The day started off at 7:00 am with 20+ anglers and companion fares for a combo trip. Silvers were slow so the Captain decided to fish for halibuts, cod and rock fish. The Sea Quest is a very nice boat with a heated cabin and “marine head.” Captain Sean and Deckhand Miles greeted everyone and the SQ began its 2.5 hours trek to the first fishing hole. The action was very, very slow with only three fish (one small halibut, one lingcod and 1 rock fish) caught in the first two hours.
Sensing everyone’s frustration, Sean decided to move to the second fishing hole. After a 30 minutes trek, fishing started again. Two more halibuts (one 70+ lbs), a lingcod and two rock fish made it onto the boat. The action was dead once again so after about 1 ½ hr of fishing, Sean decided to go into “catching mode” instead of fishing. It was already 1:30 and we only had eight fish for 20+ anglers.
Another hour of trekking to the 3rd spot and the Captain explained that we are going after smaller halibuts. The boat quickly filled its limits with 5-10 pounders and a few 15-20 pounders. I was a bit disappointed with the size of these halibuts. I know Sean wanted to “limit out” but catching smaller halibuts just to hit the limit was not right. I guess it's better than coming back empty handed. I’ve fished the Cook Inlet and we never keep anything under 20 lbs.
We moved onto rock fish and it was another 1 hour trek to the fishing grounds. We spent the last hour on rock fish and everyone caught at least one. We made it back to the dock by 7:45. My GF and I ended up with less than 16 lbs (4 halibuts and 2 rock fish) of fish after Miles was done filleting them. Several other anglers were also disappointed with their catches. I would probably pick another charter the next time around. The fishing was bad (it happens) but the boat was just too crowded and too much time was spent chasing the big one. Other charters seem to have fared better judging by their fish photos at the dock. This charter did not hang the fishes on the dock like the other charters. Instead, Miles fillets and bags everything on the return trip.
Clean boat, friendly staff, restroom, $75 companion fare, Miles was a one-man machine & good weather.
The Not so Good:
Only one deckhand, crowded fishing = tangled lines, small fish just to hit limits, too much time traveling to fishing holes, and too much time spent chasing the big one.
The companion fare is great especially if the 2nd person is not into fishing. The boat is a bit crowded. You are literally fishing less than five feet from the next person. The tangled lines were a big frustration especially with Miles and Sean trying to bait hooks, gaff fish and untangle lines at the same time. We literally spent over half of the trip (12 hours) traveling to various fishing spots so we only fished for about 5 hours. Other boats were able to catch their limits in 2-3 spots and had far better results. Over 80% of the halibuts were less than 24 inches, yielding about 4 lbs of fillet each. I would have targeted 20-30 pounders instead of spending most of the day chasing the big one. I say it was just an average/below average trip. I suggest a smaller boat if anyone wants more interaction with the crew and catch fish at the same time.
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