Sunday, November 09, 2014

Homer Kings November 8

Well you know its prime time for winter kings so I gotta keep trying.  Left the house at 4am after checking road conditions.  Whittier Junction to Seward Junction was Yellow (caution).  Caution?  I don’t think so.  That road should have been closed.  Right after the restrooms after the first climb, the road was black ice.  I knew it was slick so I was only going about 35mph.  I decide to check the road, tap the breaks…the car speeds up.  WHAT?  That’s not good.  Hit the breaks again and with anti lock breaks, it didn’t even remotely slow down.  I fishtailed down the road for what felt like an eternity.  How I stayed on the road, I have no idea. 

Ok, the fishing.  Get there an hour late around 9am.  I immediately get a few good strikes but can’t connect.  Then over the course of 5 hours, I go 0’fer 2 on real kings.  I manage 4 or 5 jacks and a couple of pollock.  Spoke with Shane of Driftwood charters and it was slow for them too. I am ready to call it a day at 2pm.

Tide changes at 3pm and Shane from Driftwood Charters says “NEVER leave as the tide is changing!”. So I take a quick break and back on the water at 3pm.  From 3:30 to 4:30pm, I had 6 or 7 solid takedowns and managed to go 3 for 3 of the ones I hooked.  I had strikes on hoochies, but all three were caught on the SilverHorde Coho Killer spoon behind a dodger.  I didn’t use bait, but I would consider carrying some.  As long as you stay away from the front of the hotel, the pollock have thinned out.  I caught make 4 all day.

Average size was small. 12, 8, and 6 pounds.  Still perseverance once again pays off.  

Not sure how many more times I will hit it.  Just can’t stay away if there are fish to be caught.  Usually by early December, the fish get fewer and farther between.  

Oh…on Alaska Outdoor Directory, Jeff from Kodiak Combos posted a 61lbs feeder king they just caught.  Can you imagine how big that would have been in May?  I can’t wait!!!  Gotta plan!!! 

Ok, so here is the video.  It was raining on and off so sorry about the water spots.  

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Homer Kings. Nov 2, 2014

Made the drive.  That was no fun.  Snow and ice in the pass and from Ninilchik to Homer.  On the way back I ran into a blizzard from the Seward Junction all the way to the Whittier junction.  Crazy.  Hands hurt from holding on to the steering wheel so tight!  lol.

What a difference a week makes.  Only one undersized king and three pollock.  That has to be some kind of record.  Went two for two on real sized kings...only because my first fish was suicidal.  Missed it twice.  I have no idea why that leader was so long.  Also, I know you can't net across your body like I did...or at least I can't.

The other crazy thing was I fished herring for over half of the time and still, all three of my kings came on a silver horde coho killer spoon behind a classic dodger.  The other piece of gear that struck out was the konezone flasher in chartreuse.  I cannot catch anything with one it seems like.  I know others have great success with them.  Hmmm...

So here's the video.  Didn't get my second keeper on video due to operator error. Argh!

A few pics

Monday, October 27, 2014

Homer Feeder Kings in October. Lots of small fish! Oct 19 & 25

Well you know I have to hit the kings.  This year has been a very crazy year.  I have landed more kings than ever!  By a factor of ten!!!!  The problem is they average about 18 inches.  We had the same problem fishing off of powerboats but nothing like the area around the spit.

I bet over the two days I fished the past two weeks, I caught 50 of the kings under 20 inches.  What's even more amazing is that I bet I only caught 25 pollock.

As I look through my blogs, I notice that last year was similar with most of my better fish coming in November!  Gotta love it!  I still have one whole month of productive salmon fishing left!  Sweet!

I need to upgrade my gopro or at least figure out how to get the lens more clear.

Nothing exciting but here are two videos of nothing but small fish.  Action was fast and furious.  Just needs to be larger fish.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Good bye Duo Locks! Hello Tactical Angler’s Power Clips.

In my reports and blog I try to be accurate and mention the bad days along with the good days.  One thing that even I couldn’t get myself to do was to report on some stupid errors I have made along the way.  Sure missed harpoon strikes and lost happens to everyone and I report those.  But stupid gear errors..or so I thought...was something I was too embarrassed about.

Rewind 30 years to my Kenai River king salmon days.  If you looked up and down the river, I would say 95% of the lines utilized duo lock clips.  You know those bent steel wire snap clips that you always look at and wonder “Do these things really hold?”  But after hundreds of kings including a 71 pound king on anchor using braid, the duo lock snaps delivered the fish.  I never had problems with them until I started kayak fishing.  

For the past three years, I have lost at least a half dozen fish due to failed duo lock snaps.  My most important fish was a 50 pound halibut that would have certainly won the inaugural kayak fishing tournament here in Alaska. I was fortunate enough to land a winning king later, but it could have cost me the tournament.

So why could I use the duo lock snaps for 30 years without issue and all of the sudden they are costing me fish?  At first I thought I was going senile and simply not locking down the snaps.  I got into the habit of checking every snap every few bait checks.  A few times I found them snap open.  Hmmm...I AM going nuts.  But it was odd.  A few times I know I checked them an hour prior and they were closed.  Double hmmm….

What I have come to realize is that the duo locks are fairly strong and they rarely just pop open.  What is happening is that unlike on a powerboat, the duo lock snaps comes into contact with all sorts of things.  The hull of the kayak, the rod holder, the fish finder, etc.  I believe it is then when the slightest pressure in the wrong direction on the wire pops them open.  

This is especially prone to happen at netting.  Unlike a powerboat where you are netting down to the fish and the snaps are typically well above the fish, on a kayak the snaps are typically very close in line to the fish.  This means they can also be hit by the rim of the net much more frequently or get caught in the netting.  This is when the snaps are coming undone.  

Last month I lost a nice king salmon and 20 dollars worth of gear when a duo lock came undone.  ARGH!  OK ENOUGH!  On our recent trip to Kodiak, Chris Mautino of Liquid Adventures suggested I try the Power Clips from tactical anglers.  

They look very solid.  They should hold as well or better than any corkscrew swivel...which seem nearly impossible to find in anything but the gigantic sizes in most sporting good stores  

My only complaint might be they are too small for their strength rating!!  I suppose I shouldn’t complain about that.  I bought the 50lbs, 75lbs, and 125lbs test snaps.  I should have bought the one size larger.  

The duo locks won’t completely be banished from my tackle boxes.  Some of the larger flashers need them to properly connect though there are other options.  But if I do use them, I am going to bend the ends over or secure them some other way.  

But for the quick lure and equipment change overs, I am going to swear away from the duo lock snaps.  I will report on the usage but given Chris Mautino’s glowing endorsement the reviews I have found online, it’s going to work amazingly well!

The post isn’t about a glowing review of the Tactical Angler Power Clips since I haven’t tried them!  But finding an option that eliminates a major problem I have been having over the past several years and getting the monkey off my back with a full admission...HALLELUJA!!!!  That’s worth a post!


Monday, October 13, 2014

Homer Kings onboard the Sulty Dawg - Part Deux

After the mediocre results for our crew during Elk's Derby, we hit it again this weekend. We got outfished by most boats I think so we were determined to learn more about this fishery. 

I have to hand it to Shane with Driftwood Charters. He is a fish catching machine! Well he was nice enough to give me basic locations and depths. That narrowed down the water column considerably for us. It made a huge difference for us. 

Day one, the wind was HOWLING. We slowly made our way south to Halibut Cove. Managed a bunch of shakers and only really one "keeper". 

Day 2, we finally got to take advantage of Shane's advice. It made a HUGE difference. Instead of running gear all up and down the water column, we focused on the Intel Shane provided. We ran all three lines fairly close in depth. That resulted in a double hook up (landed both) and a triple takedown (landed 2). Finished the day with 7 kings over 10 pounds (we had proxies) Maybe 14 pound average. A dozen or more shakers and two in the 5 to 10 pound range. 

Hard to complain about that!!! Great day 2, but still lots of room for improvement!! Thanks Captain Shane!!!

A little head banging music mixed in to the video so turn down the volume if you don't like that kinda thing! lol.

With only three people on board the boat, it made for some tough filming.  How I managed to catch the triple takedown as my only decent video clip is beyond me.  haha!

For those with less bandwidth, here are a few pics!

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Homer Elks Derby 2014

So I tried the Elks Derby in Homer from a powerboat.  I got greedy.  What can I say?  Well it turns out the advantage of the powerboat was that there were some rough weather.  But the results weren't much better than when I fish out of a kayak.

Ok.  So I know others have tried it and wondered "where are all the little kings Rudy keeps talking about."  Well I think I found the answer.  For some reason they LOVE the smaller Neddlefish hoochies.  First day, we ran two hoochie rigs and two herring rigs.  Tally for the day was 14 kings landed.  12 of them under 20"  90% of the small kings came on the needlfish hoochies.  Two big kings came on herring.

The fish didn't have needlfish in them.  They looked like capelin.  But the following day we run mainly herring. Only 5 kings landed on day two.  BUT 3 over 20".

Looks like the hoochies are deadly effective but they do seem to catch more little kings AND pollock.  Pollock hit the herring but not as often as the needlefish hoochies.

Also having a GPS plotter, I was amazed how many of the fish came from virtually the same exact spot even though we were covering miles of open water.


With this knowledge, I plan to fish my hoochies first.  If I have issues with pollock and small kings, I may take a single pack of herring. But I also am going to run something slightly bigger than the hoochies like a brad's cut plug or a coyote spoon.

Weather looks good Saturday...marine weather.  Normal weather calling for SNOW in Homer Saturday and Sunday.  I LOVE fishing while the snow is falling on open water.  Just makes you feel a little more like living in Alaska!!!

So I was in the process of collecting photos and videos from the trip.  But here's an "in progress" clip from the weekend.  Despite the videos looking like decent weather.  We battled big seas both days on the run out and in to the port.  Crazy stuff.  Got snowed and hailed upon in anchor point and the pass driving!!!

Homer Feeder Kings Sept 28

So I tried again Sunday off the spit. Got on the water at first light expecting great things. It was not to be. The odd thing was I bet I only caught a dozen pollock which is about a tenth of what I caught last week.

The small one ocean kings are still plentiful Caught maybe a dozen of them. Kept a few of the bleeders and one larger "jack".

The ocean was flat calm until about 1pm and then it got pretty nasty really quick.
What I did notice on the few I kept were that the sandlances inside of them were all miniature versions. Maybe an inch or two max long and super skinny. The large king last week had full sized sandlances in them. Need the adult sandlances to move closer into shore I think.

So here's the quick video. Could have done a little better job on releasing the fish but I didn't want to grip them too tightly.

Minimal editing, only in 480P resolution to document the day. Hopefully we will find the fish on the powerboats a little.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Homer Feeder Kings - Sept 20, 2014

I hear the Homer Elks King derby is Oct 4 & 5 so I thought I better go check out the action. I am still not sure whether I am fishing it out of a power boat or a kayak.

Launched by Land's End around 2pm to hit the falling tide. The good news, in the first 30 minutes I pull up a half dozen kings. The bad news, they averaged about 16 inches long. Nice thick chunky, but small kings.

Over the course of the next 4 hours, I manage three solid big fish strikes. Hooked 2, landed 1. As always, the fish I lost seemed much bigger. But I did manage a 10 to 12 pounder plus I kept one of the larger "shakers" that was a bleeder.

The pollock have thinned out but still too many to be using bait or a down rigger, I used a deep six diver, to a flasher, to a needlefish hoochie. Worked great!

Good to see tons of bait and a lot of the smaller kings. I am hoping the larger fish will chase the soon to spawn sandlances closer to shore. I did hear that another kayaker managed a king further North. So they are there and available!!! 

Monday, September 01, 2014

Kodiak trip August 24-30


Kodiak 2014 report

I was fortunate enough to fish with Kokatat Pro staff Allen “Polepole” Sansano, Allen “Bushy” Bushnell, Mark “Spot” Veary, and Chris Mautino from Liquid Adventures.  Jeff and I were the Alaska representatives of the team (Polepole and Bushy run that site along with KayakFishingMagazine.NET).  I can’t believe I had the opportunity to fish with people of this caliber!  Even if I had not caught a fish, I am sure I would have come back with knowledge and connections worth every penny of this trip and then some!!!!

Day Zero (Saturday/Sunday August 23-24)

I pick up the out of state portion of the team at Anchorage International Airport.  It’s always a tad nervous meeting new folks, but thanks to, it was like I already knew these folks well.

I pick them and ask “Ok, do we need any gear?”  The answer in almost perfect unison…”Heck no, let’s fish!”  Ok, this is going to be epic with a great group of guys.

Load up the vehicle and we stop by the Russian River at the confluence with the Kenai River.  Get there late, but we get about 3 hours of fishing.  Tomato Sockeyes, a few dollies and rainbows somehow find the end of our line.  We even manage to see a bear on day zero!

We crash at a friend’s house in Kenai to prepare for the nine hour voyage from Homer to Kodiak on Sunday.  We meet up with Chris Mautino of Liquid Adventures at the Ferry dock in Homer.

We took two vehicles via Ferry from Homer and rented a house.  Round trip cost for 5 people on a ferry plus two vehicles and berths for six (only one way for berths) was roughly $1,600.  The house for the week was $1,400 making the cost $3,000 or $600 per person for an entire week of unguided fishing.  Pretty dang reasonable!!!

Day One 

We try Kalsin Bay.  The bay looks great.  We see birds working out in the middle.  Silvers are jumping but generally speaking no love.  Bushy hammers a nice 13-15 pound silver but that was the only fish for the entire day.  Hmmm…this is going to be a little harder than we thought….

I’d find out later after the trip, that the silvers and kings were being caught exactly where we were at the following week.  Arghh.  Missed it by just a few days! 

Ok, I am a tad superstitious… I used my “new” reel today and left my girlfriend’s (and MY lucky reel) back at the rental house…. switched out to the pink avet sx on day two….

Day Two

This time we get a tip from local fishermen and we try Pasagshak Bay.  Weather is beautiful AND we find fish. It’s the best day of the trip.

After scrutinizing the charts, 2.5 miles from the launch, there are kelp beds and some very good terrain.  I start fishing on the edge of the kelp beds but quickly slide downhill from a bout 40 ft of water down into 80 ft of water.  Second pass at about 60ft, I hit our first halibut of the trip! 

I manage a 40 ish pounder and a 20 pounder.  I release another one.  The other team members land 4 other fish.  The biggest was Polepole’s 51 pounder.

Fishing was best as the tide was rising.  The current appeared to create an eddy in the area and the fish were stacked in one fairly small location. 

I’m telling ya!!!! It’s the pink reel!  lol.

Day Three
Weather is blowing hard.  It looks like we might not get on the water.  We try Kalsin Bay a little further to the East.  We fish in pouring rain and 20 knt winds.  Fortunately, I was wearing a new Kokatat Hydrus 3L SuperNova Angler Paddling Suit and Kokatat SeaO2 PFD.  The Hydrus 3L kept me bone dry and with a few layers of fleece, I fished comfortably all day!  The SeaO2 is a design with 7.5 lbs of flotation but you can inflate it (CO2 or manually) to get 22.5 lbs of lift.  Super comfy!  Highly recommend!!!  

I troll looking for anything that will bite.  10 minutes from launch I troll up a 25 pound-ish halibut.  Mid day I do find a big school of black rockfish that I played with for an hour or so.  The rest of the day almost nothing until once again I am minutes from the launch and almost in the exact same place I manage another 20 pounder.  Hmmm…what’s that saying…”Never leave fish to find fish?”  Well I guess we are exploring Kodiak so it was ok, but I was the only one lucky enough to run into the fish that day.

An interesting side note to the day were the foxes we saw at the launch. One scraggly looking hybrid was working our scraps hard.  Even taking an apple to stash away for the winter.  

Day Four

We head back out to Pasagshak Bay.  Half of the group opts to fish silvers in the river even though it is a touch early in the season.  They manage two SUPER nice silvers.  In the gin clear water, you could sight cast to them. 

Out in the Bay, Spot, Jeff, and I fish in shifting winds.  I miss four or five good takes because I had switched over to a circle hook.  I HATE THOSE THINGS!!!!!  Missed every single one despite letting them take the bait for 10 seconds or longer and engaging the drag as they are just ripping out line.  I am sure its operator error since many people are successful with the circle hooks, but I didn’t lose a single fish after a solid takedown using the Gamakatsu 12/0 Big River hooks.

Spot manages a nice 65 pounder in very challenging conditions.  His fish would win the "fight of the week” award.  His fish manages to take down an A2 Buoy for over 30 or more yards while 12 pounds or more of drag was also being applied.  We aren't talking “surface skimming” take down.  We are talking “no wake” completely submerged takedown.  His buoy was nearly as twice as large as the buoy I was using.  Just an AWESOME show of power.

 I think the biggest disappointment was our failure to find Silvers in the salt.  There were enough fish jumping and in the streams that we thought we could have hooked a few of them.  From the launch which is right next to the river mouth, to the halibut grounds was roughly 3 miles each way.  I trolled a dodger and hoochie on both days to and from halibut fishing and did not get a single strike!  Not even from cod or pollock.  Inside the Bay seemed fairly void of life.

Day Five

Well we have to try Pasagshak again after that nice fish.  I pedal 3 miles out and in the first 15 minutes I am hooked up.  The area we were fishing was super rocky and snaggy.  Over the course of the week, I had to cut my line several times and I was actually running low on line for my “lucky” reel…ok, ok it;s my girlfriends but I think I am taking it back!

I drop my bait to the bottom and immediately it seems stuck to the bottom.  I yank on it several times…thankfully I had switched back to a J-hook.  All of the sudden the “snag” starts throbbing!  NICE!!!!!  The battle is on.  

After a few mistakes, I manage to harpoon it, bleed, and apply the club.  But now what?  I can’t get it into my kayak so I pedal what turns out to be a mile back to find a suitable beach.  I finally get it strapped onto the back of the kayak.  Hmmm….it rides nicely….limit is two…I am going to back out again!!! 
Bad idea that I was fortunately saved by luck.  The halibut was so heavy, it was causing my rudder line holes to submerge under water.  Fortunately for me the group was already headed back since I had taken so long dealing with this one fish.  Once I got back to the launch, there were several gallons of water in my hull.  ACK!  I have closed cell foam noodles and empty gatorade bottles stuffed into my kayak so it wouldn’t sink.  But it would have made a long pedal back a WHOLE lot longer if I had fished longer.  Lesson learned.

I didn’t think the fish was that big but on tape it came out to 59.5 inches.  59 inches was 103 lbs and 60 inches

was 108 pounds not he weight length so I am calling it 105!!!!  WOW!!! mission accomplished for a triple digit ‘butt from a Kayak!!!!  SWEEEEET!!!!!!!!!

Day 6, the final day. 

We are too tired.  We had to check out of the house so we fished the Buskin River.  LOTS of pinks and a quite a few silvers.  They weren’t hitting though and I was a little disappointed to see the method of choice for 90% of the Anglers was the “flossing” method.  Beautiful river…but was disappointed in seeing that.  I did manage one on a pink fly, but I think I flossed that one too….

Day seven (bonus day!)

On the way back to Anchorage, we stop by the Russian River again.  Although its only been a week, the silver salmon have entered the stream and the team hooks up to a few nice silvers as well as a few trout.  Along the way we manage to bust the factory roof on the explorer but other than a slight ding on the roof of the SUV, all looks good.  You can see the problem in a good write up here at Kayak Fishing Magazine.

A short video of the offload.


So the trip was pretty dang good given that none of us had fished Kodiak from a Kayak before. I want to thank the Polepole and Bushy from and, Spot, and Chris Mautino from Liquid Adventures out of Seward and Baja,  To be able to fish in the company of such skilled Kayak Anglers really gave me the confidence that much more can be done from this platform.  

We fished some very challenging weather days.  But the ability to launch from virtually anywhere gave us access to water that even power boaters would have had a difficult time fishing.  In the 6 days, we saw two trollers on Day one in Kalsin and one troller who was waiting to pick up passengers in Pasagshak fishing the entire time we were there.  It was amazing!!!!!! 

We set out to catch a 100 pound halibut.  Mission accomplished.  I am pretty fortunate to have been the one to get that lucky strike.  It wasn’t easy trying to learn all of the spots. Of course we all have our favorite fishing holes that we know like the back of our hands and that consistently produces fish.  To not have the advantage was a bit of an eye opener.  We had a lot of good assistance along the way.  I want to specifically thank Hank and Abel who gave us TONS of good information and frankly made the trip for all of us.  

In some ways you could sense the disappointment that more and larger fish weren’t caught.  But we walked away impressed with Kodiak’s potential.  With a kayak we could launch and fish in semi-sheltered areas no matter the wind direction.  A few more trips and I think I could get Kodiak dialed in.  Hmmm…maybe next spring?  I hear they catch big kings in Kodiak in the spring time….I LOVE BIG KINGS.  The wheels are already turning…..

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Summer of 2014

ARGH! Are you kidding me?  The summer goes by and I didn't update my blogs once.  Fortunately, I do post almost all of my reports on Alaska Outdoor Journal's reports page  .

I suppose I should go in reverse Chronological order....

August 9th: Resurrection Bay Coho's.  Here's my report to AOJ

So Saturday, I pack up my pink and trout gear for a day's outing with my son.  The plan was to look at Hope, then to drive on down the Peninsula looking for any fish I could find.  My son had luck during the first Russian River run but due to the spotty on and off second run, he had fished hard without landing a lot of fish over the past few weeks so he deserved this trip.

As I drive by Potter Marsh, a buddy calls and say "Hey, I just passed you, where ya going?"  I reply "Pink fishing with my kid."  He says he is going out to Seward with another buddy of ours Sean.  What?  Silvers? Gotta do that!  So an abrupt change in destination and we are off to Seward.
Leave the harbor about 11pm.  Water looks flat calm.  Looks good!  Get out to Caines Head and about 3 dozen boats are fishing there but we only see one hook up.  Water is good, let's head out to Pony Cove!  Well, once we hit the open gap, the seas were 4 to 6 ft but fortunately the periods looked long so we make it out about half throttle. I know I can't talk because I fish out of a kayak, but there were several boats out there that had absolutely no business being there.  16 & 18 ft open skiffs with 50hp or less.  That's just insane. 

Good thing we made the run though because once we got there, it was the best coho fishing I think I have EVER encountered.  We anchor up in about 250ft of water with the other boats.  Drop mooching rigs down to about 100 ft and it was NONSTOP.  We had 5 people, fishing 4 rods plus a proxy and we boat 36 fish in 2 hours!    We lost almost as many.  When we cleaned out the fish, they were loaded with sand lances and a LOT of cut up bait.  Someone was using whole horse herring with the tails cut off because we found a few of those in the stomachs as well!

Weather was a bit rough and rainy, but the action sure made up for it!

Good luck and be safe to all of those who enter the derby.  I may give it a go off the kayak next weekend hoping the fish are a little closer to town.  

July 26: Whiskey Gulch Halibut

I took two guests from Japan out fishing this weekend. We give Whiskey Gulch a go off the Kayaks. Flat calm to start, three footers as the tide turned. Back to one footers at noon. They had never fished halibut or from a kayak.

 Day 1 the weather was flat calm as we launch prior to the low slack. I managed 5 fish landed in 5 hours keeping a 30 pounder and a 15 pounder. My guests shakes off a couple of ping pong paddles before keeping a nice 30 pound fish. Shift 2, I let the two guests go out unassisted for the high slack. Nothing...bummer. 

Day 2. The two guests hit the morning low slack, One limits on two 10 to 15 pounders. The other doesn't get hit. I go out with the one guest in the afternoon and he shakes off a ping pong paddle. The only hit of the afternoon. 

So the fishing is spotty but still producing. I ran into a fellow kayaker I know from and he did great by anchoring. Set up an anchor and buoy system so he could quick release and not have to deal with any of the scope in the line. I may have to try that during the hour before and after slack tide. 

Maybe more interesting than the report were the fish we caught. One of my guests 10 pounder caught on day 2 had only one eye. No signs of any scar or healing where the other eye should be. It sort of looks like there is a wound in the photos but there isn't. I wonder what happened? Otherwise it looked perfectly healthy. 

The other "hmm..." moment came as we noticed small 4 to 6 inch dollies swarming around the halibut carcasses. Caught a few of those, but a few feet deeper, there were numerous 10 to 12 inch dollies. I am sure there are larger ones close by. May have to give it a go with a flyrod or ultralight. We were using small spinners and tiny spoons.
We saw quite a few salmon jumping. Couldn't tell what they were, We also saw LOTS of fish that looked to be small dollies or salmon about 6 to 8 inches long hopping around over 35 to 50 ft of water. 

So here's the video of my guests 30 pounder. Little longer than normal and sorry in advance for the dirty lens.

And of course the pictures!

July 22(?): Upper kenai River float
I floated the Upper Kenai with my guests from Japan, Seiya and Ken san.  Fishing was a little slow due to high water.  But we manage a bright sockeye and a few dollies.  Then we find a nice slough that held some fish and we manage a few more nice trout and dollies.

Saw eagles and bears up close.  Did see a big pod of sockeye milling in the frog water above Jim's Landing. 

Video is a little longer than normal.  I made it for my guests.  

June 27-29: Whiskey Gulch Halibut.  2nd Annual NWKA Alaska Yak Classic

I have been focusing more on halibut this year.  I was fortunate enough to win the yak classic with a 40 pound fish caught on the last day!  This year the size of the halibut has been good.  Lots of 25 to 40 pounders.

A really good two and a half days of fishing though too bad it was the slowest I think on Saturday the full day of the tournament.  

Here's a video clip.  Skip to 2:10 of the video if you want to skip to the harpooning of the first fish.

And a few photos.

June 22:  77 pounds of Halibut

June 20:  57 pound Halibut Whiskey Gulch

So Friday was a company holiday.  What to do?  Hmmm…

So weather forecast is looking iffy but I head down to Whiskey Gulch to see if I couldn’t catch the low slack tide. Weather turns out to be PERFECT!!!

In the water around 1pm.  Action was good for the little chickens.  Boated 4 or 5 under 15 pounds in the first two hours.  Decided to keep one and then fish for a larger fish.  

3 hours passes and nothing.  I get a few really good strikes but can’t hook up.  I am really starting to detest these circle hooks. But so many people use them, I want to give them a fair shot.

Tide finally turns around 4pm.  By this time I am off of Anchor Point about 1.5 to 2 miles offshore.  45 to 60 feet of water.  FINALLy!! Hook up to what feels like a good fish.

I have never caught anything much bigger than 30 pounds on a kayak, so this fish was new.  I could have edited the video down to about 2 minutes and made me look like I knew what was going on.  But I decided to leave all of the screwups in the video.  Gotta learn from your mistakes!  

First, I need something better than rubber bands to hold the harpoon tip in place.  Second, I wonder if an A1 buoy is enough.  I wasn’t sure if the buoy was caught under me or if it had pulled it down.  That would not have been good news to have line wrapped around my drive and have the halibut dive deep.  I was reaching for the mirage drive as the buoy popped up.  Not sure how I snapped 200 lbs mono without breaking anything.  

Initially I thought it might go 40 pounds.  But got home and measured it and it was 49.5 inches.  That’s 57 pounds plus on the commonly used weight length tables.  So got my 50 pounder out of the way.  Now the goal is 75!! 

June 15: A pair of 20 pounders
Ok.  Probably more like culling the smaller ones out.  managed two 20 pounders.  Both caught in 35ft of water on herring.  

Tried to use my bigger boat net.  FAIL.  If I posted the video unedited, the title would be "Mistakes to avoid when netting halibut."...well it should still be titled that!  A lot of it was me just being lazy and unfamiliar with the gear.  Using a mega sized deep bagged net mesh is out.  That was a nightmare.  I still can't get the spreader bar and weight out of the net!  

Well I suppose that's why you try new things before the gathering! Not my best video effort but another limit from a kayak documented!

May 11: Mother's Day King and a limit of Halibut

Hit the water at 5:30am.  Was bummed for the first hour thinking why did I get up so early.  But about 7:15 I managed the first halibut.  34 inches so thats 17 pounds I think on the charts.  

If you watch the video, you'll see my line act like it just got caught on some debris as the line angle gets shallower but nothing that looks like a strike.  Downrigger was set at 10ft (per Rimfirematt's instruction) in about 20ft of water.  You can see the fish actually comes up like it's seaweed.  No battle no nothing.  But once near the yak, it puts up a better fight.  Fish are super shallow right now chasing the herring and hooligan around.

About 30 minutes later I get hit by a king.  I pride myself in getting fish into the net, but 6 months of no kings made me rusty.  Lucky the hooks didn't catch the net.  Somehow managed to land it.

In this area, once you keep a king, you have to move a mile offshore to get out of the King Salmon conservation zone.  So I pedal another half mile or so out and immediately hook up to a tiny halibut...barely 10 pounds.  Not sure it was worth the effort but I had to head back to Anchorage so I kept it.

Feels good to finally catch something after getting blanked on 5 or 6 consecutive trips but since that was December through April, I guess it's not  a bad thing.

All fish caught on herring.  First two on a down rigger, the last one mooching.

Stopped by the parent's house on the way back and mom got a gift of fresh king and halibut!  I'm such a good excuse to go fishing!!!!