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Fishing Report: Surf fishing in Ninilchik

Published: Jul. 1, 2021 at 7:06 AM AKDT|Updated: Jul. 1, 2021 at 7:30 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - For Thursday’s Fishing Report, we ditch the boat and go hunting for halibut off the shore of Ninilchik with the Compassion Thru Fishing crew.

Most of the time, the first thought that comes to mind when fishing halibut is to steer a boat deep in the ocean and drop a 5-pound weight down to the seafloor to target the flat bottom feeders. However, that is not the only way to catch halibut — they can also be caught from the shore by surf fishing.

“You don’t have to have the expense of the boat, people get seasick, it is absolutely kid-friendly, and doesn’t cost that much in gas,” said Randy Sisco with Compassion Thru Fishing, who has been surf fishing since 2003 and just recently moved up to Alaska where he lives on the bluffs right outside of Ninilchik. “The biggest expense would be the fishing rods, and that kind of thing you can do even with smaller poles.”

Surf fishing, at its core, is just casting a big fishing rod off the shore out into the surf. Just like every type of fishing though, there are small nuances that make all the difference. One of which includes the proper way to set up one’s rig and the type of bait to use.

A key component to Sisco’s guide service, Compassion Thru Fishing, is his truck. Not only does he use it to get to the fishing holes down on the beach, but he also uses it to hold the surf rods. There are multiple rod holders and a cooler attached to the back making fishing seamless. The hardest part, according to Sisco, is baiting the hook, after that, it is just launching the rig and knowing the right time to set the hook.

We went out two hours before the slack tide and fished for the following two hours. We caught four halibut and nine spiny dogfish, but we didn’t keep any of the small sharks. A multitude of fish, including Irish Lord, Skate, Flounder, Salmon and even Cod, can be caught just over 100 yards off of the shoreline.

“If you spend the money to go on a charter you could get two fish or if you buy a good surf rod and setup you could catch two fish a day for ten years and you don’t have to spend all day out on the water,” Curtis Wild with Compassion Thru Fishing said with a big smile on his face.

According to the guide service, they also hosted the first-ever surf fishing tournament in Alaska. They had 88 people participate and the tournament also doubled as a beach clean-up. It was held from Whiskey Gulch all the way to Clam Gulch, and they helped raise more than $1,500 dollars for charities in the area. They said the first tournament went so well that they are looking to expand in the coming years.

“We want to get together and show people that we can be friendly, a lot of folks get angry these days at each other’s throats — it doesn’t have to be that way,” Sisco said. “You can even be nice combat fishing, trust me, you can get involved with the guys next to you. Teamwork catches more fish than grumpy guys.”

Giving back and catching fish are said to be the two main goals for the Compassion Thru Fishing crew. Sisco also said he does fishing trips nearly every day, so if people want to reach out to him, do so through his Facebook page or thru his website.

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