Having lived in AK for a year now, I am looking to begin purchasing a first set of gear for weekend trips down to the Kenai and Russian Rivers for the coming salmon runs. I will be fishing from the bank / wading into the rivers and am fairly new to the whole salmon fishing arena with only a pair of outings last year to prepare me. (Most familiar with fishing in the midwest for largemouth bass, some small rainbow/brown trout and panfish, so this is a new arena!)
I was (incorrectly) taught last year how to fish for reds / pinks by quickly jerking a "fly" (aka hook) as I visually saw the fish swim to an area, or just randomly jerking the hook/fly with no visual aids. We were using a heavy sinker about 16-18" from the hook to get it down to the bottom of the river quickly. I'm not sure what this method is called as I have always known jerkbaiting or plugging as a semi-topwater form of fishing the lures named as such (Jerkbaits and plugs). I have been informed that the manner in which I was doing this was actually illegal (It was pretty much snagging) and how to more correctly fish in this manner. Thank goodness for meeting legally-versed fisherman friends; large fines are NOT what I want to catch! :)
The other style of fishing which I am much more familiar and comfortable with is casting out into the river and retrieving a spoon or similar lure, hoping to catch an aggressive/hungry fish.
I saw that a local sportstore has a Kenai King rod on clearance for an unbelievable price (I don't recall if it was spinning or baitcast - I can use either so I wasn't horribly concerned) and was curious as to if this is a good fit for what I was looking for in a rod or not.
I'm really new to purchasing specialized gear and have usually made due with very inexpensive gear bought in my naive youth... I am on a very limited budget (non-traditional college student, and wedding expenses!) but know that it is worth spending a little more for quality gear than buying something cheap that I'm unhappy with or replacing every year. A few quality items are better than a lot of cheap items. I would like to stick with equipment made in the US if at all possible, althought it looks like I will have to turn to foreign-made reels for quality (sad to say!). I am hoping that in addition to dipnetting, I might catch enough good fish to feed myself and my wife for a substatial time! :)
Please offer any suggestions for rods (I like the Lamiglas brandname, plus many of their rods are US-made), as well as if anyone has recommendations for a quality reel to match. I'm curious how the Shimano Curado series holds up to fishing in this environment (high-speed rivers, the various salmon including kings, if I should consider a saltwater reel in case I fish closer to the mouth, etc). Also, line preferences for this environment would be helpful too :) I don't think my ultralight Berkley Tri-line is going to cut the mustard anymore ;)
Thank you for your response and help! Enjoy all your fishing adventures!