Nick Varney

Nick Varney

Reeling ‘Em In: Nick says ‘So long, and thanks for all the feedback, tips and tales’

Nick Varney says farewell to the summer fishing season.

Before we roll into the last fishing report for the season, I’d like to say that it has been another great run especially because of the feedback, tips and tales that many of you shot my way. Such expertise and timely inputs are always appreciated.

If it were not for space restrictions, I could have shared 98% of them. As for the other 2%? Let’s just say that some of you need to chill out on knocking back a four-pack of growlers before trying to pound out inane insults that reflect the intellect of a troglodyte who couldn’t win a Tic-Tac-Toe match with a fish fillet. I have freezer-burned meat exhibiting a higher cerebral capacity. Hopefully you can snag some serious downtime over the winter. Do it where it’s legal, of course.

I’d like to give a special shout-out to our local Alaska Department of Fish and Game crew along with Kali in the Anchorage office for their sense of humor and the inestimable information that they’ve provided each week.

An exceptional round of applause is due the mayor and bait slinging savant of the Fishing Hole, Tom, the fish slayer, who knows what’s biting what and when. Additional kudos are due Lou, Tim, Turk, Willie, Steve, Linda and Bev, who provided first-rate observations and data throughout the season. Finally, a standing ovation for my loving wife, Jane, who patiently peruses my final drafts and recommends changes so my editor’s head won’t explode when they hit his inbox.

Throughout the spring and summer, we receive a scores of requests for tips on fishing techniques, charters, housing, food establishments and sundry information as to where the action is sizzling or deader than a waddling porcupine after an ill-timed encounter with a logging truck.

When it comes to where to eat, with whom to charter, or where to stay, it’s pretty much an impossible task because Homer sports a surfeit of fine establishments and fishing guides. So, I usually list some sites where they can garner as much information and reviews as they need to make their own decisions.

One last note before hitting the report.

I have received several inquiries about the Z-Ray lure that I mentioned in an earlier column.

The story goes like this: Many years ago, I was stationed in Arizona and fished the Mogollon Rim. While exploring the lakes, I met a local who recommended a lure called a Z-Ray. I had amazing luck with it and took a few of them with me when I visited my folks in Juneau. The silvers slammed the things so hard I had to put on bigger hooks because they bent the originals.

The Z-Rays we used were a bright nickel color featuring three red dots.

The Zs come in different colors and sizes. I use the largest available and still modify them hook-wise because the strikes are nasty.

It’s time now to take a look at the last fishing report for the season.

The Anchor River has been having its ups and downs depending on when transient rainclouds pay a visit. If things get soaked, the water rises and can become exceptionally murky, slowing the steelhead and silver fishing to a crawl. The good news is when the skies clear so does the river and you have a much better chance to nail freshly arrived coho that have moved up to share the space with the steelies in some of the deeper holes.

For those winter king aficionados, all I can say is that several of the charters’ Facebook pages are already displaying a cornucopia of beautiful, transient blackmouth landings.

I’m still seeing several decent halibut brought in, but don’t get too wound up. The action has backed down to second gear and will continue to do so as the days darken and the flats head out to their deep winter haunts.

Finally, for the crab lovers out there:

Cook Inlet and North Gulf Coast Tanner Crab Fisheries Seasons and Permits Available

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) announced the Cook Inlet and North Gulf Coast sport and subsistence Tanner crab fisheries season, gear, and limits for 2019-2020. The season will be from Oct. 1 through Dece. 31, 2019, and Jan. 15 through March 15, 2020. Participants harvesting crab are allowed two pots per person and a maximum of two pots per vessel. The bag and possession limit is five legal sized male Tanner crabs per person in Kachemak Bay.

To see the entire announcement and keep yourself out of trouble, check out:

http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/sf/EONR/index.cfm?ADFG=region.NR&Year=2019&NRID=2840

Thanks for dropping in on our column this year. Hope to see you on the 2020 side.

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com.

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