Saturday, October 6, 2012

Brian Day!!

What an amazing day! I must admit, I definitely wasn't expecting it!   I got a call from Bud to come over for some late-season October Tuna!  However, he went out the day before and the fish weren't very cooperative.  After coming back with only one fish, having travelled past the 125.30 line, and burned $600 in fuel, we changed the game plan for Saturday and decided to stay in closer and just fish for lings and salmon.  Since tuna wasn't going to be on the menu for Saturday, Bud declared it Brian Day!!  This was considered my wedding gift and present.  He even allowed the crab pots!  (...not the norm on Seelicious!)   I decided I would drive over the night before to go to the BBQ at Big Tuna Marine, and say hello to the guys I hadn't seen much this season.  I packed up the car and headed west across the hill.  Unfortunately, the 'heightened fire danger' and the dry east winds met up and caused a little hangup on the way over.

I was stuck behind a line of cars that was stopped because a field had lit on fire and was burning wildly, alongside the road.  I couldn't help but notice some fishermen with a teal boat, eagerly wanting to get across the hill, as well!  I quickly noticed a green trash can, a.k.a. bleed bucket, attached to the back of their boat and immediately knew what they were going after!...the same thing I had planned!  After sitting in a long line of traffic, and getting a little detour, the trip continued...
I arrived at Big Tuna that evening, just in time for the food to go on the grill.  Bud was the chef behind this giant grill.  There were tuna medallions, chicken wings, squash, and even steaks for steak sandwiches.  These guys go all out!

After a good meal, I headed to Brad's place to crash for the night.  The next morning, woke up and headed down to the marina.

We loaded the rods and traps onto the boat.  There were three of us that headed out.  Bud, myself, and Rick, Baitboy.  We zig-zagged our way out passed the salmon guys before heading north to drop the pots.

The ride out was stellar!  Beautiful sunny day with little chop on the water.
After deployment, we ran west to the ling cod hole.

On the way out, we saw something breaching wayyyy up ahead.  Looked like a humback.  It would come straight up, half way out, and fall to the side.    As we got closer, we noticed a pod of orcas!  There were at least 5 of them.  It looked like 3 calves, a mother, and a giant bull.

There was no mistaking this giant dorsal fin!  It was almost twice the size as the female's.

They didn't seem too thrilled that the boat was around, and quickly disappeared out of sight.
We continued out to the ling cod hole.  Once there, we scented up our 'special baits', made sure they were tuned and running right, and dropped them down to the depths.  They have to be just perfect to get these finicky fish to bite!  ...okay, not really..
When I say depths, I mean over 400'!   Lucky for us, Bud brought his two electric reels.  Talk about luxury!!

 Winching those fish up from those kinds of depths wasn't so hard!  This also gave us the ability to throw back any large females to continue to breed.  We want to practice conservation and release the large fish to spawn and keep our fishing grounds prosperous for years to come.  Here's Rick with a nice big male!

We were releasing fish that were HUGE!

 Some we ended up keeping due to bleeding, and others because they were a perfect eating size.  After gathering our limits of lings, we headed in a few clicks to some salmon numbers we had.  We had some other boats in the area, and everyone seemed to be enjoying the weather.

We planned to put 3 rods out at different depths to find the fish.  However, we couldn't get one line down before it would start going off.  Fish on!!  Before landing the fish, we realize we never brought a net.  We left it back at the dock, because it was originally going to be a tuna day.  Well, we're good fishermen!  We improvised!  A gaff did just fine!  After 2-3 shakers, we finally got all the lines in and started hooking some nice chinook.  Again, we must have released 5-10 fish that were only 8-10 lbs, sifting through feeders.  (Hopefully this is a sign of a good stock next year!)

At one point, a mola mola, or Sunfish, swam up to the boat to say hello.

These fish seem so docile and almost inquisitive.

This fish almost seemed like it was hanging around, begging for scraps; continually looking up at us, hanging out just 6' from us on the surface.

This lasted for few minutes before it went on its way.  What an amazingly odd critter!

Well, we eventually kept our 6th fish and decided to run in and pull the pots.  Those pots were stuffed with so many crabs, we were culling to keep the largest and fullest ones.  These crabs were Giants!

We found our perfect specimins and headed back to the barn. (Thanks Brad for the extra couple pots, too!)

Back at the marina, we saw Doug, Dylan, John, and a few others, who also had a bountiful day out there!

(Those are our ling cod in the light blue cooler in the picture above!) That one is a Mammoth! He needs a beer! 

Here is a final shot of our chromers before processing them into bags...

Once we found some room on the cutting board, Rick and I made quick work of the fish.

With a trifecta of limits, Brian Day couldn't have been better!

Fall Ling Cod!

Days like this may not be the nonstop tuna action, but they are low-stress, lots of fun, and memorable!!   I couldn't have asked for a better trip and memories!

Thanks again Bud!!!!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Strange Crabs on the Siletz!

My parents were staying over at Depoe Bay for the week, so Melissa and I decided to bring the boat over and join them for a day or two.  The first day produced no fish, about 10 crabs, and some seriously blowing wind.  It was pretty relentless, so the girls wanted to hang back at the room to relax the next day.   So my Dad and I fished the Siletz the next morning.

The weather was amazing!  Unlike the day before.

We tried to fish the day before with no results, and wind that was blowing 20 kts, easily.  This produced some 2-3' waves coming up the river by the bridge.  What a tale of two days!

  The next morning, a light fog settled in, but quickly burned off and made way for warm rays of sunshine beating down on us.  We dropped the crab pots and decided to fish upriver a little, where it was calmer.

Beautiful colors were everywhere, as fall was beginning to arrive in the leaves along the river. 

 We trolled up and down a few times before deciding there just weren't a lot of fish in the system yet, so we hung it up for the day.  We went back out and got the crab pots, which had 9-10 nice big crabs waiting for us!  One crab was definitely an abnormality.

This crab had an extra pincher... but it was ON his pincher.

Thankfully for my cat, there were no joints to make this pincher a 'working pincher'.

Was a great feeling to be out there with just my Dad.  I enjoy those times that he and I get to spend together.  I just wish we could've thrown a salmon into the cooler to add to the mix!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Newport Inshore Halibut with Chris

My friend Chris was in town from Idaho and went out the day before to fish for tuna by himself.  He fished out of Newport and ended up almost 30 nautical miles west before finding warm blue water.  The fishing was slow, and he only ended up with 3 fish.  I drove over to Newport that night and we formed a game plan.  On the way, was the most beautiful sunset over Siletz Bay.

We decided not to waste gas for tuna, and instead, try for some inshore halibut and salmon.  There had been some good reports just off the lighthouse for some white gold we decided to go out and prospect!  Steve, from Idaho, also came over with his wife and child and we took them along for the killing.
That next morning, I woke up before everyone else and decided to run and grab a coffee.  It was nice and sunny around town, so I grabbed my coffee and headed over by Yaquina Head to become a tourist.  The tsunami that struck Japan last year sent debris all the way across the ocean and some ended up on the coast of Oregon.  There was a large concrete dock that created a tourist trap for some, and an eyesore on the beach for others. 

Finally they figured out a way to drive a crane out during low tide and dismember the dock in small pieces.   I drove up to the Yaquina Lighthouse and took a few other pictures from above.  Impressively big!  I can't believe it floated all the way across the Pacific!

Chris eventually woke up and called me, so I headed back to Southbeach.  We headed out, dropped the crab pots, and motored out to the drift.  Just off the lighthouse in 165' seemed to be the depth.  We dropped our baits and got bit within 20 mins!  Not just bit, but line just started screaming out!  First inshore fish on!  Chris brought in a nice fish!

They weren't just chickens, either.  These fish were around 40-50lbs each!  The bites continued and so did the filling of the cooler!  We limited out in short order and made our way back to pick up the crab pots.  After some nice limits of big crab, we headed in to clean up, relax and recount our adventure.  Here's Steve with a nice fish that is going home to his Idaho freezer!  ...and let me tell you... These Idaho boys don't mess around! When they drive out here to fish, they bring fish HOME!  They come equipped with full chest freezers in the back of their trucks, attached to generators to keep them cool.  WOW!  Dedication!

Here's my piggy!  

Can't beat a day inshore, nice weather, great company, and BIG FISH!!  What another amazing day on the pond!  CHris, thanks, dude!  Can't wait til next Spring for the next adventure!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Idaho Spuds Bag First Tuna

Well, Chris popped back over the hill from Idaho to spend a couple weeks fishing.

During this trip, a friend of his from Idaho, and his boy, joined us.  It was their first time out on the ocean, and fishing for tuna.  We couldn't have asked for a calmer day, either.  The ride out started out with a slight breeze in the morning.

Throughout the day, the wind died off and it just turned to glass. We found warm water just 24 miles offshore and deployed the lines.  The first couple fish came one at a time.  They had a blast gaffing fish!

The fish were very cooperative throughout the afternoon!

We ended up the day with just over 20 fish, and the Idaho boys were amazed at this fishery that we have out here.