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Home / Fishing / Articles

Articles :

Our Alaskan Fishing Adventure
By Danny Pierce 

 Click Here for a profile of Cody Pierce

We saw a sweepstakes on television which was being offered by, well known television fishing personality, Babe Winkelman. Chevrolet Trailblazer and Rayovac Batteries were the sponsors for the sweepstakes. There were 2 grand prizes up for grabs and you could choose the one you wanted to enter. One was a 2 Week African Safari, hunting with Babe. The second was a five day saltwater Alaskan fishing trip, fishing with Babe, at Waterfall Resort just outside of Ketchican, Alaska. The second part of the fishing adventure was that the trip would be filmed and shown on Babe's television show. We talked it over and decided a gazillion people would enter the sweepstakes. We knew if we weren't in it we could not win it so we optioned to enter the sweepstakes despite the odds.

Since both of us are IGFA members, Cody chose the Alaskan fishing adventure of a lifetime when he mailed in his entry form! Indeed, there were a gazillion entries sent in to Winkelman Productions in Brainerd, Minnesota. About 9 weeks later a man called on the phone and asked to speak to Cody. He identified himself as Babe Winkelman and the conversation began. Babe advised us that Cody's name had been drawn out of all the entries as the winner of the fishing trip and personally invited us to fish with him in Alaska for 4 days. He had never had a child win his yearly sweepstakes and he was apprehensive at best. When we told Babe that Cody was an IGFA Junior angler and a Junior world record holder he was as excited as we were about having chosen Cody as the winner. In fact, Babe asked us if he could put us on his speaker so his entire production company could hear about the boy that had just won their fishing sweepstakes contest.

It seemed as though the next few weeks would never pass. Soon enough though, we would be on our way to fish with Babe Winkelman and his wife, Kris, in Alaska. Many of you reading this story may think Cody is one incredibly lucky kid. That may be, but he is really just like all teenagers. He loves skateboarding, BMX bikes, ATV's and video games besides his number one love of fishing.

Just a couple of days before we were leaving for Alaska Cody had the unfortunate experience of breaking his right hand in two places. We discussed our plight with the doctors and they decided that Cody could remove his bandaging and use his hand to fish. If it became too uncomfortable, the doctors said Cody would know it and he would have to stop fishing. That was not going to happen though, especially not on a trip like this!

Upon arriving in Alaska it rained every day we were there and probably averaged 50 degrees for the entire time we spent on the ocean fishing. We all fished in the rain and one day the skies did clear and we were able to fish in the beautiful clear sunshine. When that happened we got into the fish big time! During our trip between Babes crew, Babe and Kris Winkelman and us, we must have caught over 2,000 lbs. of fish in 4 days. About a third were released, the remaining bounty was split between the 10 of us and we took home 100 lbs. of salmon, rock fish, halibut and cod. Out of all three Winkelman boats only one fish was large enough to qualify for a Jr. world record, the entire 4 days we were fishing. This is how that event transpired.

The boats had stopped and our guide, Scott McKelvey, advised us to drop our lines to the bottom. It was 175 deep at that particular spot. Almost as soon as Cody's jig reached the bottom and he jigged one time he had hooked up with an enormous yelloweye rock fish. We had all taken turns catching several of this particular species of fish but none were even close to the one Cody had hooked up with. It took Cody, with a broken hand, about 5 minutes to reel in the giant fish. In front of 3 cameras filming for Babe's television show Cody caught and landed a 22.00 lb. yelloweye rockfish, A.K.A., incorrectly on the west coast of America as a red snapper. It was weighed on the boat when Scott told us it was not a red snapper, as many call them, but a yelloweye rockfish. I told them immediately that Cody's fish was a new IGFA Junior world record, even before I looked it up. It had eaten Koby Huntington's record of 18 lbs. 12 oz. by 3 lbs. 4 oz. And I pulled out the IGFA 2001 record book to show everyone.

Cody's fish measured 31.5 inches in length and had a 30 inch girth! It looks like it had eaten a volleyball or basketball! Even the state of Alaska recognizes such an incredible catch and is sending Cody an award certificate for his outstanding angling feat. They estimate the fish could be about 80-100 years old! We want to invite all to share in our Alaskan Fishing Adventure when the show airs on television in a few months. We will keep you informed of the airing date(s) and/or you can visit Babe's web site for his television schedule and programming.

Best fishes to all,
Danny & Cody Pierce


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