Cannery Cove

It’s another cloudy cold day as we fight the last of the flood current pouring into the narrow but well marked channel of Thomas Bay. We make our exit and head west down Frederick Sound. The currents are now with us and give Idyll Time a good one knot push. Several lone humpbacks are feeding on herring along the shore. No stopping for whale watching today, as we are on a time schedule. We are heading to our luck halibut fishing spot and the fishing is always best at slack tide.

Other than two commercial fishing boats a few miles ahead of us, we are all alone for our 40 mile trip. We arrive to our halibut fishing spot about an hour before low slack tide. High slack is our preferred fishing time for halibut but the times don’t work today so low slack is our next best option. You must fish deep for halibut and any current makes it difficult to keep your lure on the bottom.

We fished this spot last year and caught a halibut every time here. Will it be as productive this year? We slowly lower our lure to 100 feet and begin gently jigging it up and down. Fifteen minutes later, there is a tug on the line. Soon the line is paying out rapidly. It’s a halibut! Jeff readies the harpoon as I slowly fight the fish to the surface. He is tired once he arrives to the boat. While he momentarily pauses at the surface, jeff jabs the harpoon behind his gills and the spear tip penetrates through his body. After a few violent thrashes, we have him securely tied to our side deck cleat.

He is a good size halibut. As we remove our lure from his jaws, we notice a fish tail poking out of his mouth.

Our lucky fishing hole has not failed to let us down.

With our halibut securely lashed on the dive platform, we work our way through the many rocky islets of Pybus Bay to one of our favorite anchorages, Cannery Cove. The Pybus Fishing Lodge appears to be up and running at the entrance of our anchorage. We were wondering if they would be open this year due to the corona virus but it appears they are going full tilt.

Serenity, a ninety foot yacht, is already in the anchorage.

Our first task after anchoring is to process our halibut. He weighs in at 45 pounds, the perfect size for us. Under federal regulations, we can only cut the halibut in four pieces while on the boat, two ventral and two dorsal. We must also leave a patch of skin on each piece. This is so that regulators could identify how many fish we have aboard. You are only allowed to catch two halibut per day and have 4 per person onboard. While filleting our halibut, Jeff finds a whole 18” Lingcod inside his belly. That was the lingcod’s tail sticking out of the halibuts mouth.

He must have gone after our lure just after partially swallowing this lingcod. It was his greed that did him in.


Jeff does a good job of filleting him and we net 25 pounds of halibut filets for the freezer.

After filleting the halibut and processing our six crabs from Thomas Bay, it’s time to do some exploring in the kayak.

As we paddle to the next cove, we spot a mother brown bear and very small cub.

With her cub around, she is very wary and hurries off into the thick underbrush as we approach.

During the evening we spot six more brown bears at the head of our harbor as well as several deer. Admiralty Island has one of the largest brown bear populations in SE Alaska. There are no Black Bears on this island, only browns.

Today is June 15th, opening of commercial crab season. This evening Sakina, the commercial crabber out of Petersburg, comes in and sets his pots all throughout the anchorage. We were expecting him. That’s probably the end of our crab catching for the season.


All in all, it was another great day in SE Alaska. See you somewhere down the waterway. Thanks for following along.

1 thought on “Cannery Cove

  1. Nice that you got a fish within a fish! Not to mention all that gorgeous crab! You’re eating well so far this summer????

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