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Mid-March Miracle of Herring

Mid-March begins a miracle of nature in Sitka. Massive schools of herring start showing up followed by nearly everything that eats herring – sea lions, seals, birds, and humpback whales to name just a few. When the time is right – late March thru mid-April – the herring spawn in the intertidal and subtidal zone – basically along the shoreline. They lay their eggs on eelgrass, seaweed, kelp, and other submerged vegetation. They spawn en masse turning the water a milky blue similar to glacial runoff. The colored water is so widespread that it’s visible from space. Along with the gathering of sea creature, purse seiners line up hoping to fill the net with ripe herring which bring a high price from Asian buyers. If you find yourself with time during spring, this marvel is worth the trip to Sitka.

Multiple whales feed on herring in the ocean in Sitka, Alaska
Paddle boarding in Sitka, Alaska
Lots of small fish piled together
Two kids hold a king salmon on a boat in Sitka, Alaska

Too Young To Fish?

What’s the youngest age to bring a kid fishing with AU in Sitka? We get that question a lot from guests who hope to introduce the next generation to the experience of fishing our saltwater wilderness. The answer isn’t easy because it depends on the kid. First, does said youngster already have an interest in fishing? If not, we suggest you dip their toes in the water closer to home before going to full-on immersion for 3 long days on the North Pacific. Equally important, do you know if this youngster gets seasick? Again, if the answer isn’t known, finding out the hard way on day one of three spells a bit of disaster for the rest of the trip.

The youngest child ever on my boat was about 8 months. Obviously, he didn’t fish, but he rode along for three days doing what you’d expect of an 8-month-old with no signs of unusual discomfort. Still, 8 months is pushing the envelope a bit. We have had kids as young as 8 years old that have had a terrific time – loved the fishing, no seasickness. We’ve had others in their teens that weren’t able to like the fishing because they were seasick. We’ve had others that weren’t seasick but just didn’t seem to get into the experience.

This goes a long way to saying what age you bring a youngster to Sitka has a lot to do with the individual. It’s also important to commit the trip to the kid. He or she isn’t there to have your experience forced down their young throat. How long you stay out, what kind of fishing you do, how rough an ocean you go out on – all these decisions should be kid-focused. The worst outcome is taking a kid out there and making them suffer. Still, the kids that really get into fishing with us in Sitka will bug you to bring them back again and again. I had a 28-year-old on my boat last year who started fishing with me when he was 10. Another warning – the kid might out fish you. Which can start out as a fun thing but might get humbling if it goes on and on.

Interior of an Angling Unlimited charter boat

Improvements for 2023

Depth finder on an Angling Unlimited boat

AU works hard to improve our product every year. This year the big expenditure, and it is kind of big, is new state-of-the-art Garmin electronic for Albatross, Loon, 7th Sun, and Skute. The world of marine electronics continues to rapidly evolve and improve. The features on the new Garmins will help your captain provide a safer and more productive trip. Side scanning sonar, for instance, will spot fish before they’re under the boat, which gives anglers a better chance to move their bait to the right depth when the fish arrive. The sea floor mapping feature provides far more subtle details to the structures we fish, thereby giving the captain an edge on finding the most productive spots to anchor or drift. Add to that precision radar for safer navigation and a host of other features. We’ve had excellent electronics on the boats all along but what was new quickly becomes old in the world of electronics. We’ve had this innovative technology on five of our boats. Now the rest of the fleet is back to the cutting edge.

Seagulls flying over the water in Sitka, Alaska

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