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Alaska cruise for 2018, Halibut fishing


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We’re planning an Alaska cruise for 2018, mid July or early September and one the things we’d like to do is some Halibut fishing. The cruises only offer stops at Ketchikan and Juneau, that would allow for Halibut fishing. It appears that Ketchikan is closer to open ocean water. Any opinions or comments on either place? Never did this before but should be fun.

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I have not fished either of these ports but have fished out of Kenai Peninsula launch sites a bunch of times.  Halibut fishing is a blast, you will not regret it, especially if you haven't done it before.  I would not go to AK and not go halibut fishing, the fish you catch will likely come close to paying for the charter fees at the $20-24/lb you typically pay for it here in Wegmans.  Ketchikan and Juneau are in SE, which I believe is 1 fish limit, under 43" or over 80" for guided boat.  Which means you're probably shipping home one under 43" for each person in your group.  I'm sure you will have no problem getting your keeper at either port, they are not difficult to catch, but I would ask your question in the Saltwater Forum of Alaska Outdoor Forums, they will likely give you some ideas on which port might be better for various reasons, charters to recommend, other things to consider (length of boat ride to the fishing grounds, etc.),these guys are usually very helpful:

 

http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/

 

One thing to consider is whether the tides are more favorable the day you will be in Ketchikan vs the day you are in Juneau, how strong the tides are (stronger tides = more lead to get bait down = more tired forearms cranking up chickens and rebaiting,etc), time to be there to fish (they may leave port at 4AM for some tides, 6 AM for others, to get there ob both sides of slack tide, etc).  Another is fish processing and means for shipping the fish home, I assume they have that at both ports, but you should check.

 

Feel free to PM me if you have questions

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I did that for my honeymoon. We fished on a charter out of Seward. We went 2 days early and fished before the cruise left. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Seward has lots of charters but if you can get there, homer supposedly has better halibut fishing. Seward was fine too but they were smaller fish. We still caught a 5 man limit on halibut very easily. Also caught ling cod, seabass, yellow eye (some type of snapper I think) and coho. Absolute best fishing trip ever. We were in resurrection bay.

Fwiw, I'd try to stay away from the cruise excursion trips. They're overpriced and limited on time. We payed $250/person for a 14 hour trip out of Seward. I'll try to find the guys name if he's still fishing out of Seward. I couldn't afford the shipping for the meat back home but my cousin kept it all, he lives there. We had a few hundred lbs of fish. There was a place right at the dock called "J Dock fishing company". They'll wrap, freeze and ship your fish home for you but it wasn't cheap. I think maybe $200/50lbs or something like that. Whatever it was I couldn't afford it back then unfortunately

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Edited by MooseKnuckle VI
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On a side note, we saw a ton of wildlife too, whales, sea lions, eagles....people on the cruise paid a bunch of $ for a "wildlife tour" and didn't see much. We paid less for our charter trip, saw more stuff and caught a pile of fish. Trip of a lifetime for sure no matter what you decide.

Here's a few photos from our trip.

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Thank you, thats more info than I thought I’d get. Love the pictures.

We were thinking about booking Halibut via the cruise ship but now rethinking that. They charge 350-370 for a 6 hour trip and so far Ketchikan and Juneau are the only ports on the cruise. I never gave the tide think a thought, not much for tide on Big O.

I know it starts getting cool in September but if you had a choice, would you pick July or Sept. for a better chance of catching fish? My wife did some reading and Halibut feed on dead salmon in the fall.

I may call a few charters and pick their brains too.

 

Thanks again

 

Greg

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Out of Ketchikan we were trolling for salmon with herring for bait. Our engine stopped and in two hundred foot of water our lines dropped to the bottom. A few minutes later I had on a huge fish we believe was a halibut. My level wind reel jammed to the side of the spool and the hundred pound test line broke with a large bang. From the docks there we would cast our spinning rods with lures on and every cast would take bass looking fish or dog fish sharks. You do not need a charter to get more action than you need. This was in 1963 and I had tears in my eyes when I flew out of Ketchikan.

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I forget which town it was, but a high school aged kid was there renting zebco combos for $10 fully equipped with one spoon. I didn't partake, but I walked around helping out some little kids casting from the beach. It was a blast, they were hooking cohos left and right. I'm pretty sure it was icy straight point but I could be wrong. It was a blast either way.

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  We added a couple days of fishing to our honeymoon as well.  One day on the Kenai for Kings and another in Cook inlet for Halibut. It was awesome!  I was also in Seward as part of our "land cruise" spent a few days in Resurrection bay, spent a whole day on kayaks around the islands. Its a beautiful place. Make sure you book a fishing trip I would go back in a heartbeat!

 

We put our 2 days of fishing at the end of our trip so we didn't have to deal with as many logistical situations.

 

As far as getting our fish home here is what we did. The processor cleaned, flash froze it and packed it in 50 # airline approved coolers with dry ice.  We checked all of our fish as our luggage on the plane and mailed our dirty laundry home because it was much much lighter.

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  We added a couple days of fishing to our honeymoon as well.  One day on the Kenai for Kings and another in Cook inlet for Halibut. It was awesome!  I was also in Seward as part of our "land cruise" spent a few days in Resurrection bay, spent a whole day on kayaks around the islands. Its a beautiful place. Make sure you book a fishing trip I would go back in a heartbeat!

 

We put our 2 days of fishing at the end of our trip so we didn't have to deal with as many logistical situations.

 

As far as getting our fish home here is what we did. The processor cleaned, flash froze it and packed it in 50 # airline approved coolers with dry ice.  We checked all of our fish as our luggage on the plane and mailed our dirty laundry home because it was much much lighter.

Great idea

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My family and I went on a full day charter in Cook Inlet back in July of this year. It was my first time halibut fishing, but it was a blast! The tide is definitely something to think about, the day we went out there was like an 18' or 20' tide change and you wouldn't believe the amount of current it creates. It makes it very difficult to keep your lines near bottom, but just either side of slack tide we had doubles, triples, quadrupled several times. We had an excellent day, with all 5 in our group limiting out, including two that tipped the scales at 104# and 100#. It will definitely be on my list of places to return to in the future. I'll post a few pictures shortly if I can find them

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From our experience the best bite was just either side of slack tide.  Just as soon as you saw the slightest bit of current, the bite was on.  Our captain said that Halibut are scent feeders, so any time there is current the bite should be decent.  As others have already said, when there is a big tide change of 20ft or more, it can be very difficult to keep your bait down near bottom - which is probably why our best bite was when the current just started to pick back up.  Depending on the conditions on the water, you can also chase the tide.  When slack tide hits, you reel everything up and motor a few miles past the tide and set up again so you can catch it a second time.

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Thank you, thats more info than I thought I’d get. Love the pictures.

We were thinking about booking Halibut via the cruise ship but now rethinking that. They charge 350-370 for a 6 hour trip and so far Ketchikan and Juneau are the only ports on the cruise. I never gave the tide think a thought, not much for tide on Big O.

I know it starts getting cool in September but if you had a choice, would you pick July or Sept. for a better chance of catching fish? My wife did some reading and Halibut feed on dead salmon in the fall.

I may call a few charters and pick their brains too.

 

Thanks again

 

Greg

 

I did the cruse trip thing and you will be disappointed. They have like thirty boats go out for the cruse trips and most of the "captains" don't know do da about boat control ect. and if your lucky you get a 1st mate to help. Ketchikan we had a guy trying to steer from the back, work poles, set lines. A real cluster f--k. Out of Juneau we motored for an hour of two, fished for a couple  and motored back. We did catch fish but maybe 10 between 6 people on board. A lot of looking and not much catching. If you can hire at the docks you may be happier. Another thing is you only have so much time in the port. They pull in at 7AM and the ship may leave at 5 to get you to the next port. It is what it is. 

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From what I've read, you can only keep one Halibut. Up to 40"?? then over 100, something like that.

The wife wanted to take a charter that was setup by the cruise ship because if the boat breaks down at sea, the cruise ship WILL wait for you to get back to shore.

If you charter on your own and they break down, your screwed

A few of the cruise ships will cook your catch, that sounds good

Guess I need think this over

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