Interviewer: What was the emotional highlight of your trip to the Alaska Seascape Lodge, or Jimmie Jack’s Alaska Lodge?
John Collis: It was just a beautiful experience. I was blessed from the word ‘go.’ That was my bucket list, and my wife helped me do it. We got there at the fisherman’s lodge, and they thought it was two men, and they put us in a room with nice accommodations and everything. Then Jimmie Jack found out we were a couple, and he moved us up to the Seascape Lodge, which was gorgeous.
When they say five stars, you could probably say six. You could look out our window and see the three volcanoes, the bay, I mean, it was unbelievable. The accommodations were really good; the people there—the guides, the cooks, the people that came in to clean up—they were top notch. Everybody makes you feel like you’re at home. We just had a blessed time.
We went up there, and, just like when we were on the boat with Captain Charlie and Cooper, first mate. I looked up at him, and I say, ‘Have you ever had to open that back gate before to get a fish in?’ He looked at me like I’d lost my mind and he said, ‘Nope, just throw them over the side.’ I said ‘OK’ and it wasn’t more than two or three minutes later when the rod started bouncing. I grabbed it and went to reeling. I was losing more than I was gaining. Charlie and Cooper, they were just going crazy. I couldn’t fathom why, and all of a sudden there he is after a long fight. And I look down over the side and there was a queen-size mattress coming out of the water. They had to open the back gate, and they brought it in the boat. It was just a blessing. You know, when you’re blessed, you have to bless others. My wife said to me, ‘We’ve got 140 pounds of fillets. What are we going to do with it?’ I thought about that that night, and the next morning I said, ‘You know, we’re going to give it to a Christian food bank and go from there.’ I think that was the most blessed I ever was.
The rivers were beautiful; the Halibut fishing was great. The fly-in over to that remote river, you can see the bears. You can catch all those fish over there. You can see the glaciers. Gosh, I’d say all of it. If you’re going to go, do all of it. I would highly recommend anybody that has the opportunity to go up there, or who has a bucket list to accomplish something in their life, to go do it. The fishing was absolutely first-class. We had so much fun with the guides, the scenery was beautiful, and the fish were plentiful. As a matter of fact, when I asked my wife ‘Where do you want to go this year?’, she said, ‘Let’s go back to Alaska.’ I hope to see everybody that was there last year and maybe meet new people, too.