alan tani @ alantani.com fishing reel repair rebuild tutorial Sitka Fishing June 22-25
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July 11, 2020, 06:15:59 AM *
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Author Topic: Sitka Fishing June 22-25  (Read 195 times)
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scrinch
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« on: June 29, 2020, 02:57:34 PM »

My brother and I usually fly up to Sitka for 4 days of fishing with friends in early August to catch the Coho run. In early August you can fish for Cohos, Kings (sometimes), Halibut, and Lingcod. But for the past several years there was almost no lingcod allotted to non-resident sportfishermen in SE Alaska. The limit has been one per year in the 30-35" size slot, which means that most people catch none. Almost all the lings caught as bycatch while targeting halibut are longer than 35". So this year we had planned to go up to Sitka in May while the commercial ling season was still open, get our commercial crew licenses, and spend a couple of days on a boat commercially fishing for lings. Another couple of days we would sportfish for kings and halibut.

Well, in May Alaska was still closed, so we thought our idea was tabled until next year. But when Alaska opened up earlier this month, we were contacted and asked if we'd like to try to do the ling trip in late June. We thought about the risks of flying and the process of traveling to Alaksa, and we decided to give it a try. Right now all out-of-state trav elers to Alaska have to have negative covid test results from within 3 days of arriving in Alaska, or need to get tested in the Alaska airport and quarantine until your negative results come back in 1-5 days. We opted to get tested 3 days before departure, and each of us decided to get two tests to decrease the chances of having to quarantine. I was in the Sierras on departure-3 day, so I had to drive down to Fresno and then Merced for my tests. That was a long day, but on the positive side I stopped by Fred's house in the morning on the way into town and was able to meet him for the first time.

So we each got one set of results in time to fish...my brother just before departure, and me while I was quarantining the first night in Sitka. Whew! I just had to email the results to the state and I was good to go the next morning. So we set out the first morning to on our commercial ling trip, and I was disappointed to learn that we would be using electric reels. I thought I was all ready to be manhandling in big lings from 450'. I won't go into details about the fishing that day other than to say that I have never in my life been so glad to hear the skipper say "Okay, that's all. Wind 'em in."  Other than a 10 minute break for lunch and a couple of short bio-breaks, I was either jigging, setting a hook, or retrieving lingcod all day long from 7am to 3pm. Even with the electric reel I was flat out exhausted! That night I slept like a baby except for the arm cramps that came and went all night.

The next morning we all agreed that we'd caught two days of fish on the previous day, so we converted back to sport fishermen for kings and halibut for the next three days.  The weather and fishing were good the whole time we were there...a little wind, a little rain, a little chop, a little sun, but not too much of anything in particular.  A good time had by all.

On the flights, the planes were about half full between the Bay Area and Seattle, and a little less than that up to Sitka. There was one terminal in the Seattle airport on the way home that was crowded and felt less than socially distant, but all areas at SFO, Oakland, and Sitka airports were quiet enough that you could remain distant.  I think what convinced me to go on this trip was knowing that everyone that I would be with on the boats and docks had recently tested negative for covid. It is hard to keep much distance on a 30-ft 6-pack, so knowing that we were all healthy gave some peace of mind.  Testing like that is something that we might want to think about doing prior to the Cedros and SOA trips later this year.

I should also mention that once we were fishing the bottom a little more serenely on days 2-4, I used my Penn T4N1 4/0 with ss sleeve, Bryan's drag kit, and 100lb braid, and it worked great for 50 lb halibut and up to 50" lings!


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« Last Edit: June 29, 2020, 03:14:47 PM by scrinch » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2020, 06:01:26 PM »

Thanks for the great report.  Those are some monster ling cod!  How was the salmon fishing?  Were there many silvers around yet?
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scrinch
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« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2020, 06:17:15 PM »

Randy, we had our limits (1 each) of kings within a few hours each day, so the salmon fishing was okay. We were their first paying customers of the season, and they're still working out where the fish are biting and where they're not. For the most part we were catching barely legal kings in the 30-32" range. One of the days there were six of us fishing and we had 5 kings in the box...just needed one more. Well we ended up with five fish hooked up at the same time while we were looking for that last fish. We brought them in one-by-one to see how big they were, and ended up keeping the one caught by the guy who had never caught a king salmon before! That's kinda how the salmon fishing was...famine and feast.  We saw very few other boats around, so the fishing pressure is low. We heard of a couple of silvers caught, but we didn't see any ourselves.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2020, 06:18:58 PM by scrinch » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2020, 06:25:02 PM »

Rich, I had heard that they had raised the seasonal king salmon limit for non-residents to 4.  Is that true?  Last year it was 1 per season, and naturally, we couldn't keep them off of the hooks! 

That's great that you were able to get your test results back quickly.  Good idea to take two tests!

Thanks again,

Randy
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scrinch
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« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2020, 06:54:50 PM »

Yes, seasonal king salmon limit for non-resident is four...for now.
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gstours
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« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2020, 07:14:35 PM »

Thanks for sharing your pictures and report.  Wow,  you did good.  Timing is everything.  Great trip,.
   Sitka is a jewel of a place.  Quaint, historic, jet friendly,  just bring money.
I wish I could have an open season for the kings.  Thanks again.
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Hardy Boy
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« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2020, 07:44:36 AM »

Good job Rich ! The good fishing made up for the hassles of travel. I'm not sure if I would have gone through all of that to go fishing but then again I don't have far to go. Nice work.

Cheers:


Todd
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Todd
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« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2020, 09:05:00 AM »

Thanks Rich, great report & pics, nice to see what is possible on the other side of the world, from down under, cheers Don.
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« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2020, 10:56:06 AM »

Looks like a great time Rich.  it's nice being on the water and you could through a rock as hard as you could not not hit anything in the middle, like salmon fishing on weekends.
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Cheesy I talk with every part I send out and each reel I repair so that they perform at the top of their game. Cheesy
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