Darren Galas and cousin, Daryl Oyama, got the trip of their dreams when Darren won the “Big Save – Alaska Fishing Fly-Away” on August 3, hosted by Kong Radio.
Joined by two representatives of the sponsors, they visited Southeast Alaska, on the Prince of Wales Island for a full week of non-stop stream and ocean fishing at Southeast Retreat.
Nestled into a corner of the huge island (almost as big as the Big Island of Hawai‘i), just a few miles from Klawock, Alaska, they had a 2-story cabin to themselves.
Heated, with a full kitchen, bath and laundry, it was an oasis in the forest.
Included with the cabin and fishing was free use of a 4 wheel drive vehicle to visit two neighboring towns as well as for any other sightseeing trips. The food was spectacular with dinners including fresh Dungeness crab straight from the crab nets, fresh salmon from nearby streams, halibut from the ocean, fresh locally-grown vegetables, berries, and other items from nearby farms and forests.
Fishing was first class with visits to the local streams and trips through the Inland Waterway around Prince of Wales Island.
Even a steady drizzle with temperatures dipping to the low 50’s on the first day didn’t prevent Darren and Darryl from limiting on Silver Salmon in only two hours at the local hot spot, called “The Boardwalk.”
Silver Salmon, all in the 8-pound plus range gave serious sport in the shallow, rocky waters below the roaring falls. Other spots were visited for catch and release to fill in the rest of the first day’s action, Dozens of Pink Salmon were given a second chance at life from the visiting sportsmen.
Ocean fishing was also spectacular, as their boat wound around the hundreds of islands that make up the maze of the Inland Waterway.
Impossible to navigate without a GPS (Global Positioning System) for reference, the daily trip to the ocean was an adventure in itself, passing the islands, the forests, the wildlife and the rest of the scenery that make up this area. Hundred-foot trees towered on islands so small that you wouldn’t have been able to build a house on it.
The action started immediately upon reaching the assigned spots, as herrings used for bait got down to the level of the fish. Halibut were biting and the action continued for hours with literally, dozens of fish being released as they searched for the big ones.
Interspersed between the Halibut action were the Ling Cod and the Sea Bass if you kept your bait on the bottom, and Silver Salmon action again if you worked the mid-ranges below. As an area slowed, a quick trip to the next prominence led to a return of action in the elusive search for the King Salmon.
These large fish, known as Chinook Salmon, truly are the kings of the salmon fishermen’s quest with the largest exceeding 75 pounds and they are a challenge at half that size to the 20 pound test line that we were using.
Daryl Oyama proved to be the “King Killer”, getting the legal limit of one King Salmon each day he fished the ocean.
Darren was no slouch, landing the largest halibut estimated at 70 pounds.
The crew got their legal limit of Silver Salmon and Halibut each day on the ocean, and the legal limit of Silvers each day in the streams.
During the three days of ocean fishing and two days of stream fishing, the foursome managed to get enough fish to bring home a total of over 600 pounds of frozen fish fillets and some Dungeness crabs.