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Thread: Surf Casting

  1. #1
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    Default Surf Casting

    While sitting around planning my fishing trips for the summer (I do this about once a day), the idea of surf casting or bank fishing hit me. The scenario goes like this: I don't have a boat, so I am going to be going on a few charters this summer. What do I do when I am not on the charter? 1: go to a bar. 2: Sleep. 3: Fish! So, I searched surf casting on the forum and found a couple of insightful threads. They got me pointed in the right direction.

    I do have a few more questions (Questions are asked with the assumption that I'll be fishing from Land's End in Homer.

    1. Other than the obvious halibut, and salmon, what other species might you encounter while surf casting? I have heard about Cod, but what else is there?

    2. I've heard surf rods are available from Sportsmans Warehouse. What sort of a rig do you use for surf casting? What size hook? How much weight? What sort of bait?

    3. Is it best to fish low tide?

    4. Can you troll around the spit with a canoe or cat? Is it safe?

    5. I was thinking that good areas to fish would be areas where I seen lots of birds or seals. The logic being they would be where the food is. Is this correct?

    6. I have a good idea of where I want to try in Homer, but what about areas in Seward to try? Is there anywhere near Anchorage that could be good too? I know the mudflats extend forever.... The mouth of Bird Creek maybe?

    7. What months should be most productive?

    I think this might be a fun way to pass some time. Even if I don't catch anything, I'll still enjoy the time spent outdoors.

    I won't be able to make it out for a while, I'm just trying to learn what I can about it now. When I do get out, I"ll update this thread with what happens. I already mentioned there were a couple of other threads that talk about this type of fishing, but I want to get into more detail in this one. Maybe I'll help some other poor boatless souls catch some fish....

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    "where I seen lots of birds or seals" I should have proof read this.....

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I've always wanted to try it, but the few spots that have been suggested are a long drive from anchorage. The mudflats in upper cook inlet just don't hold fish, so you're likely to be wasting your time. Seward, Homer, and some bluffs around Anchor point are the spots I've heard of.

    In addition to your list, flounder, rockfish and herring. As far as time of year, the halibut and salmon are migratory, but the other fish should be hanging out year round.

    Weight is going to depend on your rod and line, and how far you want to cast. I'd look at smaller circle hooks with small chunks of herring or gulp.

    I'm too chicken to take a canoe out in saltwater, there are folks that have the skills, but I'm not one of them. As far as a cat, it doesn't take much wind to make it so you can't row fast enough to overcome your drift. A Kayak would be the best craft. On the spit, the lee side will keep you protected from wind driven waves, but there is a fair bit of boat traffic from the small boat harbor, and the ferry dock.

  4. #4

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    Whatever small craft you use, think very carefully about how you'll land fish. Friends have tried kayaks and found the only thing that works is longish handled dipnets, which you have to stow somewhere when not in use.

    Another friend was bound and determined to catch halibut from his pontoon boat, one of the larger ones. No problems with fish small enough he could dipnet, but along came one too big to net. He ended up rowing half a mile to shore towing a 100 pounder, then going through the goat rope of landing the pontoon boat, getting out of it, and dragging the halibut up the beach. He's sworn off big fish now, content to keep under 30-pounders and cut off everything else. Mininmum requirement if you want to land the big stuff is a rod holder for the pontoon boat so he can have two hands free while rowing with a fish. No-no-no-no..... No gaffs on inflatables.

    As a side note, I've had great luck using a pontoon boat to row out, drop a bait on bottom, put the rod in the holder, then row back to shore with the reel free spooling. Pull the pontoon boat up onto the beach, and have a seat. You can manage 200 or 300 yard "casts" easily if you've got the line capacity. Meanwhile you've got a nice comfy place to sit while waiting for a strike. And yeah, if a fish takes off and threatens to run you out of line, you can follow. Back to my point about rod holders though.

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    Member John_Pennell's Avatar
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    Default Spit fish seem wormy

    We caught cod and pollock from the Spit last year, but they were REALLY wormy...
    "My rod and my reel, they comfort me."

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    Member Hunt&FishAK's Avatar
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    i love fishing the end of the spit! especially with ULTRALIGHT TACKLE! I use my trout rod with 6#. ive caught sole, flounder, irish lord, small halibut ( but saw a guy land a 50# there once), pacific cod, pollock, dollies ( some nice ones), kings, silverss, pinks ( when salmon are running of course). my favorite go-to rig there is a smaller size circle hook with a plastic leader, a 2-3 oz cannonball weight below that, and a nice piece of herring, squid, shrimp, octopus whatever...after catching an irish lord or sole, i will usually use chunks of either as bait as it last longer and doesnt fall off easily.i also like to use weighed marabou jigs with a fly rod...you can catch fish every cast some days, espcially in may and early june. for dollies, tie on a small swedish pimple, vibrax spinner, or little cleo spoon and fish it fairly quick, lettin it sink a little every 10 feet or so. for salmon, large vibraxes, pixies, herring and roe have been top producers for me. high tide, low tide, theres always fish there: TIP: fish near the pilings! The current there is pretty strong, and it is necessary to anchor up with a small craft: however not recommended as ALL the big boats come by there headed to or from the harbor causing mass wakes and some BIG WAVES that can be dangerous, as well as shore anglers with the ability to cast a long ways and possibly hit you or your craft....if you attempt to fish it from a small craft anyways, STAY AWAY FROM THE PILINGS!



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    Great info, Thanks!

    Hunt&fish:

    When using your ultralite do you still use the big cannonball weights? Or just lures? How far out do you usually cast with this rig?

    Someone mentioned the fish out there were "wormy". I'm faily new to salt water fishing. Does this mean they have parasites? What sort?

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    Member Hunt&FishAK's Avatar
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    to answer your questions i have found worms in some fish, none in others... notably the worms ive found in cod and pollock, the sole seem to be pretty clean early in the season. never ate the flounders, so i dont know. yes i use the 2-3 oz caanonballs with the ultalight rig....at high tide i seem to remember it being about 100 feet to the pilings...the fact is you dont have to cast far at all...20-30 feet out from the shore youll find plenty of action to keep you satisfied. even if not, at least the scenery is beautiful....hope ive given decent answers to your questions...good luck and tight lines! oh and do us a favor and release those baby halibut.



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    Hunt&fishAK:

    You've been really helpful, thank you. I appreciate you taking the time to share with me/us. It sounds like I could get away with using one of my trout rigs, and or one of my salmon rods. Sweet! I'm looking forward to spending some time out there the next time I make it down to homer.

    Thanks again!

  10. #10

    Default Salmon timing around spit

    Hunt&FishAK (or anyone else) - are the King/Silver salmon you catch from the spit area timed the same as the fishing hole? Or are they more of a resident-fish type situation, where they have a different timing?

    What about dollies?

    Thanks very much for the help,

    Travis

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    Member jrogers's Avatar
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    Just to clarify, the mud flats are a bad idea, both from the lack of fish as well as the safety issue. It seems every few years someone makes the news because they either got stuck in the mud or they were trapped being out too far when the tide came in, which it does fast. Every once in a while someone dies out there. It is not worth the risk of being out there.
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    Member scott_rn's Avatar
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    I tried fishing Seward from a canoe in August. My brother-in-law and I paddled around the marina for a while and saw some silvers jump but they were few and far between. The open water was rough while we had the canoe in the water, then after we had it loaded back up it calmed down.

    If the water isn't rough I'm sure you'll be fine, but it can change quickly and you don't want to be too far out or without a life jacket.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by HiPlainsDrifter View Post
    Hunt&FishAK (or anyone else) - are the King/Silver salmon you catch from the spit area timed the same as the fishing hole? Or are they more of a resident-fish type situation, where they have a different timing?

    What about dollies?

    Thanks very much for the help,

    Travis
    Yes, the salmon you might catch off the spit would be those enroute to the fishing hole...no "residents" beyond the feeder kings present in the bay year round, though you'd be one lucky guy to get one of those, I think, from any shoreline. The dollies might be a "resident" type fish in that area, not sure there.
    "The Gods do not subtract from the allotted span of men's lives the hours spent in fishing" Assyrian Tablet 2000 B.C.

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    Member Hunt&FishAK's Avatar
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    i believe there are always dollies in the area, but mostly in the spring and early summer, as that is when the sea run dollies will leave the rivers and enter the saltwater again to feed on salmon smolt, needlefish and small herring until fall, which is when they go back onto the rivers to spawn. whereever you see baitfish jumpin offshore, namely on and around shallow tidal zone flats and stream mouths, you are sure to find dollies. while setnetting 3 miles north of ninilchik up the beach, we would frequently get dollies in the sandbar sets where at high tide the water mite be 15-20 feet deep but was almost dry at low tide. some of those dollies hit the 30" mark! we always ate em too!



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  15. #15

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    I have heard of people trying surf fishing in the Homer area, as well as off the beaches by Anchor Point, and Ninilchik. The rigging Questions depend on what type of gear your going to be throwing it out there with. I am planning on building some long rods. I have blanks now I need some time to build them. My plan is to build Rod holders for the front of my ATVs, strap a cooler of beer to the back Find beach acess somewhere and drive till I find a good spot for a beer. Sling the lines out, and see what happens

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    Sounds like a grand idea. That was my inspiration too. Grab a rod, a backpack full of beer/gear, and a lawnchair and just hang out on the beach near Land's End hotel in homer. Last time I was there I spent almost all the time I wasn't out on the charter hanging around on the beach anyway

  17. #17
    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Default Surf casting/fishing

    I used to do this all the time before I bought my halibut boat. Right off of lands end. There is a s*^t chute(waste pipe) from the processors on the spit that shoots out ground up fishwaste between the last two pillars on the ferry dock. That is usually where we did the best.
    Bait was critical also as those using frozen herring went through 3-4 times as much bait as us for half the fish caught. We always used Salted hooligan as it was cheap and tougher than the herring. We always carried a 5 gal pail full.You can also use fish scraps from the gut wagons on the spit. Just check the regs first to make sure you are using legal parts.
    You will catch a LOT of trash fish for every keeper if you are looking to keep some. The bullheads really put up no fight at all.
    There are also butter sole,walleye pollack,grey cod,halibut ,dollies ,Kings,and if you are not careful with your casts seagulls. They hang around by the hundreds trying for their share of the scraps. I have had my line go over one a couple of times but fortunately they shook my line off before they got hooked.
    I prefer a Salmon rod or a surfcast pole. If you don't have a surfcaster they can be hard to find up here. I bought mine at Sportsmans in Anchorage but have looked a few times since and they don't seem to carry them anymore. A salmon rod works great. I like a medium heavy action.The salmon pole will also handle the occasional Butt(my personal best there was only 10# but have heard of bgigger) or king.Usually 20# test line.
    Any size hook will work good I like 1/0-3/0 Gammi octopus hooks on a sliding sinker rig.You can buy the sinker slides at any bait shop.
    For weight I really like pyramid sinkers 2-5 oz. Cannonballs roll too much and have had the eyes on some of mine get totally smashed to where I couldn't get them off.Any type of sinker that won't roll works best.
    cast out and keep your line tight set the hook right away. if you missed em reel in the slack and let them try again. sometimes they will chase it all the way to shore . If there is no second bite after 30 seconds reel in because your bait is probably gone.
    Send me a pm when you come down and I might have some Hooligan bait for you.
    Morning always seemed to be the best. I think they start to get full after 1/2 a day of dumps from the pipe but it really all depends on how much they are dumping . This fluctuates a lot especially in the early season. It always slowed for me in the afternoon.
    The Nick Dudiak fishing lagoon on the spit is another good bet for some kings or silvers depending on when you are there. When the tide goes out and the fishin hole is slow head to Lands End .
    hope this helps. If you have specific questions you can always PM me.
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  18. #18
    Member chico99645's Avatar
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    Lots of folks fish from the bank in Seward for Kings and Silvers. Its spotty, and you gotta short window for kings and silvers are ok depending on the year. It use to be really good 10 years ago before they turned the beach into a parking lot, thats how I got started when I first came to Alaska and caught several kings. Most people snag them with a Texas Fly (big treble hook)but they do feed also. Lots of folks fish the Silver Derby from the Bank and I know one year a several years back, the derby winner was caught just off the rocks of the harbor. I have only seen a surf rod used one time. There was a boat anchored just off the beach. They were casting into shore and getting tangled with all the folks fishing from shore. Verbal threats and comments were shared with just about everyone fishing. One old timer went to his motorhome and took out his surf cast rod. Since the boat was out of reach for all those casting from shore, he launched his surf cast rod and his second cast, put it right in the boat. Needless to say, the boat started engines, left abruptly and the old guy got a standing ovation, me included. I've also seen folks fish from the bank in Whittier in September for Silvers.

  19. #19
    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Homer spit report 04/19/10

    Went down top Homer yesterday as one of my friends wanted to catch some cod off of the beach.
    We caught a lot of bullheads ( Sculpin/Irish lords) I also caught 2 cod a starry flounder and a regular flounder. I gutted the bigger cod I caught and the Starry flounder( you can tell the Starry flounder by the black bands on the fins) right away and neither was the least bit wormy when I fillited them later. I kept them in a cooler and the temp was in the 40's so it was not to hot.
    It was kind of funny when some tourist(?) came down to show their granddaughter the halibut I had just caught and I had to tell him it was definetly not a halibut.I guess most people have never seen any other flat fish in Alaska before.
    I caught all of my fishon last years frozen Hooligan on a 5/0 gammi hook with an egg loop. Double hooked it and them used the egg loop and that was a big help in keeeping the bait on the hook. Often only the egg loop held the bait after a bite with no fish.
    My friend caught only bullheads using a crippled herring type jig 6 oz in a pink color. Some while he had bait on some without.
    It is not red hot yet but there are some fish to be caught and there were not to many fishermen around.
    We did better with our surfcast poles than those with shorter rods due to our longer casting distance.. That and some of the guys down there had way too light of gear in my opinion. I would be worried with a 6' light action rod if I had hooked anything of any size. All I saw other fishermen catch were bullheads and one guy got a starry flounder.
    I caught a 10# butt there several years ago on my 9' med heavy salmon rod and penn 965 international reel that put up a pretty good little fight.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

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    Member Hunt&FishAK's Avatar
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    last may i caught one of those p-cods off the spit. went about 25lbs. all mouth and tail haha....mite head down this up-n-coming weekend and have a look see



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