Advances in Gear Makes Fishing The Kenai a State of the Art Experience
If you have never visited Soldotna, Alaska in the summer, you cannot go far without seeing some sign of the fabled salmon fishery that permeates the town annually. In nearby waters from May through September, one of the most refined and professional guide fleets plies the glacial Kenai for world record salmon and trophy rainbows. Success is not afforded via fate or luck alone, but by virtue of the equipment it takes to tackle the Kenai and her many unique challenges.
Willie Boats are something you see a lot of here on the Kenai River and for good reason. When 90% of Kenai River Guides are fishing from one type of boat, that should say a lot. Willie Boats are and will always be the industry standard when it comes to custom river boats. Having a boat that is perfectly designed for the fishing you are doing is a huge advantage.
Just as Willie Boats are by far the most popular boat on the Kenai, Yamaha is an equally popular choice for propulsion. The Kenai recently saw the 35HP limit raised to 50HP this past season and this makes the Yamaha 50HP four-stroke an obvious choice. So obvious apparently that year in and year out our local Yamaha dealer sells more outboards than any other dealer in the nation! This ultra-dependable work horse will get up and roar when the bite is on down river, but it will also lay down and purr when it’s time to start fishing.
When you board our boats and take a seat, we hope you are pleasantly surprised by the support and comfort you find. Our seats are given an especially demanding assignment season after season when you consider the use and wear they endure from our nonstop summers. They see everything from freezing subzero temps to 80 degree blistering days in the midnight sun. With their long lasting seats and industry standard rod holders, Fish On -Tempress has been a mainstay on the Kenai for decades.
Lamiglas Rods have conquered more Kenai Kings than any other rod on the planet. I am proud to hand my customers a fishing rod designed specifically for the fish they are targeting. These hand crafted icons of the Pacific Northwest are your tool for landing the fish of your dreams. With over 420 different models in their catalog, Lamiglas has always created rods to accommodate the most diverse and demanding fisheries. With several rods bearing the Kenai namesake, their dedication to the river is unrivaled.
Gamakatsu continues to dominate the hook world and no where is that more true than here on the Kenai. From their small, but deadly trout hooks to the big stuff for Kenai kings, they are always on the cutting edge of hook technology. Their hooks have shown year in and year out that they can handle all the Kenai can deliver. As a guide, time tested reliability is priceless and Gamakatsu is my hook of choice.
I think it is safe to say that a good number of the anglers I fish annually have never actually fished with braided line. When you tell them they are using 80-100# test line, they look at the line and are often surprised by how small the diameter is. But the small diameter is merely one reason to utilize a quality braided line like Tuff Line’s XP Plus when targeting big Kenai Kings. One other nice feature is strength. This tightly woven synthetic line is built to withstand abrasion and with a river strewn with obstacles including jagged rocks, trees, and countless other boats durability is very important. Braided line also has no stretch so it not only does a more effective job of working with the rod to run a plug to perfection, but once the fish strikes, there is no delay in getting the hooks buried.
You might be wondering what we load all that Tuff Line onto and the answer is always Shimano. Yet another industry leading product, Shimano reels are the only option in our camp. For kings we especially like the Tekota 500 Line Counters as the counter proves invaluable for back-trolling and the drags on these reels are built to perform with precision all season long. The oversized handle is especially helpful when getting line back on a huge salmon and the spool on the 500 is just right for the line capacity we require.
None of this advanced gear really matters unless you have something the fish want to bite. Trying to fool big game fish like Kenai kings is not an easy task to accomplish day in and day out and no other lure consistently catches more Kenai Kings than Luhr Jensen’s Kwikfish. These diving plugs, especially with a belly wrapped with fresh sardine, seem to have a certain action that salmon simply cannot resist.