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Thread: Generally Calmer Seas, Homer or Seward?

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    Default Generally Calmer Seas, Homer or Seward?

    Hello Everybody-

    I'm in the daydreaming/planning stages for our annual trip this August and am curious. Are sea conditions in the late August time frame generally better out of one port over the other? I realize that this is going to depend on the weather systems and that there are lots of variables like distance from port but I'm just curious whether one area is a better bet for fair seas on any given day?

    We have a pretty marginal boat for saltwater use (17' Alumaweld Stryker/50 hp.) that is kept in the Soldotna area on the Kenai and I am just trying to figure whether it might be worth it to trailer it down to one place or the other to fish, it is about the same distance either way. From what I have gathered so far, it sounds like the best bet for good fishing in an area reachable in a boat like ours in late August may be Seward for silvers as it sounds like they can often be found in good numbers fairly close to port that time of year. Decent Halibut fishing sounds like it might be out of reach (safely) in a boat this size at either place.

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    Member agp's Avatar
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    Seward would be good for silvers that time of year for sure! I don't know about halibut out of seward but in Homer you don't have to go far at all. I have a 16' hewescraft that i use in Kachemak bay and Resurrection Bay. The wx changes all the time and we(small boat owners) are at the mercy of that weather. This is the reason i like to keep a tent onboard just incase you have to beach and wait. I don't think one port is calmer than the other.(depends on the direction of the wind!)

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Flip a coin. Your best bet is to monitor the weather and be ready to adjust your plans. Rough weather generally hits K-bay first, and can take a day to reach Seward, so it might turn out that Resserection bay is better. Than again, you could have a storm that has blown through K-bay and is still working it's way through Seward.

    K-bay is probably your best bet for a small boat. If conditions are calm head out early in the morning and be ready to tuck tail in the afternoon when the wind kicks up. My experience out of Seward is while I've seen quite a few small boats, if you can't handle 4' chop you really don't belong out there. It doesn't take much wind to whip up such a chop, and the wind runs right up and down the bay. Some days you'll start out in a big chop that has died down when you return, other days you start out calm and are motoring back in a good chop.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

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    If your in an open boat without back splash well or closed blow, I'd go to Seward and stay close not going past Caines Head if your making plans this far ahead. Silvers are lots of fun, but not as prolific as they were 10 years ago since the city stopped stocking fish. If your flexible and can wait the day before or Morning of, you will be better off. Might get lucky on a Glass day, but don't always put 100% faith in what the NOAA radio is saying both on radio or Web Site. If you want Halibut, find a find a friend that you can take fishing on the Kenia and he can take you out on the Ocean. If you got a closed bow and have a back splash well, on a glass day, go early and start heading back in early to get off the water by noon. Plan on tucking into Seldovia if you go to Homer or Thumb/Humpy Coveif you go to Seward. Halibut out of Seward for you is a long reach and lots of luck. Bring water and rations just to be safe as well as working radio, gps and all the other safety gear. Don't rely on your bildge pump if you have one. bring a couple 5 gallon buckets for bailers. What ever you decide, I hope you have fun and get some fish. And last but now least, reguardless of what you do, if you see a big boat coming your way and throwing a wake, turn your bow into the wake before it gets to you no matter what. I don't care if you got a monster on the line at the time. Small boats go down quick every year because they get swamped.

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    If your objective is silver fishing, Seward would definitely be the place to head.
    Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine!

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    Looking at Resurrection bay on a chart you would think that it is more protected and, therefore calmer all things considered. However it seems like I have read many times that Homer is generally the better port for the small boat fisherman? The main reason I ask is that with our limited time in AK each year, learning how/where to fish at both places seems like a tall task so it seems like it might makes sense to focus on one area or the other, at least for awhile.

    To be honest, the more I read the less I want to even venture out into the saltwater in a small boat. Despite having a LOT of boating experience it sounds like the sea conditions are very unpredictable and the water temp is certainly very unforgiving. Crazy thing is, every time I watch an Alaskan halibut fishing episode on TV the water is flat calm like a mill pond and I guess it gives me a false sense of hope, lol.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chico99645 View Post
    If your in an open boat without back splash well or closed blow, I'd go to Seward and stay close not going past Caines Head if your making plans this far ahead. Silvers are lots of fun, but not as prolific as they were 10 years ago since the city stopped stocking fish. If your flexible and can wait the day before or Morning of, you will be better off. Might get lucky on a Glass day, but don't always put 100% faith in what the NOAA radio is saying both on radio or Web Site. If you want Halibut, find a find a friend that you can take fishing on the Kenia and he can take you out on the Ocean. If you got a closed bow and have a back splash well, on a glass day, go early and start heading back in early to get off the water by noon. Plan on tucking into Seldovia if you go to Homer or Thumb/Humpy Coveif you go to Seward. Halibut out of Seward for you is a long reach and lots of luck. Bring water and rations just to be safe as well as working radio, gps and all the other safety gear. Don't rely on your bildge pump if you have one. bring a couple 5 gallon buckets for bailers. What ever you decide, I hope you have fun and get some fish. And last but now least, reguardless of what you do, if you see a big boat coming your way and throwing a wake, turn your bow into the wake before it gets to you no matter what. I don't care if you got a monster on the line at the time. Small boats go down quick every year because they get swamped.
    We are not making specific plans to fish the saltwater, we fish the Kenai river every day we are there and don't need to go anywhere. I'm more just trying to decide if it is even worth considering trailering the boat to the saltwater given a nice weather forecast. It would be a nice change of pace from river fishing to be able to get out and catch some halibut or salt run salmon on our own.

    The boat does have a splash well and semi-closed (removable center panel below windshield) elevated bow with drains. Great safety features for sure but if we had to rely on them just to fish and not die I'd rather stay on the river and pay for a charter in the salt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KenaiKeys View Post
    We are not making specific plans to fish the saltwater, we fish the Kenai river every day we are there and don't need to go anywhere. I'm more just trying to decide if it is even worth considering trailering the boat to the saltwater given a nice weather forecast. It would be a nice change of pace from river fishing to be able to get out and catch some halibut or salt run salmon on our own.

    The boat does have a splash well and semi-closed (removable center panel below windshield) elevated bow with drains. Great safety features for sure but if we had to rely on them just to fish and not die I'd rather stay on the river and pay for a charter in the salt.
    It's not difficult to find a place to fish out of the weather in Res Bay, the issue is the trip back to the harbor. The wind is almost always from the south in the afternoon, which creates 3+ foot chop with narrow troughs...which gets worse the closer you get to the head of the bay/harbor. If you have any doubts at all about whether you should have your boat out there, then you shouldn't. Dead men tell no tales.

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    For a small boat looking for a mixed bag of saltwater fish I'd say Homer is your best bet. Plan to leave early in the morning, and plan to be back to port by 2pm which seems to be about when the afternoon breeze kicks up. You can get into halibut fairly close to the harbor.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

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    My friends catch halibut all the time out of Homer on their 18' Crestliner.
    They just fish behind the spit a half mile or so offshore.
    No it isn't hot fishing but they do always seem to get a few and sometimes limit out with 2 adults and 2 kids in the boat. I would try Homer if I were you.
    Try for some halibut somewhere close. Behind the spit or maybe gull island or Tutka bay.

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    Homer for halibut sounds like the majority recommendation. Only going with a calm forecast and staying within about 5-6 miles of the harbor should be plenty safe. What about 'other' species like cod? They don't seem to get much mention around here but in my experience they are just as good or better eating than halibut. I'd be more than happy to catch a bunch of cod on light tackle as well if they are available in the area.

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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    I would be suprised if you don't catch a cod fishing out of Homer. Usually theres plenty of them around.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kasilofchrisn View Post
    I would be suprised if you don't catch a cod fishing out of Homer. Usually theres plenty of them around.
    Does anybody actually target them? I haven't seen any talk of tactics for cod fishing here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KenaiKeys View Post
    Does anybody actually target them? I haven't seen any talk of tactics for cod fishing here.
    If you are fishing for halibut, you are fishing for cod. Same gear, same bait, same techniques, same areas.

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    Member hoose35's Avatar
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    I fish both ports, a little more out of Homer, and I would say the sea conditions are not that much different. The most common thing between the two ports is the afternoon breeze out of both ports, although I have seen it remain glass in Homer on occasion, but I really can't recall an afternoon in seward when the wind didn't pick up. One difference is conditions with a south wind. Homer is pretty fishable with a south wind, seward can be a little tougher. Homer, IMO, is the worst when it is blowing west or southwest. A lot of deciding on which port to fish is what do you want to target? With a 17' boat, seward is the choice for salmon and Homer is the choice for halibut.
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    You could target them if you want but you will catch as much cod as you want while fishing for halibut or you could just jig for them. Tutka/Sadie/Jakalof are fun areas to play around with jigs.

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    Drop a jig or bait to bottom, and if there are cod there, you will catch them. The bigger problem can be keeping cod off your hook when you'd prefer to catch halibut.

    Gull Rock which is pretty much a straight shot across the bay from the Home spit is worth while for fishing for cod, the occasional rock fish and halibut.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenaiKeys View Post
    Looking at Resurrection bay on a chart you would think that it is more protected and, therefore calmer all things considered. However it seems like I have read many times that Homer is generally the better port for the small boat fisherman? The main reason I ask is that with our limited time in AK each year, learning how/where to fish at both places seems like a tall task so it seems like it might makes sense to focus on one area or the other, at least for awhile.

    To be honest, the more I read the less I want to even venture out into the saltwater in a small boat. Despite having a LOT of boating experience it sounds like the sea conditions are very unpredictable and the water temp is certainly very unforgiving. Crazy thing is, every time I watch an Alaskan halibut fishing episode on TV the water is flat calm like a mill pond and I guess it gives me a false sense of hope, lol.
    in 20 yrs of Chartering, (15 out of Homer) it was my experience the latter part of Aug we always had to deal with a lot of wind. and the same is probably true of Seward. However, I know charter capt's that caught nice halibut behind the spit and up into K Bay, on those windy days. I spent a lot of time in the kelp beds over off of the bluffs. It was usually slow fishing, but often paid big rewards. On the other hand, the time of year your talking about, I've had some spectacular days fishing out just beyond Caines head, out of Seward.. Guess the best advice I could offer is to check the marine wx every day for either place, and go with the better report...

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    Seward is alot more exposed than it appears. Its surrounded by pretty high mountains so that can make a pretty good wind tunnel and trap storms as well. It faces south, with no barriers or anything to hamper bad weather and is open to the pacific....Homer/ k bay gets downright nasty, but, it's got the seldovia mainland between it and the pacific, which can sometimes help reduce/ break big storms rolling off the big water.



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    Quote Originally Posted by KenaiKeys View Post
    Does anybody actually target them? I haven't seen any talk of tactics for cod fishing here.
    a lot of people, especially Alaskans, are more interested in Halibut than Cod, but other people, from other parts of the world were always happy to keep a nice cod. and truth be told, if properly taken care of right away, cooks up about as good as any other seafood...

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