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If you can’t catch anything, imitate success

Posted: July 16, 2014 - 2:55pm

Now that the silvers are starting to enter the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon, it’s time for some of you to pause and try to figure out why you missed more strikes than a blindfolded drunk at a piñata party when the chinooks were kings of The Hole.
Let’s take a look at the clueless bobber fisherman who stands around bewildered as anglers next to him are getting take-downs while his float sees less action than a channel buoy in a duck pond.
The first thing he should do if he has an intellect higher than a jar of salmon roe is intently observe the successful piscadors and mimic their techniques.
What type of bait are they using?
If it is salmon roe, how big is the chunk and how far down below the bobber is the presentation? Don’t use a glob so big that a coho couldn’t find the hook with a metal detector or knock itself out running into the lump during an attack.
If it is herring, how big is the bait fish and is it plug-cut? Plus, again, what is the depth distance from the float?
 You would be surprised how a couple of minor adjustments in your tackle, bait and presentation out on the water so it reflects the peerless techniques of true salmon slayers will help regain your cool. Plus, there’s always the bonus of your suffering family finally being able to exit the camper without paper bags over their heads to bring you a cold breakfast burrito.
Another reason to swallow your pride and change tactics is that it will save the expenditure of replacing the gear that you were, in all probability, going to let fly toward the center of the pond after everyone goes home with their limits leaving you standing there with a mutant Irish Lord on the hook and no clue as how to get it off.
Note: Even when fishermen are set up perfectly and the strikes start happening, bobber connoisseurs can still get skunked. Especially, if they insist on nearly blowing the their arms out of their sockets by jerking so fast and hard the instant the bobber goes down that they miss the fish or end up with nothing but a set of coho lips that won’t do well on the Barb-B.
Try this method: When the float goes under and stays under, chill out and count off five seconds. This allows the fish to commit making your bait a serious snack. Once the count ends, reel slowly until you feel tension and then set the hook with a firm tug while keeping the line tight. Enjoy the acrobatics and fight.
Next week we’ll take a look at how, where and when to hunt silvers approaching and schooling inside The Hole, but for now it’s time to take a look at the week’s fishing report.
Salt waters: halibut
Halibut fishermen have been rockin’ the rods with limits as common as gulls on bait balls. Things will only improve as more fish pull into their summer grazing grounds.
Sampled fish landed in the Homer Harbor over the past week averaged 11.4 pounds (range 2.9 to 88.6 pounds) round weight. But, hey, some were a lot bigger, like the Oregon angler’s 277.8-pound halibut, which now takes lead in the Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby’s big-fish category. Ned Friedman of Chiloquin, Ore., was fishing aboard the Quintessence with Capt. Greg Northover of Arctic Fishing and Hunting Expeditions on Monday when he landed the fish. (For an update on the derby and a photo of Friedman’s catch, see page 3.)
Salt waters: salmon
Trolling for feeder king salmon is fair to pretty decent near Flat Island and Point Pogibshi but has been on idle north of Bluff Point. Anglers are reporting increased catches of silvers near Point Adams.
Lure draggers also are reporting good catches of pink salmon, now known as legal bait.
Popular trolling set-ups for king salmon include herring, hootchies, tube flies and glitzy spoons along with attention getters such as dodgers or flashers.
Early-run coho continue to arrive at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon. Try salmon eggs, herring and blue or orange Vibrax spinners. Fishing the incoming and outgoing tides will give you a great chance of hooking a silver.
Sockeye salmon mixed with pink salmon are arriving into Tutka Bay Lagoon.  This is a stocked fishery paid for by enhancement taxes on commercial fisheries. Anglers are reminded to avoid commercial boats operating in the area lest you p.o. someone who pays those taxes and drives a bigger boat.
Other saltwater fishing
Fishing off the end of the Homer Spit can be a great way to discover what swims and crawls around the bottom out there. Species available include pollock, Pacific cod, a variety of flatfish, a Dolly or two and the occasional salmon whose internal GPS crashed and doesn’t have clue what ocean it’s in.
Lingcod season opened July 1. Anglers are reminded that the bag and possession limit is two fish and the minimum legal size is 35 inches.
Anglers fishing near the Barren, Chugach and Elizabeth islands are knocking the scales off lingcod and rockfish as well as the flats. Limits are becoming the norm out there.  
Personal-use fishing
China Poot personal use dipnet fishery is open through Aug. 7. Both tips of the tail fin must be removed. Complete regulations are found on page 14 of the Southcentral Alaska regulation booklet.
Dipnetting in China Poot remains slow. Hopefully things will fire up soon. Who wants to stand around looking like a loser with an empty net while swatting at squadrons of vampire bugs for entertainment? 
Streams
The Dollies are kicking up the action in roadside streams as the runs start to arrive. Fish near the stream mouths for a ton of fun. Small flashy flies and shiny spinners are slamming them.
If anyone’s interested, pinks are beginning to enter streams on the south side of Kachemak Bay. You can find them cruising Humpy Creek and the Seldovia River.
For the Ninilchik River, the larger hatchery king salmon are darkening while there are still some bright hatchery jack king salmon available.
Shellfish
The clamming tides run through today then July 26-30.For beaches on the east side of Cook Inlet, expect small size clams that are few and far between in the beaches that remain open. North of the Clam Gulch access road has been the most productive this season.
 Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com if you have any tips, tales or rumors that the city is actually going to install a lift lid on The Hole’s gut trailer forcing the *^&%$#* gulls to take their uncouth behavior elsewhere.
 

The Ninilchik beach from the north bank of Deep Creek to a marker located approximately 3.2 miles north of the Ninilchik River at 60º 05.66’N. latitude is closed to the taking of all clam species effective through Dec. 31. 
 The bag and possession limit for razor clams harvested from the remaining eastside Cook Inlet beaches, extending from the mouth of the Kenai River to the southernmost tip of the Homer Spit, is reduced to the first 25 razor clams dug per day effective through December 31. 
All shrimp and crab fisheries in Kachemak Bay are currently closed.
Regulation Reminders and Emergency Orders
Freshwater fisheries
Ninilchik River is closed to wild king salmon, but open to hatchery king salmon. The bag and possession limit on hatchery-only king salmon is one 20 inches or greater in length.
Hatchery king salmon are identified as missing their adipose fin, the fleshy fin on the back just in front of the tail.
After harvesting a hatchery king salmon 20 inches or greater in length, a person may not fish for any species of fish in the Ninilchik River on that same day.
Marine fisheries
The Cook Inlet and North Gulf Coast sport, personal-use and subsistence Tanner crab fisheries will not open for the 2014-2015 season.
Snagging is allowed in Kachemak Bay east of a line from Anchor Point to Point Pogibshi through Dec. 31, except in the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon.
 Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com if you have any tips, tales or rumors that the city is actually going to install a lift lid on The Hole’s gut trailer forcing the *^&%$#* gulls to take their uncouth behavior elsewhere.
 

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