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Herring Fishing
Old 08-13-2011, 06:53 PM
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gitano gitano is offline
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Wasilla, Alaska
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Default Herring Fishing

It's actually a long story, but I'll 'cut to the chase scene'.

My fishin' buddy, Jim, was down in Whittier (, 148.41'02.00W), last Monday showing his brother and his brother's wife 'around Alaska'. While they were waiting for their ship to come in - literally - Jim noticed a guy catching herring (Clupea pallasii) from shore. Jim's from the upper midwest and isn't familiar with a lot of the 'small town' things that go on in Alaska, and didn't realize that people catch herring from "the shore" (more often from a dock) at most of the coastal towns.

Jim is a fishing fool.

Let me repeat that for emphasis.

Jim is a fishing fool.

I've never known anyone that is as big a fishing fool as Jim is. So when he saw someone catching something - SEVERAL AT A TIME and FROM THE SHORE OF THE OCEAN - he immediately had to try it. Of course that meant asking his "Fish and Game friend" - that'd be me - about this 'catching herring from the shore thing'.

When he asked me about it, I told him "Sure. That's done all the time." When he asked if I had ever done it, I said, "No. I've always wanted to, but I just never got around to it." He then says... "Let's go to Whittier tomorrow and 'slay' some herring."

I was actually planning to fly out to Skwentna (61.57.310.00N, 151.10'52.00W) to help a friend with his cabin, but when he couldn't get free, I told Jim, "I'm free to go fishing. Let's go tomorrow." Since he'd been hounding me to go fishing instead, his response was instantaneous - YES!.

Whittier has only been accessible by car for about 10 years. Up 'til then, it was only accessible by train through a tunnel through the mountains, and by boat and plane. About 10 years ago, they decided that since the train only went through the tunnel twice a day, they could let cars drive on the railroad tracks the rest of the day. Of course there was a lot of controversy over it, but in the end, the government got its way as it always does.

So now, cars can go through the tunnel ONE WAY ONLY. At the top of the hour cars come out of Whittier to the Seward Highway, and on the half hour they go into Whittier. The tunnel closes at 2300 and opens at 0500 I think.

Since "my side of the tunnel" was a 2-hour drive from my house, and since we wanted to have all day to fish, we figured we'd have to leave my house at 0605 headed south for Whittier. That meant getting 'geared up' for fishing for herring.

Drinksgin - Here's the answer to your question: "How do you catch herring?"

Sportfishing in Alaska, you can use a couple of 'special' fishing methods and means IF you are fishing in salt water:

1) You can snag fish, and
2) You can use multiple hooks on a single line.

Those would be BIG offenses if used in freshwater sport fishing. So, a herring jig consists of a length of line about 6 feet long with a weight at the bottom end. At intervals of about 1 foot, you put #8 or #10 GOLD "egg" hooks on leaders of about 6". That's it. The herring WILL strike the bare hooks. Some commercially-sold jigs have little beads and other "fluff" added to them, but that's not necessary.

Back to the story: Since my daughter works at Sportsman's Warehouse, I we there to get a mess of snelled #8 egg hooks, and then commenced to make up a couple of "herring jigs".

Jim arrived at my place at 0550, and we were headed out my driveway in my 1985 Toyota 'something' King Cab with the "little green boat" on top, at 0605. We arrived at the tunnel entrance at about 0810. Here's what the surroundings look like.

Phone just rang and I gotta go. News at 11...

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32

"We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful." ~ C.S. Lewis.

Do not confuse technical skill for wisdom and do not confuse strength for skill. Paul Skvorc
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