Finally starting to gain a little bit of confidence in my new-to-me boat, so today we swapped the Kokanee gear for Salmon Gear and headed to the San Juan Islands. This was my first time fishing in the San Juans and my first time targeting blackmouth in several years. With the large Bellingham Bay closure, to make for a shorter run we decided to launch at Washington Park instead of Squalicum. The launch has reopened, but the docks have definitely seen better days and are missing at least one float under them. We launched about 7:30am and made a direct route for Thatcher Pass. We got the lines in the water and headed west from Fauntleroy Point in about 135' of water. While I managed to skirt the reef about half way down thanks to my chart reader, I got surprised by a rocky reef on the NW corner of Decatur Island that quickly came up to snag a downrigger ball. With little time to react and not a great amount of familiarity with my new downriggers or kicker motor, I broke off before being able to get back upwind of the reef. Ball, Cable Braid, Release, Flasher, and Spoon, all gone on the first pass of the day.
From then on we stacked both rods on one downrigger and continued to fish Thatcher, the South End of Rosario Strait, and eventually, the East side of Cypress Island. We towed pro-troll flashers with coho killers, kingfishers, and other spoons. We had one likely take down, but no fish to fight the entire day until we packed up and headed for the launch around 3.
Reflecting on the day, it was a miserable day of fishing - expensive lost gear, trouble finding marks or bait, fighting tidal flows and wind to find a comfortable troll - but an absolutely amazing day on the water. The San Juans are a magical place that I have only visited on Ferries and Tour Boats, and to be on my own, in a 17' boat, exploring the islands and straits was a great experience. We trolled along with Eagles, Auklets, and Porpoises, we rounded rock outcroppings with 300' of water on all sides of them, we at times fought 4' windwaves stacked together due to the flooding tide, and at other times found shelter where the water lay flat and still. I feel absolutely overwhelmed by the locations where fish could be hiding and I feel like it might take me decades to feel like I know where I'm going. I'm very excited for the trips ahead and I hope that the water will continue to be good to us.