Trips to the saltwater offer variety of pickings

Posted: Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Looking for adventure? Go saltwater fishing.

The best way for a visitor to fish the briny deep is aboard a charter boat. A day-long fishing charter costs anywhere from $75 to $175, depending on the season, the distance to the fishing grounds and other "extras."

Virtually all charters include bait, tackle and fish filleting. Some offer lunches, drinks and rain gear. "Combo" trips halibut and kings, halibut and silvers usually are extra.

Some operators offer overnight trips. Be sure to ask lots of questions before booking a trip.

The most sought-after prey in peninsula waters is the Pacific halibut. Anglers catch hundreds of thousands of these flatfish each year in Cook Inlet and the Gulf of Alaska.

The usual method of fishing for halibut is bottom-fishing with chunk herring, from either a drifting or anchored boat.

The biggest of the big, called "barn doors," weigh more than 400 pounds, but 10- to 30-pounders are far more common. The small ones are called "chickens."

All sizes are good eating and fun to catch. While fishing for halibut, anglers often hook other species, including rockfish, lingcod and salmon sharks.

Another fish that attracts anglers to the sea is the king salmon. Kings can weigh anywhere from a few pounds to more than 50 pounds.

The largest one of record was a 126-pounder, caught in a fish trap near Petersburg, Alaska. The IGFA world record king weighed 97-pounds, 4-ounces and was caught by Soldotna resident Les Anderson on the Kenai River.

"Feeder" kings salmon that aren't yet heading for their spawning streams are found in lower Cook Inlet and in outer Resurrection Bay year-round. "Spawner" kings become available in Cook Inlet in early May. Memorial Day weekend usually marks the peak of the run. Trolling with herring is the usual method of fishing for kings.

Another salmon that generates lots of excitement at Seward and Homer is the silver. These 8- to 18-pound fish are voracious feeders and can be caught by several methods. On the saltwater, anglers usually mooch for them with light tackle. When the bite is on, the action is fast and furious. Silvers also are caught by trolling herring or hootchies and by casting spinners and spoons from shore. The peak of saltwater silver fishing usually occurs in early August.

The weather may be better in summer, but there are few months when the saltwater fishing isn't good in peninsula waters.

Looking for adventure? Go saltwater fishing.

The best way for a visitor to fish the briny deep is aboard a charter boat. A day-long fishing charter costs anywhere from $75 to $175, depending on the season, the distance to the fishing grounds and other "extras."

Virtually all charters include bait, tackle and fish filleting. Some offer lunches, drinks and rain gear. "Combo" trips halibut and kings, halibut and silvers usually are extra.

Some operators offer overnight trips. Be sure to ask lots of questions before booking a trip.

The most sought-after prey in peninsula waters is the Pacific halibut. Anglers catch hundreds of thousands of these flatfish each year in Cook Inlet and the Gulf of Alaska.

The usual method of fishing for halibut is bottom-fishing with chunk herring, from either a drifting or anchored boat.

The biggest of the big, called "barn doors," weigh more than 400 pounds, but 10- to 30-pounders are far more common. The small ones are called "chickens."

All sizes are good eating and fun to catch. While fishing for halibut, anglers often hook other species, including rockfish, lingcod and salmon sharks.

Another fish that attracts anglers to the sea is the king salmon. Kings can weigh anywhere from a few pounds to more than 50 pounds.

The largest one of record was a 126-pounder, caught in a fish trap near Petersburg, Alaska. The IGFA world record king weighed 97-pounds, 4-ounces and was caught by Soldotna resident Les Anderson on the Kenai River.

"Feeder" kings salmon that aren't yet heading for their spawning streams are found in lower Cook Inlet and in outer Resurrection Bay year-round. "Spawner" kings become available in Cook Inlet in early May. Memorial Day weekend usually marks the peak of the run. Trolling with herring is the usual method of fishing for kings.

Another salmon that generates lots of excitement at Seward and Homer is the silver. These 8- to 18-pound fish are voracious feeders and can be caught by several methods. On the saltwater, anglers usually mooch for them with light tackle. When the bite is on, the action is fast and furious. Silvers also are caught by trolling herring or hootchies and by casting spinners and spoons from shore. The peak of saltwater silver fishing usually occurs in early August.

The weather may be better in summer, but there are few months when the saltwater fishing isn't good in peninsula waters.



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