According to one source, if you walked a thousand miles a year, it would take 44 years to walk the coastline of Alaska. Along the way you would pass vast stretches of surf-pounded beach, protected coves and inlets, deep sheltered fijords, secret island archipelagos and jagged rocky promontories that plunge into cobalt-blue depths. Most of these areas would be teeming with life, visible just beneath the surface. Alaska has five species of salmon, over 30 species of rockfish, and dozens of other marine species of interest to anglers. Simply put, there is no lack of saltwater fishing opportunity in Alaska.
From the Alaska Panhandle to the Alaska Peninsula, shore-based surf fishing is one of the most exciting and productive ways to catch a variety of saltwater and anadromous fish in Alaska. It's also inexpensive and available to just about anyone.
Owning a saltwater boat in Alaska can be an expensive proposition. Besides the regular maintenance, there's hauling it behind a vehicle, jockeying for space to launch, and trying to find an adequate parking spot. Not to mention the high cost of fuel. A weekend of fishing out of your own boat can easily add up to several hundred dollars.
Few things peg the adrenaline meter more solidly than saltwater salmon fishing in Alaska. The deep, cold, clean waters produce some of the strongest, largest salmon in the world. At no time in its life-cycle wil a salmon be larger or stronger than it is on the open ocean where it has plenty to eat, and room to run. They are caught using a variety of techniques, ranging from slow-drifting with bait, to trolling, to casting spinning gear and even fly-fishing.
Let’s get something straight from the beginning. The king salmon that we generally refer to as “winter” kings are simply feeder kings that we target in the winter months. A feeder king is a salmon that is on it’s four to five-year ocean run as it feeds and grows toward it’s inevitable demise as a spawner in its natal river. Now there are many anglers who may target these fish year round in Kachemak Bay and that is because they are known for their high oil content and delicate flavor. Sometimes in the course of targeting the returning kings that are running up the Inlet toward the myriad of tributaries that drain into Cook Inlet, we are lucky enough to catch some of these feeders as they all chase the same bait fish. Many times when we are fishing for silver salmon in the middle of the Inlet, we will encounter a school of feeder kings and again, feel very fortunate.