Saturday, December 03, 2011

Big Lake Dec 3, 2011

So the forecast is for BAAAAD weather.  But in Alaska that means 33 deg F.  Got on the lake around noon to see some folks in the area I usually fish.  But as I was unpacking, they took off.  Too bad!

33 deg F means it was 50 degrees warmer than at 6am Last Sunday at Big Lake.  Too be honest, I prefer the 17 below!  The drive back was HEINOUS! I counted at least a dozen vehicles in the hour drive from Wasilla to Anchorage.  But no one cares about the drive, let's talk fishing.

I set up in the other folk's hole and its about 20 feet.  Too deep to try the underwater videos.  The water was a bit dingy as well.  So I decide to set the gopro on top and see if this "gift" hole will produce.

First 5 minutes, I impale an immature salmon about 8 inches long.  Remarkable considering I was using a 5 inch long spoon!  Well you can't keep salmon so back it goes.

After a few more minutes, I decide I really want to see the fish so I prop my rod on my chair and go punch some more holes shallow.  I know better than to prop up my rod like that.  But I am using a spoon and nothing is going to hit it while it just hangs there right?  WRONG!  Well you are just going to have to watch the video to see the outcome.  If you recall last weeks video had me dropping my rod down the hole.  Will history repeat itself???  Watch the vid.

I did manage two rainbows, 14 and 16 inches long.  Once again remarkable given I am using a 5 inch spoon.  I impaled the smaller one smack in the middle of the head and eye so I kept it.  I released the 16 incher.

It's nice and comfy until the wind picks up.  Then comes the freezing rain! So I did pop up the shelter eventually.

The horror story of the day is I managed to impale a big gamakatsu  single siwash hook THROUGH my fingernail of my index finger.  OUCH!  I thought it was going to end the day.  Just gripped and ripped since I had no choice...once again, gotta watch the video.  But I managed to keep my nail and so I kept fishing!  But not to sound like a wimp, but I am ALLERGIC to PAIN!  OWIE!

Not a bad day except for the drive and the impaled finger.  Not sure if I will venture out tomorrow with the road conditions!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Big Lake Nov 27, 2011

You have your good days, and then you have your bad days....

Today was the latter.  Hit the ice about 11:30am.  Finished at 5:30pm.  6 hours...

I was all excited since I got my new gopro2 and the flat lenses.  Well I tried a side by side comparison.  My gopro 960 (old one) footage  The new one better but grainy.  It sure seemed dark for noon.  Hopefully a better review of the differences sooner than later.

The only thing to report today is I saw an F350 with a plow come off of Big Lake at the Polaris dealership on the south shore.  So they are driving on the lake though the ice wasn't too much thicker than last week.  Maybe a tad over a foot but more clear ice.

The minute and a half video pretty much sums up my day... you just have to watch the video.  Too tired, too bummed to talk about today. I actually saw a few fish...too bad I didn't get them on video. I guess it wasn't THAT bad but still...

Good thing I am a firm believer in the law of averages.  It is a "law" you know...not the theory of....

Video 1 minute 38 seconds:

Friday, November 25, 2011

Glenn Highway Lake Nov 25, 2011

So I decide to try somewhere other than Big Lake.  I've had success at this lake before in past years.  Though the fish don't seem to be as large as the ones in Big Lake, there typically are more of them. Found ten inches of nice clear ice.

Set up the shack and in the first 7 minutes, I hook a char that I estimate to be 22 + inches...twice!  Didn't ice him though.  Both times, the hook just fell out at the hole.  I am surprised he stuck around after getting hooked and pulled all the way up into the hole.

Notice in the video I posted below how interested he is in the lure but only took it in his mouth two or three times.  Keep in mind I am looking from directly above so I can tell if he has the hoochie in his mouth or not.  Except for the time I hook him and one miss, he came by and just swatted at it. I am surprised to see from the side video view that he was actually opening his mouth.  From above it just looked like he came cruising up to it and swatted it with his head.  Notice the fish didn't fight at all either.  Not sure what was going on.  The initial charge looked aggressive but after that, it just seemed super lazy.

Well after that fish, I only saw a few more fish and none were char. All the fish I saw after the char were after it got dark.   So how could I see them after dark?  I got to test my underwater LED lighting system!  Worked great...except I didn't catch anything.  In the video, you will notice all the little dots.  they looked almost like brine shrimp and as soon as I turned the light on, they were just swarming around it.  Maybe I watch too much National Geographic, but I thought for sure something would come feasting on them like small trout or even sticklebacks.  But NADDA.  It also allowed me to sight fish in another hole about 4 feet away.  That was pretty cool.

I did manage to ice a sucker on a spoon tipped with shrimp.  Kept him for lake trout and pike bait.  Cut him up into smaller strips so I can tip my jigs.  I saw a HUGE sucker after it got dark.  I was all excited thinking it was a big char but on closer inspection, it was definitely a sucker.  Did not know they got so big.  I bet it was well over 25 inches.

I also had something else on after I tipped my spoon with a small piece of sucker meat.  Stepped outside, came back in and peered down the hole and couldn't see my spoon.  Set the hook and I saw something medium size, maybe 14 inches or so take off.  Hmmm..... 

So for 5 hours on the ice, I see one nice char, two suckers, a mystery fish, AND 5 muskrats.  Who knows it could have been the same one but it was starting to irritate me popping up in my hole so often.  I even moved my shack once into deeper water but I could still see it whizzing by my area.  First it scared me, then it was just a nuisance.  I almost forcefully relocated it, but didn't want to deal with a pissed off muskrat in the confines of my shack.  I've tried looking for it on the video but I couldn't find it.  I was surprised that it was still active after dark.

I also got my gopro hero2, a eye of mine flat lens housing, AND a mako flat lens kit.  I ordered the gopro from Mako so the lens was free.  I can't wait to try it out!

Here's the video 2:45 minutes.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

More Big Lake footage from Nov 20 and lessons learned

I took 18 minutes of footage, pretty much at random and sped it up 10X to show the activity that happens under the ice.  Now keep in mind that if you weren't looking down the hole, you'd think there was nothing there since I didn't hook a fish during this 18 minute portion.  What amazed even me, was the number of fish on the video that I didn't see while peering down the hole in a darkened shack.

So here's the lessons I learned at how this type of "research" changes or reinforces some of things I do to be a better ice fisherman.

1) Looking down the hole is not only good to see the fish strike but also gives you tremendous confidence knowing that the fish are there.  Now I know that for every fish I see even in fairly shallow water, there are probably another 4 or 5 outside the hole I can't see.

2) You can see the small immature salmon congregate whenever I re-positioned the camera and kicked up a cloud of silt.  We often bounce or large spoons off the bottom for a similar effect.  I know a buddy of mine that will aggressively pound the bottom and just let his spoon lie on the bottom with no action for a few seconds.  big fish will suck up the lure right off the bottom.  The only reason I don't do it more is it clouds up the water and I love to sight fish so its a love/hate deal for me.  What I may do is to jig a big spoon or even use a 8oz cannon ball sinker and just pound the bottom with it every now and then.  Not sure if its the silt cloud, the sound, or the combination that attracts them but I know it does.

3) It's hard to tell when its sped up 10X but what you would notice at normal speed is that all the immature salmon came cruising leisurely by.  That's not good.  They are too comfortable.  I have witnessed many times where small immature salmon or sticklebacks would be swarming my bait and then all the sudden instantaneously scatter and you know a big fish is near by.

4) With the number of 6 to 8 inch immature salmon I saw on the tape, I am definitely going to spend some time jigging BIG spoons or big swimbaits here.  There has to be BIG fish utilizing this food source.  I have caught some nice dollies and burbot on Big Lake using spoons that I used to jig halibut and rockfish.  I think they were 3oz and 5oz Krockadile spoons designed for saltwater.  These days I hear you have a shot at Big Pike as well.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Big Lake Nov 20, 2011

With the recent deep freeze, I figured the ice would be ready on Big Lake so I thought I'd give it a try.  A secondary reason was to test a new set up for some underwater videos from a little different angle.

Got off to a late start and hit the ice around 1pm.  Knowing that Big Lake had only recently frozen over, I decided to stay really close to shore.  Ice felt solid so I dug two test holes about 30 ft from shore.  Found about 12 inches of ice with 6 of it being clear ice and the other 6 inches a much weaker white ice.  Still that's plenty of ice so I set up my portable shelter and turn on the propane heat and despite it being -1 deg when I started, it was nice and comfy.

What surprised me today was the number of small salmon I saw,  We used to see them maybe 10 or more years ago, but about 5 years ago, they just seemed to completely disappear.  But they are back in force now.  Not sure if they were silvers or reds but the one I accidentally snagged was about 8 inches long.  I was amazed when I looked at the video how many were actually in the area.  The day was cloudy so not much light and I didn't see anywhere near that many looking down the hole even though I was in a dark shack.

Ended the day with two rainbows 15 and 16 inches long.  One caught on a pearl krockadile spoon and the other on a dodger and jig with a mini hoochie.

I'd say the underwater footage was okay but will need to work on additional lighting or another angle.  Next time, I plan to bring my underwater lights and give it a go as well.  I had to lighten up the video so its a bit grainy.  I will work on that.  I guess it's not a bad first effort.  Will be better on a sunny day.  I hear the new gopro 2 cameras are much better in low light conditions.  I guess I will have to pick one up!


Monday, November 14, 2011

Video editing practice

Well you know its bad when I have to post about my video editing but I wanted to document it so my apologies to folks who are looking for a fishing video.  So as you may know, I condensed my season down to 12 minutes of video.  But then someone posted the new gopro 2 ad on a forum and I was stunned.  I am pretty sure the super slow motion was done using Twixtor software which is out of my league but the rest of it looked like something I could edit.

So I tried my best to shorten the 12 minute video down even further.  the to try something new I used the audioswap feature on youtube which basically just replaces the audio with music.

I just hit "I feel lucky", got some heavy metal tune I had never heard of before, but it seemed to match the video so I just kept it after making a few tweaks to get the intro to match.  But I don't think its the way to go but it wasn't a bad first effort.  I need to do something where I can lay background music but also get the important sounds of the environment like drags screaming, fish splashing, me scremaing in pain as I whack my leg with the fish bonker.  lol.

So here's the two minute practice video.  I'll post below that the original 12 minute highlight video.  I wanted to keep all the clips ones I shot with my gopro (The 720p version). So a few clips have been removed and a few added.  tried to emulate a few for the editing tricks I saw in the go pro ad like stop frame, speed up and stop, etc.  I thought it turned out ok.  So here it is:

And here below is the original 12 minute version:

Here's the KILLER Gopro ad that was the inspiration:

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Upper Kenai: Bridge to Sportman...Another condition report...ARGH!

So not having fished past weekend and on my day off Friday, I HAD to go somewhere.  Check the weather and its supposed to be above freezing but windy.  Look at the weather station and no wind...hmmm.  Well I am going stir crazy so I HAD to try it.

Launched at the Bridge in Cooper Landing.  No wind, sweet! That is until I turned the corner.  Then it was HOWLING! Holy Cow.  In the slow sections of the river, I had to paddle downstream to actually move downstream in some spots.  So I only fished for maybe 30 minutes as I just checked out the sites seeing as though this was my first time ever drifting this section of the river.  Hard to believe.

The water levels have come down dramatically but I was disappointed to see the water was still silty with visibility less than 20 inches.  Maybe a little over a foot.

Two bits of excitement.  First going through the Princess Lodge rapids.  Not sure if I got lucky but it was easy.  No sweat.

Second didn't seem as bad on video but at the time, it was a shot of adrenalin for sure.  The wind starts ti pick up and it catches my paddle causing my body to lean over a bit, The yak starts tipping and another gust hits the yak and it sure felt like I was going over.  Not good since I was in the middle of the river avoiding the sweepers and shallow stuff.

The lesson for the day was I need to upgrade my footwear.  Probably just a few more wool socks.  Standing in the river was miserable!  My hands were fine just wearing disposable gloves.  Even with the metal paddle pole.  But my toes were freezing.  Also I knew it from ice fishing but my olympus stylus tough 8010 is wimpy when it comes to cold.  Had to shove it in my drysuit to warm it up a bunch of times and then it would only work for 10 minutes or so.  Gopro worked great.

So here's the video of a few sections if anyone wonders what its like to float the Upper Kenai in ya go.  I'd rather watch porn my porn that is.....

The video:

And a few pictures!

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Should I stay or should I go?

Well here I am trying to decide whether to go fishing or not.  It just seems insane to leave given the weather conditions.  Not so much for the fishing but for the drive.  Decent amounts of snow all over including Anchorage.  If this was the dead of winter and I was going ice fishing, I wouldn't even think twice about it.  But the first few weeks of snowfall, people aren't used to the conditions and many have yet to change over to snow tires.  No matter how careful I may be, you have to watch out for the other drivers.  And not to sound too arrogant, I don't trust them at all!

So I hate to admit defeat but it's just not worth it.  Time to clean the garage and shovel the driveway.  Hopefully it just makes me hungrier to go again...wait scratch that, one of the major reason I wanted to go was to burn off the excess calories I ate while in Texas.    Maybe I will go look at ice augers.....

So the decision process went as follows:

The marine weather looks marginal.....

Kenai River flows near cooper landing is still very high but snow river is finished dumping into the lake. So MAYBE it's fishable....

I hear there is four inches of ice on smaller lakes up north and this site tells me ice is forming on Big Lake though I wouldn't recommend trying that yet!!  A great page to check Big Lake conditions.

So I thought I'd try Whittier or Seward today.  Just some exploring with no real hopes of catching fish.

So I loaded the yak inside the garage, my daughter wakes up and says "have you looked outside?" Uhhh...No, why?...ACK!  Maybe I should have looked first!!!!

The internet sure is handy!  So I thought I'd check other sources.  Here's what I am looking at:
 Russian River Ferry 7:45am
 Portage Turn off 7:45am
 Whittier Tunnel Staging area 7:45am
 Whittier Access road 7:45am

Uhhh..No, I don't think so.  BUMMER!!!!!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Upper Kenai Condition Report

Here's the condition report. Why condition? Because it certainly wasn't a catching report and I didn't even see a fish! This year had been a year of many firsts. This was another first... The first time I didn't catch something two trips in a row! Conditions were tough but still it was good to be on the water!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Homer 10/28/11 No fish! But crazy as always!

So I leave the house at 5:30am.  It's definitely getting colder!

But the roads are dry so no problem...I thought!  After I cross the twenty mile river bridge, my car starts wobbling.  At first I thought it was the wind.  But no, its different.  Do I have a flat?  No...then what the heck could it be?  Then i see a thick bank of fog.  OH DEAR's BLACK ICE!  If you know the Whittier turn off, you know the lanes are divided there.  I hit the brakes knowing I have my trusty anti lock brakes and...NOTHING!  The car didn't slow down one little bit.  After about 100 yards I would guess, I have it down to 35 mph.  I am IMPRESSED with the Civic Si's traction control.  Well too impressed, that's what let me drive so fast on black ice in the first place!

As the lanes divide, there is NO WAY I am going to make the corner.  So do I slam into the poles and signs in the divider and risk impaling myself on a post?  I don't rally care about the car at this point.  I have time so I look ahead and nothing is coming, I turn the wheel slightly to the left and I take the corner in the wrong lane!  I'm driving south....One life down...eight left...

NOT good.  But I make it.  I pull over check the road and it is a skating rink.  After regaining my composure, I head back down the road going abot 25mph.  I don't make it more than 400 yards when i come across a truck in the ditch with headlights on and still running.

I jump out holler a few times and then dial 911.  The operator said they were talking to the driver who had been picked up a few minutes earlier.  I did see vehicles parked at a parking pull off earlier.  I hope he is alright.

As soon we get off turnagain arm, the roads are fine.  Well the roads are fine but once I hit Ninilchik, a cow moose jumps in front of me.  By the time I hit my brakes, the moose was behind me.  2 lives down, 7 left.

Oh yeah, this is a fishing log.  Well that's simple, I started at 11:00am finished at 5;30pm and caught NOTHING...well two pollock but that doesn't count.

I had one good take down but it didn't stick the fish.  I thought the consolation was that I spoke with 6 boats and only one boat had one fish.  Okay, it's slow for everyone.  Then I get in my car and check my email.  Klondike Kid from Alaska Outdoor Journal emails me and says, I guess you didn't go today.  My buddy Shane hammered two nice ones at the quart of gas hole (where I was fishing).  WHAT?!?!?!?!  No way!  Well he had the pics to prove it. I did see a boat out there by itself after I left that area and was headed in.

So the video for today is merely a boring video of the conditions.  The wide angle gopro lens does not do the wave size justice.  As an example here is a pic I took with the iphone.  The point being is that I consider this fairly flat.  Flat enough to take my beloved iphone out of its water proof bag.

Here' the vid.  Once again there isn't much to see.  But i know there are folks who are intrested in the type of conditions a yak can handle.  While fun, I wasn't at all concerned.  This was fairly normal water when we were fishing Deep Creek area in the spring.

While I didn't get any salmon, I did manage three snowshoe hares.  Unfortunately it was with my car... there sure are a lot fo them this year!  Sorry bunnies.....

So today was a day to bank the hours.  It just means the next fish will come that much faster.  Got to keep at it!  I'll be back!!!!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Homer Feeder Kings - Day2!

So I set my alarm planning to hit the middle Kenai River. Because of that, I had my outback with me.  Good thing!  As I started rolling down the road, slowly but surely I convinced myself that I would drive the extra hours and hit the Kings in Homer.  How could I not after yesterday's limit!

I get down late and start around 11am.  A few boats are hooking up but both fish and bait are a lot sparser than yesterday.  I lose one fish in the first two hours and then nothing for the next three hours except Pollock until I hook the fish I eventually land.  The guys in the inflatable I mentioned yesterday were HAMMERING fish.  It was an impressive show of fish catching for sure.  I think the guy even said he was working on his proxy fish.

Toward the end of the day, I screw up and somehow my line wraps around the spectra downrigger line.  I pull it up and its all frayed up.  No problem, I always carry a spare.  Except my spare is a stiff fast action jigging rod loaded with braided line.  Absolutely terrible for down rigging applications.  As I was switching gear out, I drifted towards shore and into 40 feet of water.  All of the sudden my sonar starts beeping (fish alarm) and my screen goes black.  Whaaa? I even turn it off once.  Same deal.  Then as I clear the bait ball, I see fish everywhere.  I even switch over to non fish ID and I see a bunch of classic arches.  MOTHERLOAD!  So I finally rig up and make passes over the spot with my jigging rod and braided line.  three or four times the line pops out of the release and NOTHING.  Hmmm...last pass the line just starts screaming out.  Okay, this is a fish!!!!!  As I reel in my downrigger, something is wrong.  I first thought the downrigger drag was loose, but somehow I lost my ball.  Dang clips, I know not to trust them.  That's okay, I have decided 6 pounds is too light so I am going to start using my 8 pound weights.

I get it to the boat in short order, I look down and the hook pulls out and the line goes slack...for an instant!  HEART ATTACK!  The trailing hook lines the fish perfectly and I am back battling it again.  LUCKY BREAK #1!  Finally to net, the fish is over the net but somehow screams out.  I can't believe the hooks didn't catch the net! LUCKY BREAK #2.  I land it and its 34 inches so probably around 25 pounds!  And to add to another was a white king!  My first one ever!

Of course as always, things are not always as easy as they seem.  I got lucky yesterday going two for two.  If it was that easy, I am sure there would be an armada of boats just scooping the kings up out of the Bay.  It would be selling all of the charter captain's and people who have put in their time here short if I could just waltz in and think I could just keep hammering limits.  So what are the lessons I learned today?

1) Perseverance pays off more often than not!  If you read my logs, you know I say it over and over again.  I'm not necessarily a good fisherman..I'm just stubborn and persistent!  The fish I landed came as I was typing an email to someone that one more hour and I am done...and I was already an hour past when I really wanted to get off the water but just couldn't do it.

2) Braided line does not work to well with downriggers.  First the thin line doesn't stay put.  Homer Dave gave me a great tip and said break a toothpick and put it in front of the line.  But the other bad thing is with no stretch, you don't get the cushioning action when the line releases.  So from here on out, its mono for all downrigging applications!

3) I've heard Steve the shrimp pot guy say it a lot but those longline clips don't hold all the time.  I lost my downrigger ball somehow.  Going to make it more permanent of an attachement.

4) 6lbs weight isn't enough.  Too much blowback with big flashers and trolling 2knts plus.

5) A disadvantage of the kayak in this application is that I am trolling slower than others so I catch more pollock and cod than the power boats.  Not sure what to do about this.  Get in better shape or just suck it up and be happy I am catching something.

6) I definitely need to get new gear that is better suited for downrigging.  Softer action, longer rod so i can take up slack better.  I may use my flyrods but that means I need to get a different rod holder.  Need to think about this a bit.

7) I have to figure out a lens cleaning system.  I wear only wool or polypro on the water so I have nothing that can clean off water from my lens!

Met Homer Dave and Muttley Crew from the forums.  It was nice meeting yo guys!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Homer Feeder Kings 10/22/2011

For the first time EVER, I try feeder kings out of Homer.  I had gotten intel from various sources that tell me the Kings are close to the spit.  Sources say troll from Land's End Hotel out to the Green Buoy.

So is it winter yet?  I guess not.  I think even here in Alaska they consider October as late autumn.  When is winter?  Officially its Dec 21.  But this is Alaska.  I think November is considered winter here.  So I can't claim to have caught a winter king yet.  But this year I have caught a Spring King (May), Summer king (July), now a fall King in October!  Only one more season to go!

But with the recent weather, I dress for winter fearing the worst.  Check the forecast and its only calling for one footers.  Really?  This time of year?  I had been SUPER excited about trying Kings in the winter time.  My imagination probably got the better part of me and I was thinking it might be my version of the Deadliest Catch but with a kayak and Kings instead of crab.

So I arrive in Homer and I stare across the water in disbelief.  Maybe I missed the ocean somehow because this looks a LOT more like a lake.  I have to say it was probably the first time EVER that I was just a little disappointed that the conditions were so good.  I had psyched myself up for a rodeo in 3 to 5 foot swells with snow falling around me.  Instead I got perfectly flat, calm, and sunny.  I definitely had too many layers of clothes on!  Oh well, they say you should dress for immersion in the water and not the air temperature.  That's good advice for anyone thinking about kayak fishing.

I pass a 14 or so foot inflatable and chat with the folks.  They had landed two nice kings early.  They took a picture of me and my kayak as proof to the people who had said they were crazy for trying this in their inflatable that there were other people who had fish fever worse!  lol.

So I start fishing in 65 to 120 feet of water trying to stay in the bottom 25% of the water column.  Don't see much bait so I peddled out toward the birds.  How do the birds know there is bait 100 feet down?  Amazing.  As soon as I see bait on the sonar I am hooked up!  OH YEAH!  First fish ever on my new downrigger set up.  It's's not's a cod.  Well at least I caught something.

About an hour later I start marking some bait.  I immediately get hit!  FISH ON!!!!'s not very big...but it's's a KING! A tiny one...maybe 5 or 6 pounds max.  Well the feeder kings I caught this spring were awesome so I decided to keep it.  Besides, I might not catch anything else and I drove 8 hours!  Had to bring something back...or so the thought process went.

10 minutes later my line pops out of the downrigger and its FISH ON!  This one is better.  You can tell right away.  It's not a halibut.  Zipping around too much and no headshakes.  Hmm..seems pretty heavy!  YEEHAW!  I got a REAL king!  Maybe 20 pounds.  So I limit out.  AMAZING.

When I opened up the fish, they had fish that I had never seen before.  They looked like some type of smelt.  Maybe it was a capelin which I have seen before. Smaller than red label herring. Two or three time fatter than a sand lance.  Interesting.

Well what a great day.  You know it's a great day or I am just psycho when the only complaint was the weather was TOO NICE. I WILL be back.  The Homer winter king derby is MINE! ...if they are  I can't wait till next years Anchor Point Salmon derby.  I think I will have it dialed n by then.  This downrigger thing is going to not only hammer the kings, but it is going to SLAY the halibut in the waters off Deep Creek to Anchor Point.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Upper Kenai River 10/16/11

Hit the upper from Sportsmans to Jim's. Started at 9am and had to be off the water by 1pm to catch a flight.

Today was a day of "should have" beens. Right away lost a couple smaller rainbows on my new 6wt echo. Love the rod but it's twice as heavy as my 4wt. Sure bangs out the larger flesh flies well. So as soon as I stop being a wimp it will be sweet.

Switched to my 4wt and 6mm mottled pink bead and landed a feisty fat 16 inch rainbow. So having the skunk off, I really wanted to see the new echo flex so I decided to toss some big leech patterns and ESLs.

No love from the cohos so to give my arm a break, switched back to the 4wt with the 6mm bead and 6lbs tippet. Second cast my line screams up river even before I had a chance to set the hook and a huge coho comes out of the water. Looked to be in pretty decent shape. Line breaks without even tightening up on it. Must have had a nick.

All I lost was the hook so retie and two casts later another silver explodes on top of the water. This one screams around for 10 seconds and I break it off again. Argh. I'm better than that with light line.

Not sure if I lined them or what, but I can't see why they would ignore larger flies and seem like hammer 6mm beads.

Still have not seen a dolly in 4 trips. Rainbows, whitefish, and now cohos. But no char...hmmmm.

I have short video ready for the one bow I landed for those who might be interested in water level and color. Water was low and very green. Not dirty but visibility seemed down. Would the spike in the snow river levels do this?

Well I suppose you have to document the bad and mediocre days with the good to gete a good history down!

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Upper Kenai River...again!

Well I had a half day so I hit the Upper Kenai again.  Only fished three hours but the weather was nice and I caught some quality fish!

Started with an 8mm mottled pink bead and landed a whitefish and lost a small rainbow.

Frustrated that I couldn't hook anything on flesh flies, I decided to stick with a flesh fly until I caught something.  Well what do you know!  They work!!!  Landed two nice rainbows with the biggest going 25+ inches.

A little longer than my normal videos...apologies in advance!

Upper Kenai 10/7/2011

Second time ever on the Upper Kenai River.  Last time I got skunked.  This time I managed to hook 7 fish and landed 2.  Nice chunky rainbows.  The largest was probably around 20 inches.  Took me over 6 minutes to land it on my 4wt.  Most likely due to the fact that I rarely use a flyrod.

I threw everything I had and I got hits on a light pink 6mm bead and a mottled pink 8mm bead.  I couldn't buy a hit on flesh flies.  I still have not caught anything on them.

It's enjoyable, and on a 4wt, the rainbows definitely battle.  I'm still not convinced that this is better than fishing Kings!  But cosnidering it's mid October, this is a nice float with potential for decent fish.  It certainly is a great fishery for when the Ocean is too rough for feeder kings.

Going to hit it again tomorrow for a half day then i got to run back and put on a tux for the Mayor's Ball...waders and drysuits are so much more comfortable.....

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Upper Kenai. Oct 2, 2011

It's a terrible video but it commemorates my first trip EVER on the Upper Kenai and also my first real "Hello!" to winter.

No fish.  I had no clue as to what to do.  But no matter.  The takeout at Jim's Landing came MUCH sooner than I wanted it to.  I'll take my time next time. It just rained rained and rained!

Hard to believe it's my first time ever since I grew up in Kenai (1971)  and have been an avid fisherman since I was 5 years old!  I have passed that section of river a thousand times...literally.  But I had never fished it.  I know ever rock and hole from Pillars down to the Kenai City Dock, but I had NEVER fished above Swiftwater Park on the Kenai except at the bridge in Cooper Landing.

It's the first time EVER on a boat above the Soldotna bridge!

It's a good thing the takeout came MUCh earlier than I expected.  I ran into a BLIZZARD on the way back.

Produced with CyberLink PowerDirector 9

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sheep Creek with Ryu

Took Ryu out to Sheep Creek to see if we couldn't find a few fish to catch and release.  We got off to a late start but was on the river by 3pm.  A few folks there, but they left after about 30 minutes.

The action would turn on and off for the grayling.  We caught a few using a mickey finn on an ultralight rod with a split shot.  I then broke out a 18 foot pole (as in no reel) that my father in law sent me from Japan.

Tied on a size 10 prince nymph a small split shot, a large indicator and gave it a go.  Worked great!  I did hit a small rainbow and a good sized grayling and both tested the rod.  Not sure what I am going to do with a 18 inch rainbow.  I think I need to step down to 2lbs or 1 lbs test to save the rod in case of a big fish.  I was using 4 pounds.

So I have been eyeing up winter/feeder kings in Cook Inlet mainly because they are available year round and well they are KINGS!

Downriggers are almost required for this fishery with the added bonus that when done right, you typically catch small chicken halibut while trolling.

I first tried a gimbal mount.  I had to modify slightly but the stainless mount I got was HARD!  Could not drill through it with titanium coated bits.  That's another story.

Re-read ZEE's great article and decided to center mount it behind me as suggested.  I was concerned I wouldn't be able to reach it but it turned out to be no problem. 

There's been some discussion on what pound weight to use.  I would say that from my ONE time out.  I would say a 6 pound ball is MINIMUM for trolling saltwater salmon gear.  I still had line angles approaching 45 deg when trolling fast and against current.  90% of the time, it was within acceptable range of angles. 

What struck me as amazing was the zero tippininess factor.  I was delicately placing the ball into the water fearing it might yank and cause the kayak too tip a little.  Heck in my outback, I could have shotputted the weight out and I don't think the Kayak would have flinched.  ZERO scariness factor I was thinking might happen.  I will say I use a large 17ah battery I mounted inside on the side opposite of the downrigger for balance.

The only drawback was it did feel like you were paddling through "thicker" water.  If this was the only thing I did in my outback, I'd consider putting the original fins back on.  But it wasn't overwhelming.  You could just tell it was "more" effort. 

The fish better watch out!  I really think this is going to boost my productivity on salmon considerably.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

GREAT Customer service from YakAttack!  They make the Visicarbon Pro Safety flag with LED light.

Okay so somehow I broke my pole on the visicarbon pro.  I think I whacked it with the net.  So I send the following email. Note date and time plus admission of operator error.

Great service seems so rare these days.  I just had to mention it...and no, it wasn't part of any deal.


From: Rudy Tsukada [mailto:guidesak]
Sent: Tuesday, September 13, 2011 3:43 PM
Subject: Need a fix

So far the flag has been great!  Love the product.

Well the one problem with loving a product is when it is out of service, it is a minor panic.

I broke the section of the pole that fits into the base.  Not sure how, I must have whacked it with a net as I was fishing.  No big deal, it’s almost certainly operator error as I can’t see how it’d be a manufacturing issue.

Can I buy just the bottom section and have it priority mailed to me ASAP?

Let me know how I can get it done!


Rudy Tsukada

P.S.  My first year of Kayaking has gone great!  I haven't night fished yet but plan do so soon as its finally getting dark at a reasonable hour here in Alaska.   cont....


The response I get...16 minutes later....

From: luther
Subject: RE: Need a fix
Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2011 15:59:48 -0400

Hi Rudy,

Thanks for the kind words! I'll check out the pics and vids when sit down tonight.

The bad news is that I won't sell you a tube to replace the one that broke.

The good news is that I will send you one free of charge : )

Just send me your shipping address and it will go out tomorrow.


Luther Cifers
YakAttack LLC | P.O. Box 147 | Farmville | VA | 23901
t: 804.370.3724 |


I fully endorse their product!  Great product, great service.
It's the flag for the kayak with a LED light.

Modify message

Sunday, September 11, 2011

For the first time ever, I visit the boat launch at Anchor Point.  One word of advice for those thinking about launching from there... don't launch at low tide or bring a good set of wheels.  The water was at least 200 yards away.  As I began hauling my gear, a guy in a 4 wheeler stop by and offers assistance.  We load everything up, I run behind holding everything and all is good!  Thanks!  I came in about an hour and a half after high tide and I dragged the yak about 20 yards to where I could get it with a car.

So the target is feeder kings.  From the morning temperatures you could call them winter kings I think. The intel was south of Anchor Point a bit and about 4 miles out.  The problem was I got off to a late start by two hours meaning the tide had already turned.  Against a 2 to 3 knot current, there was no peddling south.  I could make headway, but the instant I changed baits or hooked a halibut, I was 100 yards back.

So I loiter about 4 miles out but I don't get any hits from salmon.  I told myself I was going to try to concentrate on kings, but I couldn't help myself and lowered the gear a few times and each time I got a small halibut.  Maybe I should have focused on that...

I also got to try my windpaddle sail out.  It's great.  Super light, compact, and super duper easy to use.  I was working against a 1 to 2 knot current but it still pulled me against it and made progress.  I'm not sure about 180 deg, but you can get close with the sailing rudder and mirage drive acting as a dagger board.  It also would help if I had actual attachments.  I jsut clipped them onto my front hatch bungie.  Worked even though the two clips were inches apart.

Well I will have to rethink this winter king thing.  Maybe once or twice on the perfect day and if I don't oversleep....

Monday, September 05, 2011

Took the kayak and fished Valdez for the first time in my life.  I think it’s the first time in over 30 years I have even been there! 

Launched from the FREE kayak launch near the city dock at around 2pm.  Managed to limit out but it took till well past 7pm.  I caught most of them by Mineral Creek using planer, dodger, and herring.
As I was ready to call it a day, I see a bunch of jumpers right at the kayak takeput.  You have to be careful of the security zone around Crowley’s dock but I cast over with my ultralight and manage to land 5 silvers in less than an hour using a #5 vibrax with blue body and silver blade. 

Day two starts at around 7:30am.  I hit one immediately in front of the City dock.  Then its nothing until I get all the way out to Mineral Creek.  Then its blank again for all the remaining high tide.  I find fish shallow right up against the cliff walls in less than 20ft of water.  I use vibrax spinners and a wiggle wart and get a good flurry.  I see boats hooking up off shore so I join them and finish out my limit by 1pm. 

Well it wasn’t as good as advertised but that’s hard to say when you easily limit out both days.  I think while it’s fun to troll with the powerboats, this late in the year, I think if you were just trying to catch as many as you can, I would use my kayak and a spinner with spinning gear and poke around the edges.  This weekend, I bet the shore fishermen did as well if not better than the boats.

This late in the season, I shouldn’t have been, but I was surprised to see how mature the silvers were.  Lots of roe and pretty thin belly walls on many of the fish.  Of course they are all bright and meat color still looked good.  Seemed like a mix of the softer scale shedders and the firmer cohos.

It's not the best video as the spottiness and rain made it hard to get good footage.  The only rods I didn't break out were the flyrods.  Next year!   But the video shows conventional trolling gear, ultralight with spinner, a magwart, and a mooching coho.  

Monday, August 29, 2011

Seward, August 28, 2011

Launched out of South Beach in Seward around 10am after a few technical delays with my new thule rack for the 2 dr civic si.  Headed out with the intent of focusing on Halibut near Tonsina Creek.  Caught a pink while trolling out there.

Caught a bunch of P-Cod and a decent sized skate.  No halibut.

On the way back in I managed to land 3 of 5 silvers hooked.  Maybe I should have focused on the silvers.

The highlight of the trip was a porpoise running between my rod tip and the kayak. It just cruised by me staring and keeping an eye on me the whole time.  Pretty cool but FREAKED me out initially!  I didn't know what it was but it was big and it was close!

Oh here's a quick video where I reveal one of my most guarded secrets.  Never before documented training in the ways of Jedi/Ninja mind tricks to make the fish come to me.  Worked once...almost twice in the video.  Soon I can go without a net.  Eventually I hope to be able to go out without a rod or line.  lol.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday August 21, 2011

On Saturday I had a board meeting which went very well and ended at 1:30 pm.  So I run home get ready, pick up supplies and I am ready to go.

Too bad there was a head on collision with one fatality at mile 84 at 4:20pm. I think that's between Whittier and Girdwood.  Well it must have just happened as people start turning around and I see emergency vehicles.  ARGH!  Well probably a lot less "ARGH" than the casualties and their family. Thoughts and prayers to the families involved.

People ask me what the most dangerous thing about kayaking is.  I say "Driving."

So I take a nap and head out at about 1am.'s dark!  Impressive enough I took a pic!  lol. Maybe you have to live in Alaska to appreciate this...

Get there earlier than I thought so took another hour nap and hit the beach at 6am.

I saw pinks jumping which gave me hope.  I also saw a bunch of small salmon jumping or chasing my herring.  They were about 10 inches long.  I caught two of them.  If you scaled down, I bet you could limit out!

Slow Slow Slow!  I keep going back trying to replicate that one weekend and it is not to be.

The derby runs till noon so I fish silvers.  I get one by Tonsina Creek, miss one.  A little while later in the same area I pick up a pink and miss another Silver I had on for a minute or so.  Noon comes and go and so the derby is over.

Switched over to Halibut.  Tried Herring first but kept pulling up one cod after the other.  I did have one small halibut on  briefly.  You know immediately that it is not a cod.  So arms got tired of dredging up cod so I lopped the pinks head and sent it down.  A few solid whacks but nothing would take it completely.

On the way in, I hit one more silver.  So 3 for 5 (one pink though) and 0 for 1 on Halibut.

Oh yeah!  I forgot the highlight of the day!!!!!  a 13.5 inch flounder that worth points toward the AOTY tournament!  I had bigger ones but I was tossing them back.  I kept this one for bait and then later realized I was throwing away points no matter how few!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Seward Silver Salmon Derby -Round 2
August 17, 2011
Launched 8am Wednesday Morning.

Slow slow slow. Nothing for the first few hours. I started picking up fish after I passes Tonsina Creek which is a littel different. Had the most take downs near Caines Head. Nothing at all near Miller's Landing.

Ended up with 3 salmon on 8 hookups. I need to improve on that. 2 silvers and a pink. I did manage a nice 23 inch yelloweye rockfish...sort of. reeling up something decent from 300ft, my line goes slack part way up. Darn! Check the rig, bottom hook is broken off on a two hook mooching rig. Dogfish?

5 minutes later, I notice a buoy floating towards me. That's odd...wait it's orange, not really super red. What? A yelloweye? I pick it out of the water and there is my 4/0 gamakatsu hook in the corner of the mouth? Completely unexpected for inside the bay. I am glad it didn't go to waste.

Ran into a Hobie Oasis camped out at Caines Head. First one I have seen other than mine.

Also ran into Dudemandude whose buddy promptly lands a ten pound-ish halibut on a salmon head from a yak. Nice!  So obviously I had to try it.  that's why the silver has no head.  One good smack at the head but didn't hook it.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Seward Silver Salmon Derby - Round 1
August 13 & 14, 2011

Saturday I get off to a late start.  Don't get in the water till 11am.  8 hours later...nadda...for salmon.  Got bored so dropped deep and got a DOUBLE! Too bad it was P-Cod.  Argh.

So I stay at a great Bed and Breakfast, Alaskan Odyssey  Check it out if you are staying in Seward.

I sleep in again! Ack! But at least I am on the water by 7am.  

Nothing for the first hour and then my rod doubles over!  Oh yeah!...Dang lost it...wait...what the heck?

WHaaaa?  THAT caused my rod to double over?  Hmmm..... something fishy going on here...

Finally after paddling out to Tonsina Creek, I see a few boats hooking up.  It took me over an hour but finally I get hit.  Nothing.  ARGH!  

Finally I get in the groove and quickly land 3.  My first one I thought was a monster.  Then I weighed it and it was only 12 pounds.  Needs to be 50% bigger to even have a shot. One's a runt that I let go after closely examining the fish for tags. 

I get hit another 3 or 4 times and no hook ups.  I hate shortening the second hook.  But I don't want to leave snag marks even if the first hook is in the mouth.  I'm going to make them longer.  I got to land them before I have to worry about snag marks. 90% will be ok.  

2 more towards the end of the day closer to Miller's Landing.  Kept one, let the other go.

So the tally after two days, 20 hours of on water time....5 fish landed.  Biggest a respectable 12 pounds and 30+ inches for an upgarde for my AOTY points!  Got something out of it at least!  

Because it was a derby, I really didn't mess around with the video.

I'll be back next week!