The proof factors to Alaska


A guided halibut tour in Alaska is only as fun as the crew can make it. Jason and Tim Lesmeister had a phenomenal crew on a recent trip with Puffin Fishing Charters. On the left is Megan Schrantz and on the right Maria Yungbauer, and both Tim and Jason will admit that the fish they caught is directly related to the wonderful effort these two put into the logistics that lead to a successful outing.

I stood up to my ankles in water so clear it looked like a window into the bottom of the lake. Tiny trout fish were trained and swam past the toe of my wader, and a beetle crawled out from under a rock to scurry away. Incredibly large mosquitoes stood in the midday sun, resisting the wind, looking for the little exposed meat I had, or simply shoving their proboscis like a razor-sharp spear through two layers of clothing to get some of my warm blood To find feasting on. Two eagles circled around the lake, looking for food that frightened a couple of harlequin ducks flying by. All of this is proof that I am in Alaska.

My son has been a guide on the Last Frontier for 28 years so I’ve spent a lot of time exploring the resources in this great state and I truly believe anyone who isn’t planning an Alaska adventure is missing out. I often speak to people who tell me a vacation to Alaska is on their bucket list. The problem with a bucket list is that the bucket is often filled and never emptied. Fish out the top three things on their list and throw the bucket away. One of these three top priorities should be a trip to Alaska, and that should be at the top of this list.

There’s no limit to the amount of exploration you can experience, but my recommendation is never to fill your plate so full that you can’t eat it all and feel satisfied. This can make someone turn this once-in-a-lifetime trip into an annual event, but that’s not uncommon after a trip to Alaska.

Captain Leslie Pemberton is the founder of Puffin Fishing Charters and has operated guided sport charter fishing boats based out of Seward, Alaska since 1982. She recently took Tim Lesmeister and his son Jason out to Montague Island in the 50-foot Tenacious for halibut and stonefishing.

On my last foray, I decided to take a look at a few more lakes that I haven’t been to yet. About seven years ago I shipped a couple of Hobie kayaks to Cooper Landing on the Kenai Peninsula, where my son lives, and I use them to explore the smaller lakes in this region. There are many, and most have significant populations of rainbow trout and lake trout, and none of these lakes are seriously pressurized. Most of the people who come to Alaska, as well as residents of the state, prefer the rivers and that leaves these lakes to anglers like me who are just looking for the tug at the end of the line.

I also had the opportunity to charter halibut fishing from Seward. I usually fish halibut from Homer, but Captain Leslie of Puffin Fishing Charters offered Jason and me a ride on the 15-meter Tenacious to Motague Island and we couldn’t resist. The other anglers on board were a great group and the deckhands were phenomenal. It’s a nice long boat ride and the fishing was excellent.

I’ll be back next year, of course, and there will be more kayaking adventures and another big water excursion to follow. I will see bears and moose and lots of mountain peaks, seals and otters and lots of other animal species that only Alaska can offer. And when my bucket runs out where I’ve gathered this endless list; So what. I’ve already made sure the best adventures have already begun.