Alaska is still one of the great angling frontiers. A giant roadless wilderness, often only accessible by boat or float plane. The expanse of unspoiled landscape is simply breathtaking. With all types of terrain, from the tundra, rugged mountain ranges, river deltas, and an amazing coastline, all combine to give Alaska a diverse yet thriving fishery.
Because of the plentiful and diverse Alaskan species, gear selection, and techniques vary greatly. Specifically, the selection and utilization of the proper hook is important because it literally is the last link between the angler and the catch. This article will help narrow down the hook selections you need when tackling such an amazing place with such a unique set of fisheries and styles of fishing.
In Alaska, salmon are king! Not only is the salmon responsible for large numbers of traveling anglers, but it feeds the state both economically and literally as many locals participate in substance fisheries.
The hook used more than any other is the Octopus hook. There are many colors and sizes to choose from for both saltwater and freshwater applications. Its use is quite ubiquitous. It can be used in mooching rigs to troll a herring, or used under floats or bounced along the bottom with bait. It’s this versatility for one that makes it such a useful hook. The up-eye allows for the ease of tying egg loops, which are a staple when using any sort of bait. If there was one hook that was simply a must-have for an Alaskan adventure, this one is it, in a range of sizes to cover every type of fishing scenario you might encounter.
Halibut might easily qualify as the second largest draw in Alaska’s diverse set of fisheries. These flatfish have such a narrow distribution range, where else can you go to capture this lofty prize, especially for the angler with his heart set on catching one the size of a barn door.
The beauty of a circle is hook is it doesn’t require a hookset. In fact, if you try and set the hook, you’re likely to go fishless! When fishing this style of hook, it’s best to let the fish eat the bait completely, and by the nature of the hook design, when the fish turns, the hook will naturally set itself in the corner of its mouth. It’s quite hard to sit on your hands as one of these large fish is mowing down on your bait threatening to pull you into the deep blue, but patience is rewarded. And best of all, once the hook is set, they rarely come off a circle hook because the corner of the mouth is such a secure place for the hook to settle.
ROCKFISH AND LINGCOD
If you hit the ocean, you can often fish for the Alaskan trifecta: salmon, halibut, and bottom fish such as big yellow-eye rockfish and Lingcod. While you can certainly fish these deep-dwelling species with bait and more traditional set-ups, bottom-bouncing jigs can be an amazing experience. There’s nothing like that hard thud as the fish attempts to rip your arms out of their sockets. So fun!
Mustad assist hooks can be rigged on slow pitch or any other style of jig you might decide to use. They are a great replacement hook for traditional trebles and make unhooking your fish a much easier endeavor. Plus, the hook-to-land ratio is much higher when using single hooks.
For sizes, you generally want to match the hook gape (the distance from the hook point to the hooks shank) to the width of the jig you’re fishing. With the current speed in Alaska, larger and heavier jigs are often needed to get into the strike zone, so the larger assist hooks are often warranted when matching the hook to the jig.
TROUT, CHAR AND DOLLY VARDEN
In the past, trout fishing with a fly rod often meant fishing with one of two different styles of flies. You were often either drifting globugs or swinging flesh flies. While the styles of imitations are still very similar today, fishing beads have almost completely replaced the use of globugs. Anglers who don’t have a stash of beads in different sizes and colors are often wishing and not fishing! So many spawning salmon jam themselves into the rivers and creeks that the number of eggs can be staggering. This plethora of easy protein becomes a staple in resident fish diets.
The bead is simply the best imitation of a salmon egg you’re likely to find, and with the different sizes and colors available, you can almost always closely match the hatch.
Beads aren’t just useful for the fly fisherman but can also be used under a float on lighter line with spin tackle. Make sure you stock up on a selection of bead hooks and different sizes and colors of salmon beads on your next Alaskan adventure.
SALMON, STEELHEAD, AND TROUT
Treble hooks aren’t permitted in many of Alaska’s fisheries. Enter the Siwash hook, which allows for painless changes from treble hooks to single point offerings. The Luhr Jensen Kwikfish is another one of those ubiquitous pieces of hardware used all over Alaska to tempt feisty king salmon.
Changing out hooks from factory trebles to a single point hook is simple with a Siwash. The hook’s defining feature is an open eye that easily allows you to place them on a split or welded ring, and then pinch the eye closed for simple and quick hook changes. They can also easily be added to spinners. Simply cut the old treble off the spinner with a set of sidecutters, and then add the siwash hook to the ring at the back of the spinner.
Don’t get caught without some of siwash hooks in your tackle if you’re planning on fishing hardware on your next Alaskan adventure.
As you can see, the myriad of situations and species calls for a large selection of hooks for various styles and situations found in the Alaska wilderness. Mustad will keep you on point.
Mustad has led the global hook market since 1877. Mustad’s mission is to create a comprehensive multi-brand company that leads the fishing tackle industry, while focusing on innovation, employee and customer satisfaction, and sustainability. With the addition of TUF-LINE and LIVETARGET, Mustad continues to solidify its position as a complete sports fishing brand family.