"Deadliest Catching," formerly known as "Dude Fishing"

Think City Slickers meets Deadliest Catch during a Perfect Storm! Well, we don't do this unless the weather is really nice. No one has ever been injured on my commercial boats in more than 35 years of operation, so there is nothing really deadly about it, but I may have to do a bit of yelling to keep the operation moving smoothly and to keep everyone safe.


Deadliest Catching on the FV Pelican

Commercial power trolling for salmon has been called the “Alaska's Gentleman’s Fishery.” It is as much a lifestyle, as a living, for many commercial fishermen.

It is beautifully serene and full of swashbuckling adventure at other times. A cross between gold-mining and cattle rustlin’, salmon trolling is acknowledged as the commercial fishery requiring the highest level of skill and sophistication.

It is exactly like sports fishing, except that you are trolling 40 to 60 lures in the water at one time—that is ten lures per guest! As much art as science, locating and catching salmon to earn your livelihood can be an exercise of extreme humility. As in sportfishing, some fishermen seem to have all the “luck,” and these fishermen are called “highliners!”

Target Species

  • King Salmon
  • Silver Salmon
  • In season, you will be able to catch any size lingcod as well!

A commercial power troller fishes for salmon exactly like a charter boat trolling with down riggers; the difference is just a matter of scale.

A typical troller drags four stainless steel wires through the water with 60 pound cannon balls attached to the bottom. think BIG DOWN RIGGERS on steroids! The boat moves through the water at about 3 MPH dragging these cannon balls very close to the ocean floor, in and around a structure that holds salmon. These stainless steel lines have stops every few fathoms (fathom = six feet), and at each stop, we snap on a 2-3 fathom (12-18 foot) leader.

At the end of each leader is attached either a flasher with a tail leader and lure or simply a shiny metal lure. When all four stainless steel lines are deployed, you may have as many as 60 lures trolling through the water at once!

Now, that was the easy part. You must locate the fish next and then and stay on them. That is the essence of all fishing—locating the fish and staying on the fish.

Imagine having a fish on every line and catching fish as fast as you can pull them aboard!

The F/V Pelican is a beautifully finished 50' yacht equipped to power troll for salmon. When “Deadliest Catching,” you will start your day at 6am with coffee and a breakfast burrito on the boat as we cruise to the fishing grounds. We return to the lodge each evening at about 5:30pm.

This is not the "Deadliest Catch." There is no danger, no drama, but is a real, hands-on adventure in commercial fishing. You get to run the hydraulic gurdy (think big, powerful fishing reel) and you get to land the fish.

Club the king salmon in the head and gaff it, then pull it on board! The trick is doing this without the salmon getting off the hook or getting the gaff pulled out of your hands by the fish!

I promise not to yell at you if you lose a fish. This is strictly for fun. I will instruct you, you will grow proficient, and it will be fun! The blood lust runs high, and people get hooked on this very quickly.

The crew and I do the heavy lifting, run the boat, clean and ice the fish while guys get to run the gear and land the fish! Occasionally we can overnight on the boat, tucked safely away in a little cove, or you may be taken back to your suite at Highliner Lodge and Charters Inc. on a fast boat, have a fabulous dinner and come back out in the morning. At the end of the day, we split the catch, and you have the option to buy the boat's share at a wholesale price.

This is NOT the target fish! My son Jon (on the right) hanging upside down to pose with the imposing shark he has inadvertently caught while long-lining for halibut and black cod.

Some advantages of the dude fish option:

  • Great way to spend a bad weather day - Yes, we do occasionally have rough weather. The boat is stable and heavy, warm and roomy!
  • Great way to spend a "not very many salmon around" day - This happens even in Alaska, even at Highliner Lodge and Charters Inc., even with me as the captain!
  • Great way to develop team work and camaraderie
  • Great way to fill up your fish box with salmon to take home - While we get our limits of cohos and kings many days while sports fishing, sometimes the fishing can be slow, and this is a very good bet to get a lot more salmon to bring home than you would if you were only sportfishing.
  • In my opinion (and many of my guests agree although some don't want to admit it): It really is more fun, interesting and active than sports fishing. There is no other fishing experience in Alaska like this!
  • There is no other fishing experience in Alaska like this!
Fishing Vessel Pelican

Group Sizes

We can accommodate up to 6 guests on the boat at one time. This is not over-crowded, as the F/V Pelican is uniquely designed to accommodate 6 fishermen actively participating at one time. As with our other boats, we do not combine guests to make groups of more than 4 unless the guests know each other and that is what you choose to do.


Additional Cost

The following extra fee is required for Deadliest Catching: the fee for a group of 4-6 would be $150 per person. The fee for a group of 3 would be $200 per person. The fee for a group of 2 would be $250 per person. The fee for a single would be $300.


Share of the Catch

We retain, and sometimes sell, the boat's share of the catch to cover the extra cost of this operation. We also supply fish to Highliner Lodge and Charters Inc. for your dinners.

If you would like to purchase some, or all, of the boat's share of the Deadliest Catch you may do so at the commercial fishing ex-vessel price ~ $3.00/lb for cohos and ~ $10.00/lb for king salmon (based on the head on dressed weight, fillet weight is about half of dressed weight). This is a bargain considering these fillets would sell for $18-$28 per pound in your local fish market!


One More Thing to Take Note Of...

Something that we cannot accommodate on the Deadliest Catching trips is drinking while we are fishing. That is not acceptable as you will be operating powerful hydraulic equipment. You may, however, enjoy beer and wine on the way back to town at the end of the fishing day. Also, if a guest cannot (or will not) carefully follow the captain's instructions regarding operating the equipment, I cannot take them out.


This video shows you the fishing/ expedition vessel Pelican. This is the boat we "Dude Fish" for salmon on. Occasionally we longline for halibut and black cod too.