By Kevin Hofer
King salmon, are one of the most prized fish in our state because of their large size, high quality meat, and more often than not a great fight. After years of living on the Delta and fishing for these beasts in the rivers then moving back to the coast, it surprised me how much more difficult they can be to catch in the ocean, especially out of a kayak!
One of the best tips I think that I can offer to a fellow kayak angler looking to get into ocean salmon fishing, is work on networking with other anglers. Knowing where the fish are can really help increase your chances of getting hooked up.
It’s a big ocean and it seems even bigger when you’re out in a 14’ kayak with a max speed in the 5mph range. A tip from a friend can help save you hours or often even days of searching for the fish.
Try to make friends with those who commercial fish for a living, they can provide some great intel.
Being a member of fishing forums like Fishsniffer.com or North Coast Kayak Anglers is also very beneficial. Both are large groups of anglers who are usually very happy to help and share info, also a great place to meet people to fish with if you don’t want to go out alone.
It’s good to fish with friends for multiple reasons, but when it comes to salmon fishing it can actually help put more meat on the deck. Salmon can be picky about what they like to eat and the more variety of lures/bait in the water can equal figuring out what they want, where they want it and how they want it faster.
For instance, last summer fishing in Albion with a few friends we were trolling Deep Six’s, a dodger and a bait rotator with herring I believe. The fish were there thick and one after another my friends were going in with limits and I wasn’t getting a bite.
Finally asked a buddy what am I doing wrong? He asked how many pulls out I was. I replied “25” he says let out another 10-15… I caught two fish within an hour after making that one small adjustment!
It can be an arduous journey trying to catch a king salmon out of a kayak in the ocean, but if you want to get on the fast track to catching, I have one more suggestion, go out for a day with an experienced guide.
I personally know two who are great guys and can really teach you a lot. Kyle Monte of Kayak Fish Sonoma can get those searching for chrome all the way from the Bay Area up to Mendocino County, on to the water. And for those wanting to get away from it all and catch a salmon in the beautiful waters of Humboldt county, my man Eric Stockwell of Loleta Erics guide service is there to help plan your adventure.
Going with a guide can teach you so much in such a short amount of time, they are there to help you catch fish, unlike your buddies who get tired of questions like, is this bait still good? Or, did I tie this right? How deep is it here? Marking anything?
Well I hope these little tips and suggestions can help put more fish in the fridge, the season is just beginning so start networking or get a trip booked and be safe on the water.