Fishing Newcomer - Advice, Tips Please?
Here's my story. I am 30 years old, married, father of 2 young children. I have lived in Alaska (Anchorage) all of my life, and yet have never really gone fishing. A few weekends ago, my family went out on the Deshka with some friends in their boat, and we had a lot of fun. My wife used to fish with her family years ago, so we thought we would buy some cheap gear (since we're on a budget) and learn to fish.
We both got licenses, mine with King tags, and the went to Sportsman's Warehouse and bought some beginner level/inexpensive equipment, including a king pole, lures, waders, spinners, etc.
We made our first attempt this weekend, when we went camping in the Tolsona area just outside Glenallen. Of course, we had no idea that it was illegal to catch Kings in that area before we left, so we get there with the King pole and end up scouting for shore access fishing for Grayling and Trout.
The king pole did not work well. Probably due to it beaing a cheaper reel, and also my wife says because we didn't put a very heavy sinker on it since it would sink to the bottom, and had a whole physics-style reasoning for why it would not cast out very far.
So we got rained out big time and almost eatned alive by mosquitos, so we high-tailed it back home to Anchorage. Now we're here and are thinking a cheap trout pole from Wal-Mart or Fred Meyer's might be a better thing to try for that type of fish.
How'm I doing here? I have run the range of emotions on this, what being 30 with a learning curve - I have been everything from upbeat and excited to ready to throw the pole in the woods and quit. Any advice?
Thanks in advance!
have fun get bug dope and ask questions at local stores in the area you go fishing read fish and game regs and most important have fun
If you're a Costco member, they had some pretty nice trout combo shimano rod/reel setups for $50. I got each of my kids one and spooled them with 10# test, thus they are also good enough for red and pink salmon, though a bit heavy for a dedicated trout rod.
Pick up some 1/4 oz spoons and castmasters. You can get into rainbows in lakes around town. It's best to get your gear and technique dialed in before the longer trips.
Trout gear should be cheaper and hold up much better. Typically for bigger fish, "what you pay for is what you get" in terms of quality of gear.
You might check on water bobbers (I'm not sure if they're still produced or not). We used to use them for trout on lakes before we learned to fly fish... Basically, it's a clear bobber that you fill partially with water, thus giving it some weight to cast. Behind that you tie up a little fly (i'm sure a mosquito fly or something similar would work on most lakes) and just reel slowly. That's how we started.
Ugly Stick's are usually good, fairly cheap rods. We haven't ever had any problems with them. I know some of their heavier rods are flexible enough to cast and play fish but also heavy enough to cover kings, silvers, and reds. They work great as a universal rod. We usually can get away with 20# test granted we're not fishing kings in any streams that are really ripping.
Ebay is also a GREAT way to accumulate gear at a good price but sometimes you have to do quite a bit of searching before you find a deal worthwhile, thus it's better to use as a winter hobby.
Joe, find yourself an experienced fishing buddy to show you the ropes. Fishing alongside someone with experience will put you lightyears ahead of where you would end up on your own. I doubt that anybody who is reading this (besides you) had to learn to fish the way that you are. Most everybody always has a dad, uncle, grandfather, etc.etc. who takes them under their wing and imparts all the knowledge that they can bestow upon thier little prodigy.
You need hands-on help. You need somebody who will go with you to fish and show you what you're doing right, what you're doing wrong, why your gear isn't set up properly, etc. The great thing about fishermen, is that most of them will help if you just ask. Next time you're out fishing, watch the other folks & what they're doing. If you have questions, ask somebody. Most will be willing to help.... a cold beer might help you get more "in depth" answers as well. Wish I were closer. I'd try to help all I could. Everybody oughta have a chance to enjoy fishing, it's the best thing in the world to do in your spare time.
Good luck amigo.
I'd start with lake fishing for trout, grayling, landlocked salmon & char. For starters go to lakes stocked by fish and game. You can look up which lakes have been stocked, when they were stocked, what they were stocked with, how many were stocked and the average size of the fish that were stocked.
You can even get maps of the lakes that have good information like depth, lake size, map to get to the lake and even private property shore line markings. This is all very good FREE information on the fish and game sport fishing page.
Some lakes you can fish from a lot of areas along the shore and some are more limited due to private property and or marshy wet weedy shores. In anchorage a few that come to mind that I used to fish a lot are campbell point lake, jewel lake, delong lake and others too.
The best time to fish is early morning or late evening. But you can still catch fish at other times too. When the lake is smoothe like glass is a great time to be fishing.
Get a cheep rod from walmart. An ultra lite rod with about 4-6 lb test. This should cost aroud $20. You can use bait or lures. For bait use Pautzke's Balls O'Fire. Just place 1 single ball on a hook. Use small trout hooks and a bobber. A small split shoot weight added between the bobber and hook to add weight for casting. Try varying with the distance of the bobber from the hook. Depending on how deep of water you are fishing in.
For lures try small rooster tail spinners ( white or green works pretty good ) or #0 mepps or blue fox lures.
You will mostly be fishing from the shore to about 20-30 feet out. I fished from a canoe. Which allowed me to go along the shore from about 30 feet out and fish inwards toward land. This helped with covering more ground and finding more fish. Especialy when the shore is mostly private property.
Consider trying to get a small boat or canoe and a trolling motor. Paddling across some of the larger lakes can wear you out at times. Get a life vest if you get a boat. People have died even at some of the smaller lakes around anchorage.
Lake fishing is fun. And it don't cost much to get started. Have fun and good luck. Hope this helps you out a little. Sorry for any typos as I am really tired.
Edit: Get a good bug dope. With 99-100 % deet. Walmart has some. Those Thermacell things are supposed work well too. I've yet to try one. But I'll be picking one up this week Kepler Bradly lake in palmer is also a good place to go.
Good gear on the cheap...
Take advantage of your neighborhood garage sales. Since government is the largest employer in the state, many employees come and go. Those that have to leave AK frequently sell-out their stuff right before they move.
As a resident, this a viable alternative to purchasing new. Bring a friend with you who knows something about quality and you should do rather well...
good advice all around - the best so far is to ask others and get an experienced fishin-buddy!
Use the same rule most of use with our little ones - if it stops being fun it's time to stop. If you're out and the bugs are thick and you're not catching anything and your reel is messing up...bag it and do something else! It's not worth it to discourage yourself and maybe quit altogether.
Keep at it - and don't think that buying more expensive equipment will make a huge difference. You should be able to have plenty of fish and fun on the cheaper gear others have already pointed out.