Fish Alaska Essentials
There are certain items in the angling arsenal that become indispensable. They find themselves in gear bags trip after trip, despite a mountain of options from a large pool of manufacturers for nearly every conceivable method and fish size. Many have been around a long while and just plain work. Others are quite new, and simply outperform the rest. Some items are ubiquitous and others rarer. A certain reel that battles hundreds of kings and continues to hold up. A rod that throws line farther and smoother than any before or since. A lure in size and color that the fish can’t refuse. These items are essentials.
The Fish Alaska Essentials award is a new concept to recognize products that have been tested and approved in Alaska and remain a good choice anytime.
Lamiglas G1000 Kenai Rods–Long before the magazine came into existence, the most valuable item in my gear collection was a Lamiglas baitcaster. Posey and the boys know how to build a good rod and they certainly stand behind it. We’ve enjoyed much of the Lamiglas line from fly to spin, salt to baitcasting.
Mepps Aglia - The #3 Green Platinum Mepps Aglia is among the most productive lures we’ve ever used. From tight-lipped coho to trophy trout and char, this lure catches fish that others don’t.
Blue Fox Vibrax - Most tackle boxes around Alaska contain this lure. From the smaller sizes for all of the state’s resident gamefish to the larger sizes that have caught every salmon species swimming, the unique combination of blade and bell drive fish insane. This lure now comes in an astonishing number of finishes and styles.
Blue Fox Pixie - This spoon is among the all-time best salmon attractors. I can remember the looks I was getting up and down the beach at Allison Point after the reel stopped screaming with another big silver. The ½-ounce nickel-plated green insert was sick that day. I’ve had other days at the mouth of the Deshka when kings would eat nothing else but the M-ounce gold-plated fluorescent orange insert. You’d be in the minority if you don’t have some Pixies on hand during salmon season.
G-Loomis Native Run GLX - This remains my favorite rod for throwing big flies long distances. Since first casting it, and immediately watching the fly travel 20 feet farther, I’ve been amazed at how easily it throws thread. After testing many competitive models, this rod is still my first choice.
Leatherman Multitool - From its advent to today’s wide range of choices, the Leatherman multi-tool is truly an amazing device, and essential for being prepared for the unexpected when enjoying the outdoors. On a day-float many years ago, I broke an oar within the first five minutes and did not have a spare. Using the multi-tool to cut down two small alders, we lashed them to either side of the oar and floated the eight-mile stretch of river without incident. From sharpening hooks to tightening screws and from cleaning fish to opening cans, make sure you have one on hand for your next Alaska adventure.
Avet Saltwater Reel - After wrestling big fish like triple-digit halibut and quarter-ton salmon shark with Avet reels, it’s our choice when going into battle on the saltwater.
Abu Garcia Ambassadeur - This classic reel has been catching salmon in Alaska for generations and holds up as one of the more popular baitcasting reels.
Gamakatsu Siwash Hook - Sticky sharp and sturdy, Gamakatsu is among our top choices for hooks.
Ande Monofilament - Time and again, Ande Monofilament has proven to be strong and abrasion-resistant, and our go-to choice for monofilament.
Simms Guide Wader, Jacket and Boots - The Simms Guide line of waders, jackets and boots have been field-tested and proven tough despite the thousands of hours spent wading, hiking, standing in the rain and getting in and out of boats. In fact, our editor is going on year 11 with the same Guide Jacket and Boots - the upcoming felt ban will finally end the boots’ years of service, but the jacket will likely hold out for several more.
Luhr Jensen Kwikfish - This is the quintessential plug for river-fishing Alaska, and accounts for a lot of salmon, especially Chinook, caught each year. The range of color patterns and models have increased over the years, and so has the range of water conditions where you can effectively use a Kwikfish.
Maxima Fluorocarbon - Over many years we’ve had the chance to use many different types of leader material and we still rank Maxima Flourocarbon near the top of the list. Fish can’t see it and it’s durable and strong.
Grunden’s Raingear - From heavy-duty commercial gear to lighter coats and pants for the weekend warrior, Grunden’s raingear is a good choice for anyone spending time on the saltwater or trying to stay dry when it just won’t stop raining. And it’s easy to clean off fish slime, blood and guts.
Eagle Claw Classic Hook - Since childhood, I’ve been catching piles of fish on Eagle Claw hooks. The classic series offers many options for different style hooks depending on your presentation. Check out the Lazer Sharp hooks as well.
Seeker Alaska Series Halibut Rod - Tough and responsive, Seeker builds a product that will hold up to big fish time and again. The Alaska series is a must-have for serious saltwater anglers.
Kalin Leadhead Jig with Grub Tail - It seems that every bottomfish in Alaska will attack a leadhead jig with a grub tail. Different models dot the angling landscape, but the Kalin leadhead jig is among the most popular and effective. We’ve caught many oversized lingcod on this deadly offering.
Point Wilson Dart - When it comes to imitating the many different types of baitfish that salmon and bottomfish love to ingest, the Point Wilson Dart is a proven lure. Between the fluttering action, slim profile and enticing finishes, the Point Wilson Dart is able to effectively imitate baitfish like candlefish and herring.
Hot Spot Apex - The Apex trolling lure will catch just about everything swimming in both the fresh- and salt waters of Alaska. Sporting a wide range of colors and several sizes, we have pounded huge trout and frenzied coho on this awesome lure.
Ross Canyon Big Game Reel - Tried and true, this is one of those reels that Fish Alaska magazine editors have used for many years, landing many big fish, and we continue to reach for it despite the range of options available. The reel boasts one of the best sealed drags out there, which helps us continue to dominate big fish in dirt- and silt-laden streams.
Original Bug Shirt - When it comes to fishing the freshwaters of Alaska, and this holds especially true on remote rivers, biting insects are a force to be reckoned with. Mosquitoes, no-see-ums, and white socks will find you and at times drive you to the point of insanity. Our best solution yet is the Original Bug Shirt. It is lightweight, compact and will keep the bugs out of your eyes, nose, mouth and ears.
Western Filament Tuf Line - This is our go-to choice for braided line. There are multiple models available and a wide range of tests and spool sizes in each model line.
Marcus Weiner is publisher of Fish Alaska and Hunt Alaska magazines.