Is it too much to ask? Know what you're catching

I was scouting for jumpers along the east and west side beaches of the Spit when I overheard two men squabbling about a fish one of them had just landed outside the entrance to The Fishing Hole.

One squawking rooster was adamant it was a silver while the other had steam rolling out of his cranial orifices because he was convinced that it was a king.

When they detected I was sitting on a rock listening to their martial arts dust up of words, they took a breath and asked if I was a local.

When I warily nodded yes, because I had been through this sort of thing before, they asked if I would to settle the dispute.

I said that I’d give it a shot but first they had to call a truce and knock off scrounging around in the driftwood for something sizeable enough to use in a duel.

The undersized fish was so blushed that it brought back memories of me as an 11-year-old getting nailed by grandma while I was flipping through the lingerie section of a Sears catalog.

It had aged to the degree that it had probably gummed the bait.

I confirmed it was a king and suggested salvaging it as a smoker.

The mental void who landed it wasn’t buying my diagnosis and started rambling on about how it put up a hard fight and was tough to bring in. He was convinced it was a silver.

I quickly realized I was dealing with a potted piscatorian with less reasoning capability than his waders.

There was no way he’d ever comprehend that a geezer fish hooked in the tail can put up a pretty good rumble especially if its adversary is sporting 100-proof breath and the reaction time of a sloth.

His brother wasn’t in much better shape but was demonstratively ecstatic because he had been right.

I eased on down the shore when they started eyeing each other and the driftwood again.

It’s easier to train a Guinea pig to be a frenzied guard rodent rather than attempt to explain facts to idiots who need an autonomic nervous system to remind them when to inhale.

Here’s some refresher training: A silver (coho) has small black spots on the back, upper sides, base of the dorsal fin and upper lobe of the tail. It can be distinguished from the king (chinook) by the fact that it only has spots on the upper half of the tail while the latter has spots over its entire tail. Plus, coho have pale or white gums and a black mouth while the king has black gums and a black mouth.

Sockeye (reds) have a blue-black with silvery sides. No distinct spots on the back, dorsal fin, or tail.

Pretty simple stuff unless you’re carrying the DNA of one of the subzero IQs I met.

We’ll save the chums and pinks for next week. As if anyone cares.

OK, now let’s take a look at parts of the Homer Area Fishing Report for this week.

Regulation Reminders

Snagging is open in Kachemak Bay east of a line from Anchor Point to Point Pogibshi.

China Poot personal use dipnet fishery is open through Aug. 7. So far, the dipnetting success for the reds has been fair.

Personal use caught sockeye salmon must have both tips of the tail fin removed.

The lower portions of the Anchor River, Deep Creek and Stariski Creek are open to sport fishing except for chinooks. Kings may not be targeted and if hooked, they must be released immediately. Gear is limited to one unbaited single-hook artificial lure.

The marine waters of Tutka Bay Lagoon within 100 yards of the hatchery net pens are closed year-round to sport fishing for any species.

Ninilchik River Hatchery Only King Salmon Emergency Order: Gear has been restricted to un-baited single-hook through July 15.

Saltwater Fishing: Halibut

Halibut fishing in Cook Inlet has been fair to two steps above decent depending on where you drop your hook.

Sampled fish harvested out of the Homer port averaged 12.33 pounds (range 3.7-82.7 pounds).

The best jaw cracker bait for the flats continues to be a circle hook with a side of herring. Salmon heads, white jigs with red eyes, and octopus will also draw their dim bulb attention.

Unguided anglers can retain two halibut a day, four in possession.

Trolling for kings has been reported as still fair around Bluff Point and along the South side of Kachemak Bay from Bear Cove to Point Pogibshi.

Bait draggers are also picking up chum, pinks, sockeye and coho.

There should be some pretty fair fishing for kings from Anchor Point to Deep Creek.

A few silvers have started sneaking into the Nick Dudiak Fishing lagoon, but nothing that requires a frenzied stampede.

Plug cut herring or roe about 18 inches under a float should entice a strike. Bright spinners will fire them up if your retrieval rate is spot-on and they are the preferred color of the day or moment. Silvers can be finicky.

Some of you might lay off flinging bobbers the size of marker buoys. Silvers will break their necks trying to take them down.

The upcoming higher tides should bring more schools moseying into the lagoon with gluttonous seals hot on their anal fins.

Note: Snagging is no longer open in the Nick Dudiak lagoon (Fishing Hole) until further notice.

Fishermen are having pretty fair success nailing sockeye in Tutka Lagoon.

Pinks are arriving at Tutka Bay Lagoon along with the sockeye. How embarrassing for the reds.

This is a stocked fishery paid for by enhancement taxes on commercial fisheries and sport fishermen are reminded to avoid commercial boats operating in the area.

Sport caught pinks may be used as bait in the saltwater fisheries and are counted as part of your daily bag limit. This is a good thing. It makes them feel useful.

Other Saltwater Fishing

Lingcod season remains open.

Ling hunters have been doing well around the Chugach islands to Gore Point.

The bag and possession limit for them is two fish with a minimum legal size of 35 inches.

I will not pick on lings this week because terminally ugly critters with the attitude of a wounded Russian boar need a bit of empathy before they hit the grill.

Fishing off the end of the Homer Spit can be unique way to practice casting while trying to identify what you haul on shore.The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has some cool handouts to help you with the process.

Species lurking around are Walleye pollock, Pacific cod, a variety of flatfish and an occasional lost salmon.

As with any other sports fish, check the regulations regarding bag and possession limits and know which species you’re keeping before harvesting them. If you can’t identify it and it grins at you, run.

Both Bluff Point and Point Pogibshi areas have been producing black, dark and dusky rockfish.

Anglers use a variety of gear including spoons, jigs, herring and flies to catch rockfish. They are also commonly caught when trolling with downriggers for salmon.

Freshwater Fishing Report

Dolly Varden fishing has been good on the roadside streams. Beads, streamers and nymph fly patterns will work for fly flingers. Small spinners and spoons will also rock the dollies’ boat.

The pink salmon should be starting to arrive in the roadside streams as well.

I’m going pass on making a comment about that info lest I catch flack for harboring micro aggressive tendencies toward humpies.

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com if you have any tips, tales or more info on the brothers grim and their snit over a dead salmon’s ID.

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