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Thread: Winter Kings

  1. #1
    Member Akgramps's Avatar
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    Default Winter Kings

    I am thinking about making the trip to Homer for the winter king derby, 24' boat and will be using downriggers, or will at least have them if thats the thing to use.

    I am a complete newbie to the whole trolling.. winter king.. fishing, I really want to catch a king on a hook.... and thought we may come down early in the week just before the derby. I figured if I was going to drive that far I may as well go for the derby and learn something.....Any advice..? Is most of the trolling over by Seldovia?
    “We have digressed from a Nation of Revolutionaries to a country of entitlements"


  2. #2

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    You'll often hear the bluffs referenced when fishing down in Homer. It's no secret, thats where a large portion of the winter kings are caught. Go out of the harbor, head towards Anchor Point. You'll see big bluffs on the right once you get a little past Homer, and there is almost always boats there. If I knew nothing about the area and was new to trolling, that's where I'd go. The bottom terrain is very consistent, you dont have to worry about rocks and peaks and drops and all that, you just set your lures/bait at the depth you want and cruise.

    There are, of course, other spots, but you'll need to pay with the life of your firstborn to get the information from most fishermen

    Trolling is not hard, even if you're new. You dont have to use a downrigger if you dont already have them, it seems like an expensive addition if you dont already have it, just to fish once. You can use a dipsy diver, or a deep six diver (just google them if you dont know about them) and get a pretty rough estimate of where your lures will be. I can see mine on my sonar so I know exactly how deep they are, depending on your sonar setup that may be an option for you so you dont have to guess.

    Most importantly, have fun. Trolling is a very slow, uneventful day for the most part, with hopefully a couple bursts of excitement Bring some good friends along and it's a great time.

  3. #3
    Member Akgramps's Avatar
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    Thanks, I have some downriggers, should be ready to go. I am sure we will see where everyone else is and start there. Pretty excited, hope it works out.
    “We have digressed from a Nation of Revolutionaries to a country of entitlements"


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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    The head of bays NE of the spit have fish too. Bear Cove is popular and can be calmer when the bluffs of seldovia is too rough to fish.

    Fun to stop and have lunch in seldovia if you are out that way. I sometimes anchor up there at the dock or in the bay.

    Try troll flies, cut bait, plugs, and spoons. I usually run one at a depth I mark fish or bait and run rhe other rigger as close to bottom as I can...real close.

    The harbor can get pretty froze up that time of year. Or at least it has the last two years. And it is froze up now.


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    We fish year round and the winter is my fave time of the year for it. It does have its challenges but no crowds (except for derby days more relaxed and some stunning and surprisingly warm days. Also every bit of halibut in my freezer is from trolling but that's another topic divers can work but for more consistent results you have to fish where the fish are feeding and that's by varying your depth according to where the bait is via downrigging and a good sounder.
    Hit us up or pm for up to date harbor conditions. Currently the harbor has some ice but not froze up. A bit of west wind and warm conditions clears it out quickly.
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    Member Akgramps's Avatar
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    I think the sounder is decent.... I just have to learn the settings and how to utilize it best.... cut-bait....? Troll herring cut in 1/2?
    “We have digressed from a Nation of Revolutionaries to a country of entitlements"


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    Best thing is to just spend time out on the boat and experiment with it all; it's not easy to get trolling dialed in without putting in the time. There's a difference between throwing a bunch of stuff in the water hoping it works and actually fishing effectively. So many variables like speed, presentation, when to use bait or artificial stuff, tide/current, color, etc etc. and just good old luck! I don't plug cut herring myself as there are various methods on the market to troll herring.
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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    In all the years I've been up here I've caught exactly two kings in the salt. One was while mooching, and the other trolling a T-spoon in real close near Whisky Gulch. Although I've done a lot of trolling in fresh water I'm pretty much a novice at trolling for kings in the salt as well. I guess I've always been under the impression that trolling speed played a pretty big factor?
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    I will have to see what I a;ready have, I bought some stuff a few years back. I am interested in trying the cut-plug herring, assume I can get the herring in Homer.. Will it be frozen? I read up on brining, so will get/bring what I need for that.
    Any recommendations on leaner lenght? I know thats personal preference, but some starting point would be helpful..... dodger or flasher?

    Thanks, John
    “We have digressed from a Nation of Revolutionaries to a country of entitlements"


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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    30” - 40” on the leader length depending on what you are running for lures/bait. Salmon University online has some pretty good tips for salmon trolling. I prefer king kandy over brads baits for plug trolling. I think they have a slower roll but not sure....they performed better on one day for me and I never got the brads back out. If you use flies, throw some acent on them. Herring oil works. I also like to use jell inside my king kandys and instead of using the little foam pad I tie on a piece of yard.

    One thing to do is to let the rigger and plug down a couple feet and watch it before you send it deep. Get a nice roll with whatever bait (need to use similiar speed baits on at same time) and then lower and listen to the whine of your cable. That whine is what you can rely on to get your speed correct when turning and changing direction into or against the tide. If you get a for sure bite try to pay close attention to everything you were doing and start circling and try to stay on any marks you might have had. The speedo in the gps at 2.2 mph means nothing if you are going with or against a tidal movement.


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    Also meant to say that a long leader makes getting the fish to the net harder, especially if you are running a flasher in line. I run wiggle swarms off the ball and on plugs i don’t run a flasher. Some lures need the action but some dont. The hoods for herring hold together longer and provide a nice roll.....i seldom cut plug anymore except when it is really slow.


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    Couple things I've learned over the last couple years that I've been targeting winter kings.

    They seem to like things that are erratic. I swear if you put two cut plug herring down, the one with the most bizarre and wonky roll will get hit first. If you are fishing a hoochie, which can be really effective at times, you have to use it behind a dodger type flasher and not the triangle delta type. The hoochie has to be jerked around by the flasher.

    I do best when I troll like a drunk sailor. Zig-zags and speed changes all the time.

    I troll a whole host of things. Sometimes they are specific and one thing is the ticket, and sometimes I will catch 5 on 5 different things.

    I will always have a Bechold and Sons cop-car out there, and then generally something with chartreuse.

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    Member Akgramps's Avatar
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    Plenty of helpful advice...THANKS...!.... troll herring in Homer? Particular place.. all the same size?
    “We have digressed from a Nation of Revolutionaries to a country of entitlements"


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    We started catching silvers last year on a big ol pink and black dolly lama with 2 big strips of flashabeau. That flashabeau looks amazing in the water and reflects off alot of light. One thing i learned is to switch up a rod every 30 minutes or so when you are trying to figure out what they are biting on. Raise or lower the down rigger, maybe switch out a flasher or bait. Keep changing stuff until you find what they want. Its also very helpfull if you deckhands know whats going on and they can deal with switching of the baits and what not while you concentrate on driving.
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    The only time I fish cutplug herring is when I mooch. I tend to use smaller lures when fishing winter kings, and always try to have one of the setups as close to bottom as I can. As others have said, I tend to do better when making consistent turns and hardly ever troll a straight line for long periods of time. One thing I swear by is a bottle of Berkley Gulp spray. I try to remember to spray the herring or lure before it goes overboard. Not so much to put scent on it, but to cover up my scent from handling them. This is true for any fishing I do, not just salmon.
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    I think that the baitshack next to the big circle hook will be open, but i am not sure and i don’t remember their name. Cheapest troll herring in anchorage is west marine.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullelkklr View Post
    I think that the baitshack next to the big circle hook will be open, but i am not sure and i don’t remember their name. Cheapest troll herring in anchorage is west marine.


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    Gear Shed is open, might be called LFS now they have herring.
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    Member redleader's Avatar
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    You can get troll herring at Ulmers but Coho killers catch fish, you won't have stinky hands, you'll spend more time fishing not screwing around with bait, can drag them faster and won't have to waste time dragging a screwed up bait around. Lots of variables for instant drag close to bottom off the bluffs and you'll have to deal with baby rockfish hitching a ride. You could do yourself a favor and charter the Huntress with Josh Brooks or Norm on the sea otter and may be others that offer winter king trips or do it the hard I mean Fun way and teach yourself over the next 10 years like I'm still doing, lol.
    Redleader standing by

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    Member homerdave's Avatar
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    We’ve been buying our herring at the fuel dock. Good stuff. Never cut plug, always hoods. 50” leaders on bait, 36” (or less) on hoochies. Anybody that tells you you can use divers as well as you can use a downrigger doesn’t know how many more fish they would catch with a downrigger. There ARE rocks off the bluffs, more from the boat hole to the corner. Pretty forgiving from the boat hole back towards town, but dragging the bottom we lose a few balls...cost of catching fish. If you’re not bumping bottom once in a while you’re not deep enough.
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