Sunday, December 30, 2012

Blackmouth Quest - Day 2

A decision I made towards the end of the summer will have a major impact on my fishing over the next few years.  After a poor summer of fishing and feeling like an outsider to all the great saltwater fishing opportunities I broke down and purchased a saltwater boat.  I'll probably spend the next few years blogging about fuel issues, broken motors, trailer wiring issues, and all the other crap that comes with boat ownership but right now I'm on that post-purchase high (it feels so good I may start hoarding boats).

Back to the point of this post.  I bought the boat right as the best saltwater coho fishing season in recent memory was ending.  It was a long months wait until we reopened for chinook in Area 6 and then mostly waiting for decent conditions to fish with the pretty dismal weather we've experienced over the past month.  I've made it out twice this month to dredge for chinook.  I've landed one tiny salmon (12 inch chinook) and multiple rocks.

Right now I am more pleased with the rock catching because it is the only way to tell I am reaching the bottom in 60-80 feet of water.  It is amazing how quickly thirty feet of T-17 will sink.

Another thing I am learning is that not casting the head far enough will result in tangles just like a cut plug herring will if the angle between the sinking line (mooching weight) and the fly (cut plug) is not wide enough.

The other thing I am realizing is that the weather forecasts are not to be taken seriously.  I read the NOAA marine forecasts daily and often base my decision to fish on them.  Too often I make the decision to not go and start dealing with other projects and jobs and then get a glimpse of the water in the afternoon and it is glass smooth all the way to Victoria.  Of course I see this with an hour of daylight left which would mean I would get to the fishing grounds as the sun sets.

Yesterday I was not going to make that mistake.  I needed to be out on the boat and do some fishing.  I ran into some friends at the launch who gave me a report from a few days previously so I decided to take their advice and try fishing a little closer to the ramp.  I fished the outside of the hook for around an hour or so.  It was nice to fish some varied water depths as the drift was moving the boat slowly from deeper to shallow water.  The wind was blowing a bit but I was able to use the kicker motor to keep the boat in line with the sinking flyline and get the fly near the bottom.  I did not touch a fish (and neither did the other boats fishing there) so I decided to head a little further west.

I turned the boat towards the buoy and hit the gas.  As I approached the spot I had fished before I saw a group of boats (busy holiday weekend) about a half mile away so I figured I would see what was going on.  As I approached the shelf they were fishing over I started noticing birds and started seeing bait on the sounder.  That is always a good sign.

I slowed down and idled through the boats trying to tell if there was a way to fish amongst them.  Some were trolling downriggers but it looked like a bunch were mooching and jigging.  I also saw some nets fly so there were definitely fish around.  I started fishing but tried to stay out of the other boats way since most were trolling or motor mooching and our drifts were different.  I managed to stay out of their way but I also managed to likely stay off the fish too.

The wind started kicking up a bit more so I decided to bail.  After I pulled the boat out and started to drive home I noticed the wind dying down and the seas flattening out.  Missing on the weather seems to be the story of my season so far, but I'll keep trying until I hit it right.

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