Hill Norvell is not a salesman. He’s a fisherman who tells is like it is. That kind of straight-forward approach might come from his upbringing in Texas, where he grew up on the water, casting and catching, and operating his own boat by age 14. Or maybe it comes from his military training during his stint in the U.S. Army.
One thing is certain: Talk to Hill about catching fish in Resurrection Bay and the Gulf of Alaska and he’ll tell you the odds straight up. If you book a fishing excursion with his company, you’ll know exactly what to expect. Hill’s brand of fish charter is reminiscent of the old cowboy work ethic, where you did your job, respected nature and your fellow traveller, and took only what you could use.
Hill is respected in these waters and has earned a reputation for finding those open-water hot spots where the fish are hiding. His approach is popular with those who are serious about catching fish and who can trust his instincts over their own.
Charter his entire ship-shape 46-foot boat (the “2 Day”) for private customized trips, or try for an individual seat. Either way, you’re likely to limit out on a few species.
Customize to combine sightseeing with fishing
For most people, their first trip out into Resurrection Bay is on a sightseeing excursion. For Hill, it’s just understood that you’ll see whales, otters and sea lions when you go out fishing. Combining sight-seeing and fishing is a great option, especially for groups where some are more interested in wildlife while others’ main concern is bringing fish back home. Talk to Hill about a customized trip for your group – where you can explore sightseeing spots and put a line in too.
Stay for awhile, in cozy Alaska comfort
If you’re in town for more than a day or two, check out the lodge Hill and his wife Brittny run. It’s a family-owned and operated bed and breakfast that sleeps up to twelve and highlights clean and comfortable Alaska living. There are four rooms, each with private bath. Many also have a private entry. There’s free wi-fi for checking your email (or the weather forecast!) and you can relax in the common area, which has a flat-screen tv and cable.
Captain Hill cooks a hot breakfast before your adventuring begins. Brittny is in charge of packing you a hearty lunch for the boat, which will keep you energized until dinner. Two nights a week an Alaskan King crab dinner is served at the lodge. On other nights, guests are encouraged to enjoy a meal out at one of Seward’s restaurants, or are welcome to cook dinner at the lodge (maybe even grilling some of what they caught that day.)
The Whole (Seafood) Enchilada
Get up to 12 buddies together and have the fishing trip of a lifetime. Charter the 2 Day for a customized fishing adventure along with comfortable accommodations at the Hill lodge. All you have to worry about is putting your line in the water, as everything from your license, to your rain gear to your hot breakfast and King Crab dinner and fish processing is included. Minimum 2 days fishing/ 3 nights lodging. See pricing for details.
Private charter – for sightseeing, fishing or both
Need a day trip for the corporate gang or special clients up from the Lower 48? If you aren’t planning on staying over, you can still charter the 2 Day and show them some real Alaskan fishing. Get all the advantages of a customized, private boat charter in one very full day – for up to 14 passengers. (Need more time? Long-range overnight fishing trips on the 2 Day are also possible by special arrangement.)
One awesome day on the water
If you’re on a budget, you can still experience the life of an Alaska fisherman on board the 2 Day. Make sure you’re geared up for the weather, with your own lunch and fishing license. Captain Hill will pilot the boat to the hot spots where different species are biting, then clean your catch and take you back to a fish processing center so you can get them packaged up to enjoy back home.
The Fish with Hill Philosophy
Learn more about Hill before you book. While some may describe his personality as “love him or hate him,” many folks appreciate his expertise and his acerbic wit. And there’s no mistaking that he’s good at what he does. All his repeat customers will tell you: if you’re all about the fishing, this is your guy.
On sales: “If I sold you a trip and then you didn’t like what I sold you, I have to deal with you for the week…”
On catching fish: “I offer a nice clean boat with good working equipment. I do everything in my control to make it as perfect as possible. Sometimes it’s hard work. Sometimes it’s easy. We’ll go where there’s halibut and then catch our limit. Then we’ll go for salmon and catch our limit. Then we’ll try for a third species – maybe sea bass, lingcod or yellow eye. Some passengers will say that it seemed too easy. Then I joke, ‘I can park the boat where we won’t catch anything for two hours if you want.’ “
On rules: When it comes to fishing in Alaska, there are a lot of rules and regulations. Hill is a strict rule follower, and passengers on his boat are required to do the same, no exceptions.
On advice from passengers: “If your captain ever needs your help, then you’re in trouble…”
On kids catching fish: “Kids will be perfectly okay as long as the adults stay out of the way. Kids are going to do things the easiest way possible – but parents are so concerned they can fumble the situation. Parents shouldn’t worry about their kids losing equipment. I’ve only lost two rods in 14 years, and they were both full-grown men.”
On who’s in charge: “If you’ve bought the full boat for the day, you get to dictate where we go within reason. If you’ve bought one seat, well that’s like buying a ticket to the general matinee, and you get what I’m giving you.” (Which, guided by Hill’s well-known instincts, will be full of excited cries of “Fish on!” from those anglers who follow his advice).
On passing it on: Hill loves the water, and also remembers how it all started – fishing as a kid back in Texas. That’s one reason why he donates two days a year to Big Brothers, Big Sisters: to get kids out fishing. They get to experience first-hand the freedom and excitement of being in the open water, working hard to catch big Alaskan fish, and enjoying the company of others who are doing the same.
More about the 2 Day
Hill’s 46-foot custom-built Chesapeake is a US Coast Guard inspected fishing vessel that plies Alaska’s waters at a cruising speed up to 20 knots. The clean, well-maintained 2 Day sports a full-size head, heated cabin, and bench seating for 12 (offering comfortable passage even in inclement weather.) It’s also larger than most of the charter boats fishing out of Seward. Twin Cummins marine diesel engines power this beauty, which is decked out with high quality gear and electronics, including Garmin radar, GPS and sounder.