It was day 2 and after the weather from the day prior we were ready for it to lay down and push offshore. Today, I had my sights set on a location about 8 miles from the SWC, which would add time to the equation. The seas weren’t very friendly with 5-15 knot winds, occassional 1′ wind waves and 6 second rollers 6-8′. The area between Cape Flattery and Tatoosh Island was especially volatile churning and causing some puckered up moments while pushing through carefully west. Once got to the outside it seemed to lay down some however, boats were being cautious and watching their pounding.
While we had this sunrise at a distance it was a bit rock and rolly. Pegasus handed it like a champ, cruising at 3800 rpm she just sliced through the crude and we passed many boats heading to the SWC. About 20 miles out our path veered 210 degrees West.
The first location was a bust, nothing but some smaller sized lingcod. We worked the spot but the radio chatter from beyond would suggest lights out action abuot 3 miles away.
We decided to pull up and push towards the canyon face and the little change up was good choice. We started connecting with big ling cod, including my 35# beast that took a tipped squid Copper pipe jig in 571′ of water.
Jason T. and his crew showed up for the games just as we were finishing up. We had all our ling cod and halibut, enjoyed watching the other boats tussle with their fish and leading the pack was Tommy D. with his 290 Guadalupe Definace with twin 300 Verados.
What an awesome way to end the last day of the trip, with limits of fish. We were actually about 5 fish short on the rockfish, but that didn’t matter much as we were ready to pack it up and head back to clean the boat and get back to our homes.
My Monday appointments took me to Pike Place market where I snapped a photo of the whole halibut at $18.99/#. Thats probably like a $380 fish! I gave my parents some fish, and mom was quick to make some Korean style ceviche and we had a nice dinner of pan seared garlic butter Ling Cod and Halibut Steaks.
While we’re a little wiped out from the last few days, it was all worth it. Nobody got injured, we didn’t have any major mechanical failures, we didn’t break or lose too many pieces of gear apart from my Google Nexus 10 tablet that decide to zap out. Good thing I had a second backup tablet with charts that I downloaded. Amazing fishery and one of my favorite eating fish. Hopefully the season will be extended as the WDFW fish checkers were reporting less than 1 out of 3 boats were coming in with halibut.
The surveyors measure and record the size and once the 113,XXX quota is met, the fishery is then closed. Many anglers we spoke with that didn’t venture offshore came up empty handed. Although we did see a few big ones that were caught in shore at place like the garbage dump or near tatoosh, the idea of waiting around for a bite for hours wasn’t my cup of tea.
With Spring comes some unstable weather patterns. Fortunately the system that hit us on Friday was planned as an inshore day. We slept in, but slowly made out way out around 11 to see if we could coax some Lingcod or black bass.
Upon making the turn around Tatoosh, the winds and rollers punched us every which way. We tried to stay on point and drift, but it was pretty fruitless. We tried other spots near mushroom rock, Tatoosh and Waadah without any love. CW picked up a small yellowtail rockfish, but that was it.
We decided to make the most of it and decided to do the Cape Flattery hike a short hike to the edge of the Northern most part of the contiguous US. The views were amazing and it was the first time for Phil and Ching. They loved it, who wouldn’t with view and landscape like this?
We put our game faces on, the weather was ideal to make the 40 mile offshore run towards the SWC. I had never been there before and after months of studying charts and reading up on it came up a plan to push off for an area that has done well for Jason T. in the past years. The 2 hour run from the dock was pretty good, the motors ran great and the boat handled like a champ. Nothing eventful, other than beautiful conditions. We did have a few moments of marine layer, but the Raymarine wifi Quantum dome took care of us showing the way as we followed the route marker I laid out.
The sunrises are my favorite, looking forward a highly anticipated day on the water hunting for the flatfish and deep water Ling Cod.
Once we got there, it was tight lines. We found the contour and was easy to pick up the drift, which was moving SW to NE. With little wind, the current would help keep our presentations at the bottom, between 500-600′. 12″ pipe jigs would be the ticket for all the lings and halibut. We never had to go to any bait or plastics as it brought up some great table fare.
The Daiwa Tanacom 750’s worked great for the first time being used, hauling up the mother lode effortlessly saving our backs and bodies.
My largest Ling Cod, 25+ pounds!
With spirits on cloud 9, we chilled out in the cabin and after a hot shower and a night of rest. The weather report however would be another force to mediate with for the next day…
The year long planning all come down to this trip, Neah Halibut 2017. We assembled the gear, put the final touches on boat repairs and had a do a laborious switch out of the Raymarine transducer. But we got it done, and hitched up ready to push off at 06:00 and heading west 3.5 hours to Neah Bay.
The drive was great especially the road that parallels Lake Crescent just outside of Port Angeles. This photo was taking while driving 40 mph, but I had a few other shots taken, but this picture came out the best.
We arrived a little before 11 am and put the boat into the water, got our moorage assignment into B34, but was prepared to push off for a half day of inshore Ling Cod and Rockfishing which didn’t take long to limit out. The Lancer jigs works great in 50-90′ of water and the ling cod came willingly over the gunnel and into the fish box. Ching had some hot action with the Rockfish using a short 1′ leader with Shrimp Fly tied near the cod weight.
Back at the dock, it was so much nice to have the fish cleaning guys fillet the catch. No time, no mess, no fuss! Day 1 was successful and in the books. We’d get the boat tied up, and have a great homemade Lasagna dinner and off to bed for the early roll call for the Halibut opener.
While it wasn’t hot Ling Cod action, we all found some very nice Black and Blue Rockfish that were more than willing along with some Copper Quillbacks that gobbled up our offerings.
We had several doubles and then it happened. Jeff’s line went tight and the head shakes were un-deniably those of a Ling Cod. Right at 29″, the male fish was a legal keeper.
Don’t forget your licenses and pinch down your barbs, we were checked by WDFW, and of course all legal and good to go.
Looking forward to Neah Bay in a couple of days!
March madness isn’t about college basketball, but the winding down for blackmouth. I am 4 for 4 in fishing Mid channel bank near Port Townsend. It has been a good opportunity to learn new water and mimic the feed for these voracious carnivores.
Chris M. and I pushed off at 06:00 under a dark sky but made good time to drop the lines into the outgoing tide change. The action was good and the fish were on the bite. I landed the first with a red racer flasher with Gibbs Skinny G Bon Chovy spoon fished with 42″ of 30# maxima at 115′ dragging the bottom.
Experts say that outgoing tide is the place to be as long as the winds aren’t howling from the west. Today was the day as we had nice flat water and a good tide change that would ebb flushing the sand lance off the bank to the edges where these predatory blackmouth grabbed some easy pickings.
Awesome weather, and great catching up for our brokers meeting in ‘the office’.