Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ocean Salmon Fishery off of Westport Washington

Wow Almost one year later and I am posting. Folks, I know a lot of people dream about being a CEO or running your own company, but your free time sure suffers! Do you work to support your life or do you live to support your job? I really have to rethink my priorities!

Well Let's see, in the past year I can recall fishing 4 times. I did catch a nice steelhead in the Salmon River using my ultralight outfit. that was a blast. I should dig up a pic. Ah found one. That's a GLooims 4'6" spinning rod rated for 1 to 4 pound test. I cheated and had 8 pound fireline on it. But it still was a blast. Caught in on a black marabou jig with a pink worm under a bobber. It was dark out and we didn't want to use a flash so the pic is dark. But we guess it at 12 to 14 pounds. We don't know for sure because we released it.

I went out in the ocean in my boat once or twice. Here's a pesky dogfish!
In June I went fishing with Calvin-san and managed some nice rockfish and Ling Cod off of Westport. Thanks Calvin!

But the excitement for the year was trolling for salmon 10 miles or so off Westport, Washington with Charlie. The first day we manage two nice hatchery cohos and a king. He invites me out again and this day changes many things about the way I thought about King Salmon fishing. As most of you know from my other logs www.alaskafishinglogs.com that I LOVE everything about fishing in Alaska. I guess you could say I was an Alaska snob when it came to fishing.

Then I moved down to the coast of Washington and wow...Alaska's great but it doesn't have the monopoly on the good fishing. First I learn that the silvers here are bigger by far than anything I was used to in SouthCentral Alaska. The fall cohos here easily average in double digits. What? You can catch Kings here too? Cool. Then I discovered steelhead fishing. Wow those fish battle hard.

But this last King I caught was simply amazing in many regards. First of all it took out more line than any other king I have ever hooked. I was using thirty pound test gear and it nearly spooled me. We were fishing downriggers in 200 feet of water with the bait down at 90ft. We used whole herring with a clip (helmet).

Imagine my surprise when I get a glimpse of the fish and it looked to be no bigger than 15 pounds. We get him in the boat and it is one of the oddest looking King I have ever seen. Turns out to be 24 pounds at the dock. The only kings that I can recall from Alaska that even remotely looked like it were the kings from the Yukon River. This fish was FAT! It almost looks like a spawner humpy except of course is it is chrome bright and its 24 pounds. The angle I am holding the fish doesn't do it justice. It has a huge belly on it and we cut it open expecting to see it just loaded with bait and the stomach is empty. the pot belly look was due to the fat in the belly. It is by far the best eating King I have ever had...period. I gave a piece to one of my friends and he just about burned his house down when he grilled on an indoor jen-air grill. He turned his back on the fish and it went up in flames because there was so much oil in the fish.

We manage another small King, and 6 or 7 cohos keeping two hatchery fish (Native Cohos must be released). Though most of the cohos are still 5 or 6 pounds, Charlie nails one that was 12 pounds. Huge for this time of year. These same 5 or 6 pound cohos will be in double digits by September. These suckers grow fast!!!! So we limit out and we are back at the dock by 1pm.

On the way back I ask Charlie to stop in a Bay so I can jig up some anchovies. He asks "why do you need bait?" uhhhh no.....Its funny because my wife prefers to eat the anchovies over most salmon. So we jig up a couple of dozen. My wife has a way of butterflying them out and cleaning them and taking the main backbone out without a knife. Deep fry them with a little breading and the small bones are soft enough to eat. Kids love them and they are a great source of calcium. They are tasty little critters but not much fight to them since they are only a couple of inches long! Actually with an ultralight rod if you hook 4 or 5 of them at once on a sabiki rig, they have some weight to them. But I suppose ya got to keep the wife happy!

Thanks Charlie! Hard to believe after so many years of fishing I got a whole new perspective in a field I thought I knew a lot about.