Trolling without downriggers
Though I've been fortunate enough to catch plenty of saltwater silvers and pinks over the years by various means, I've never pursued kings in the salt. I'm renting a boat in Homer on Monday for 10 hours. Given the recent halibut reports, I doubt it will take us that long to pull a few halibut aboard, so we're thinking of trying for some kings along the bluffs as well. I don't think the boat has downriggers, though, so I'm looking for some advice on how to troll for kings without them.
I've got some Deep Six divers, some flashers and some various spoons, but I'm not really sure how well that will work. Any advice for me? Is there something else I should be considering? Would it be better to find some fish and just jig/mooch for the kings instead? Thanks in advance!
Fish like different things at different times... and in different places. But, I personally don't like using downriggers. I'm sure I'll receive the full load of blasts here for this, but, I like banana weights when I troll.
When your pole is under the weight of a cannon ball, you really can't monitor the tip's sensitivity. Not to the degree of a standard weight anyway.
Based on the tip of my pole, I know when my lure is swimming properly, is fouled, we're moving too slow/fast, anything is remotely interested in a snack.
I rarely use a flasher for kings. All of this to say, were I the one fishing Homer, I'd try my techniques until someone showed me something better there and then.
12 oz. weight, dragging a rolling herring.... 1.5 - 1.8 knotts. If someone else is boating fish (not just one), then make the transition. If you boat fish, they should come over to the dark side. If no one boats a fish, drop for halibut.
A typical setup for no-downriggers is to use inline banana weights.
I've been using between 1.5 and 2 oz weights with a 40" +/- leader, and then between 14 and 20 pulls on the rod (1 pull = from reel to first eye). Most of the charters are fishing in 35 to 40 feet of water, but don't be afraid to go in close... 10 feet. You definitely want to stay off the bottom to avoid the residents (cod, irish lords, etc) that love your bait but don't contribute to the fish box.
I use downriggers if I have to fish deep. We caught 3 kings out of whitter last summer. Two were on the downriggers fishing at 60 to 90 feet. The biggest one (38lbs) was caught using a 12 oz banana weight and a plug cut herring at 25 pulls (no downrigger). I have done best for kings trolling very slowly or mooching or a combination of both. I have also done better not using a flasher. If you can find bait ball, work around the outside of it.
Good luck and good fishing.
How'd that trip turn out Brian? I have been silently waiting for your report, but sometimes you can only wait so long.
Did you fish? How long? What techniques? And, what ended up in the boat?
I've never king fished out of Homer. Halibut only. But, I think you're right. Just like here in Juneau.... feeders are year round, and as the spawners pass through, fish to rod hours dramitcally decrease.
Sometimes it's time over target, and sometimes there's more targets for your time!
Who needs a downrigger?
"Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone."
The KeenEye MD