Thursday, October 18, 2012

Middle Kenai River trout fishing with beads

I fished the Middle Kenai River area.  While I didn't use a kayak, I was scouting the area to make a potential run at it with my Kayak.

We spent the first four hours looking for big fish.  Between three people we only managed one fish but it was a beautiful 27 inch rainbow.  It was caught on a creamy orange colored 8mm bead that mimicked the tons of dead pink salmon eggs.

At the end of the day we had seen some pinks spawning in a shallow stretch of the river and had seen some folks pull out a few smaller fish.  So we waded the area and proceeded to hammer smaller rainbows and Dolly Varden fairly consistently for the next hour and a half.  

Definitely doable on a kayak.  I might have to give it some consideration if the weather in homer doesn't hold up.  I hear the kings have been caught fairly close to the spit.

Here's two videos.  The first is of the 27 inch rainbow my friend caught.  The second is the smaller fish I caught at the end of the day.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Homer Elks Lodge King Derby - Oct 6 & 7

Left the Kayak at home to fish the Homer Elks Lodge King Salmon Derby with my friends.

Off to a late start on day one but the weather was amazing!  We trolled around the Islands a bit and only managed a few rockfish and cod.  Moved to West of Seldovia and nailed our first two Kings!

Day 2 the weather looked a little iffy but we head out at first light towards Anchor Point.  Boy, was that ever the right call.  Within minutes of lowering our gear, we get strikes.  The early morning bite was HOT!  After a few hours the bite tapers off.  The action slowed but we still managed consistent action for the rest of the day.

It's hard to complain when we boat 8 kings on 4 rods (5 anglers) in a single day!  The fish weren't huge but boy were they tasty!  2 out of the 8 kings were white kings.  Smallest king was around 7 pounds and the largest was 15.

We used green label herring on stacked downriggers fishing mainly at 30 and 50 ft of water.  Most of our fish came on the shallower side.  The "hot" flasher for the day was a metallic green Bechold Flasher.  Out of four rods fishing, it caught half of the fish.

Ok, so we are new to this feeder king fishery.  But here's a trick we tried that seemed very effective.  I'd be very curious to see how it works for others.  We ran it exclusively so it was hard to compare.  Ok...our "secret rigging" was as follows.  We use flourocarbon leaders in 30 or 40 pound test.  We used 4/0 to 6/0 gamakatsu octopus style hooks.  The secret?  We snelled the two hooks about two to two and a half "bait lengths" apart from each other.   The top hook was buried in the head in such a way to make the bait spin but I have used this technique for silvers with plug cut herring.  The back hook is left dangling (i.e. don't insert into the fish) and trails 4 to 6 inches behind the bait.

Over half of our fish came on the back hook.  One fish, was caught on the front hook but when the front hook pulled out, the back hook caught it!  Second time that has happened to me in the past two years.  I have to admit I don't know if they are swiping at the herring, missing, and getting caught on the trailer hook or if they think the back hook looks like krill or some other feed.  I was just amazed to see how often the back hook trailing so far behind the bait would be the one to hook up.

The baitfish in the stomachs of the kings looked like small smelt or capelin.

I think the derby had 85 entrants and over 180 fish were weighed in!  Now that is a pretty dang good catch ratio!  Limit is two fish and you don't have to record them!

Okay I have one observation that I hope doesn't make me seem like a food/fish snob.  We were at the cleaning tables and to our horror, we saw people throwing away a few belly strips but I bet over half of the folks were throwing away the collar pieces!  Those are the two very best parts of the fish!!!!!  At select Japanese restaurants, a collar piece (one side) from a Yukon king can sell for $25 to $30 each!!!   These feeder kings are very comparable to the oil content thought they might be a little smaller.

Homer Feeder Kings Sept 30

With all the rivers flooding and the saltwater coho season pretty much a dud for me, I thought I'd take KK's advice and try and hit feeder Kings in Homer from my kayak. Initially it looked bad. Water was dirty, and there was a ton of debris in the water. Couldn't get the downrigger deployed without catching grass, kelp, or jelly fish. 

Ran into a powerboat anchored up off the spit and I was surprised to hear they had a nice halibut with one going 40 pounds according to the angler. I saw them land another halibut and a giant wrymouth, ugly thing. They were in less than 100ft of water so the halibut are still around. 

Well I managed a king!!! Too bad it was maybe 3 pounds. Yes...three pounds. But it's a feeder king so I'm sure it will be tasty!! A "one meal" fish. Caught it on green label herring behind a flasher 30ft down in 60ft of water. At least I know my gear is working. Next time I'll get it's big brother!! 

Here are the pics. For you novice photo takers here's some advice. Take the fat guy out of the picture and fill your frame with the fish and your fish looks MUCH bigger! Haha.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Trout & Salmon fishing the Kenai Peninsula with a pole!

So I had to try my new 21ft and 18ft carbon fiber in no reel.  I posted one video last year with my son catching grayling but I ended up shattering that rod.  Argh.  But I replaced them recently and took them out trout fishing on the Kenai Peninsula this weekend.

These poles are a blast!  Light enough to have fun with 8 inch trout but strong enough to land two silvers!  Great for the kids as they got the hang of it immediately since there was no reel.  Great fun for the adults!  Landing the silvers was a test of patience and wearing the fish down a little bit.  Not necessarily ideal for catch and release but we were using size 8 single egg hooks and we were targeting trout.

I typically don't post the names of smaller streams I fish with limited space but anyone who has been there should know where this is at.

Oh forgot my 6wt echo fly rod and lamson reel there.  I know it's probably easier if I stated where but either the folks there when we left have it or they don't.  $200 dollar reward for return!  It's ok, totally a blunder on my part because I was too pre-occupied with the kids, but it just means I am going to upgrade rods!  Don't tell my fiancee!  If she finds out, the reward is only $100!!!  lol.

Here's a  video with mainly the still pictures but also a short video segment of landing one of the silvers on the 21ft pole.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Russian River/Kenai River confluence 091312

So I decided I had to take the day off and hit the Russian River.  The great news today is Michele came along to try flyfishing for the first time ever.

Parked at Grayling parking lot and decided to walk downstream.  There was so little water in the Russian River that we couldn't find more than a foot deep hole until we walked down to the sanctuary area at the confluence to the Kenai River.

Set up with 6mm and 8mm beads in assorted colors.  We stayed in one spot since Michele had never held a fly rod in her hand.  She did great.  We hooked maybe a dozen trout and land half of them in a three hour span which isn't bad given we worked a 20 yard stretch of water the entire time.  No real pattern as to what they were hitting.  6mm, 8mm, orange, pink, transulcent, mottled, eyed...didn't seem to matter.  We obviously were not doing something right most of the time as I said we worked the same hole and every 15 to 20 minutes we would hook one.  I'm sure an expert who can dead drift beads would have much better luck.  LOTS of bright red tomatoe sockeyes in the water.  Michele hooked a silver but lost it right away since we were using trout sized hooks.

Amazingly enough she landed two dollies.  I have yet to catch a dollie on the upper Kenai in a half dozen trips,  Always rainbows.  I guess that's more of an observation than a complaiint as I would rather catch the rainbows.

Lots of bear signs so keep your head up looking around if you go!!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Halibut from a Kayak!

Finally got out to do a little more kayak fishing. Could you have asked for a better day weather wise? I don't think so! 

The chickens were out in force. Fished maybe 3 hours and had consistent action from halibut. Too bad they were all between 10 and 15 pounds. Boated maybe a dozen of them in 65 feet of water. Kept two and it's amazing how much meat you can get from these fish. 

Saw porpoises, otters, and seals. Saw salmon hopping around but couldn't tell what they were. Trolled for a bit but never did hook up. The interesting thing about today was even though I was soaking herring, the only fish I caught were halibut. No Irish lords, no cod, no skates...nothing other than halibut. 

I did land a few halibut that were just covered with large sea lice. Looked healthy otherwise but looked a little creepy. Didn't see any that seemed soft or thin. 

Kenai River Dipnetting for sockeyes

Went out with Amy, Sean, and Martin.  Not super fast action but no complaints about 85 over about 3 hours.  The same boat with different families landed 125 the day before.  Here's a video sped up to show what it's like.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Whittier Herring & Pollock

So I decided I better get at least some kind of fishing in.  Had a few hours to kill so I decided I would go try the herring thanks to KK's report earlier with my kayak.

Started off decent.  Much bigger herring than normal.  I'd say purple label size. Filled a gallon ziplock bag in about an hour and all of the sudden it turned off. All I was catching was pollock. My sonar was still lit up more like baitfish so I thought I'd drop a gopro down to see what I could see.  Well I think a lot of one area was bubbles in the water from what I am guessing is decomposing fish waste.  But as my gopro neared the bottom, it was a big school of pollock. 

Here's a short video.  Sorry about the motion of the camera.  I'll have to figure out a way to stabilize it better.


A little posting catch up... May trips.

Ok.  Been crazy busy with very little fishing.  ARGHH!  But so far this year I have managed one king salmon before the saltwater closure in Cook Inlet and one halibut.

I was down for the Anchor Point Calcutta King derby, May 19th.  The weather forced a delay but a few of us kayakers decided to go anyways.  Probably shouldn't have.  As soon as I land my king, the weather gets nasty.  Barely make it in through the crashing surf.  Still it was good to get a nice feeder king.  It was loaded with hooligan and a couple of sandlances.

Two weeks after wards, I manage a 15 pound halibut.  The halibut was loaded with crab.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Anchor Point April 21, 2012

Met up with Kenai-guy and RimfireMatt from the NWKA forums for the first time.

Launched out of Anchor Point but not much action.  We were targeting Kings and Halibut.  But we only ended up with two Irish Lords for three kayaks.  Not much bait on the sonar and no other power boats in the area.  Seas were a tad choppy.  three to four foot rollers every now and then but nothing unmanageable.

More exercise and gear prep for that inevitable takedown from a King!!!!!

Homer, AK April 7 & 8

First Kayak trip of the year!  Saturday was windy with good chop on the water.  Not much to report other than it was the first outing of the year.  Saw some bait on the sonar but couldn't get anything to hit.  Pretty rough first trip.  About 5.5 hours on the water and by the end of the day my legs were cramping up and I was dead tired.  I was so tired that when I tried to load my kayak on to the car, I just sat and watched it fall off my car twice!  I didn't even move to try and stop it.  Sad...

Sunday was better but nothing again...not even bait fish on the sonar.  I took a picture to show how flat it was and 5 minutes later the wind changes direction and its choppy.  Got to be careful of that afternoon breeze when fishing Homer. Still the second day was MUCH easier than the first day.  Just getting ready for the new season!  It only gets better from here!!!!!