Captain Reubin Payne

In 1991 I graduated from Georgia Southern University, loaded my back pack, drove to Seattle, ditched the car, caught the ferry, slept on the deck up the Inside Passage, got off in Haines and hitch-hiked all summer with a very light budget and a fairly heavy  back pack. Most of our rides came from local Alaskans that hauled us around the state sharing laughs, stories, fishing tips and on occasion their “secret fishing spots”.  After hitch-hiking more than two thousand miles, eating pounds of wild berries, freeze dried food and fresh fish all I wanted to do was go back to Georgia eat some of my moms pork chops, pack up the rest of my hunting and fishing gear, and move to Alaska!

That fall I put on a nice sweater, printed off a resume and drove to Atlanta to a local fishing show to get myself hooked up on a job in Alaska! I met a lodge owner that hired me to do everything from launching boats to cleaning fish. The lodge was a very high end facility right on the beach of the Cook Inlet. I worked like a dog but for a few hours each day that summer, I would go fishing for salmon and halibut. The pay was crummy, the hours were long, but the fishing was fantastic, I was in heaven.

Captain Reubin Payne and son with a rainbow trout
Captain Reubin Payne showing a young fisherman the ropes

After the fishing season ended, I moved to the Kenai Peninsula town of Sterling just outside of Soldotna and guided the following 8 seasons for the lodge. We fished 7 days a week for four months straight and you couldn’t slap the smile off my face. I love fishing, I mean I love everything about it. I love being outside chasing fish! Even when the weather is bad, I love fishing, I figure that a guy has to have the rainy and windy days to appreciate the sunny ones.  After 20 plus years of fishing the Kenai Peninsula waters, I have sat in the rain many an hour, I have caught thousands of pounds of fish and I have taken more than one skunking. And I have loved every minute of it!

In 2001 I began Alaskan Widespread Fishing Adventures Inc. I treat my business like a business. I control what I can control, the boats are cleaned each night, the books are kept straight, and confirmations are checked and re-checked. We tie fresh leaders each evening, keep razor sharp hooks on each line, we plan our work and we work our plan. But I don’t do it for the money, I do it all because I love fishing and this business has supported that passion. Mindy and I have an incredible lifestyle and we are truly grateful to be living our dream.

Captain Reubin Payne and client with a Kenai River Trout
Group of fishermen on the Kenai River with their catch

We get to share Alaska with people that are on vacation and enjoy fishing! What could be better? We may be fishing with the repeat client that comes back every year and has fished hundreds of hours with us. Or perhaps we are fishing with the angler that has dreamed their whole life of coming to Alaska and fishing. We get to participate in other people’s dreams and adventures!