bit different than the last ones. I was there to fish, relax and send home some meat for my family. It was very needed and once again, Alaska did not disappoint. If you ever want to try fishing for halibut or salmon, head to Seward and give Andy and the Crackerjack crew a call. They’ll take good care of you.

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