Brian Baker Of Afishunt Charters Discusses Fishing
Destination Piece On Alaska
MRV: The Buzz, Your RV Lifestyle Insider. Written By David Irvin
DEEP ANGLING BEAUTY IN THE ALASKA WILDERNESS: Afishunt Charters
Brian & Felecia Barker Balance The Texture Of Fishing, Relaxation & Nature In Their Corner Of Ninilchik Alaska.
In the serene waters of the Kasilof River a boat drifts toward the center of the channel. There are fish here - and silence. It is a return to an earlier form of fishing, and deep in the heart of Alaska country, there is a tug on the line.
Brian Baker has led many successful fishing expeditions on the Kasilof, a narrow and winding channel that connects the Tustamena Lake to the Cook Inlet. On the northern end of the inlet sits Anchorage, the state's capital. The southern end connects to the Gulf of Alaska. In all directions there are beaches, old growth forests, snow-capped mountains, and ubiquitous Alaskan wildlife.
"In one word: it is breathtaking. Just the scenic views you get on all 360 degrees on the water," Baker said of the inlet. "We have mountains, four active volcanoes…snowcapped mountains. You just fall in love with it - it is everything that a sportsman would want - fishing, hunting, outdoor activities ..."
The company Baker runs with his wife, Felecia, is called Afishunt Charters, located in Ninilchik, a small fishing village on the east side of the inlet. With a fleet of four deep sea fishing vessels – between 28 and 32 feet long – and several custom made drift boats, the company provides access to some pristine, remote waters for first time - or longtime - fishermen and women. The waters of the Cook Inlet are suffused with marine life at various times of year, so much so that first time anglers often bring up the biggest fish of the day.
"We have had people -- 70 years old -- going out and pulling out 200 pound fish," Baker said. "It is their bucket list trip to Alaska and they pull up a monster."
Baker, a Michigan native who worked for the military prior to becoming a charter captain, moved to Alaska in 2003 and retired in 2010. He worked on the ejection systems for the F-15 and F-22 warplanes prior to settling into the maritime environs of the Cook Inlet to become a guide.
Oh … about that tug on the line out in the Kasilof river: That very well could be a king salmon, so get ready. “If you hook one of these monsters you better sit down and strap in because you are in for the fight of your life,” the Website exclaims. Fights with these 50-pound kings can last more than half an hour, depending on the strength of the swimmer.
Baker's company also runs an RV park that lets would-be deep sea anglers stay over before or after the trip to soak in the quiet life of an Alaskan fishing village. The park, which is lined with pines and birch, is a quiet place of solitude for Felecia Baker, who helps her husband run the company while she is not working as a nurse.
“It is very calm in the park. When I’m actually done for the day, it is just calm,” she explains. "I enjoy it when I’m down there. It is just much quieter…and a slower pace. [It is about] getting things in… meeting new people…trying to make everybody happy.”
The park is officially called the Alaskan Angler, and it has 45 RV spots, 11 cabins for rent, and a tent-camping area.
On deep sea charters, Baker’s guests regularly pull up sock-eye, halibut, and coho salmon. (Felecia says the catch rate on halibut is around 99 percent). Depending on the charter -- and which of the four boats chosen for the ride -- groups can be as large as 10 people. The boats will travel 12 to 30 miles in a single day and that day on the sea lasts from 6 to 10 hours. At the end, many visitors will have hooked the largest fish of their lives, Baker said, fighting them to the surface from hundreds of feet deep.
"Basically, what we are doing is providing customer service and the 'Alaska experience' for folks who might be on a once in a lifetime trip," Brian said. "We guide individuals who may or may not have either fished before - letting them catch their first halibut or their first salmon. It is awesome to be able to do that for people."
On a recent deep sea trip, Brian chartered a deep sea fishing trip for a group of Wounded Warriors. The Bakers hosted the group for free as a show of admiration for what they had done and been through for the service of the country.
Typically, a trip onto the open waters of the Cook Inlet will cost $295 per person for a halibut fishing expedition. Add in salmon (what they call their combo trip), and the cost goes to $325. For those wanting to fish off the side of a drift boat in the Kasilof, the rate is $195. Those who want to fish in the river are provided with an oresman to guide the smaller drift boats to the fishing holes.
From the drift boat, anglers might catch a glimpse of a bear, moose, or caribou on the banks of the Kasilof. In such an untouched landscape, it feels as though one is an original explorer here. The experience of the unsoiled wilderness is exactly what Baker hopes his clients find, and supplying the tools to find it has become his mission in life. Whether it is a bucket-list trip, or a regular charter by experienced anglers, the experience of the Alaskan wild is inescapable on these waters.
A graduate with a Masters Of Science from the
University Of North Texas, David has written on many beats including
crime and business for such outlets as the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette,
the Montgomery Advertiser & USA. He enjoys RVing and surfing the
Make Sure To Stay At:
Alaskan Angler RV Resort & Afishunt Charters, a Good Sam Campground on an 8-acre complex in the heart of Ninilchik,
Alaska dedicated to fulfilling your every recreational desire during
your stay in Alaska’s vacation land.