Day 1: Canadian Swiftsure BankDay 2: grounded but not out…Day 3: Gale force and hazardous seasDay 4: Sunday 5/26/19, offshore
The second and final day that WDFW allowed for Spot Prawn in Area 9 fell on Humpday. We had heard of good reports from our friend David K. and was fortunate to have the invited along with Jason T. to join him for a morning of shrimping.
Pretty calm conditions, but lots of boats out and especially our drop zone just 10 minutes away from the marina.
We marked healthy clouds of shrimp deeper, but had dropped in around 320′ of water just beyond the edges/contours on the bathymetric.
Armed with soy sauce, we were smacking our chops in hopes of bountiful limits.
This pot probably had over 160 spot prawns in it! Just loaded up but the overall size was smaller than I’d seen in Hood Canal.
We boiled some up using David’s alcohol stove, a little dipping sauce and some cold beers was good stuff!
This year, I was able to make the Hood Canal spot prawn opener. Its typically scheduled for the first Saturday in May, but that conflicted with our Neah Bay trip. However, due to extreme tides the WDFW had postponed this until the following week. I had invited Joe H. and Sun Y. to join me and my sons to try to find these tasty prawns.
Joe brought some steaks and we enjoyed them the night before. We got the boat into the slip and gear loaded. I had made bait 5 days prior and had some frozen stuff from last season that I mixed into the que.
Nice weather, flat seas and a quick run to the drop zone about 30 minutes from the cabin.
WDFW only allows for a 4 hour window, the hood canal or A12 is open for spot prawning from 9 am to 1 pm. We were able to get to my location and surveyed the bottom and could clearly see the clouds of prawns on the hard rocky bottom in about 200′ of water. Here is the photo of my pot line while we were bringing it up and you can see the turquoise colored schools.
Success! 5 limits in fairly short order. We are going to eat well!
Happy with limits and heading back to port to clean up, pack up and enjoy the harvest with our families.
Day 3 would take us back to the SWC of the C-closure in 550-600′ of water. The same tackle recipe was: medium and large copper pipe jigs, Norweigian jigs, Spreader bars with horse herring. Its nice being about to fish a 360 perimeter with the center consule floorplan.
Electric reels are super handy to have, this one I had the pleasure of fishing was the Shimano 4000HP mated to an Okuma Cedros 65-200# speed jigging rod. Super light and helpful to really put those pipe jigs into motion as the fish just go nuts for it.
Hook ups all the way around and we boated 20+ halibut on that one drift!
The look of success, with some nice fixin’s for dinner. Chicken sized halibut 20-30# were perfect table fare and some decent ling cod, but nothing as large as we’ve seen in years prior.
Awesome experience to see this Ocean Sunfish all the way out in the middle of the ocean. We had this eye to eye connection as it was orbiting checking us out just as we were doing the same.
A full fish box and heading back to port, happy, tired, and ready to process fish, and head back home.
No shortage of these guys are hanging out around the cleaning area and waiting for an easy snack of halibut heads. They are really powerful animals being able to whip a head across the water ripping pieces of flesh off and consuming them.
After a nice dinner of Steaks, corn, beans, we woke to calm skies and seas. Our destination would put us out another 50 miles offshore. We did well with the halibut the day before and got limits. Today, our sights were set on finding the ling cod and canary rock fish.
Nice wheelbarrow full of limits for 5 anglers
Nice flat calm lake like seas
This is the stuff we wait and expect all year for, the gear is purchased, assembled, and prepared. The boats are maintained, tested and run so that we don’t have any surprises when were offshore 50 miles. This year Jason T. invited Phil K. and myself with his usual crew of Charlie D. and Lance A. for their version of the halibut opener. It was nice to be able to ride along in 1 ton Rams, 266 Worldcat and spend the night in the comfort of the 37′ Artic Fox with 3 slides.
Lance and I left Edgewood at 10 am and headed west towards Neah while Jason, Charlie and Phil were off shortly after with the cat in tow. Our destination was the Hideaway RV ‘resort’ where we were hungrily looking forward to Vicki’s halibut and chips feed for the campers.
Fueling up the rigs at the Elwah Food and Fuel stand, don’t forget to sign up for their discount card. Plus they have non-ethanol fuel for the boats.
We took the Joyce exit, highway 112 for the scenic views of the straights and also to avoid the construction that is happening along the Lake Crescent side where the road is down to 1 lane.
At the Hideaway, we feasted on some freshly caught halibut and some of the best fries I’ve had. Thin, tender inside, crispy outside, goodness!
Capt. Jason with Phillip with a couple cold ones and fish n’ chips.
Jason’s AIS and Team Prestige Worldwide locked and loaded in slip D3
Day 1 run was a little sporty with some un-stable air and water until we got past Tatoosh Island. You can see Skagway rocks in the background as we came back to port that evening. It laid down nicely for the next two days.
This year we were able to keep Canary Rockfish, but remember to carry your identification charts and release all YellowEyes and have a descending device on your boat.