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Catching herring for bait

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  • Catching herring for bait

    Here's another question of the many that I have
    What is the best way to locate herring to catch for fresh bait? Just watch the depthfinder for bait balls while traveling and then stop and jig them or would a guy be better off jigging in the bays where we will be anchoring for the nights? I have some lights on the back of the boat to light up the area at night if that would help. We want to be as self sufficient as we can as it will be a learning lesson for the grandson on how to survive and take only what you need.

  • #2
    Try "searching"

    For more info on this topic. I believe I've seen this asked before, and I had a previous question on herring a year or so back.
    I think someone mentioned then that herring can be caught in the harbors, around piers/docks? Maybe like Seward where you've always got fish carcasses and such ending up in the water bringing the herring in closer? I've never caught or have yet tried to catch them, just offering my ideas. I'm pretty sure you can find them with a finder, just have to decipher what your screen is showing as to the difference of bait and other fish.
    Good luck,
    Check out Quickwater Adventure water taxi/transport services:


    • #3
      I use a $10 bill for bait and can't stop them from jumping into my cart down at Sportsman's Warehouse! Just kidding, but seriously, if you use the search function you'll find quite a few threads on this exact topic.


      • #4
        Jig, using a multi jig setup, near the outlet hoses from the processors. I've had very good luck doing this.
        Your bait stinks and your boat is ugly


        • #5
          When I was a kid growing up in Seward I use to go down to the Harbor every spring and snag tons of herring. Id space out 4 or 5 treble hooks and cast off the floats or jig next to the pilings, often catching 4 or 5 at a time. Id sell them to the Fish House, back then it was just a single room cabin right were it sets now.
          Dont know if the herring are still showing up like they use too, maybe one of those Sewerdites will let us know.
          Would be a fun time for the kids and bait for the year.
          07 C-Dory 25 Cruiser



          • #6

            Try a Sabiki rig. several small flys?on gold hooks.Available at most fishing stores.
            I had a herring gillnet made for me at silvertip(commercial fishermans supply) in Kasilof. Cost somewhere @ $100 if I remember right.Fits in a big sandbag.
            Look for lots of gulls and other birds diving at the surface.Also watch out for whales. Saw lots of birds diving once and headed that direction about 1/4 mile away a whale burst through the center of the herring.we left the herring alone that day.
            "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

            "Fishing and Hunting are only an addiction if you're trying to quit"


            • #7
              Easy to catch

              Look arround the cannery dump tube and you will see the bait balls. Drop a smelt rig down in free fall till it stops. Then crank it up and empty the hooks and do it again. It works great. I havent bought bait in 10 years. If you have a live well they stay fresh all day, if not put them on ice and freeze any extra when you get home. Some days you will strike out so take some frozen bait with you to save a trip back to the harbor. Once you figure it out you will have a blast.


              • #8
                Sabikis or Yarn/Treble Hooks

                In most cases you will have your LCD sounder on anyway so pay attention to it and over time you will recognise bait showing on the screen. You want to be up-wind or up-tide so that you drift through a school once you find it. If you want to make a good investment I suggest purchasing a Sabiki rod that allows you to crank the jig's multi-hook system right up inside the rod itself so you don't get unnecessary tangles.

                With a 4 oz. lead on the end you can pull all the herring you need out of schools up to 200 ft down. I now use 20 pound test PowerPro so I can feel the herring when the jig gets down to the school. The trick is to let the hooks fill up and once you begin to crank them to the surface keep a steady pull right up to the boat and then swing the whole thing aboard so you can catch the lead in your free hand and snap them off the hooks all at once. When the hooks are clear back over the side it all goes for another trip down. You can keep the kids busy chasing the herring as they flip all over the deck. (Don't wait too long to scrub off the scales and blood - they can be a bugger to remove if they get a chance to dry in place.) Good luck


                • #9
                  Thread Hijack....

                  Long times ago,back in the late 80's we were in Hoonah before the spring longline opening commenced.Our intention was to beach seine up herring for about 1/2 the years baiting needs,which could easily be 7 or 8 thousand lbs for a small boat at the time.The year before( I wasnt on the boat then),they had a large year class of large fish,and easily caught them with hawaiian throw nets and some beach seining.
                  We never could get the hang of the throw nets,and to make matters worse,the year class was modest at best and they were small fish as well.
                  Finally we broke out an old piece of herring seine web and tried with modest success to round up some fish during the day.
                  Finally as the evening approached and the harbor lights turned on,fish started to ball up in the harbor,we deployed the net and with the help of many others,round hauled up a school of fish towards the beach.
                  Its an amazing site to see a large ball of squirming silver appear and boil from the surface,but as the pressure built,the too many small fish started to pour through the web like water through a collander.
                  We still managed to score perhaps a couple thousand pounds,which we promptly scooped up in a train of 5 gal buckets and into the refridgerated hold of the boat.Layered with ice and salt,it cured well and was used for several months,supplimented with cannery bought bait.
                  Ok Ill return this thread back to your regularly scheduled program



                  • #10
                    Jigging for herring

                    I totally agree. This has saved me hundreds of dollars over the years and I've had a blast catching them. I've seen them around all of the harbors and under the gulls.

                    Originally posted by FishGod View Post
                    Jig, using a multi jig setup, near the outlet hoses from the processors. I've had very good luck doing this.


                    • #11
                      Anyone catch any in homer? Only thing I've been able to get is buckets of small cod. They work pretty well jigged whole on a 6 or 8 oz jig head.


                      • #12
                        I'm getting ready to order some Sabiki rigs after reading this thread. However, they come in different sizes...any suggestions on hook sizes? Is the "fly" pattern on them even necessary? Sounds like blank hooks work, too.

                        Now I have to figure out a portable live-well.....

                        Thanks for giving me a mid-winter project


                        • #13
                          They all work well.

                          I prefer the Gamagatsu but get an asortnent because some days some work better then others. Run a light drag because if the kings or silvers are feeding on the herring you can loose a lot of rig ups. Pluse you can land some nice salmon on those little gold hooks if you have a lot of line. PM me if you want some pointers when you get to Seward. If im arround we can together.


                          • #14
                            I buy the following rigs from Cabela's.
                            Either the 6's or 8's work well. Like someone else had mentioned previously, salmon ect... will take a couple hooks off of your rigs so buy a bunch of rigs! I place a small bell sinker on the end which help slow down the rig through the water. They'll hit it on the way down and going up. One other thing that I don't believe was mentioned. If you have room on the boat, pick up a trolling style rod which lets the line run inside of the rod. That way when you reel in your line, all of the hooks are nicely stored inside the pole and won't tangle or snag on everything within your boat. You will have to use the size 6 hooks, but they work. Here's an example of that rod.


                            • #15
                              Thanks guys. I'm really forward to giving this a try, plus I think it'll be a good way to entertain the kids. This summer is a giant question mark for me, though. Job situation is changing, and I may have to move (thankfully right now Valdez is the most likely destination). But, this is all awesome info, and I can't wait to try live bait on silvers!



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