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Alaska Fishing Lodge
Kenai River, Alaska
King Salmon - Silver Salmon - Sockeye Salmon - Halibut - Rainbow Trout
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Jimmie Jack's Sockeye Fishing Tips

Sockeye Salmon Fun!
Sockeye Salmon Fun!
Kenai River Red Salmon
Kenai River Red Salmon
Sockeye Salmon Limits
Sockeye Salmon Limits
Fishing at Dusk for Hours!
Fishing at Dusk for Hours!
Father and Son Fishing
Father and Son Fishing

Yes, I know there are many ways to catch or snag a sockeye or red salmon in the tail, but here I will explain how I coach people to catch sockeye (red) salmon. Now, my technique is for catching them legally in the mouth. So if you are not interested in that method, then you may want to stop reading now.

Red salmon fishing is easy when there are 50,000 plus running by your feet in the middle of July. You gotta be brain dead and on life support not to at least get one on by simply whipping your line through the water just off the bank. So how do you catch them when there are very few passing by, or when you want to get your limit and get back to the campfire? And how do you hook them in the mouth?

I like to use a 9 foot rod whether it is a 9 weight fly rod, or a stiff tip salmon rod. That helps me get a more powerful hookset when I decide to swing the metal into its lips. I always keep my hook sharp. I replace hooks or sharpen them constantly. In the main stem of the Kenai River I use a 4/0 Gamakatsu Octupus hook, and on the Russian I use a Russian river hook (specific size - see the regulations). I place 3 chartreuse 6 millimeter beeds on my 20# test green or clear monofilament leader and tie on my hook. Most of the time I have leaders ready, and use an eggloop knot, but you may find me tying a simple clinch not just to get back in the water. You can break your line easily if you snag the fish in the wrong mouth, like the tail mouth. It's power can either run you out of line, or you can point your rod at the fish, and hold your reel to break him off.

Okay, so some of you are saying why 20 pound test? You say, "I am a sportsman, and I can land that 8 pound fish with my 5# Stren!" Great! Go for it Mister Wizard. You gotta understand that you are going to fight 6 - 8 knots of current, and one crazy fish with at least of few friends downriver. Well, when your fish strings you out, and you begin to move like a monkey, climbing trees, and passing your rod around your buddies, and running downstream you may think twice. OR& your friends, hoping they are still friends on your 4th trip past them in 20 minutes, may let you know that you're messing up the fishing for everyone downstream. So just be aware that everyone else is using 30# test, and their drags are set on "stun." Have fun, and most important, make friends by following the trend of the anglers around you.

I usually place a split shot or twist lock weight about 3 - 4 feet from my hook. The amount of weight will depend on the speed of water you are fishing. You want your weight to lightly tick the bottom as it swings downstream. You will have to adjust your weight accordingly. This is also dependent on the type of swing you are making. First, I find it helpful to figure out where the line of fish are swimming. Red salmon usually follow a beaten path, and you find that path by watching others, or swinging your beads through the water in front of you. Red salmon are found in the water in front of you, about 3 to 10 feet from the bank, depending on the water speed and depth. There is no need for you to cast, and no need to be in past your ankles. Simply pull out some line and flip. The faster the water, the closer they swim, and the tighter line they will run. (There is a big hint here if you want to target them easily) So you definitely do not want to fish the frog water where you see them boiling, unless you just want to snag them in the dorsal fin. The reason you fish them in fast running water is because they will all be facing forward for your presentation, and there will be a constant flow of fish in a line. Too easy right? Absolutely!

Now back to the weight issue. It is important that your terminal tackle enters the water at the same point because of the water speed issue. Then once you get your weight correct, and it is ticking along the bottom you will need to keep your entry point (a matter of degree, and distance from shore) the same. If you do not stay consistent you will continually be struggling to have your weight tick the bottom. It is very important that your weight does not stick on every rock or float above the bottom. The Sockeye are on the bottom. As your weight ticks across the rocks it will eventually be picked up by a Sockeye. It may take it hard, but most likely the fish will just stop your hook. It feels like caught the bottom.

When a red salmon grabs your hook it will just stop your hook on its mouth, and you must JERK like you mean it. Keep your sunglasses on and watch for other anglers. To hook the fish in the mouth you jerk up, and to hook them in the side you jerk sideways. Remember that a snagged fish, or one not hooked in the mouth must be released, or you may run into another friend&the fish and game officer. Remember to bring some extra hooks and weights, pliers, sunglasses, and a hook sharpener before you walk down to the river. Have fun with one of Alaska's most powerful fighting fish, the Sockeye Salmon!

Rip some lips,

Jimmie Jack

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