Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Knot for Every Fisherman...

There will come a time in your life when I won't be there for you, and when that day comes you are going to need to know some very specific knots. This is especially true for our wonderful fly fisherman, am I right, or am I right? Fly fishermen will need to tie multiple knots on one line just to get started. From the reel to the backing, to the line,  to the Leader, to the Tippet, to the Fly. And then if you whip your line too much it becomes tying your fly, tying your fly, tying your fly, and then to your fly again. (this cycle is continuous for some of us because we just won't learn finesse)

At Petersburg Sport Fishing we typically will always be there to tie, help, or instruct on the different knots that you will need to use while you are here with us, but for those who would like to get a jump start on their knowledge or would like a refresher course check out this amazing website.

Click here to see the step by step on how to do the improved clinch

All fishermen must start with this knot. Do you want to catch a 300 lbs Halibut? Then you better tie an improved clinch on your spreader bar. (even then it still might break the line and get away, but at least you can say you hooked into a barn door and you won't be able to blame your knot for the departure of the biggest fish of your life)

Here is a list of other knots that you will probably want to know sooner or later:

The Surgeon's Knot
The Nail Knot
Blood Knot

and for Boating I love the following:

The Mooring Hitch(click here for a site that has this knot. This website isn't as cool but its functionable. Did I just make that word up or did I spell it wrong?)

Now don't get me wrong there are a ton of other knots out there and I have used quite a few of them but these are the ones I use on a daily basis.

Oh and by the way has an App for this too!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

What you won't find at Petersburg Sport Fishing...

Alaska is a wonderful place to live and fish, and although we live a bit differently than others we still to try to keep ourselves professional. That doesn't mean that we don't have a great sense of humor especially when it is at other people's expense. So when you come, feel free to laugh along with us but please try to stay in the boat.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Dear Dad,

Merry Christmas! I hope that with all of your traveling during this beautiful holiday season you and Mom get a few minutes to yourself.
As for me I just wanted to take a second and tell you thanks for the Christmas gift you gave me. When you came to visit you brought with you a very special gift, your shotgun, and my 30-06. Here in Alaska owning acouple of guns seems to be a very important thing. People talk guns and hunting as much as Wall Street talks bonds and bear markets.
I know that having to arrive two hours earlier than usual to have every person give you the once over to make sure you aren't some gun toting crazy man wasn't an easy thing. I am also sure it wasn't so comfortable having the TSA folks hand frisk you, well because you brought a gun to the airport. But you persevered and they arrived safely.
So with shotgun in hand and my duck stamps in pocket I loaded myself into a boat loaded with friends and headed for Port Houghton. Our first stop along the way was in Farrugut Bay. What a beautiful spot to enjoy the outdoors.
It is also a completely secluded land, or so Preston and I thought when we were dropped off on the beach to begin hunting ducks. Low and behold here we were held at gun point being asked to leave the premises. Who knew that our first stop was owned by a man who turned his 150 beautiful acres of prime duck hunting grounds into a land conservancy. So we waited for a couple of hours on the beach looking for our dinghy to arrive to take us off the not so secluded island.
No worries though because we were back on the F/V Liahona (our fishing vessel) and headed once again to our final destination. We spent the next couple of days pulling shrimp pots, deheading thousands of shrimp, Duck hunting, trapping Mink, Wolverine, River Otter, hunting wolves, skinning said animals, and pulling crab pots too.
So, even though I slipped and fell on the deck of the boat, bruised my right shoulder because I didn't hold the butt of the gun tight enough to my shoulder, sat in the freezing snow for a couple of days trying to hide my overgrown body from ducks and got super seasick on the trip home, it was all worth it because I had my gun. My 12 guage Browning was true on one shot, and that's all that matters. I shot my first duck and even though a 16 year old kid(who has grown up here his whole life and hunted for everything you could think of) out shot me all three days, I loved it.
That's right I loved it! I loved every second of it, I laughed a ton, felt the adrenaline run through my veins, learned a ton and I just down right had a fantastic time. A trip to remember, and although you were not there with me your Christmas gift kept giving, because it was with me all week long.
We love you and Mom, and wished we lived closer but during this Christmas season we feel your love and hope you feel ours.
Merry Christmas Dad! I love you.

Donnie Robert Hayes II
Evan making sure the Dinghy is full of air

Kurt(on right) Laughing after I showed up with everything including a box of cookies. Ryan on the right with his wolf cap.

Evan getting the frozen fish from under the boat.

Kurt and Ryan with three of their otters.

Poor Mallard-so frozen he had to be cut up with an axe for the mink traps.

Kurt showing his disgust with the stink of the Otter.


Me learning to scrape all the fat off of the Otter skin. Tougher than it looks.

Port Houghton by the Salt Chuck

Preston and his Lunch of Champions-I ate two bags hoping I could shoot better...

Preston and Yukon Cornelius

Shrimp Deheaded- Shrimp have a huge horned heads and their butts try to attack you when you rip their heads off.

The infamous Mallard Hen. My first Kill, oh look there's Bessie right by my side.

This is a Harlequin that Kurt shot.

Preston ate all of those all by himself.

King Crab and Preston- One of many.

That's one dirty dude with those King Crabs. Thank goodness he was headed home.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Reform is coming....

As you begin a new company it is important to put your own twist on it. This weekend was filled with trying to get our brand just right. We think its fun yet simple and just our style. What do you think?

With The logo and business card out of the way now the real treat comes when the website will be totally revamped. Same great place just more information, and a whole new look. We can't wait to unveil it, but that will be a bit, so pay close attention. For now here is a taste of where we are headed.

We stewed and stewed over a few other simple differences to the logo but simple can be majestic! Thanks to Lorena O'Neal for guiding our hands and helping to make this a simple process. If you need the services of an amazing freelance designer she will work wonders.

Check her out at

Welcome to the New Petersburg Sportfishing Charters!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Fisherman's Christmas

Everyone wants the perfect gift for Christmas even your fisherman. Here is a list of the top ten fly fishing gifts to give this holiday season.

Click here to see the best gifts under $25 for a fly fisherman
Would you like a copy of the book "The Little Red Book of Fly Fishing" by Kirk Deeter from Petersburg Sport Fishing? Then send me your top ten list of favorite fishing gifts. I will choose my favorite by Dec. 26th and then post your top ten on the blog and mail you your book. Send all submissions to

OK, ready? Set? Go!!

And Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The many hats of a small business owner....

Ah the many hats we all wear, isn't it interesting that it can be hard to switch those caps as fast as we would like to? Wouldn't it be nice to have enough business that you could afford to hire good solid employees that will do the work in a way that you are proud of?

The American Dream right? Well, that will be my goal for five years out. Right now though between, myself, my Wife, my Father and, my Mother we wear all of the caps. I am lucky to have them! My Wife is an incredible photographer and designer, D'Ann(my Mom) is the financial heart of the operation, And my Dad is the true heart, soul, and knowledge of the business. Me, well I am the lackey! The one that blogs, does the marketing, tiles bathrooms, installs wood floors in the bedrooms, upgades the water heater so we never run out, and familiarizes himself with the best fishing spots in Petersburg.(I will be gone for a week crabbin', shrimpin', and deer hunting in two weeks...what a place!)

You are right I wear some of the best CAPS. I love my Job, and those I work with. (Who can literally say they love those they work with?) When you come fishing with us, you might see me change my hat a few times during the day too. I will change it from Chef, to Chauffeur, to Guide, to Fish prep, back to Chef, and then by the end of the week to your new best friend!

Come fishing with me, I know that you will change your cap too, from Fisherman to Family. Welcome to Alaska!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Eating With Meggan - Ranch Halibut

Simple Ranch Breaded Halibut

I made this dish twice in the last month.  The first time I overestimated the amount of time I needed to cook it and it came out a little darker than I wanted so I didn't take any pictures.  The second time I watched it a little closer and it was perfect and super yummy.

1/2 cup buttermilk or sour milk
3/4 cup Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs
1/4 cup dry ranch dressing mix
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound halibut filet sliced into 4-6 servings

Place the bread crumbs and ranch mix in a gallon size ziploc bag.  Slice Halibut and soak in buttermilk.  Immediately place halibut pieces, one at a time, into the ziploc bag.  Shake to coat and set aside.  Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Place the fillets in the skillet and cook 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown and fish flakes easily.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Samuel Warren Nelson II-In Memorium

Pop-pop was a character! Anyone who knew him expected the unexpected. From off color jokes to stern reprimands he was a giant unto himself.

In his latter years he was man enough to wear short, hot pink shorts, with a grey striped button up shirt. His hair was still the same haircut, a short crop, he had kept since the Korean War where he was stationed here in Alaska. He had a story or a lesson for every moment, most of them heard, but still appreciated, before by those who surrounded him on a daily basis. His son's, daughter(my mom), and his grandkids have taken many of those lessons and stories to heart.

Just the other day My 5 year old daughter Mckenzie asked where we were going to, which my eight year old daughter(her birthday is next week-so I can say she is eight) said "Crazy if we don't mend our ways." Meggan and I had a hearty chuckle knowing that Pop-pop was probably smiling in heaven knowing he passed that one on.

I have never looked at dessert the same again since he taught me the secret to having more than one serving. I came to him one Thanksgiving and asked if I could have some more Pumpkin pie. He told me no and then went on to explain the true secret to success. "Donnie" he said "never ask for more because then people will know that you have already had some. Next time ask if you can have some then they won't know if you have had any and will most likely give you that second serving you desire." I have used it since and have been better fed for it!

Pop-pop, thanks for teaching, laughing, and being the first of our family to come to Alaska. You have instilled in my father and I a love for a land more beautiful than most, and a desire to share it with others. Your picture is hung on the wall but we always carry you in our heart. Thanks for serving our great country, it has made a difference, you have made a difference. Love and Miss you!

From Left Donnie Hayes; Sam Nelson; Donn Hayes
Pop-pop's Last trip to Alaska

Friday, November 5, 2010

Time heals all wounds-"Eating with Meggan"

"Time heals all wounds" is another of those sayings that we use all the time (it has been said that Chaucer was one of the first to say it.. but it can also be said that "Food heals all wounds." I am pretty sure that Donn Hayes said that.

So in that mode I announce the once monthly "Eating with Meggan" segment of the blog. She has been testing out Fish recipes and is going to share with you her thoughts on the recipe, ideas on how to make it better, or if there is no hope. If you would like to share with us your fish recipes we would love to try them out and if you are lucky we will spotlight our "Fish Chef of the Month."

For those who know me, you can ask what I had instead and I will put my two cents in.  We all know that I don't eat fish (bring on the comments on that).

So, here it is folks fish recipe #1:

Heavenly Halibut
(originally found on the italicized words are the parts of the recipe I modified to make it healthier or to use what we had on hand)

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil (originally called for 1/4 cup of butter)
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons chopped green
   onion or salsa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 dash hot pepper sauce
   (if you didn’t add salsa)
2 pounds skinless halibut filets

In a bowl mix the parmesan cheese, olive oil, mayonnaise, lemon juice, green onions (or salsa), salt, and hot pepper sauce.  Arrange the halibut fillets in a lightly greased baking dish and pour sauce over the top.  Bake, covered, at 375ยบ for 10 minutes, uncover and bake for 10 more until fish flakes easily.

This recipe was fabulous!  The fish was moist, yet flaky, and the sauce was robust and very creamy.  We happened to have fresh parmesan on hand, which is rare, so I'm sure I will eventually try this recipe with mozzarella or some more "normal" cheese.  We didn't have any green onion but, of course, we had fresh salsa in the fridge so I used that instead of the green onions and hot pepper sauce and it really enhanced the flavor.  The recipe originally instructed that the fish be broiled but I'm not a fan of broiling because I have a tendency to burn things that way so I opted to just bake it.  I highly recommend this recipe, let me know if you try it and what you think!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Fishing up a storm

Where do sayings like "fishing up a storm" come from? I understand sport analogy comments (these are sayings for those of us who can't think of anything else to say) because they come from things I typically know a bit about. But when did we start using them as everyday statements? "Go get 'em tiger." we know that this doesn't refer to Tiger Woods because he hasn't been around as long as the saying has, but does it apply to him? In some ways, unfortunately it does.
He got em alright and then got a divorce.
Sayings like "riding the pine," "howling at the moon," "step up to the plate" (I am sure we can find a ton more and I would love to see them in my comment box) are used daily and we all typically put a meaning to them that probably wasn't the original.

So today and for the rest of your life when you hear the words "fishing up a storm" I want you to think about me, Donn Hayes a co-owner in a small business called Petersburg Sport Fishing trying to make a go of a dream come true! I am here in Alaska waiting for the storm to roll in, and me to roll right with it.

Welcome to my world, the world of a true M.A.D. man.

What ever your storm is I hope you find it. I'm still pulling mine in.