Rudy's General Fishing Tips
I have a tips sheet for both King fishing and ice fishing for trout, but many tips are applicable to all fishing situations. I'm going to list a couple everytime I change my page. Not so much to tell people "how to fish", since every has their own style and techniques that work. But rather I need it to remind myself!
Tip #1: Always have fresh line on the reel!
When it comes right down to it, the line and hook is the only thing holding you onto
the fish. I have landed fish with a broken
rod, a broken reel, and a broken net. I have yet to land a fish on a broken line. The line is one of the cheapest aspects of
fishing, but the one most often overlooked. Fresh mono is a lot stronger than you think. Don't believe me? Take a hand held
scale, tie your salmon outfit to the hand held scale. Set the drag tight and start pulling on the rod. You'll be surprised how little
"pull" you exert on a rod before it feels like its going to snap in two. Other than abrasion resistance any poundage over that is
excess. Most of my salmon rods are creaking and cracking when the scale pulls past 15 pounds. My trout rods have a hard
time pulling 4 pounds. Do I use heavy line? you betcha. but once again its for abrasion resistance and the ability to survive
several "conflicts" with other fisherman's lines.
Tip #2: Alaska is HUGE. Use all information available to minimize the "looking" and maximize the "catching"!
I know fishing should be enjoyable and somehow "work" and "fishing" just don't seem to go to together. Still, as the title suggests, within a 3 hour drive of downtown Anchorage, there are literally hundreds of lakes and several dozen streams you can fish. That's not even counting the saltwater fisheries!!! Not only is the timing critical to migratory species such as salmon, but the resident species are all affected differently by temperature, water level, and the time of year. While not enough information exists for my tastes, there are many great sites to gather information.
Now over the internet, you can find out fish & Game's fishing forecast and great bathymetric maps, River water levels, the tide table, local area maps, chat rooms, and personal homepages like mine that will give you lots of information. The best thing about this information? IT'S FREE! But not only is the net loaded with information, but you would be surprised by how many tackle stores and lodge owners in an area are willing to talk to you about fishing in the area. Maximize your fishing experience by maximizing the information you have on that particular fishery.
Tip #3: Fish Close to Shore for Salmon
Most salmon species swim very very close to the shore when migrating up rivers. The current is much slower near the shore and the fish find it easier to swim upstream in the slower current. This is ESPECIALLY true of areas where you fish the confluence of a river and a tributary like Crooked Cr/Kasilof or Montana Cr/Big-Su, Sheep/Big Su, etc. You ALWAYS want to fish the line of water where the silty main river mixes with the darker/clear water from the tributaries. This weekend the fish appeared to be swimming in water no deeper than my calf. During the crowded daytime hours, everyone muscles in and wades out to their knees in the water maybe 10 feet from shore, they just cant believe that a 30 pound king would hold in 3 feet of water, BUT THEY DO! In fact dont even stand in the water. IF the fish can be covered with water, its deep enough. When Dan had us bottom-bouncing some holes, it was less than 2 feet deep. Yet we hooked fish. The closer you fish to shore, the more fish you will present to, youll have less line out meaning better hook sets, and you can make 10 casts while the guy next to you flipping further out will only be in the "zone" half that time.
Tip #5 : Using properly cured roe outfishes store bought roe.
If you are baitfishing, use bait that you have cured yourself with pro-glo or pro-cure. I prefer Pro-Glo. What genius thought this up?!?! Well its so obvious I have to mention it. Good bait means good fishing. Especially since the last several days, I have seen store bought or poorly cured roe on about 80% of the lines being fished. For the third or fourth time in a row (well really for the past 25 years), I have watched hand cured king roe outfish store bought roe easily by a two to one margin...and I am being very very conservative. People will hook up using the other bait, but there is absolutely no doubt that the good bait will out perform store bought stuff. Theres a guy selling roe at Ship Creek that comes walking around, but its too firm too hard, and looks terrible. Bucky's Bait, a popular bait company, has roe that will work but is still poorly colored and hard. Our roe is all a very Fluorescent red, firm but still moist and natural.
Now when I am flipping, MAYBE I can claim I am better at it since I have done it longer. But when fishing with bait, let's face it, its a blob of roe floating off the bottom attached to a sinker anchored on the bottom. Really the only difference is the bait. We hook up and get hits at a rate double to the other people fishing. Put two and two together......I wish I could say it was my fishing techninque, but its not. IT'S THE BAIT!
Tip#6: Check your line after each fish
Last night I landed a nice fish using roe. I landed it then released it. Minutes later, I have another fish on for about 5 seconds. Then with hardly any pressure the line breaks. DOH! DOUBLE DOH! Anyone that reads my logs knows that I absolutely HATE it when my mistakes costs me a fish. Apparently while fighting the first fish, the line weakened somehow. Salmon's teeth, Sharp rocks, another person's line...anything could have weakend the line. Let the fish beat you (and they will) dont beat yourself! For King fishing, it often takes too many hours to land the fish. Check your leader, check your line as often as possible. If you hesitate for even a moment when checking the line, replace the line immediately. Not only do I check my leaders, but I will cut back 10 feet or more line every other hour. Especially flipping in the current, the line takes abuse from everywhere. Remember, its important enough to be my rule number 1, Keep good line on your gear. Its the only thing holding the fish to you!!!
Tip#7: When combat fishing, eye protection and a hat are Mandatory!!!!!
Watch some combat fishing and tell me that chemically sharpened hooks attached to a stretchy mono line with an ounce of lead coming back at you at 100mph isn't scary! It happens all the time since the fish are close and they are strong. Also when you are setting the hook you need to make a powerful stroke. These fish have hard mouths. But if ya miss, watch out for that hook and sinker! Now you are done being careful! Congrats, now focus your attention at the dozens of other people who can hammer you! Be safe, wear protection.
Tip#8: When someone offers up advice, listen.
you can sort out later what is good info and what is bad info. Obviously I like giving advice, that's why I create these pages. But the reason I can give advice, is I try as much as possible to listen to the different opinions of all the fisherman and then optimize my fishing. I never discard any piece of info as "useless". Even if I know the info is wrong, ya gotta think. Are they just mistaken, or is there another purpose for the "lie"? Hmmmm.......
Tip# 9: Buy the best landing net you can afford for the Kenai River Kings
I picked up a large Frabill landing net and it worked like a charm. How did I get by with those half price cheapo nets in the past?!?! The frabill was much easier, better designed from a usability standpoint, and I figure its good to about a 75 pounder. My other net was poorly underrated for anything over 50 pounds. Its hard to find good quality nets. But I see more fish lost at the net then any other time. Get a good net! You'll be glad you did!
Tip #10: The rules of Combat Fishing...or fishing anywhere on the road system for that matter....
1) Eye protection and a hat are Mandatory. Pliers and camera are almost mandatory.
2) Use heavier line than what you think you need when fishing with lots of people. Save the light line for when you have ample space. A quick catch means less tangles and also a stronger healthier fish if you decide to release it. It also means more time in the water since you are not as concerned when you snag a rock or another person's line about whether it damaged your line or not.
3) If someone leaves a spot while fighting a fish, its common courtesy to let him back into the spot once he comes back.
4) If everyone is fishing 10 feet from shore, don't cast 50 feet. There is usually a reason why everyone is fishing the way they do.
5) Always carry a pen while king fishing. Warden's are not at all forgiving for ignorance or forgetfulness.
6) Respect every fish of other fisherman like it may be a fish of a lifetime for them...it may be!
7) FISH IS FOOD...treat it like food. Bleed, Clean, and cool your catch. You don't kick your T-bone around...do you?
8) If its not your fish, don't make some stupid comment like "its snagged" or "its too dark to eat". I don't understand the psychology that makes people want to say things like"its snagged" when the fish is not snagged but it happens ALL the time. Its okay to be jealous...its more motivation for me! You don't have to prove that you are a moron to everyone though! Just keep it to yourself. However, it is always acceptable to congratulate a person for a nice catch.