Foggy Bay Alaska E-mail
Tuesday, 03 November 2009 07:24

By Allen Sansano

This trip was arranged by Howard McKim in conjunction with Field and Stream for an upcoming story.  I was lucky enough to get an invite to tag along and provide a little support (and fish my ass off!!!).  The plan was to get dropped off in Foggy Bay, 40 miles south of Ketchikan.  Foggy Bay is just north of the BC border.  There is very little information on this area as it is seldom visited.  Some boats cruising the inside passage stop here as it's the first safe harbor after crossing the Dixon entrance from BC.  There is also a fish tender anchored up in the Bay used by salmon trollers in the area.  But we couldn't find any real Intel on the area, and Howard had never been there either, which is just what we wanted.  We wanted to explore, figure things out on our own and have that real sense of adventure.  The plan was to camp the whole time, avoiding the bears, while finding fish and crabs.  We'd carry all of our stuff on our kayaks and move at least once, probably up Very Inlet, which goes a couple of mile back.

My personal goals ... to find a few butts (halibut), to get on a wide open silver bite (I had found some info on the net about the silver schools around here), to catch that elusive ling (they are getting rarer closer to Ketchikan), and fingers crossed, to get on a good yelloweye.

I packed large Kalin BigN's in glow for the butts, buzz bombs and coyote spoons for the silvers, various swimbaits and split tails, as well as a few Megabaits.  Yes, I packed too much fishing gear.  I always do.  But I did run out on some, which means next time I'll pack more!!!

Day 0, August 23rd, I got off the plane in Ketchikan at 4pm and fishing by 5 with Howard on the big boat for a quick evening session. 10# king in the box, lots of quillbacks and some pesky arrowtooth and a decent true cod.  Not bad for a couple hours "out front".  Darn ... forgot the camera.  Tomorrow is a prep day and the other guys are coming in.  A storm is expected to hit full on tomorrow.  Fingers crossed it calms down enough by Tuesday so we can get out to Foggy Bay.

Day 1, Monday, a storm is coming through.  The other guys (Eddie and Colby) are scheduled to arrive today.  Eddie is an editor for Field and Stream, Colby is the photographer.  Eddie gets in first.  Colby comes in later that day.  His bags don't make it.  There is one more flight coming in later today.  His bags don't make that flight either.

Day 2, Tuesday, we're scheduled to head out today at 6AM, but Colby's bags still haven't arrived and there are 20 foot swells from the big storm.  We're going nowhere today.  Colby's bags do eventually show up on the mid-morning flight.  The forecast calls for the storm to blow through overnight.  We're now scheduled to leave 6AM tomorrow.

Loaded up in Ketchikan Day 3, Wednesday, 6AM, we're off.  Finally!!!  We're making the 40 mile run on "The Boat" (http://www.chartertheboat.com/).  We have four, Trident 15's strapped down on the roof.  The Boat makes the run at 25 knots and we're there in less than a couple hours.  And thus begins a most glorious day, one of those days that you remember for a long time ... the captain drops us off just inside Very Inlet where we unload all our stuff on shore.  We take a quick walk around to decide if it's a good place to camp (it's not) then decide to head offshore to the DeLong Islands where we spotted some sand beaches on the way in.  The thought was that we'd avoid bear problems if we stayed on the islands (which turned out to be a good thought as there were no bear signs at all out there).  Got outside the inlet and see some salmon jumping.  I decided to toss a megabait on them as I was a bit antsy.  No salmon, but immediately got hit by a rockfish.  We decide to keep going as the mission is to set up camp first.  We get half way out to the islands then remember that we need to get water and there is probably no water source on the islands.   Camping on the beach We turn right into a cove and as Howard and Eddie head up to find water Colby and I drop back down.  We had instant hookups on coppers, quillbacks and greenlings.  This happens every drop for the next 20 minutes.  Howard and Eddie found a good water supply, but come back with no water.  Apparently Colby and I have the water filters on our yaks.  Dah!!  Focus Allen, focus ... the mission is to set up camp.  Colby and I head up the cove to fill the water bags while Howard and Eddie will head over to the islands to scout a spot.  Success on both, we get the water and Howard and Eddie find a great spot.  We take the time to set up camp, both the tents and a cooking area with a tarp about 100 yards down the beach, and by now it is pushing 2PM.

We decide (finally!!!) to go fishing.  Where to go?  Screw the inside and the rockfish ... we're heading offshore for butts!!!  It's a short paddle around the corner and we start dropping to the bottom.  More instant hookups on coppers, quillback, and greenling (notice a trend here?).  Deeper, we must go deeper.  And deeper we Allen with a Goldeneye go ... heading out to what we think is the 180-200 foot range.  And lo and behold we find the butts.  We caught north of 15 of them between the 4 of us, with yours truly pulling top gun, catch and releasing 7 of them up to 30#, all on the glow Kalin BigN's (I love those things!!!).  Can you believe that?  We set up camp and paddled directly to the halibut honey hole right out front!!!  We also got some bonus yelloweye which became dinner!!!  It's pushing 5 PM, the time that we had set to head in, giving us enough time to finish setting up camp, cook dinner, and settle in.  No one is complaining because we already had a great day of fishing (even though it was only a couple hours).  We're paddling in, with Howard in the lead and me about 50 feet behind him, when all of a sudden ... Howard stops paddling.  I look A nice silver up and see about 50 feet ahead of him there are some birds working and SILVERS WORKING TOO!!!   A few hard strokes later and I passed Howard.  I shout at him, "What are you waiting for?"  He was frozen just taking it all in. I cast on the spot then take about 10 strokes to the left of it, skirting the school.  Zzzzzzz, Zzzzz ... FISH ON!!!  It jumps.  It takes lines.  It runs towards me.  It runs around me.  Yeehaw!!!  I'm screaming like a kid.  I'm on a nice one. Moments later I land an approximate 12 pounder ...In the meantime Howard has hooked up one too and we're calling Colby and Eddie to get over here.  I hook up again and go round 2 with an 8 pounder.  Colby is sliding in and he hooks up with a 12 plus pounder.  Howard is on again and again and again.  We have a school parked under us and we can see them darting in and out. We barely have to lower our jigs and their slashing at them.  We catch them on anything we throw... buzz bombs, diamond jigs, even bright green/yellow swimbaits.  By now it's getting late and we need to get back to camp, finish setting up, and make some dinner before its dark.  I catch one more and it had been mauled by a seal, missing one eye and most of that side of its head, as well as a big chunk out of its side.  I don't know how he survived but he didn't look like he was going to for long.  I keep this one for crab bait.  Then ... we left 'em biting and headed in.

A nice lingcod Our first afternoon out and we had a wide open bite the whole time ... coppers, quillbacks, yelloweye, greenling, halibut, and coho. Dinner is pasta with cream sauce and fresh yelloweye washed back with a vodka Kool-Aid.  It doesn't get any better than this.  Really, it doesn't.

Day 4 ... the plan today is to work the inner side of the ridge of rocks crossing the bay, then maybe head into the bay itself and fish the flats for butts.  We start dropping along the way and Colby pulls up a ling.  Of course we also have constant action on the coppers, quillbacks, and greenling.  By now we're getting sick of the rockies and are targeting bigger stuff.

We get out to the edge of the reef and it's nice on the outside.  So instead of hooking into the bay we hook to the outside.  There is a group of birds working and I bust out my buzz bomb.  ZZzzzzzzzzz  goes my line with another silver and schools swarming in the water.  The other guys catch up and want to head offshore for more butts.  So we do and once again, leave the silvers biting.  But we ended up on a big reef expanse and more of those annoying rockfish.  But wait ... a few more lings come in too.  I think Eddie yanks in about 1/2 dozen of them.  The rest of us get a couple each as well.  The drift is taking us to the north and soon we are back on our halibut flats.  I catch a few, but I also get this bonus pig yelloweye (dinner of course!!).
Speaking of dinner, I made a quick run over to the where we had set a hoop net.  Crab anyone?

Day 5 ... today we plan on making the long run south to Foggy Point.  The map shows sand allen_5 offshore there and we're on a mission to target big butts.  On the run out we get a little strung out and I run into another bird/bait pileup.  Drop the buzz bomb down and instantly hookup on another silver.  I keep that one for dinner.  Left 'em biting again, as by now the stragglers caught up and we're on our way.  We make it out to the point, but the swell is up and the wind is building.  Plus the drift is taking us due south (further away).  I get one small butt out there that I also keep for dinner.  We've been eating yelloweye the past couple of nights and I'm looking forward to salmon and halibut.  After getting beat up a bit, we decide to head back inside the bay.  It's S-L-O-W inside as we take some long drifts.  Its mid afternoon now and we start heading back toward camp.  We stopped off get some water and clean the fish.  But it's still early and after a hard morning of fishing we decide to head back out front for a short afternoon session.  We go out wide and catch a couple of small butts.  Then I break off on one that feels a bit bigger.  Drop back down and break off again.  I’m pissed.  That's the last of my BigN's.  It must be time to change the spectra as the break offs came far too easily.  I head nearer to shore where Howard and I have decided to chase silvers.  It's a bit slow at first.  There are some birds working about a quarter mile away and we head towards them.  Of course they go down by the time we get there.  Hmmm ... we're set up on a nice long drift that will take us back toward camp.  Let's just drift the whole way and relax a bit.  Zzzzzz ... 4 silvers later ... so much for relaxing.  Colby and Eddie make their way over to us and as soon as they pull up we get a quad-header going on silvers.  We have a big voracious school under allen_9 us and we're now all catching silvers.  WFO!!!  After a while we leave them biting ... again!!!  It's a good way to end an otherwise slow day.  We check the pots once again.  Looks like its crab, coho and halibut for dinner.  Did I say that we ate very well this whole trip?

Day 6 ... we're going to move camp today.  The plan is to head up Very Inlet.  You can't see it on that map, but it goes up a good 3 miles to the end in a series of channels and open bays.  We're looking for better crabbing and want to check out some streams for salmon/trout.  It will be a good change up day.  Today we are greeted by sun and glassy calm water in the protected inlet.  The past few days have been overcast with some rain (hard at times).

Does this really need a caption We make our way up to the very end where we find an open field with a nice Howard fishing for salmon in the creek stream flowing in.  The stream is full of pinks and the shore is littered with headless salmon.  We see signs of bear and wolves everywhere.  We take our time here to make a nice lunch and do a little stream fishing.  There are lots of colored up pinks either staging at the mouth or on their spawning beds in the river.  We catch a few, snag a few accidentally, and tire easily of them.
But the sun was to come to an end.  We head back down the bay looking for a good place to camp.  Finally settle on this place, but notice the fog and rain have come back.

Cedar plant salmon over a fire Dinner tonight is cedar plank salmon, some fresh limpets boiled in a pot, and some A river runs through camp after night's deluge grits with crab mixed in, crab butter and all.  Oh my!!!  Dinner was outstanding.
It rained most of the night.  Our kitchen area was overrun with a small stream.



Day 7 ... our last day.  allen_sad_smiley_copy

Just relaxing The sun comes back out in the morning and we take our own sweet time breaking camp. Another nice lingcod The tide turns in the late morning and we want to ride it our instead of paddling against the incoming.  We finally make it out around noon-ish and run into "The Boat" at the mouth of the inlet.  We plan on fishing a couple of hours then heading home.  I was hoping to get into the silvers again, but couldn't find them.  I converted over to bottom fishing and C&R my best ling of the trip.  This one was a beauty and a fat.



We stuck a few yelloweye and butts as well, but knowing we were about to leave, it just didn't feel right.  Finally we packed it up.  Of course as we're doing that a big pile of birds form and the silvers are crashing on the surface again, perhaps waving goodbye to us.

For more info and pricing for a trip like this just follow this link. http://ketchikankayakco.com/Remote_Trips_2010.html

 

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