By Kent Danjanovich
Alaska is one of those places that once you have experienced it, you just can’t seem to get enough of it. Every area that you explore seems to offer a whole new adventure, be it interior, the western and eastern expansions, the inside passage or along its coast.
Over the years here at Sportsman’s News, I have had the great pleasure to visit many great lodges. As you know, I am a little partial to the freshwater river systems in search of all five of the Pacific salmon species, but each year I put aside my fly rods and head to the open sea, in search of a few flat fish (halibut), prehistoric looking species (ling cod comes to mind) and a myriad of other deep-water dwellers that my family and friends love to dine on.
One particular destination that I have literally fallen in love with is Admiralty Island and Pybus Point Lodge, located about 80 sky miles from Juneau. Scott and Jody Jorgensen have owned and operated the lodge since 2008, turning it into a great destination for all kinds of Alaskan visitors. Seasoned veterans, first time adventurers, corporate groups and many families have found, like me, that there is just something special about Pybus Point and the people that run it.
There is no equal to the beauty and splendor you will encounter at Pybus Point Lodge. From the time you step out of the float plane and onto the dock, until the time you wave “so long”, all that you require to enjoy the ultimate Alaskan adventure is yours. Packages include four, five and six days, with their six days/five nights schedule their standard. You will leave Juneau via float plane at 7am the first day of your trip, so plan on arriving the day before and booking a night’s stay in Juneau. Your package includes roundtrip airfare to and from the lodge from Juneau, all meals, private cabin with daily maid service, all rods and reels (except fly fishing equipment) as well as fish processing, freezer space and packaging.
Because of our long-standing relationship with the lodge, it only made sense to include them in our ever popular, Pro Membership Sweepstakes. A trip for two was awarded to Jack Miller of Eureka, Montana earlier this year and Jack and his guest, Julie Ward, met me at the Juneau Travelodge the night of July 29th. After a good night’s sleep, we jumped on the shuttle and made our way to Ward Air, conveniently located just a few minutes away, next to the main airport terminal.
A great mix of guests soon congregated in the hanger and as our names were read, we jumped in the van and headed to our awaiting floatplane. Twenty-seven of us in all would be partaking of all that Pybus Point Lodge had to offer for the next six days, all sporting broad smiles in anticipation of what was ahead of us. Our group consisted of Jack and Julie, fellow Pro-Staffer Dave Heath, his buddy Steve Wilken and myself. After a short, 40-minute flight, we arrived at the lodge.
As each plane pulled up to the dock to unload, the string of guests quickly made their way up the ramp to the main lodge. The staff then transported all of our luggage to the deck as we all nibbled on pastries and juice before hitting the sandwich bar to prepare our lunches for our first day on the water. By 10am, all of us were decked out in rain gear (you can bring your own or the lodge has a room full of bibs, jackets and boots for your use) as a front was just finishing up its pass through the area. Each group was then assigned a boat and captain and we then all headed back down to the dock for our first day of fishing.
First on the docket would be a little trolling for salmon. After a 35-minute boat ride, we arrived at one of Captain Casey’s favorite spots. He quickly set up a downrigger on each side of the boat and then a rod out the center back, with a shallow diver setup. It didn’t take long for the first rod to pop up and Julie found herself fighting her first silver salmon in Alaska. Eighteen beautiful Coho’s found their way to our fish box in the next three hours. Our next stop would be for halibut and sea bass.
Again, it didn’t take long for the halibut bite to start, as all five of us quickly hooked up. It was quite a sight to see all of us fighting fish at the same time and slowly but surely, Casey hooked the gaff into each one and hoisted them over the side of the boat and onto the deck. It was then off to a rocky outcropping a few minutes away, as we quickly pulled in our limits of sea bass, literally hooking one on every jig of our lure.
By 4pm, we arrived back at the lodge, settled into our cabins and then made our way to the main lodge to do a little mingling and comparing stories with the other lodge guests before dinner. At 7pm, the bell rang and we all made our way to the table for the first of our many great meals during our stay.
After dinner, Jack and I jumped into one of the skiffs and headed to the back of Cannery Cove for a little pink salmon action on the fly. Literally thousands of fish were flooding into the stream at high tide and the “catchin’, not fishin’” was pretty easy to say the least. By 9pm, we found our way back to the lodge and then hit our bunks for a good night’s sleep.
Now one thing you need to know about Pybus Point Lodge is that they are not only the only lodge in the immediate area, they are also situated in what is called the inner passage of Alaska. Because of this, although you can still experience a little rough water at times, it is nowhere close to what you would expect on the open sea. And even more lucky for us, the next four days offered as good of waters for the area as I have ever seen. Smooth as glass would almost be an understatement!
We not only hauled in limits of silvers, sea bass and halibut the next four days, but also yellow eye, ling cod and even a few king salmon thrown in for good measure. Jack, Julie and Steve reeled in so many fish, they each won’t have to go to the gym for a month! What an experience for these first-time Alaskan adventurers as Dave and I took the opportunity to record it all for an upcoming edition of SNTV.
On our last evening, Dave and I joined one of the captains and a deck hand as we hit the crab and shrimp pots to supply the chef with scrumptious offerings for our last night. Wow, there is just nothing better than ‘fresh’ seafood and with our catch barely an hour out of the water, it doesn’t get much fresher than that!
Well, as you can see, our adventure to Pybus Point Lodge was another rousing success. And even more special in that the Sportsman’s News team was able to share it with some of our latest Pro Membership Sweepstakes winners, Jack Miller and Julie Ward. “Membership has its privileges” and if you haven’t signed up yet, you are really missing out on some great adventures and gear packages.
Remember, it doesn’t matter when you sign up, as you will be entered for a full year from the day you do. We will again be giving away a trip to Pybus Point Lodge for the 2019 season, as well as over $300,000 worth of other great trips and prizes. And if you just can’t wait, give Scott and Jody Jorgensen a call today (800-947-9287) to partake of the “Pybus Point Experience” even sooner. You won’t find better host’s and a more organized operation anywhere. (P.S. – Don’t forget to tell them Sportsman’s News sent ya!)