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Thread: Catching herring for bait.........

  1. #1
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    Default Catching herring for bait.........

    I'll be fishing in Ketchikan in early September this year for coho and halibut. Four anglers, self-guided out of Knudson Cove Marina.

    I realize that herring are likely to be an important bait for both coho and halibut (trolled and jigged). However, I am curious to know whether it's common/easy to catch your own herring for bait, with small jigs. It seems like it could be a better option than buying half frozen, bleary-eyed fish in a styrofoam package.

    Has anyone done this who can say whether it's worth the time and effort?

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I'd say having a light weight spinning rod with various spoons, and some sabiki jigs is fun for those just in case situations. I wouldn't rely solely on catching my own bait, but having the means to catch fresh bait is well worth the effort, especially as the frozen bait can be of poor quality.

    Also pick up some Berkley gulp, it often times will outfish herring, and you don't have to worry about how to keep it cold.

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    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    They do it here in Kodiak, right in front of Cannery Row there seems to regularly be schooled Herring, Clouds of them on the Sounder, and above them any morning this time of year are two to four Charter Operators or other Sport guys milling around jigging up a few, I imagine for the days bait,
    Last year my son went out with Grandpa in a ten foot Zodiac and with one other 7yr old, and they just Hammered them, they didn't use 'em for bait but to Pickle but man they had buckets of them in no time. Skiff was just full of Herring, Seriously
    Apparently the little boys had a major Blast. Everytime they let down the hooks the Herring hit and then others kept hitting, "It was just crazy," was my sons recollection of that day. Grandpa just muttered something about all the tangled up lines, but he was pretty jazzed on the Pickled Herring Idea.

    So I guess if you see 'em on the Sounder, (probably look like feed ball, cloud of red not far down) it'd be worth dropping a jig to see what happens, By the look of the regular action of charter guys in Kodiak doing this early in the morning, it must be good bait for the Kings? Certainly would be for Halibut, Local herring vs. the store bought stuff.

    They were using little multi hook jig rigs, not using bait,no lure either, the Herring just go crazy on a bare shiny hook, really small, trout sized as I remember, (the hooks I mean) The Herring were Beautiful,
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Member coho slayer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    I'd say having a light weight spinning rod with various spoons, and some sabiki jigs is fun for those just in case situations. I wouldn't rely solely on catching my own bait, but having the means to catch fresh bait is well worth the effort, especially as the frozen bait can be of poor quality.

    Also pick up some Berkley gulp, it often times will outfish herring, and you don't have to worry about how to keep it cold.
    Agreed on all counts. I used to just sort of slow troll a chunk of herring about half-way to the bottom when we were breaking for lunch. I'd just stick it in a rod-holder and watch while I ate. It's amazing how often I picked up small halibut and salmon.

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    You may want to try the 'Search' function - there have been multiple threads about jigging up herring for bait on this forum. Buy a few packages of Sabiki jigs if you don't have time to tie your own jigs up. I use some bright treble hooks on loops tied about 6 to 8 inches apart with a swivel and sinker on the bottom loop. They are deadly. If I see herring on my sounder anywhere I am fishing for salmon I take time to catch a few - it can make all the difference in your rate of success for any specie of fish you are targeting. Good luck

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    Member HuntKodiak's Avatar
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    I'm in Kodiak too, and Kodiakrain's story rings true. Last year my Mom was visiting, and she had fun just catching the herring. I think she's have been content to hang out there for hours. Some of the herring are as big or bigger than the crappie and other fish they catch in Idaho.

    The sabiki rigs work great. Haven't tried a variety of colors, but the chartruese/green ones work very well. Be patient when you find a school. What I mean by that is don't jerk the rod and start reeling up fast when you feel the first fish. Just hesitate a moment and then start reeling in slowly at first. The action generated when the first herring is hooked will bring others to hit. Very common to have multiples.

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    In Kodiak, can shore fishermen target these?
    Random guy in Fly shop: "Where did this happen???? In real life or in Alaska?"

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    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    I think it may be hard to get where they are, have you seen where the boats are in mornings off cannery row? Seems they are always a ways off the beach and I know the canneries would not let you cast off their docks. It may be worth a try from the end of the breakwater on south end of the Townside Harbor.

    PM me with who you are, some contact info as I may go out to try this from my boat soon for fun. You could tag along, if our schedules are similar at all. I just talked to another guy who went over in a Zodiac this morning with his 5yr old daughter and they just Jagged 'em. Filled a cooler in a half hr. Sounds like fun, eh?
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Member kodiakbound's Avatar
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    Tried it for the first time yesterday. Pretty fun! got around 50 in a half hour. You could get them from the breakwater I'd bet. There was a ton in there for sure. Too bad the halibut didn't seem to like them Whale watching was unreal yesterday though. Humpbacks continously breaching and the orca's were out too.
    Experience is a hard teacher because you get the test first and the lesson afterwards.

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