Sitka fishing: 5 Tips for Your Sitka Fishing Trip
Sitka fishing can often be fantastic. Lucky anglers have the chance to catch many different species of fish when they book with Fish Baranof. The proximity to open water is a major blessing. It allows you to get to a range of species without the long boat rides that you are forced to endure from other Alaska ports. Anglers who are diligent in preparation, and follow some hard-earned advice are likely to catch more fish than those that show up unprepared.
Sitka fishing ramps up in May for king salmon, rockfish, lingcod and halibut. It continues through August, when silver salmon become the primary salmon species to target. Tip number one is to pre-tie the leaders you will need to fish for salmon. You will need leaders to troll or mooch, and we’d recommend being ready for both, so tie about 50% more leaders than you think you will need. The last thing you want to be doing is constructing new leaders during your fishing day and reducing time with bait or lures in the water. And after a long day of fishing and then processing your catch, you’ll be glad you did the work in advance and aren’t forced to burn the midnight oil tying leaders for the next day.
Even more disturbing would be trying to fish with a leader that has been nicked or compromised, and causes you to lose a fish. Check your leader each time you bring it into the boat and replace it if you feel any abrasions. You’ll need far less leaders for lingcod, rockfish and halibut, but the conscience angler would be well advised to tie those in advance as well.
Tip number two for a successful day on the fishing grounds is to remove all the factory treble hooks from any jigs you plan on using. Replace them with single hooks of your choice. Single hooks offer better hook-up ratios and are easier on fish you intend to release. They are easier to get out of a fish’s mouth than trebles. This leads to a safer environment for the person removing the lure when a fish is thrashing around on the deck, and also ends up saving you time. You’ll notice that our tips have a time-saving theme, which leads to more time fishing.
Tip number three to increase your success during your Sitka fishing trip is to come armed with a variety of scents. Check out those offered by Pro-Cure and Scent Striker. Also consider some type of device—like the Original Scent Striker—that can hold the applied scent and increase your fish-attraction radius. It’s a big ocean out there, and you will increase your odds of success if you maximize the smell, sight and sound of your lures to attract more fish to your hooks.
Tip number four is to bring an array of knives. Consider a bigger blade—perhaps 9” or larger—for big fish like halibut or an oversized lingcod. You may want one in the 7” range for processing an average salmon. You should seriously consider an electric fillet knife if you intend to harvest rockfish. Their tough skin acts like an armor to protect them from the sharp teeth of both lingcod and halibut, and their bones can dull a normal knife pretty quickly. Also, bring a good sharpening steel or other tool to keep those knives sharp. A dull knife requires you to use extra force to cut fillets and potentially puts you more at risk to cutting yourself than a sharp one.
Sitka fishing with Fish Baranof is a saltwater-intensive trip. Tip number five is to bring warmer clothes than you think you need. Sure, it’s summer, but it’s Alaska and being on the saltwater usually feels substantially colder than the same conditions on land. Undoubtedly it’s because you are sitting in a big bathtub of cold water in a metal boat. Consider hats and gloves, fleece layers, synthetic base layers and make sure to have sturdy, waterproof top layers. All of these considerations mentioned are amplified when it’s raining and windy.
If you are planning on a Sitka fishing trip this summer with us, now is the time to get prepared so that you can maximize your time spent fishing.