Saturday, October 15, 2011

Siletz Salmon with a Couple Snowbirds

My parents are heading back down to Arizona in a couple weeks, so Last Saturday, I was fortunate to fish with them! We headed over to the coast to the Siletz River. We launched at Siletz Moorage around first light. We headed out to the mouth to hit the low slack, coming in an hour and a half. We dropped the crab pots in a channel along the houses on the Salishan spit and continued to the mouth. It felt like a parade with the fuzzy fat onlookers.

5-6 boat were already out there dragging herring, so I made my way into the traffic.

Bankies were lining the beach, casting their spinners. Most were #6 Blue Foxes. Some getting pretty close to the boat if you get near their casting area.  So, we stayed clear while motoring out into the breakers. we turned to come back in on the outgoing tide.

This guy walked over from Salishan with his net and rod and we watched him beach a nice fish right in front of the seals.  Walked away and went home for breakfast!

Depth was only 3-6 feet. I had never fished a shallow inlet like this before. I dropped a herring back on one rod. While getting the second bait out, my dad comments, "Is that rod supposed to be doing that?". I look over and the first rod was doubled over, line screaming out, and yell, "Fish on!". My mom gets first fish, so she grabs the rod and starts the fight. It made a semi-circle all the way around the boat, in this shallow sandy surf and pops off. We were excited for the day, seeing that we had a fish on in the first 5 mins of fishing!

We re-deployed the 3 herring and twenty minutes later, BAM! Fish on again! This time my dad fights it. This fish makes a couple strong runs, but again, eventually just spits the hook. We Finally hook a third fish, following the tide in on a pass. We clear the rods and quickly bring in nice chrome Coho. ONE FISH IN THE BOAT! Already this was a great day.

The tide started to rip its way in so we decided to head back upriver further.   Just above the 101 bridge, we dropped our lines in.  At one point, we had Ken Bolstad, of Rod-Action Guide Service landing a fish with a child on board.  I took a picture of them taking a picture of this kiddos new memory!

It was a great moment.

We trolled our way up from the Siletz Moorage up past Coyote Rock. Along the way the weeds were the worst when we were trolling against the tide. So we trolled upriver with the tide and just kept going. It was a beautiful sunny day with no wind. Why not just keep going. Just around the Coyote Rock RV Park area, I felt we might as well reel up and turn around and head back down. I put the kicker into neutral and say, "Reel 'em up. Lets turn around". At that moment, I grab my rod out of the holder to start reeling and it starts tugging back... HARD!    FISH ON!  ...while reeling up! I grab it and give it to my mom. This fish is putting up an amazing fight. Its running her all over the boat. We get control of the fish and bring it up to the net! Another fish in the boat! That's 2-4! This one is a 16 lb chinook.

Just up around the next bend, my rod starts to bury. This one is a big one! It puts up a great fight. At one point, it swam around a wood piling but we were fortunate enough to get it free and finally net the fish. Right when my dad netted it, my line broke. It frayed from the teeth of the fish. Perfect timing! Much longer and that fish would have swam away. It had a small seal gash on the one side of it, but the meat was still great.

The sun was shining down and we were smiling ear to ear. I couldn't believe we had 3 fish in the boat and were 3-5 for the day!

The day got longer and we decided to call it. We collected our crab pots, with not so great success, and headed in. However, my mom says, "Lets keep fishing! We still have 3 more herring! This is fun!" I LOVED hearing that! So we did. Unfortunately, our luck didn't increase. We took a pass and were weeded up, so we just quit with our bounty.

Ended the day with dinner at Dory Cove, the best chowder on the coast! What an amazing day of fishing, and some great memories with my parents!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

October Tuna!

It's October, and the fall storms are starting to roll into the coast.  The warmer water is starting to subside, pulling the tuna further and further out of range for our sport boats.

 The water was clear and blue..

We had a very short weather window on Saturday and decided to head west to good ole' Garibaldi! 

Mother ocean was calm to us in the morning, but began to blow hard from the south by afternoon.   The morning met us with a comfortable 6ft swell from the WNW at 12 seconds.   Wind waves came from the South at just a foot or so in the morning.    The ride out greeted us with a partial rainbow and photographic moment.

After clearing the jaws, we knew we had a good window of opportunity to catch fish.   We headed west past Johnny Bowles and the salmon crew.

We found our first fish along the 30 line but headed further west as far as the 125.03.    We stayed south of Garibaldi, around the 23-30 N/S line, knowing that we were going to have to run back to the barn with the wind at our back. 

The ocean was teaming with life.  Jumpers, birds, whales, and dolphins were everywhere.

We spotted many sets of jumpers but none that we could hook up and keep the school at the boat.  We kept heading west until commie (commercial tuna boat) after commie began to pop up on the horizon.   Before we knew it there were 11 commercial guys all around us.  We couldn't get an iron bite, so we decided to troll a couple swim baits.   FISH ON!    Even with these fish being hooked, we still only hooked up a handful on live bait during these stops.  For some reason, the fish were keying on trolled swimbaits today, rather than LIVE bait!?   odd, for sure!   But we found the pattern, put it together, and made it happen!  Trolling 4 rods at a time, our numbers slowly rose.   By the time the wind was howling up from the south, we had 27 tuna on ice and we called it a day.   Pulled in gear and ran east.  The run in was pretty smooth and the bar crossing was like glass. ... I even slept the whole way across and was woken up once we were inside!  That's a first.

Well, that was probably the last trip of the year before they get out of reach for us sporties.   Thanks Charlie Tuna for another fun year to play!  Can't wait til you come back next summer!  Bring more other pelagics with ya!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Big Siletz River Fall Chinook

Got to fish the Siletz with Gary and Dan this morning.   I had to work in the afternoon so it was going to be a shortened trip.   We launched at a new launch this time... The Siletz Moorage, just above the 101 bridge.   The owners are the nicest people and everyone should give these people their business.   They are happy to help with anything you need, donate fish bags, etc.

After putting the boat in, we trolled upriver with an incoming tide with no runs, no hits, and no errors.  We turned around and headed back down.   I was running the kicker while holding my rod straight out the back, rather than using the rod holders.  I felt a SMACK on my line, then looked back in time to see it buckle numorous times.  I finally lift up and set the hook.  FISH ON!!  A couple screaming runs, as well as a trip under the boat and back around later, the fish began to tired and swam in to Gary's new net, that had only been used twice now.... Both of MY Siletz fish!~   Sorry, Gary, had to christen the net for ya.....Twice!
This fish was pushing 30lbs!   ...One of my largest salmon in the past few years!

Around noon, they dropped me off to clean my fish while they trolled out front and checked the crab pots.   As Gary was letting out his line, BAM!  I hear the commotion from land and yell out to them.  I grabbed my camera and was able to document the whole fight in just a few pics...

A nice 10lb coho!   Congrats!   These fish, along with limits of large crab are going to make for some great dinner tonight...

Crab Cake-Stuffed Salmon!  MMmmmm!

Bon Apetite!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Chinook Salmon w/ Johnny Bowles

Johnny Bowles, of JB And Water Guide Service,  invited me on board to fish with him last week.   He has some openings, so I bolted over the hill to meet him at the dock at 6:30am.   I got there early to take a few pictures before we headed out.

We had two clients in the boat that we needed to get onto some fish.   The weather was barely nice enough to let us out for the morning.

Winds were scheduled to come up by afternoon, so we tried to fish as much as possible, early.  We got the okay from the coasties that the bar was open and off we went.

We started fishing just out in the bubble.  Herring were deployed and waiting for action.

Not more than a couple mins before my rod hits hard and starts taking line.   I quickly grab the rod, set the hook, and hand it to the gentleman in the back of the boat.   "Take the rod",  I said.   Al was his name.   A father and son combination that had come along.  His father played the fish great, all the way back to the boat.   We saw it was a coho and had to release it.   The regulations for this area were no coho, wild or hatchery, could be taken from the ocean...ONLY from INSIDE the jaws.    Well, we were outside, so off he swam to live another day.  After this it was non-stop.   We couldn't keep the coho salmon off our lines.   These fish were getting large and almost could be mistaken for chinook.  Some were in the upper teens!    Pelicans and gulls were diving everywhere!

Baitballs were being pushed up to the surface by the fish underneath, and the birds would dive and have their way with the bait from the air.

The water was black with anchovies as we drove the boat through these giant black balls of bait.    Each trip through one of these bait balls brought the rods screaming.   Doubles!    Triples!   Coho action everywhere!   We had some definite fire drills on board.   Finally, after weeding through 20 or more coho, we found a couple chinook for the clients!   They were happy and so were we.

What a great day and thanks to JB for the invite!   I love getting out on the salt and just enjoying the world out there!