All posts by Sam Morstan

Gimme 15 Reasons Why I Should Book With You

PLANNING TO HUNT IN ALASKA? AN EXPERT SHARES
MUST-ASK QUESTIONS BEFORE YOU HIRE AN OUTFITTER

BY PAUL D. ATKINS

Next to putting on a dry pair of socks after a long day on the tundra, there is nothing better than the beginning of a hunt – nothing.
The anticipation of what is to come and what can happen is almost as good as Christmas. You have all the gear you need, your bow is dead on and you’ve researched and found the perfect spot.

There’s a lot to be said about do-it-yourself hunting, whether it be for Sitka blacktail, caribou or other species, but going guided can provide immense satisfaction as well. Not all outfitters are created equal, however, so the more research and questions you ask, the more informed you’ll be. (PAUL D. ATKINS)

There’s a lot to be said about do-it-yourself hunting, whether it be for Sitka blacktail, caribou or other species, but going guided can provide immense satisfaction as well. Not all outfitters are created equal, however, so the more research and questions you ask, the more informed you’ll be. (PAUL D. ATKINS)

Somewhere out there is the animal of your dreams, and with a little luck you’re destined to meet it.
As most hunters know, there are basically two types of hunts that a person can participate in: Either you pay and go guided, or you do it yourself and go unguided. Even though each offers a different path, it doesn’t really matter which you choose; it’s still hunting and the quality of any hunt is what you put into it.
I have been asked many times, “Which is better, being guided or doing it yourself?” That is easy to answer for some of us, but for others it might not be. I have been lucky enough to take most of my animals with bow and rifle on do-it-yourself-type hunts, but there have been times that I wished I had a guide with me.
There is a great deal of satisfaction in doing it yourself, especially when all your efforts combined with a little luck come together, resulting in that monster of your dreams. Believe me, there is nothing more satisfying in the hunting world. Some hunters prefer it this way, and for others it is the only option.
Guided hunts can also provide that same satisfaction. A hunter still has to be out there trudging up and down mountains or crossing rivers, trying to find what they’re looking for. The anticipation is the same and the physical effort isn’t any different.
The big difference, however, is that these hunts are conducted by an outfitter or a safari company and you’ll have a guide. You basically are paying them for their service and all the prep work has been done for you. They’ve scouted for you, hung stands, placed blinds and hopefully know exactly what the animals are doing long before you get there.
In addition, but not always, they will provide food and accommodations. You basically are paying for their expertise, land access and the use of their equipment.

One way to find potential outfitters is to attend winter’s many sportsmen’s shows. They present an opportunity to talk in person with operators. (PAUL D. ATKINS)

One way to find potential outfitters is to attend winter’s many sportsmen’s shows. They present an opportunity to talk in person with operators. (PAUL D. ATKINS)

NOT ALL GUIDED hunts are created equal, however. You are relying on the guide’s credentials, and the more research you do about an outfitter, the better off you will be.

Finding the right outfit is so important. Not only are you paying for their services, but in most cases and most times you are dependent on them during the entire hunt, putting your life in their hands continuously. Hunters need to remember that guides and outfitters make their livelihoods on booked hunts and are not there to do it all. Hunters need to do their part as well. (PAUL D. ATKINS)

Finding the right outfit is so important. Not only are you paying for their services, but in most cases and most times you are dependent on them during the entire hunt, putting your life in their hands continuously. Hunters need to remember that guides and outfitters make their livelihoods on booked hunts and are not there to do it all. Hunters need to do their part as well. (PAUL D. ATKINS)

One of the best guided hunts that I’ve ever been on was for mountain lion in Arizona. The guide was world renowned for getting hunters their lion and had a 100-per-cent success rate, a pretty rare feat these days. I was a bit wary of perfect record, so I called the references he provided, and, sure enough, all were successful. I actually racked up quite a phone bill and eventually got tired of calling people.
But most outfitters are not 100 percent on kills; if they tell you they are, I would be immediately suspect of their operation. Bottom line: get references, both successful and not successful, and make the calls.
Many hunters who are new to the guided game (and even some of us old timers) may not know exactly what to ask about or do when it comes to researching an outfit. There are many factors that go into any hunt and the success of that hunt depends greatly on the question-and-answer session. Remember that it’s your responsibility to get as many details as possible before mailing the cashier’s check. It can and will be the difference between a great time and a disaster.

If you book a guided hunt and it states that it will be a camp-type hunt, be sure and check out all the details. Two questions that come to mind are, “What do I bring in terms of gear and what will the weather be like?” (PAUL D. ATKINS)

If you book a guided hunt and it states that it will be a camp-type hunt, be sure and check out all the details. Two questions that come to mind are, “What do I bring in terms of gear and what will the weather be like?” (PAUL D. ATKINS)

First and foremost you need to remember that it’s still hunting, and if it’s fair chase, you might connect or you might not. Factors such as weather and/or the time of the rut, for example, can come into play and prevent a hunter from connecting; it’s all part of the game. Most first-timers to the guided game sometimes forget that, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have expectations.
Before even looking at potential outfitters, hunters should create a list of priorities – those things that you expect and want from the experience. I usually make a checklist long before I get on the phone; that way I will know what exactly to ask and can also make a few notes.
A few years ago I decided that I wanted to hunt mountain goats, the last animal on my Alaska list and also the toughest. It was something I could do on my own if only I had goats in my area, but I do not, so a guided hunt was in order.
Unlike choosing the right broadhead or rifle for a particular hunt, the species a hunter plans to pursue will greatly influence whether you decide to go guided or try it yourself. For me, this is the biggest factor. Goat hunting is not for the meek and is considered by many the toughest hunt in North America. Choosing the right outfit – and even more so, the right guide – is critical.
Choosing the right outfit doesn’t only apply to goats. Most all species here in Alaska can and will be outfitted. Whether it’s caribou, moose or brown bear, there are outfits that will set you up for adventure.

AFTER DECIDING ON the species and the area you want to hunt, you will then need to choose a few prospective outfitters. This can be a challenge in itself.

Alaskan mountain goat hunts are expensive, as the billies are highly coveted and on many hunters’ wish lists. Booking with the right guide combined with being in great physical shape will make this dream come true. (PAUL D. ATKINS)

Alaskan mountain goat hunts are expensive, as the billies are highly coveted and on many hunters’ wish lists. Booking with the right guide combined with being in great physical shape will make this dream come true. (PAUL D. ATKINS)

Personally, I talk to hunters who have hunted the specific animal before, read magazines, look at record books or go to some of the trade shows. I also subscribe to the Hunting Report (huntingreport.com), an online database that lists the good, the bad and the ugly of the hunting world.
This usually will narrow it down to a few specific outfits that have good reputations. I then contact these outfits and ask the questions that I have prepared. Creating a list of questions before getting on the phone is a must; this way you won’t forget what is important and you can take a few notes. My goat questions could be used for most hunts, but here is what to consider with the following queries:

1. Do you have references? Most good outfits do and hunters need to be sure and get the contacts for both successful and unsuccessful hunters who have hunted with them. If they do not want to provide this information, then immediately strike them off your list.

2. How many years’ experience do you have as an outfitter, and what is the experience level of your guides? Experience is a plus, but don’t count out young or up-and-coming guides and outfitters. Many of the new outfits are trying to make their mark and will work extra hard to make your hunt as successful as possible.

3. What are game numbers like? If you want to hunt an animal and be successful, you have to travel to where they are. Knowing what the area holds gives you a better perspective of what you might and might not see.

Many clients develop friendships with their outfitter and/or the guide. These friendships last forever, and in many cases the hunter will go again and again with the same guide. (PAUL D. ATKINS)

Many clients develop friendships with their outfitter and/or the guide. These friendships last forever, and in many cases the hunter will go again and again with the same guide. (PAUL D. ATKINS)

4. How many hunters do you take a year? I personally stay away from areas that are hunted hard. Due to the sheer size of Alaska, six goat hunters a year versus six bear hunters per week at a bear camp are quite a bit different, but the bottom line is you don’t want to spend  your hard-earned cash on a place that  has been depleted.

5. What do you charge for a goat hunt? Are the tags and license included? Is there a trophy fee? This is the ultimate question for many. Most hunters are always trying to find a good deal –I know I am–but sometimes cheaper hunts have a catch and it usually involves extracurricular things, such as accommodations, meals, etc. This is where research and phone calls will come into play.
Ask the questions specifically relating to the finer details of the hunt. Most tags and license will need to be taken care of by the hunter. I have seen very few hunts where these were included. Trophy fees are fees attached to the cost only after you have killed an animal. Make sure you ask this question.

6. Do I need to draw a tag or is it over the counter? Most resident bowhunters can buy tags over the counter, however if you’re a nonresident, you will usually have to apply. Most outfitters who are worth their salt will help the hunter with this information, and most will help you apply.

7. What are the accommodations like? I have experienced all kinds of situations – everything from bivouac to wall tents and five-star lodges with seven-course meals. All were great, but if you are looking for a specific type of setup, again, you will need to ask. Some hunters like to rough it, while others do not.

8. What is the guide to hunter ratio? Hunts are usually conducted 1-by-1 or 2-by-1. One-by-one means that there will be you, the hunter, and one guide. Two-by-one means that one guide will serve two hunters. I have done it both ways and can say that either option is great. In some cases, if you choose to go 2-by-1, the outfitter will give you a substantial price break. I personally like the 1-by-1 situations, only because I want the guide focused totally on  me and getting the job done. Call me  selfish, but if I’m specifically hunting a particular species, I don’t want it any  other way.

To hunt grizzlies, wild sheep and mountain goats in Alaska, nonresidents are required to hire a guide (or go with a relative who is a resident of the state). That’s not cheap and is why research is a must and should be done carefully. (PAUL D. ATKINS)

To hunt grizzlies, wild sheep and mountain goats in Alaska, nonresidents are required to hire a guide (or go with a relative who is a resident of the state). That’s not cheap and is why research is a must and should be done carefully. (PAUL D. ATKINS)

9. What is the actual success rate on shot opportunities? Most hunters get too tied up in percentage kill, and good outfitters won’t tell you anyway; they can’t. What they will tell you is the number of shot opportunities their hunters had last year or over the years. Killing something is up to the bowhunter and his ability to do so. If a guide gets you into position to make the shot on a bull or buck, then that is about all you can ask for.

10. What are the physical requirements of the hunt? This is probably one of the most overlooked and underrated questions on the list. Some hunts are easy, and others are not. Bowhunting from a blind is quite a bit different than hunting thousands of feet above sea level. Mountain hunts are physically and mentally tough, and if you’re not in shape, any good outfitter will tell you to stay home. It doesn’t mean you have to stay home. The earlier you get this information, the sooner you can start the training regimen you need to  be successful.

11. How will we be hunting? Most species-specific hunts will dictate the  hunting style. Hunting goats will be climb-and-stalk hunting, while bowhunting deer will be from a stand, blind or, in some cases, spot and stalk. I’ve had some hunts where I was able to choose. This is especially great if something isn’t working and you want to try something new.

Paul Atkins is an accomplished hunter of big game in remote Alaska, but even he has to do his homework when planning outings in his home state. Make sure you have all the variables in place when deciding what adventure is best for you. (PAUL D. ATKINS)

Paul Atkins is an accomplished hunter of big game in remote Alaska, but even he has to do his homework when planning outings in his home state. Make sure you have all the variables in place when deciding what adventure is best for you. (PAUL D. ATKINS)

12. What if I have to cancel the hunt for whatever reason? Most outfitters have a general policy when it comes to canceling a hunt. Most hunts are booked by sending a deposit, which usually runs 50 percent of the total cost. If you have to cancel, you will usually lose that deposit, or in some cases outfitters will let you  re-book entirely, but not always. Some require you to find a replacement to fill that spot and re-book you the following year. Hunters need to remember that outfitters and guides make their living guiding hunters and these policies are necessary in order for them to survive.

13. Can I add extra days to the hunt?  Some hunts can be extended for whatever reason. The biggest reason is that the hunter hasn’t connected or found the right animal yet. If the outfitter agrees and you have the time to stay, you should, but remember that it will cost extra.

14. Do you have a wounded animal policy? Most outfitters do. Usually, if you draw blood, then that is your animal and your hunt is done. It’s our responsibility to make quick ethical shots each and every time; if we don’t, then it’s our fault and the opportunity is gone. Again, if you do pull a shot and wound an animal, top outfitters will do everything possible to find it.

15. How are you different from other outfitters? I have heard all kinds of answers, but the most common is, “We will give you 100 percent during your hunt and do everything possible to make it successful.” That is about all you can ask for.

THESE QUESTIONS ARE the “biggies,” but there are many more that are just as important – like making travel arrangements. What type of clothes and gear you will need should also be asked about. Asking these questions and getting prepared for the hunt are all part of the fun.
Going on a guided hunt is a great experience, and in some cases can create lifelong friendships with outfitters and guides. Many hunters will return year after year because of the way they were treated and the sheer joy they had with the experience.
If your plans include a guided hunt,  be sure to follow the rules and do your  homework. Success is just as much your responsibility as it is your outfitter’s.

Editor’s note: Paul Atkins is an outdoor writer and author from Kotzebue, Alaska. He has written hundreds of articles on big game hunting in Alaska, Africa and throughout North America. Paul is a monthly contributor to Alaska Sporting Journal.

Oli’s fishing Charters

Nestled in one of British Columbia’s secret spots lies Winter Harbour, which is located on the northwest coast of Vancouver Island. The sheltered harbor is a fisherman’s sanctuary and a gateway to your amazing adventure. Winter Harbour is remote and untouched compared to many over fished and populated spots and offers an abundance and variety of species. All 5 species of salmon swim along the coast throughout the season. Large runs of Chinook salmon (aka Spring’s or Kings) swim right off our doorstep with only a short run to the salmon highway. Winter Harbour also offers some excellent inside fishing for monster Marble River Chinook and huge coho runs that are heading up various rivers up the inlet. Our ocean waters offer excellent bottom fish including huge halibut, Ling Cod, Red Snapper (Yellow Eye) and a variety of rock fish.

Whatever your preference, we can provide it to you. Oli’s Fishing Charters, experienced, licensed, guided adventure, with all equipment provided.

Throughout your fishing adventure you will be surrounded by stunning scenery including breath-taking horizons and mountainous rainforests. Lots of local wildlife including Black bears scavenging the shores, bald eagles soaring above, breeching whales, porpoises, massive sun fish, sharks and much more. So bring your camera!

 

The Sterling Needle Bed & Breakfast

The Sterling Needle Bed & Breakfast
355 Fairway Drive
Soldotna, Alaska 99669*9061
(907)262-3506
email: rssandra@alaska.net

Amid Alaska’s Playground, the Kenai Peninsula, Soldotna artist/host Sandra Sterling has operated the artful and immaculate Sterling Needle Bed and Breakfast since 1999. Featuring home cooking and handmade quilts on every bed, your hostess can teach you how to catch a salmon, fillet it out, and bbq grill it on the expansive back deck. Smiling faces grace your stay surrounded by installation art, and a purring cat on your lap can cap the end to a perfect day in Alaska.  Available on Airbnb, or call 907-262-3506 for more information, or view at www.sterlingneedle.com.

 

WELCOME TO KENAI RIVER SUITES

WELCOME TO KENAI RIVER SUITES

310 Tern Circle
 Soldotna, AK  99669
Call to Book Now:
(907) 262-1992

Kenai River Suites is located in the Heart of Soldotna!  Not only do you have your very own private riverfront fishing & lodging but we are walking distance to shopping, restaurants & the beautiful Soldotna Creek Park. 

There are 9 two bedroom suites boasting a beautiful one bedroom ultimate Honeymoon Suite.  This room has a Jacuzzi tub for two right in the bedroom with french doors so you can lay in bed & look out at the gorgeous Glacier fed Kenai River.  All units have a full kitchen with everything you need & a nice cozy living area to relax in after a long day fishing or

exploring the Peninsula!

Do you want to go out on a fishing charter? A fly out? A glacier dog sled trip? Maybe a Kenai Fjords trip while the guys are catching those Red Salmon or  out on a Halibut Charter out of Ninilchik or Homer? 

We can book all your charters & tours for you!

Fish where you sleep, love where you are!

Welcome to King Salmondeaux Lodge

Welcome to King Salmondeaux Lodge

 Alaska Fishing and lodging at King Salmondeaux Lodge in Soldotna Alaska, where Southern & Alaskan hospitality meet.  King Salmondeaux Lodge is committed to providing you the most memorable fishing Alaska trip of your life.

?King Salmondeaux Lodge is a fisherman’s dream come true. Located at mile 26.5 of the world famous Kenai river, and featuring over 700 feet of prime river frontage, this is the place where world records are set.  The lodge currently consists of 5 beautiful riverside cabins, four roadside cabins & introducing 2 new deluxe cabins in 2017! The deluxe & the riverside cabins are on the banks of the beautiful glacier fed Kenai River and the road side cabins are 100 yards from the riverside cabins.

Once you arrive, you won’t want to leave this hidden gem.  We are far enough from town that you feel like you are in your own private paradise… but yet close enough to run in for supplies or make easy day trips to Homer, Cooper Landing or Seward.  Even better, let us customize your trip for you with excursions & meal plans.

King Salmondeaux Lodge
33126 Johnsons Drive, Soldotna, AK. 99669

Krog’s Kamp

Krog’s Kamp

Physical
45843 Big Eddy Road
Soldotna, AK 99669-6955

Mailing
P.O. Box 3913
Soldotna, AK 99669

Tel:(907) 262-2671
Fax: (907) 262-2272
Email: fishing@krogskamp.com

From Riverfront Luxury Townhomes and Executive Forest View Chalets to our Deluxe Chalets in the Trees, Cozy Cabins or even Rustic Bungalows, We’ve spared no effort to make sure your say is as comfortable as possible after a long day of fighting our great Alaskan fish species.

We can support several guests at a time and offer spa services and exercise equipment to help you unravel.

Once you’ve experienced our lodging, you’ll come back again and again. Don’t forget, we also offer meeting space if you feel the need to combine business and pleasure!

Caribou Crossing Cabins

Mail:
Caribou Crossing Cabins
Loren & Dianna Hollers
48254 Prairie Ave.
Soldotna, AK 99669
Each log cabin can accommodate four to six adults. Our cabins offer a quiet and private country setting! Just ‘down the road’ from fish processors and shippers. Usually beginning in late summer and through fall, we are located on a natural route where the local Kenai River Caribou herd passes by our property Moose cows and their calves are an ‘everyday’ sight.

Amenities include:

  • Private bathrooms with shower
  • Kitchens featuring electric stovetop, refrigerator, microwave, countertop and roaster oven
  • Barbecue grills on covered porch deck
  • Coin operated laundry
  • Daily maid service
  • Fish cleaning tables for processing you fresh catch!
  • Fire pit for evening socializing and fish stories
  • Great memories and plenty of new friends!

Our cabins are smoke-free and pets are not allowed. Designated smoking areas are available

 

Quinault Beach Resort and Casino

Come join us at the Quinault Beach Resort and Casino for our Las Vegas style slot machines. WE JUST GOT HOTTER!! with “A Million Degrees!” We have all of your favorites: Milk Money, Triple 7?s, Fairy’s Fortune, Hot Shot Progressive. With slot machine credit values from .01 cent to $1 dollar.

We have wonderful table games including 5 Blackjack tables, 1 Craps, 1 Roulette, 1 Emperor’s Challenge, 1 3-Card Poker, 2 Spanish 21 and 10 times odds on Craps with table limits from $3 to $250.

If you like poker, we have No-Limit Texas Hold’em Tournaments, just like on TV. Every evening in the poker room join us for a live 2 to 10 spread limit Texas Hold’em game with only a fifty-dollar minimum buy-in. We have jackpots while you play; try for our Monte Carlos, Bad Beat, and High Hands. We can also set up a private Texas Hold ‘em Tournament for your group, whatever the occasion. Our dealers are trained to assist new players! Our poker room is for ages 18 and over.

Quinault Casino Winners

So, come on in and earn points by playing your favorite slot machines or table games for valuable in-house services or merchandise such as spa visits, hotel stays and even dinner in any of the QBR&C’s three restaurants: Emily’s fine dining restaurant, the Sidewalk Bistro and the Ocean Lounge. Just ask the Q-Club Hosts for details.?

Hi, I’m Captain Kerry

When I was four years old we went to visit my grandparents at their
place on Deer Lake. My grandmother taught me to fish for perch with corn kernels on egg hooks. My father carried me, sleeping, off the dock after dark and the next morning I couldn’t wait to do it again.

That is when the addiction took me.

I grew up on the shores of Hood Canal where I was the captain of an old 12 foot riveted aluminum row-boat. From this rig I learned to fish Rockfish, Salmon, Cutthroat and Crab. More importantly I learned about tide,  current and rudimentary navigation.  At eleven my Grandfather took me Salmon fishing at Westport on his charter boat and the world opened up for me. I started deckhanding for charters when I was fourteen and worked most of every summer through high school on one boat or another. I absolutely loved the experience of running in the ocean, playing with the passengers and catching loads of fish. I knew then that this was what I wanted to do. In the thirty years since nearly everything I have done has been focused on achieving this goal.

I toured the world in the Navy for a few years. Spent 8 years in Colorado where I learned to enjoy trout fishing and dabbled in fly fishing a bit. But I was caught by the lure of the sea. Landlocked Colorado was a nice place to live but I had to get back to the salt.

I returned to the Puget Sound in 1996 and immediately bought a boat and started following around people who know what they are doing. I learned how to fish Blackmouth and other species from some of the best captains in the Puget Sound area. I have spent the last fifteen years fishing all around the Pacific Northwest learning fisheries from South Sound Blackmouth to Offshore Tuna.

Today I am at the end of a long career in the aviation industry. This career has allowed me to invest a lot of time, and no small amount of money, into learning the fisheries I hope to share with you. I earned my Coast Guard license #150511 and my first year ran a limited number of tuna, halibut and salmon charters around my work schedule and while the plan was to retire this year and charter full-time, I found it was a better choice for my family to continue working till the boats are paid off and hire my friends to help run the boat while I work. I will put my team including,  Captains Brian and Patrick, up against any in the business. We produce as well as any and have more fun guaranteed.

I really enjoy learning new techniques and adopting them into the way I do things. I still attend several seminars each year from the people I respect in the business. If you see me say hi, I’m always up to talk about fishing.

Fishing is fun for me and as with anything fun it is better when shared.

Let’s go get some!!!!!

CONTACT US

Offshore Northwest 6 Float Ln, 98595 Westport, United States
Phone: +253-380-9973
Fax: +253-380-9973
Email: reservations@offshorenorthwest.com?

 

BOTTOM LINE CHARTERS

BOTTOM LINE CHARTERS is a group of experienced charter operators who have the experience that it takes to possess at Master Mariner US Coast Guard License as well as a life time passion for fishing. Our boats are custom designed 28′ Alumawelds. These vessels are Coast Guard inspected with enclosed cabins, toilet facilities, heated, and state of the art electronics for safe navigation and maximum fishing potential in Cook Inlet. Read More

What we specialize in:
~ Halibut Fishing
~ Salmon Fishing
~ Clam Charters
~ Multi Species Fishing ~ Fly-in Fishing
~ Float Trips
~ Wildlife Viewing
~ Lodging

?
How to Contact Us

Phone:
In Season Phone (May1 – September 1)
1(907) 567-7366

Off Season Phone (september 1- May 1)
1(907) 373-8234
1(907) 232-8111

Email:
Click here to email Bottom Line Charters

Snail Mail Address:
Off Season (September 1 – May 1)
12725 E Kaye Marie Ct
Palmer, Alaska 99645

In Season (May 1 – September 1)
PO Box 39728
Ninilchik, Alaska 99639