Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Vacation? Vacation!

Just got back from Sitka, Alaska where I spent three days and four nights fishing the wonderful waters of the Pacific. What a trip! My father-in-law and I made arrangements to fish with Raindancer Charters in Sitka, sight-unseen...which is what we did two years ago with the good folks at Angler's Lodge on the Kenai River.

We were not disappointed.

Owner John Brooks runs a great little operation. His operations manager Louise handles all the transfers to and from Sitka's airport and takes care of the accommodations and fishing licenses/stamps once at the lodge. John's dogs handle lookout duties at the lodge. They're part Rottweiler part wolf and all about the love. Chef Ty Yamamoto makes a strong case to take the day off and just eat in, but at the end of the day, you just want to go fish. He's also good for a prank or two and will give you a run at the nine-ball table located downstairs.

The fishing regulations in Alaska are stringent...and set to become more so...but we did great with what we were given. The mornings were all about finding King Salmon, and we did just that every day. The limit is one per day--and each of us ended our trip with the maximum three. In addition, I added a few "bonus fish" as Capt. John calls them--Cohos. I picked up two on day one and one on day three. Six delicious salmon along with our limit of halibut (small, but edible) and a ling cod and yelloweye (red snapper) to round out the fun. We fished one day for ling cod as the season closed on 6/15...our first day out.

As I mentioned coming back to the lodge was like coming home. Ty cooked up an excellent feast each night. We had: char-grilled pork chops with a personal-recipe potato mash and green beans (apple pie for dessert), sweet and sour halibut with shrimp fried rice and Japanese stir fry veggies (pound cake and raspberry drizzle for dessert), pork ribs with new potatoes and salad (banana cream pie for dessert) and then the crowning delight: a mojito-inspired halibut dish that was out of this world. Who knew you could get halibut to stay moist on the barbecue? (And don't forget chocolate pie for dessert.)

All together, Raindancer gave us an unforgettable week of lodging, food, fishing and friendship that we'll remember for the rest of our lives! Thanks again to John & Company.

In the words of Arnold, "I'll be back!"

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