Dick Biggs of Carson City, Dave and Margaret Biggs of Douglas County and Rick and Laura Todd of Stockton, Calif., just returned Friday from a three-day salt water fishing trip at Sitka, Alaska.
While in Sitka, they fished with Seth Bone of Kingfisher Charters. That Alaskan sport fishing business offers a combination package of very comfortable overnight accommodations, gourmet meals and excellent salt water fishing for halibut, king salmon, silver salmon and various types of bottom fish such as yellow eye rock fish and ling cod.
The halibut can run over 300 pounds, the king salmon up to 70 pounds, the silver average 8-14 pounds and the ling cod are often in the 40-60 pound class.
Why is this group of five people and their fishing trip the subject of this week's column?
Well, for one very important reason.
It is because they were missing one very special individual in their group.
Geez, I'm glad you asked.
The correct answer is "That missing fisherman was your truly."
I was supposed to be the sixth member of that party.
However, it was not destined to be, at least not this year.
My plans to be a member of that Alaska experience were dramatically altered when that miserable horse threw me on July while I was on a horseback ride in Northern California. When I got thrown, I hit a rock that broke my tailbone.
The result was that I still can not sit for any extended periods of time without suffering severe pain in my rear-end area.
This effectively ruled out my sitting for several hours in an Alaska Airlines jet on its flight from Reno to Seattle, Wash. and then from Seattle to Sitka and then for hours on end in a fishing boat on the Pacific Ocean.
The bad news is that I very reluctantly had to cancel my portion of the 2000 trip and sadly watch the others fly off to Alaska for a memorable vacation trip.
The good news is that my part of last week's adventure has been tentatively re-scheduled for the same time period next year.
So, I might not have gone this year but I will be going in 2001.
Alaska Airlines allowed me to extend the period of time on my airline ticket ($450) for one year to Aug. 13, 2001.
Kingfisher Charters allowed me to roll over my fishing trip reservation for three days of fishing and four nights of lodging ($1,400) until next year.
Not too shabby! An Alaskan fishing trip already pre-paid.
When you are a guest of Kingfisher Charters, their fishing package includes things such as:
-- Fully guided fishing (10 hours each day) in the waters of the Sitka Sound for halibut, king salmon, silver salmon, yellow eye rock fish and ling cod. The fishing is done from 26-foot Parker cabin boats, powered by Yamaha 250 HP outboards. There is a maximum of five anglers per boat.
-- Deluxe accommodations in the lodge overlooking the waters and islands of Sitka Sound.
-- Meals including breakfast, lunch, dinner (prime rib one night) and tasty snacks.
-- Fish cleaning, vacuum packing, freezing, boxing of your catch.
-- All fishing licenses.
-- All fishing gear, tackle, bait.
-- Rain gear (an absolute must for this part of Alaska).
-- Transportation to and from the Sitka Airport and in the city of Sitka.
The 2000 Kingfisher Charters rates are $1,400 for three days of fishing and four nights of lodging per person or four days of fishing and five nights of lodging for $1,750 per person or five days of fishing and six nights of lodgings for $2,095 per person. Regardless of the package selected, a $400 deposit is required per person to confirm a reservation. Packages for non-fishing guests cost one-half of the fishing package price.
Before I forget, would you like to know how my fishing partners did on their fishing trip without me?
Well, here's what they did:
Unfortunately, they encountered bad weather on the first two of their three days of fishing which effectively limited their success. A combination of lots of wind, heavy swells (some of the fishermen got seasick while fishing) and rainy weather put a serious damper on being able to stay out for any length of time on the salt waters of the Sitka Sound.
However, they did manage return to the "Lower 48" with a grand total of four fish boxes, each of which contained 70 pounds of frozen fish fillets. That's pretty darn good considering the unpleasant weather conditions that they encountered.
The group of five anglers actually limited out on halibut on the second and third day of their fishing. In addition they caught silver salmon up to 8 pounds, some king salmon up to 30 pounds, lots of yellow eye rock fish and even some large ling cod. Their two largest fish were a 50 pound halibut caught by Dick Biggs and a 30 pound king salmon nailed by Rick Todd.
Those four fish boxes were shipped back on Alaska Airlines when they flew home. So when the Nevada people arrived at the Reno airport, so did their catch. And guess what? I have offered a number of those frozen fillets and you can bet your last dollar that I quickly accepted that generous offer.
A great ending to a great fishing trip in the great state of Alaska.
And best of all, I get to have halibut and king salmon fillets from Alaska without even leaving my house.
I can hardly wait to go next year, so I can catch my own fish.
For information, call Kingfisher Charters at (800) 727-6136 or write Kingfisher Charters & Lodge, P.O. Box 1781, Sitka, Alaska 99835 or Email at kingfisher @ptialaska.net or visit website www.kingfishercharters.com.
-- Bet Your Favorite Pigeon
Bet your favorite pigeon that he can't tell you where the Alaska state record ling cod was caught in 1996.
If he gets a big grin on his face and says, "A Kingfisher client caught a 69 pound ling cod in 1996," it could have been him or one of his fishing partners!