Homer Alaska - Outdoors

Story last updated at 4:49 PM on Wednesday, June 22, 2011

How's the fishing? It depends on who you ask



By NICK C. VARNEY

Just as I get ready to declare that it's turning out to be another year of "Dead Zone" king fishing in the infamous Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon, Fish and Game claims that fishing is fair to good.

Some of my fishing buds disagree and say, yes, there have been some fish caught and others are still arriving in hordes of up to two or three but mostly it's been deader than New York's Anthony Weiner's political career.

What am I supposed to believe? The only strike I've had so far has been a severely disoriented miniature crab that got stuck in my leader line which is not abnormal for most of my outings.

Hey, when even the seals are bored to tears and only show up for a sneaky snicker while watching humanoids flailing away at maybe 2.5 confused wannabe spawners cruising around in the lagoon, ya gotta start thinking you'd get more meat by canning your bait.

Still, if another surge appears, one way is to fish outside the lagoon as the tide rises. Use a plug-cut small herring hanging upside down or a fillet of mackerel on a single No. 5 hook about 8 to 12 inches below your bobber.

Why? Simple, salmon attack their prey from behind and below and it's not that deep out there where they are running along the shoreline toward The Hole.

Now, let's talk bait prep.

Some of you may mock the following advice because you are highly experienced fisherpersonages who fill your freezer each year without a problem.

I respect that and could probably accomplish the same except I prefer doing it with a rod and reel rather than a dip net.

Anyway, try soaking your bait herring in the oil that you drain from a can of tuna fish. It spreads a great scent in the water. Same goes for sardines or most any oily canned fish.

Remember, older king salmon primarily feed on other fish especially the ones that chowed down on them when they were defenseless smolt. As the old saying goes, "Paybacks are a b*#$^."

Now let's look at some of the state's emergency orders and regulation reminders:

Fresh water

Salmon

The Anchor River, Deep Creek and the Ninilchik River are currently closed to all fishing. The lower portions of the Anchor River, Stariski Creek, Deep Creek and the Ninilchik River will open to fishing on July 1.

Although this ruling is disappointing to sportsmen, the salmon are ecstatic. I would be too if I had only one shot at getting lucky in my life and suddenly didn't have to worry about some jerk whacking me with a treble hook before I could score my first date.

Salt waters

Halibut

Halibut fishing is good out of Homer, Anchor Point and Deep Creek. Larger fish are starting to show up in all locations especially around Seldovia where they just nailed one the size of a small, uninhabited island.

Herring is the most traditional bait, but octopus, squid, salmon heads and anything that stinks like a beached whale also works well.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has received several reports of "mushy" halibut, where the flesh is very soft or flabby, sometimes with pockets of jelly-like tissue (yuck factor 10). Anglers report that the fish are mushy after being cooked as well (beyond yuck factor 10).

Fish and Game has not yet tested these fish, but reports are similar to incidences in 1998 and 2005, which the Fish and Game pathology lab diagnosed as a nutritional myopathy. Some locals disagree and think they may be the result of alien experiments. These individuals also seek out the wisdom of various potted plants by smoking their leaves.

The incidence of flabby or jelly-like flesh can be high for anglers fishing in certain locales, so if you catch a fish that feels flaccid, release it immediately unharmed before it melds with your arm and then move to another part of the planet to avoid these mutants.

This is excellent advice.

Halibut with poor abs and cellulite build-ups result in a slushy sushi even a pack of starving wolves would flee from.

Additional Info:

Snagging is allowed in Kachemak Bay east of a line from Anchor Point to Point Pogibshi from June 24 to Dec. 31, except in the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon (Why bother?)

Trolling success for kings has been slow off the south side of Kachemak Bay and Bluff Point. Plus the near-shore salt waters of Anchor Point, Whiskey Gulch and Deep Creek along with Halibut Cove Lagoon and Seldovia.

Kinda makes you want to save gas and take a nap, doesn't it?

Nick Varney can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com if he isn't stalking around the Fishing Lagoon throwing so much bait at it that it starts to resemble a major herring spawn.

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