Alaska 2023 Is In The Books!

By Gary Turner

We caught and released hundreds of fish every day! I actually stopped fishing several times just to film my friends wearing out the salmon! It’s hard to imagine how fun it is if you have never done it. How did I get here? I caught a non-stop from Atlanta to Anchorage, grabbed a bowl of Reindeer Chili before catching the Puddle Jumper over the Cook Inlet to Kenai. The chili was delicious, but what was I thinking? I get terribly nervous in those little planes, but that’s the easiest way to the Kenia Peninsula where you can head all over for fish!

My friend Marc picked me up at the Kenai airport, and we went back to his house. My friends Blake and Dewayne were coming up in six days. I came early to get the van and boat uncovered and checked out. The battery was DOA in the van, but everything on the boat looked good. I got the oil changed in the van and then helped Marc organize his new boat, a nice Glacier Bay Catamaran.

We got the Glacier Bay ready and ran it down to Homer to try it out and see if any halibut were biting. Our friend Mike came along with us. We headed out into Kachemak Bay, anchored up, and dropped baits. Mike got a good hit! He was reeling it up, and it kept coming fishing the whole way! We were fishing 140 feet deep. We never saw color, but I think the fish saw the boat. It dove hard and snapped the line. Mike then caught an Irish lord; we threw that guy back.

Then, all of a sudden, my rod got a big hit, and I started reeling down on it trying to work it up. After a few minutes I could see color. It looked to be a good halibut. As it neared the top, I noticed something weird, it was pulling my weight and a red weight. Mike had a red weight on when it broke off! I finally got it up and sure enough, that was a hungry fish. It had taken both rigs. It was around a 40 pounder, which was great for no further than we had gone out. The wind was picking up, so we fished a little longer, catching two more halibut and several other species of cod and lords.

Later on I visited with other friends and organized our fishing gear in preparation for Blake and Dewayne’s arrival. Their plane landed in Anchorage at 11:30 Sunday night. I had only been in the parking deck for a quick 10 minute nap when Blake messaged they were on the ground. We got their luggage and decided we would fish Whittier first. I drove first and then handed the wheel to Dewayne 15 miles from the Whittier Tunnel. I fell asleep instantly. We parked in a parking lot and waited for the tunnel to open at 5:30 a.m. When we woke up, Dewayne said I handed him the wheel and a moose almost crashed into us soon as I fell asleep. You don’t want to hit a MOOSE! The tunnel opened, and we headed through.

Our first destination was Emerald Cove. We drove the unmaintained road slowly in our all-wheel drive Town and Country. It was all beautiful on a rainy morning, but the rain filled the holes in the road making it hard to choose a path. We arrived at Emerald Point and the pink salmon a/k/a humpbacks, or humpies were thick. Now humpy years are even so 2024 will be a humpy year. I just can’t imagine how many there will be next year! Snagging with trebles is legal here in the salt water where they are pushing into spawn. We each caught our limit and just stood amazed at all the fish that were packed in the river and the creek.

I walked up the creek a little way and was just amazed at how far up they went and all the obstacles they had crossed to get there. I also saw some half-eaten ones on the banks. I eased back down and when some campers there emerged from their van, I asked if they had seen any bears. Oh yes, the lady from Denmark had seen three the evening before, almost bumping into one on the trail. We watched for a while but didn’t see any coming to fish yet. We drove on down the road to Shotgun Cove and had a look around. The gentleman emptying the trash cans said we had just missed two bears there.

There is so much more about the trip and all the bears and moose we saw but for now this is all the room I have. Look for the rest of the story next issue.

Get with some of your friends and take a fishing trip. Whether with a guide or just on your own, GO FISHING!

I’m not sure what next month’s article will be on but remember, if you have an empty seat on your boat that needs filling, shoot me an email and maybe it will be about fishing with you!

You can reach me at

My YouTube is @fishingmagicwithgary if you want to see some of the videos.

Please remember, if you are not going to eat it, don’t kill it.

“Tight Lines and Squeelin’ Reels put a Smile on my Face Every Time.”

You can reach Gary Turner at