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.