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Thread: Sportfishing the fairweather grounds

  1. #1
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    Default Sportfishing the fairweather grounds

    I have posted about this topic before, but now my have the means to do a trip out there for kings and halibut. What on average would be the calmest time to go? What would you consider the boat minimum? How deep are the kings out there? A troller in Elfin told they are deeper then you would expect. What part of the grounds would you start trolling @?
    It just looks like a good adventure to try out. I would only venture out with a solid forecast. The boat can criuse @ 25 knots.

    All Ears!

    Thanks
    Chuck

  2. #2

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    That's a big area, but the "triple 40's" would be where I'd start. You can find it on the chart. 3 40fa humps. You don't have to get right over the high spots, but fish around them. When I fished that area, we'd drag 40fa. Our bottom spread always caught the biggest kings. Let your sounder tell you how deep to fish tho!

    To be honest with you, I'd mooch that area if you need to get deeper. I know you could pull some hawg lings and yellow eyes off those high spots. The ling fishing is unreal.

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    270 Thanks for the info! Any input on the halibut? Hoping to go in late June.

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    I've never fished any halibut out there. But I imagine they are there. End of June would be good. The troll opener is July 1st, and you'll have a fleet out there. That could be good as they'll show you where the fish are, and be out there if something horrible happens and you need help. Coasties usually do a fly over or two during the first opener at the beginning of july.

  5. #5
    Premium Member denalihunter's Avatar
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    Lot's of big halibut out there, and a lot of kings. I usually fished on the South side for both. I would put down 60 fathoms of king gear and fish near the humps you'll see. As noted above, lot's of lings out there too. It's a very productive area. I ran longline out there for halibut when it used to be 24 hours and always did well, and always got my butt kicked and had to sneak to Yakutat, Lituya or Cross Sound, whichever way the wind was blowing. It's an ugly place when the weather kicks, cause you got a 50 mile run to hide... my boat only went 7 knots, so it took me awhile! lol
    Experience Real Alaska! www.alpinecreeklodge.com

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    First - you want to take advantage of any period of variable winds and relatively small tides if you wish to run out to the Fairweather Grounds in a recreational vessel.

    Like 270 says, the "Triple 40s" is a good spot for Kings - as is the "Fleet Corner", which is the southernmost piece of structure above the 50 fathom curve (showing blue on the NOAA chart). The Corner is the closest to Cross Sound in case you have to run for cover if the weather goes sour for you. When I fished the Grounds we hit a number of places until we would find a steady supply of "feed" to work over, usually at 35 to 50 fathoms. We had days when we caught some real hogs out of deep feed. Early in the morning you could find some Kings up in the water column between 15 and 35 fathoms but for production we would move out to deeper drags and search for feed.

    The only time I fished for halibut out there I was fishing east of the "Hambone" in 50 to 80 fathoms with commercial gear. It was productive but crowded. I suspect that a sport operation could find halibut on any comparatively flat country on a gravel bottom. Bear in mind that the commercial longline halibut fleet will have been pounding the Grounds since mid-March when their season opens.

    The ling and rockfish populations out there have the benefit of commercial fishing 'non-retention" restrictions and area-wide closures. If you get anywhere near rock structure with steep sides you will find a good supply of both. Drifting a light jig past steep inclines should be a real killer (it always works good using this method in against the beach). Pick yourself up a copy of NOAA chart #16760 - we used it all the time for our point of reference. Good luck!

  7. #7

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    With the halibut fishing available near Elfin Cove, I'd not worry about halibut out at the 'grounds. I'd be focused on a WR Ling..(grin) But I am a ling slut..

    BTW, bouncing a lead head/curly tail around on the fairweather grounds for ling is on my bucket list.. If you do this trip, shoot me a pm with the link of the write up, as I'll be grinding away at fishing in June and will miss the thread till late Aug.

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    JKD thank you very much for the info on the fairweather grounds. I will file a full report when i return from fishing out there. Wow trolling for kings a @ 50 fathoms will be a first! The deepest that I have trolled for them previously was a little over 200ft. I guess i better spool up the downriggers! I have also heard that Lituya bay has some incredible shrimp fishing, any advice on that front?
    We most likely will blast out of Elfin really early in the morning head straight for the grounds fish like crazy and turn tail and run for cross sound at the first sign of weather. We have about 8 - 10 days planned out towards cross sound & west yakobi we will listen to the forecast and look at conditons and make are play when the times look right. It sure looks like a great area on the charts!!

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    You guys with commercial deep king dragging experience - what would you suggest for lures for working 300' deep with 15# balls? I'm thinking flashers are out of the question due to drag, but I tend to troll faster (2.5+ mph water speed) than others. Maybe slower is fine at great depth.

  10. #10
    Premium Member denalihunter's Avatar
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    I used a large copper hammered spoon for my last line. I would only use a 6' leader on the last one of 120 lb test. The next one up, about 12 feet above that one, I would use a hotshot with a 9 foot leader, and then a 2 foot leader to the hootchie or bait. I normally alternated hot shot then spoon all the way to keep things from getting tangled.

    You are probably right about flashers and only a 15# cannon ball. It will drag it back. You can use the herring dodgers and they provide a lot less drag.

    For kings 2.5 to 3.5 is the range you want to toll at. For silvers I went from 4 to 5 knots. Your speed should be the same no matter the depth, as it's about action.

    Deepest I fished was 100 fathoms for kings. But generally around 50 to 60 most of the time.
    Good luck!
    Experience Real Alaska! www.alpinecreeklodge.com

  11. #11

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    If you're serious about going 300', get a pair of downriggers welded up for you as commercially made downriggers can't handle the heavy weight for long. I busted a saltwater cannon downrigger last year getting brave with 15# balls. It's marine tex'd back together, but at $450 a downrigger, I just should have had my sport downriggers made. It's not really that hard if you know a good welder. You want to use commercial trolling wire, 25-30# balls, and hand troll gurdies. Then you can troll as deep as you want with an 11" flasher. A local guy had some downriggers welded up with some kohlstrand nylon gurdies, and he trolls kelp lines so fast that your head will spin. Wins the derby often too. These are the gurdies you can use and have a davit welded up that will hold a 25# ball. http://www.kolstrand.com/catalogsear...nd+Troll+Gurdy

  12. #12

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    Look at the weather buoy out there, looks like they have recorded some waves over 40ft in the past few hrs. I know you are not going out there now but be carful, that is some big water out there for a sport boat.

  13. #13
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    My FIL has a whole dresser drawer nearly full of boxes of new big Superiors in copper or brass - can't remember. An old commie troller gave them to him. He also has some OLD downriggers that I've never looked too close at - they're on a removeable davit and might be some sort of commercial hand gurdy. Sounds like I need to raid his barn when I get back down south. He had his mid-60s 23' uniflite set up to troll with cannonballs from when he bought it new, and I don't know that sporty downriggers even existed then.

    I picked up a 7" tomic in my travels that is an odd color combo - black on top with a strip of silver scale, and white on bottom. Cop Car tomic. That might be an interesting one to pull deep.

    With light balls, I'm thinking to drag either the big spoons (by themselves), big plugs, or a plain dodger with hoochie.

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