Way, way, way out in the Barren Islands

A nice yellow eye to go with the lingcod.A small but beautiful lingcod-1


Photos courtesy of Steve Meyer

Steve Meyer loves to hunt and fish in his home state of Alaska. His latest adventure is on a deep sea trip he took out to the Barren Islands, far out in treacherous waters in Cook Inlet. Steve shared with us how far out of Homer his charter boat had to travel. Look for the full story in December’s Alaska Sporting Journal:


The further we go, the fewer boats we see. There are a small number of charter boats that operate out this far to ply their trade. Seventy miles from port is a lot of fuel and a lot of alone time, which is certainly a part of what makes these trips so special. When you’re fishing off the Barrens or Gore Point there is often not another boat in sight; you are really alone.
These waters are the frontier for rod-and-reel anglers; it is absolutely fishing at its finest. With that brings seas that are not for the faint of heart. Many times we find ourselves looking out at a wall of water as the huge swells we are riding drop from underneath the boat. These waters produce some of the most magnificent seas in Alaska, with waves up to 50 feet during the period between late fall and early spring, when storms overcome the area. Wild places are supposed to instill a bit of fear and respect and there is no disappointment in this part of the world.
The southern tip of the Barren Islands has some phenomenal seafloor structure that is the home to lingcod, yelloweye, black rockfish, quillback rockfish, halibut and the occasional salmon. But fishing these waters comes with a price in lost tackle.
The jagged structure below the surface requires the captain to constantly watch the depth finder and bark out orders. “Reel up, pinnacle coming, drop back down 30 feet,” and up and down as you drift across what has to be gorgeous underwater rock formations.
And in the process, jigs inevitably hook into these formations and, as often as not, there is no getting them back. This day we lost 23 jigs to the sea, roughly $230 in gear. So if you go on one of these trips you will understand the insistence in the captain’s voice when told to “reel up!”

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