Saturday, May 10, 2008
Fishing on the Spit
We have seen people fishing on the Homer Spit ever since we moved here, and it never seemed like a special thing to do to stand on a rocky shore and fish. Once again, Cub Scouts got us out trying something new, so we joined all the hard-core fisherpeople lining the shore and tried our luck.
Kids under 16 don't need to pay for a license, but they do need to fill out a Record Report of what they caught. If I were to fish, as an adult Alaska resident I would pay $24 for an annual license that would include all fish and clamming (though I'm sure there may be exceptions I don't know about) for the entire year. At the end of the Homer Spit (by Land's End Restaurant) there are no restrictions on what you catch. Anything that gets on your line is yours, whether it be octopus, Irish Lord, salmon, flounder, whatever. People were catching a lot of starfish, which they didn't appreciate, though the little kids on the beach had a blast throwing them back in.
Denver fished for 2 hours and didn't catch anything except seaweed, while the 5 Natives fishing right next to him were pulling in flounder every minute or so it seemed. We finally gave Denver a few tips about setting the line and watching the tip for nibbles, and within a minute he had snagged a flounder and pulled it in.
(Notice all the muck boots!)
Bald and golden eagles were everywhere. I counted at least 10 bald eagles in sight at one time both on the ground and in the air, and 2-3 golden eagles. The Natives fishing next to us were gutting their flounders and leaving the guts in a pile 10 feet from where we were sitting. The eagles held off for a little while, but finally they flew in and landed right next to us. The kids walked right up to them (Yes, dumb idea. Wild animals eating can get protective, and you should see those eagles' beaks and talons!).
The bald eagles chased off the golden eagles, even though to me the goldens looked bigger. It was interesting watching the balds fight over the scraps. The pecking order was obvious to them; size didn't always make the difference in who got the food. It was a little uncomfortable sitting on the beach for about a half an hour as the eagles swooped low over our heads, fought and landed next to us, but at the same time fascinating being able to study these creatures up close. I had to snort because there were professional photographers out there snapping away, and I could just imagine the awesome pictures they got. It seemed like cheating.
And this is the Homer Spit. I've been meaning to blog about it since we moved here, but never got around to it. This picture is actually from March when I was up on East Hill Road. Today we were fishing way at the end of the spit where there's a little hook at the end.
The Homer Spit dropped 7 feet in the big earthquake of 1964 that was centered from Prince William Sound. Millions of dollars were spent to build it up again, resulting in what you see here. It is 5 miles long from where it leaves the mainland to its tip. About halfway out begin the businesses: there are restaurants, gift shops, bars, campgrounds, the Homer Ice Rink, ferry, and of course the fishing industry staples (marina, docks, cannery, etc.). My favorite part of the spit is the paved path that I go rollerblading, biking and walking on, though after today fishing will be added to my list of spit recreation.
The spit is an exciting place to visit, and most visitors make it a major destination when they come to Homer. We don't go out there at all in the winter (except to get to the ice rink) since nearly everything is boarded up and closed, but as the weather warms I've been on the spit rollerblading a couple times a week. Today the parking lots were full and the stores busy as people descended on Homer for the Shorebird Festival this weekend. We haven't shopped on the spit since we've moved here, though we did 4 years ago when we visited Homer. The shopping seems like such a tourist thing to do.