Homer Alaska - Outdoors

Story last updated at 3:37 PM on Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Don't knock cod; try it, you'll like it



By NICK C. VARNEY

The Spit was rockin' this weekend.

Campground spaces were stacked with motor homes and the boat harbor contained everything from small skiffs sporting engines so small they could be used as milkshake stirers to yachts that had the capacity to dispatch submarine fish-finders.

Besides watching the boats launch, it was fascinating to cruise the various cleaning tables during the late afternoon because, if you really want to know what's hot and what sucks, they hold the insights.

Take Sunday.

I was admiring some nice-sized halibut a young guy was butchering rather than filleting when a grizzled Homerite flopped down a couple of 'butts about the same size along with 12 very large Pacific gray cod.

The kid took a glance at the old boy's catch and snorted. "Nice halibut, but what's with the trash fish? Gonna bait some traps for 'The Deadliest Catch'?"

I've known Jake for a flatbed full of years and he gave the mollusk-brain a look that smoked, "I'd rather have a conversation with the crud in my +^%#!* bait bucket than answer your %^$#_)&^ question."

I didn't blame him a bit.

Why?

Because cod has a nice white flesh with a slightly sweet taste and is more moist than halibut. It costs mega bucks less at the store and keeps much better in the home freezer, especially when compared to salmon.

Try $16.99 a pound for halibut fillets to $5.99 for cod (on sale).

OK, small worms sometimes can be found in the flesh of Pacific cod. But these annoying creepoids also are present in other fish, including halibut.

If found, the worms, in both species, are easily removed either at the time they are filleted or just before cooking.

Note: Most of the precived problems with cod can be eliminted by bleeding and gutting the fish immediately upon landing and adding ice.

There is no bag or possession limit so you can fill your freezer with a fine cuisine that's easy to nail and, with a side order of fries, is one of the most popular fish-chips treats in the country.

OK, now it's the state's time. Nothing much has changed in the weekly fishing report, but we'll take a look anyway.

Emergency Orders and Regulation Reminders

An emergency order has been issued to protect Anchor River king salmon effective from July 1 at 12:01 a.m., through July 31 at 11:59 p.m. The use of bait and/or treble hooks remains effective until that date.

This should not be complicated for those of you who can actually read and/or understand posted pictures.

Fresh Water: Salmon

The lower portions of the Anchor River, Deep Creek and Stariski Creek are open to sport fishing except for king salmon.

King salmon may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately or the Alaska Department of Fish and Game badges get cranky and it might cost you a minimum of your pimped-out truck.

Anchor River anglers may only use one non-baited, single-hook, artificial lure until July 31 at 11:59 p.m.

Anglers may use bait and treble hooks on Deep Creek, Stariski Creek and the Ninilchik River.

Expect "pitiable" (look up the word) fishing for Dolly Varden and pink salmon in all streams. Try fishing near the stream mouths for early arriving fish if you are desperate and don't have a life.

Salt Water: Halibut

Halibut fishing remains way cool out of Homer, Anchor Point and Deep Creek.

Sampled flats landed over the past week averaged 17.5 pounds (with tales ranging from 15 to 466.9 pounds depending on how much brew had been consumed by the angler without a camera and a derby ticket).

Salt Water: Salmon

Snagging is allowed in Kachemak Bay east of a line from Anchor Point to Point Pogibshi until Dec. 31, except in the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon where the last rites have been requested for the king run.

Lingcod is now open to harvest. Many anglers target lingcod near the rock piles and pinnacles by Elizabeth Island and Kennedy Entrance. There is a minimum size limit of 35 inches and a bag limit of two per day and two in possession. A gaff may not be used on any fish intended for release.

Personal Use

The China Poot personal use dip-net fishery has opened but the results are still poor.

Things should blast off when the sockeye return peaks about the middle of July.

All shrimp and crab fisheries in Kachemak Bay are currently closed. Tanner crabbing will open July 15.

A free permit is required and will be available in July. Personal use (Alaska residents only) shrimp is open for the North Gulf coast; a free permit is required.

If you have any fishing tips, insights or just weird rumors, contact Nick at ncvarney@gmail.com. Obviously, the guy needs serious advice or mental guidance.

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