Captain Steve’s Lodge
Phone: (907) 567-1043
The water was dark and slick. A low swell rolled out of the Gulf of Alaska. Off the port side there is an impressive backdrop of fog-shrouded islands painted with dark timber, incredibly green meadows, volcanic beaches and shear cliffs. Some of the islands are the size of good size hills, others are full blown mountains knifing out of the Pacific.
A hundred feet below the 28 foot Alumaweld stretches a jagged lava reef. In its teeth lurk huge rockfish, halibut and lingcod of epic proportions. This is the spot where a client of Steve Smith’s named Robbie Hammond caught the reigning world record lingcod in 2007. That fish weighed a mind blowing 82.6 pounds!
My goal was modest. I grew up fishing outside the Golden Gate where a big ling goes 20 pounds. Going in all I wanted was a ling over 30 pounds. Since we’d only been fishing for a half hour and I’d already shot video of lingcod going 41 and 56 pounds hitting the deck. Maybe I was aiming a little low…
A huge white curl tail Kalin Grub pinned on an equally huge 16-ounce leadhead jig hangs from my jig rod. It looks just like something you’d throw at crappie…if crappie weighed 50 pounds!
Taking the rod, Captain Steve makes a long cast up current and quickly hands it back. I spool the jig line as it sinks, but as soon as I feell it hit the bottom, I engage the reel and start swimming the jig enticingly above the rocks.
Most of the lingcod I’ve caught have hit the bait or lure savagely, but the strike I got on the big jig wasn’t like that. One second I was swimming the bait, the next second it was still coming my way, but I could feel “pressure”. It felt a lot like a black bass taking a plastic worm. I swung hard as Steve’s voiced boomed, “Set, set, set!”
The rod bent hard and I felt heavy weight but I was able to turn the reel and draw the fish up off the bottom. Finally, after several seconds that seemed like minutes, the bottom dweller came to life and bolted for the rocks. Braid smoked off the big Penn reel, but the fish stopped short of the bottom…
“Don’t pump the rod at all. That’s a really nice lingcod. Just work the reel and keep the line tight. You land big lings with steady pressure,” Steve coached as he stood beside me, gaff in hand.
When the fish first materialized down deep all I could identify was a massive toothy mouth, seemingly large enough to engulf a honeydew melon. Deep down inside I could see the jig, or at least the jighead. As the fish came closer the sight of it’s huge beautifully camouflaged body took my breath away.
Steve made a perfect head shot with the gaff and the next thing I knew I was posing for photos with the fish of my dreams, a huge 61 pound lingcod!
I’ve caught countless halibut and a boat load of salmon while fishing out of Captain Steve’s Lodge over the years, but none of the fish I’ve caught have meant as much to me as that big ‘ol ling!
Big fish, great food, comfortable accommodations, a friendly staff and the inspiring back drop of the rugged Kenai Peninsula and the rich Cook Inlet…These are a few of the things that bring me back to Captain Steve’s Lodge year after year- Cal Kellogg
Check out this video Cal Kellogg shot at Captain Steve Smith’s fabled “lingcod spot”.
To check out some halibut and salmon action Cal Kellogg shot while fishing at Captain Steve’s Lodge watch this video.
About Captain Steve Smith And His Lodge
Captain Steve started as a deckhand for his dad, legendary California skipper, Jim Smith, at 12 years old and by 1988 obtained his 100 Ton Master Captain's License. After a few visits to Alaska left him in awe of the shear size and volume of monster fish he encountered, he moved to Ninilchik and settled down.
There was not much in the way of quality accommodations in this area of the Cook Inlet and Kenai Peninsula and soon Captain Steve and his wife LeAnne planned for and opened their own very special fishing lodge to provide first class accommodations to their fishing friends.
That was in 1991 and they have been showing anglers the best of Alaska ever since. Recently, Steve's lodge was redesigned and remodeled with a whole new polished look. 24 guests can relax in style with room to roam inside and out. Creature comforts are a great concern at the lodge. Even though you're visiting the rustic Kenai Peninsula, accommodations at the lodge are top notch with comfortable beds, hot showers and awesome meals that are every bit as memorable as the fishing and scenery.
When you return from a hard day of fishing the captains and deckhand expertly clean your catch. After that it is vacuum packed by the lodge's staff and frozen in a walk in freezer. When you depart your meat is packed in insulated shipping boxes, insuring that you'll have plenty of first class fish dinners when you return home.
So just how big are Kenai Peninsula's fish? Well for guests at Captain Steve's Lodge the records are impressive. In addition to boating the current world record lingcod at 82.6 pounds, barn door Pacific halibut to 376 pounds have been landed, golden eye rockfish to 31.5 pounds have shown up, king salmon to 84 pounds have been caught, cohos to a staggering 19 pounds have been bagged, steelhead to 15 pounds have been caught and rainbow trout to 16 pounds have been successfully landed.
For an avid California angler the fish that are considered small by Alaskan standards seem very large by California standards and fish that Alaskans consider big are absolutely gargantuan. For the angler that wants lots of big fish action with a good chance of hooking into a real trophy, there is nowhere better to spend your fishing vacation than at Captain Steve’s' Lodge.
Check out this full length video detailing the fishing and services offered at Captain Steve’s Lodge