Alaska’s fishing charters come of age

… And experience the growing pains of competition and outgrown facilities.

Anchorage insurance salesman Ron Sayer loves to fish. Every summer, Sayer and his father Drew, from Salmon, Ida., visit Homer, the self-proclaimed Halibut Fishing Capital of the World, to search for the lunkers that lurk on the bottom of lower Cook Inlet. This year they caught a whale.

“I knew it was a big fish when my dad caught it,” Ron Sayer says. “He’s 76, you know, and it was too much for him, so he passed the rod over to me. We’ve caught halibut before, but never anything like this.”

Whale is fish jargon for really big halibut. The Sayers’ whale weighed in at 307 pounds on the scales of Silver Fox Charters, a longtime saltwater guiding outfit on the Homer Spit.