I am the captain of the Sophia K and would like to tell Roger Jack (who wrote Thursday's letter, "Tale of fish denied by a charter boat") that I'm sorry he lost his fish.
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There were around 20 boats fishing the rocks at north Douglas that afternoon, not counting the fishermen casting from shore. I am always careful to give the casters their space, understanding they don't have the option to fish from a boat. I was headed into the cove, and Jack's boat cut inside of me, into the space I left for the shore fishermen. Jack's boat was smaller, so I let him take the inside line.
We were about alongside each other when I saw Jack and his brother hook a very nice fish. Our boats were 10 yards from one another, and I gave the guys a complimentary, "All right," as myself and my clients started to watch and cheer them on.
I saw that the fish was taking some good line, so I turned the boat 90 degrees off the rocks, directly away from them and into the middle of the cove.
The guys on the other vessel struggled to control the large fish, which was heading toward my boat. I kept heading away, but the guys couldn't stop the fish from taking a huge amount of line. About 40 seconds into the battle, I was about 75 to 100 yards away when their line caught my downrigger and snapped.
I was sad they had lost such a nice fish, but there's only so much space in the cove. I tell my clients that, when fishing in areas with a lot of boat activity, try to control the fish before it gets too far from the boat because of all the traffic.
I've lost quite a few fish over the years because of my gear getting hung up on other boats, but I don't call these boats out or point fingers saying it's their fault. I rather try to figure out what I can do to avoid the same situation again, such as tightening the drag or maneuvering the boat in a different way.
We all try to respect each other out on the water. There are plenty of fish and lots of good times for us all to enjoy. I'll continue to fish the Juneau area respectfully and look forward to another great season.