Marine area 11: 8/7/18

Steve Y. has been wanting me to come down to fish with him in area 11. All of his Facebook posts have had me salivating for the chance to catch a salmon on the jig. I’ve never targeting salmon using the jig aka ‘iron’ or ‘dart’, but I know friends like Thao T. swear by it and when you don’t have downriggers, or a right sized boat, going to simpler methods also work when the fish are in and the catch rates are so good.

I took the hour long drive to meet Steve at the Pt. Defiance marina to be greeted by an amazing morning sunrise. All the colors of the orange sky against the silloette of the mountains and Vashon island made for a spectacular morning.

The boathouse is really a neat place, with each craft up to 17′ that is stored in these lockers. Each boat is wheeled on dollys and all the gear is kept in the locker.

There is an elevator shaft that raises and lowers the boats and passengers to the water line, just roll it out and your on the water in seconds.

We were underway heading towards the clay banks in 120-170′ of water. The old Point No Point hull that was used for decades at the Norwegian Pt has a long standing history with the Yuasa family. This hull was the same that Steve’s father fished with his uncle and young Steve when he was growing up. Steve has restored it and kept up the tradition of mooching, jigging and when he wants to troll uses his ‘meat line’ rods.

GLoomis Salmon Mooching rods in the 8’2″ one piece length, rated at 12-25# and 0.5 – 5 oz lure rating were light fast action and perfectly balanced with the old school Shimano Bantam Line counter reels. Spooled with hi-vis yellow power pro and short 40# leaders to Pt. Wilson darts in the white and white/chartruese colors were the ticket. Lures were 4.75 oz in wt and Steve likes to use a small buzz bomb rubber stop to keep the lines from chaffing. He ties the double mooching hooks close together to keep the fish hooked when they decide to take a snap at the erratic darts.

Heres a photo of Doug Yuasa, Steves’ nephew. He was meat lining and picked up a nice 13# fish after a few passes.

Jigging is definitely alot of fun, but also you have to have a touch. Steve ended up hooking both our keeper fish. The first was a nice 18# that spat the hook just as I slide the net under the fish, lucky that it was a hatchery marked fish! Second keeper was a 8# that was bonked and tucked into the box. While I didn’t land a keep, I had good action, hooking 5 fish, landed two sublegal sized kings and getting two dog fish. Definitely a good work out and learned a new fishery and technique that works and is alot of fun.

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Grand Finale! 7/29/18

We had guests visiting us for the day at the cabin and I’d promised to show them some crabbing. While the crabbing was poor due to the big tide swings, the fishing captured my interest after Pilot point was fishing so well for me in the last week.

Chris and I agreed to meet up a little earlier, 04:15 and pushed off the dock 5 minutes later. It was still pretty dark and we had to use the LED light bar, and radar to help us navigate the run. Once we got to around Foulweather bluff the sky improved a little, but I was still weary of running into a deadhead on step.

We ran back to Pilot point and was the first boat to the drop zone. I wasn’t marking bait, but did see a few fish arches. Not a good sign, but certainly the kings were looking for something. We did find a nice bait ball and tried to stay on that 100′ contour.

As I veered in the corner of my eye, the rod popped off and was peeling line. Not much later I’d landed a cookie cutter king of about 8#. It was promptly subdued and bled. We made a turn back south and tried to find the bait again without avail. I had noticed there were fish marks higher in the water column above the bait balls, around 60′. Since that first fish came at the suspended water, Chris moved his ball up 10′ off the bottom to 90′ and his rod popped off and a much nicer fish would be at the end.

You can hear my commentary, about wondering if it was a fish or if it was snagged. I didn’t realize he had turned down the drag as the fish was peeling line. All I hoped was it wasn’t a seal clutching his fish in its chops as we’d seen a juvenile seal port side of us a few minutes earlier.

A beautiful 15# hen, that took the herring aid coho killer!

All done, we packed up and heading back to pull pots that I’d left soaking from the night before.

Here’s where we marked a bunch of bait, you can see the fish marks just above the 60′ line on the graph. Once the sun came out we had a short time frame to keep the fish interested. Dropping one rigger down to 90′ was the trick and paid off nicely with a beautiful hen that Chris landed.

The crabbing wasn’t very good, but felt we were blessed with the king bite. We limited out in less than 1 hour while we never saw another net flying around us. My next door neighbor was just getting out as we passed him near Norwegian point. He would later call me to ask if we’d limited out, the reason we were leaving so early. They wouldn’t find any takers and or bait balls.

What a great wrap up to the short but sweet king season. I am looking forward to getting some rest and catching up on my sleep!

7/28/18 Pilot Point

Two more days of fishing left in Area 9 and it had already been a stellar week with very good King salmon fishing. Some experts and long time fisherman have agreed that this season was the best they’d seen in many years.  My friend Steve Yuasa has been doing excellent down in Area 11 and 13 jigging 4.75 oz white Pt. Wilson darts.

He said the bait is thick like carpet and those hungry kings are gobbling up any thing that looks like a 5″ herring.

I picked up Chris M. at 4:45 and we made our way to the boat having to spend about 20 minutes setting up the gear and prepped the rods and tackle. Needless to say, I would have loved to be on the water a little quicker, but the run to Pilot point was good with very good seas and little winds. The flood tide was at 05:04 and I wish we were on the water by 04:00, while it’d be dark, I think using good UV/Glow flashers and spoons or herring would have been the hot ticket.

Glorious morning sunrise, once we got to the drop zone it didn’t take long. We passed Big Kahuna (Kirk S.) on the way out and Joe H. was already on the grounds doing his thing.

My rod with the Glow green flasher and Herring Aid coho killer spoon got hit immediately and the result was a above average sized fish of about 11-12# that was bled and iced down.  Chris connected, but couldn’t keep his fish pinned.

I called Phil K. over as they were at the SE corner of Possession bar but not much happening. He was fishing with his father and David K. but couldn’t connect at Pilot. Once the sun was up, the bait disappeared and so did the bite. I have a feeling the blood full moon had something to do with the fickle bite.  We moved around to Skunk bay, Norweigian point, PNP with little action.

My nice hen above, and Phil’s father with a good looking fish as well.

Pegasus at work, thanks to Phil K. for the photo!

Picture of “Tommy Boy” aka Joe H. in the 255 Tomcat.

Final days… 7/21/18

The fishing was stellar for most folks and it showed with 53% of the catch being completed of the 5000 or so fish alotted. WDFW would announce the closure of area 9 on Monday morning, it was my last shot at fishing it.

Today, we would fish on Phils’ boat joined by Myra Z. and Charles W. Picture perfect weather, morning and sunrise made getting up at 3 am alot easier to do.

First fish on and landed by Myra, great job!!!

Second fish was Charles’ and we slide it into the net and bonked for the BBQ.

Third takedown would be a coho, odd to find it feeding in 160′ of water at the bottom, but it was all good and part of that 2 salmon limit.

We moved around a bit to located the fish, fished the inside of tin shed, and then the west part of the bar. Even headed to Point No Point and decided to gear down and head towards Pilot Point. You can see the traffic on the water looking back at the West side of Possession.

Then it happened! Trolling along the 150′ contour with 160′ of cable out, I saw in the corner of my eye the rod ripping away and pulsing. This was no small or resident fish, but a keeper as long as it wasn’t a wild fish.

Thanks to Myra for capturing the video of this unforgettable moment!

Not a monster, but still good enough to end a wonderful day on the water with friends. Some Banh Mi sandwiches and few laughs and some Dungeness crabs to round it out.

We saw Joe and Thao out there and they did pretty well, getting their pair of kings for the smoker.

Thanks area 9 kings, it was fun while it lasted the 7 days. I was fortunate to have been able to fish it 6 of those 7 days with somewhat decent success.

Fishing with Dov: 7/20/18

I had some issues with the kicker fishing with Steve the day prior and ended up breaking off a bolt that holds part of the shifter assembly. That and needing to make some adjustments to the EZ steer bar were in order prior to fishing that Friday morning. Note the umbrella to help catch an errant hardware or tools that might find its way out of my hands!

Once we were back up, we trolled, trolled, trolled without any takers. Probably missed the tide and the bait or ???

We did have some nice pulls and was able to send Dov home with a limit of Dungeness crab.

Master and the Student: 7/19/18

The morning reports from the previous day were so good, we had to give it a try. I would invite my long time friend and mooching/jigging Sensei Steve Yuasa to join me and give Possession a try at the SE corner.  This is a place I’d never fished, but since John M. said it was good, it was worth a try. He sure was right!

You can see my tablet with charts with pointer arrow showing us and the yellow track or breadcrumb trail. The Raymarine shows the bait balls that were present in 89′ of water. The bait was so thick from 55′ all the way down to the bottom of this contour.

You wouldn’t believe it if I told you, but literally got the first and largest fish of the morning on the first drop of the downrigger ball. It was about 165′ of water and I had hit bottom with the 12# ball. Somehow, the clip came un-done and my rod was stretched out and pulsing. I thought, oh great, I snagged bottom! But it was odd, the rod was bounching and jumping. Not how a salmon would be fighting either. I thought maybe a crab pot line or maybe a ling cod? Once we got it closer, I could see some big shoulders and this was no ling cod or crab pot, but a big king!

Steve slid the net into the water and we boated the nicest king of the week, probably about a 16/17# fish!

You can see the size comparison versus the 2nd fish that came pretty quickly a 12#

Back at the dock with some crab at hand, I sent Steve home with the crab as he had plenty of king salmon. He was all smiles and big thumbs up!

Yummy homemade Bento with Inari, Edamame, and fried and Teriyaki chicken wings. You’re the best Steve!

Upon hearing our report, Phil had to get out and took his father. It’d be a bit tougher to find the hatchery fish, but he released a nice wild fish, but bonked a smaller clipped king along with a few crab.

Evening (lack of) bite… 7/18/18

When one day fishes well, the next not so good. This evening, Jason T. would join me aboard Phils boat and we pushed off west in search of the kings. Beautiful evening, but winds and lack of bait would make it a bit tougher to find the fish.

We didn’t end up with a single hit! Sucks for Jason as he thinks he is cursed with the king fishing. Will have to get you back out buddy and keep trying!!

Possession bar Kings: 7/17/18

I wasn’t satisfied with the action, so invited Sun to meet up at 05:00 for another shot at those kings. We marked tons of bait and was able to pick up our two fish very quickly inside the ‘tin shed’ within a short time frame.

Joe made his way out and also limited, losing a nice fish near the boat.

Back at the dock with our haul. These were not migrating kings, but resident blackmouth kings. You can tell by the loose scales and the smaller egg sacks.

The kids were wanting some seared salmon nigiri, so I made some with some frozen Neah bay salmon, the seared sake donburi was also a hit!