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Fly Tying
Mark Knapp

Fly fishing in the Gulf of Alaska

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Two or three times a year I go to a place about 50 miles north east of Sitka, Alaska to fly fish for rock fish, ling cod and halibut.

It's a good place to fly fish in the salt because it lacks the huge tides that many parts of Alaska have and it fills like a bath tub instead of having bad rip currents.

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This was our view on on the calmer weather days. That's my buddies boat the "E-FISH-ENCY", a 35 foot Bayliner.

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Here's the arsenal of fly rods, a mixture of 10 to 14 wt. Sages, a TFO, a Tibor and two Abels.

We were able to fish 4 days but only about one half of a day was calm enough for fly fishing. Normally we're able to fly fish for a majority of the time out there. When we can't fly fish, we get out the conventional gear.

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Rick's first fish of the season was a somewhat uncommon tiger rock fish. All Non-Pelagic rock fish are closed in southeast Alaska now so he's getting ready to use the deep sea release to put it back down to the bottom. We Brought home about 85 pounds of rock fish and ling cod on this trip but the fishing isn't the only good reason to go to the cabin....

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Our first nights dinner was medium rare New York strip from the barby, mixed veggies, coleslaw and beer batter ling cod. The Kito diet went right out the window. It's a rough life there in southeast Alaska.

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I do most of the cooking and Rick seems pretty happy with it. It may be one of the only reasons he brings me down there, that and I tie all the flies and make up the fly lines.

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Our farewell meal the night before we had to head home was moose and rock fish fajitas.

Now back to the real reason God made Sitka and the reason we went there.

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I was able to upgrade my all time best ling cod on a fly rod with this 48 inch, 35 pounder.

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A fish like this deserves another picture so here's a side view. It's pretty hard to stay away so I'm going back in a couple of weeks.

 

 

 

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Nice trip. Rock fish up my way are striped bass. What's a rock fish in your parts?

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5 hours ago, Poopdeck said:

Nice trip. Rock fish up my way are striped bass. What's a rock fish in your parts?

Alaska has about 36 species of rock fish that include.....

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Black rocks, sometime called black sea bass,

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Quill back rock fish....

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Yelloweye rocks, sometimes falsely called red snapper. That's my little brother with that one.

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Canary rock fish,

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Tiger rock fish,

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Copper rock fish

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Yellow tail,

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and China rock fish.

It's a goal of mine to catch as many of them on a fly that I can. Vermilion, Red Stripe, Brococcio and Widow rock fish are the next ones I have on my list. We've caught them on conventional gear when the weather was too rough for fly fishing but are still on the hunt with fly tackle.

They are colorful and pretty fish. Here's a pretty good resource about Alaska Rock Fish.

https://exclusivealaska.com/alaska-rockfish

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, niveker said:

Cheese and crackers!  That sounds like a great trip!  

Yep, can't wait to go again. This was a light year as far as tonnage brought home goes, we usually bring home about 200 pounds but due to extended travel time, work on the boat and bad weather we didn't get to fish as much. This was my seventh year.

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Nice series of pictures, Mark.  Hard to realize how many different fish live in those cold waters up there ... until you see all the pictures.

And WOW on that Cod !!!

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Interesting. Anything that colorful means poisonous and lots of sharp barbs, spines and other things you don't want to touch to me. They are cool looking fish can you eat them? 

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4 hours ago, mikechell said:

Nice series of pictures, Mark.  Hard to realize how many different fish live in those cold waters up there ... until you see all the pictures.

And WOW on that Cod !!!

Thanks Mike, and that's just the rock fish. There's also the five species of salmon, all the cods, greenling, halibut and all the other flat fish. It really is amazing but I'd think it would be the same in the oceans down there.

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7 minutes ago, Poopdeck said:

Interesting. Anything that colorful means poisonous and lots of sharp barbs, spines and other things you don't want to touch to me. They are cool looking fish can you eat them? 

Yep, you are right, they are very prickly but not poisonous in the real sense of the word. A cut from the spines will infect in just a matter of a short afternoon if not taken care of.

Yes they are very good to eat. Many people like them more than halibut (including me).

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Beautiful country and fish Mark-  I figured you were out fishing when your post replies dropped off!

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1 hour ago, Steeldrifter said:

Those tiger rock fish are crazy lookin' 🤪

That's a beast of a ling cod Mark.

There are two or three other varieties of striped rock fish up here and I'd love to catch them all. It's unlikely though, they are very rare.

The ling is a catch of a life time and truly a memorable thing right up there with my tiger rock on a fly.

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59 minutes ago, feathers5 said:

Those are awesome photos and a great report.Thanks

You are welcomed Mr.

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Nice fish, Mark! Man those are big.

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