Captain Chad Clark has always been a fisherman, and it’s clear to see why (with his excitement and passion) as he takes you out on the beautiful waters outside of the Haines Small Boat Harbour. “This is the first time I have made a career out of fishing,” said Clark. “I am originally from Virginia, and we moved up to Haines for the fishing lifestyle.”
Since 2012, Clark has been working in charter fishing and was given the opportunity to purchase a retiring charter company in 2016. “The 2017 season was our first season chartering as Kraken Charters, and we quickly realized that our new business was not driven by the cruise ship industry but by the outdoor enthusiasts of Whitehorse.”
Charters in Haines typically start their season in May, trolling for king salmon. “Last year, Alaska Fish and Game limited the King Salmon Fishery to catch-and-release only,” said Clark. “We now offer sightseeing for wildlife, including whales, sea lions, bears, eagles and moose. We also take our spring guests crabbing. Each non-resident is allowed to keep three large male crabs per day. We use crab rings instead of crab pots, as we can check them after 30 to 45 minutes with success.”
Kraken Charters also offers halibut fishing out of Skagway, if the Haines drive is too far. They harbour in Haines and use the Haines Skagway Fast Ferry (HainesSkagwayFastFerry.com) to bring guests back and forth from Skagway to their charter. It does add the ferry cost to the charter but is an option for Skagway visitors.
“We start targeting halibut in early June,” said Clark. “We have all the necessary gear on the boat, and even kids that have never seen a fishing pole before have reeled up 50-pound halibut. Each year, we offer a refund, for the charter trip, to the guest that catches the largest halibut … [it’s] called the Kraken Award. NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] does federally regulate the halibut fishery across the state, so we do have restrictions to the number and size of the halibut kept. Each person on the charter is able to keep one halibut measuring less than 38 inches or more than 80 inches.”
Kraken Charters offers two four-hour charters per day, one starting at 8:30 a.m. and the second starting after lunch at 1:30 p.m. “We can fish up to four people on each charter, returning to the harbour with a maximum of four halibut [total],” said Clark. “If we have a group that would like to private charter the boat, we can take a group with as many as six on the boat, but only catch and retain four halibut.”
Like most things in Haines, the saying is “go big or go home,” whether you hike or ski the steep mountains; or compete by catching the biggest fish. It’s a quaint, epic little town. “At the end of each season, Kraken Charters refunds the charter cost to the winner of the current year’s Kraken Award,” said Clark. “Throughout the season we keep a running record of the biggest halibut caught.
“If you reel up this elusive ‘monster of the deep,’ we award you the bragging rights deserved and a refund of your payment as the year’s winner of the Kraken Award.”
Catch the Kraken offers Alaskan saltwater charter fishing (targeting halibut), but other species include rockfish, cod, flounder, wolf fish, pollock and shark. Or book with them to enjoy their sightseeing tour of the plentiful marine and land wildlife.
Visit www.CatchTheKraken.com for more information and see if you can “Catch the Kraken” in 2018!
Kraken Award 2017
Congratulations to Tim and Amanda Kuchyt, winners of the Kraken Award in 2017. Not only did they have the largest halibut caught of the charter, this season, but this 72″ 196-pound halibut was the largest sport fish caught for halibut in Northern Lynn Canal for the 2017 fishing season.