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. http://www.fishcatcher.com/fishcatcher.php 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.