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Information on Salmon Sharks

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  • Information on Salmon Sharks

    Over the last couple of years I have become more interested in getting over the top of a 300+ pound Shark. I have tried twice out of Whittier in Western PWS without success. I recently heard that fishing outside of PWS, in the gulf is more productive. Someone else told me to take a charter, but I am kind of a do-it-yourselfer. Would any of you share some likely locations and methods?

  • #2

    Went out last weekend from Valdez, & we brought in 2 - 8fters that were both just under 300 lbs at the dock. ( Both were well over before being gutted & bled )
    Anyway we started out by hitchenbrook, & were trolling with pinks, the same as you would troll for silvers. Cut plug with a big skirt infront of the 1st hook.
    There was another boat that ended up with 4 I believe & they were drifting vs. trolling. Either way we would look for them on the fishfinder & try & get near the depth with the bait. Had down riggers set at 100 ft, & suprisingly enought they would hit failry light. Just like a king mouthing eggs, as soon as they started tapping you freespooled the line & let them run withouth feeling any pressure. Eventually you would thumb the spool & if they were still on shut the lever drag & set the hook hard.
    From what I have seen the action is failry good out of valdez from mid july to mid to late August.
    I know some people hunt for them on the surface & have luck chumming once they spot them, which sounds fun as well. However all day the ones that showed up on the depthfinder were between 50-250 ft & would come off a deep shelf to feed.


    • #3
      Thank you AKmarmot

      Cut plug, do you mean they 45/45 the front of the pink to get it to spin? Also, how did the sharks appear on the finder. I am pretty sure I saw some on my apelco, they did not appear as fish symbols, they were larger u shapes with the belly of the u up. Those hoochies sound large, I saw some in one of the off shore magazines, I guess I need some of those. Whatever helps.


      • #4
        AK Marmot, What part of a pink are you using or are you not talking about pink salmon? Your answer sort of confused me since you can't use a whole salmon for bait. I just don't quite undeerstand what you are using.
        We caught a salmon shark while fishing for halibut out of Whittier, it was a very interesting couple of hours until the shark was at the baot and then broke the rod.

        Use of sport-caught fish as bait: (1) Whitefish, herring, and other species for which no seasonal or harvest limits are specified in 5 AAC 47 - 5 AAC 75, as well as the head, tail, fins, and viscera of legally taken sport fish, may be used for bait or other purposes. (2) Herring and other species of fish for which no seasonal or harvest limits are specified in 5 AAC 47 - 5 AAC 75 may be used as live bait, except that live fish may not be used as bait for sport fishing in fresh water. (3) Live bait may be possessed, transported, or released only in the salt waters or the regulatory area in which it was taken.


        • #5
          Sport Caught fish cannot be used

          Bill S. Whole sport caught salmon are not allowed to be used for bait. In one of the magazines, Alaskan Fisherman or some such, an article says some of the commercial boats are using commercially caught salmon, and hoochies, some just the hoochie part.


          • #6

            Sorry for the confusion, I think I have picture I can post later that shows the bait set up being made.
            It is a pink salmon & it has to be comm. catch & bought to be used as bait.
            Then we took & cut the head off at a 45 & gutted it so it would look pretty much like a hering used for silvers. We also used the double ( stinger ) hook which I'm not sure if it helps or not, I know some people only use 1 hook on their rigs.
            We set the trolling speed to 1.8 but then again true speed of the bait will vary based on current, wind, etc...
            They appeared on the finder as more of a ( shape but turn it horizontal. Most were bigger than others marks but you will tell once you see them as they will be at different depths & sometimes a school will swim by.


            • #7

              We've found them by spotting them breaking the surface. We've hooked up trolling but have also hooked them while mooching.

              On one day, we couldn't entice a bite to save our lives. The sharks stopped feeding on the surface and once in a while I'd see one on the fish finder about 80ft down. So I dropped some bait (bought pink) down to that depth and jigged a while. Didn't get any bites and put the rod in the holder. We were at anchor and it was a nice day and so we were basically hanging out in the sun drinking some beer and listening to music - even went to shore for a hike. 6 hours after putting the bait down and forgetting about it, the drag on the rod starts to scream. Ended up with a 7 foot shark.


              • #8
                what location

                NorthRick, It sounds like you were close to shore, some people are saying to go out into the gulf 20 to 30 miles, find a shelf and fish that.


                • #9

                  We fished the shelves by trolling & mooching & both should work for you when the sharks are there. Mooching will make it easeir to feel the soft biters.
                  However, even though we were watching for the shleves we were never out very far from the shore. Basically we were close enough to see activity on the shore say if a black bear appeared on a beach. It is still 250- 400 ft deep a lot of places at a max of 1/4 mile off the shoreline. From what I have seen they have always been closer in to a shoreline then out in the middle of no where.


                  • #10
                    Close to shore


                    Yes, we were very close to shore. 100 feet of water. Our boat doesn't have the range to go from Whittier to 30 miles out into the Gulf. Sorry, not saying which shore. We do spot them visually first though.



                    • #11
                      Which Shore would be the key info needed

                      Ok, thanks. Yes, I guess I was thinking the more the merrier, since there seems to be more and more of them every year. The ADFG Bioguessers report online suggests the sharks are eating hundreds of thousand salmon every year in PWS alone. I was sort of hoping someone could get me started on a spot closer to Whittier. I tried Culross, both ends, the outside toward Perry Is, Lake Bay, and along the front of Esther Bay, Esther Passage, College near Golden and up as far as Coghill. All those miles, and, I have not seen a single Salmon Shark on the surface.


                      • #12
                        Farther East

                        I've never seen any in those places either. You need to go farther east, just not 30 miles into the gulf. We're talking Knight, Montague, Hitchinbrook islands.


                        • #13
                          going further

                          Ok, thanks, that helps. Perhaps trailering to Seward and fishing out in the gulf from there is closer. I haven't done the math, it but "20 to 35 miles south of Day Harbor" from Seward may about equal to the Whittier Knight Island turn. I am off to Fairbanks this weekend for a family reunion, the weekend after that I will try to get over some sharks. I will let you guys know how it goes.


                          • #14
                            I have even seen them inside Res Bay, on both sides. From what I read they seem to be most common outside of Cordova. But they do swim alot and follow the salmon


                            • #15
                              Do they ever come over into Cook inlet? Like around Kenai or Homer?


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