Hoo-ha, 2 weekends in a row! I’ve been on the water 9 days in a row but only able to drop the DR balls and fish twice. Sunday was an interesting trip. Normally everything on my boat runs like clockwork and if we hook a salmon it goes in the net. Yesterday was not the case, we lost fish, downrigger balls and I had to hitch up my big boy pants (shorts) and admit defeat. I am completely anal in both preparing for a trip and the fishing itself so yesterday was kind of humbling. Rating the trip is a hard one. The fish box was empty when we got back to the ramp but we did have some serious fish on and spent 2 hours whale watching. 1, 5 or somewhere in between? Who knows but we had a great day on the water, always a 5 in my book!
The wife and I had actually planned to fish then whale watch Sunday. I was prepeared and even had a back-up fishery planned after we had early limits onboard, I know bal bla bla… Then we were going to run around Port Susan and look for whales. Sunday morning rolls around, no kid or household catastrophes to contend with and we were going fishing.
3:00 alarm, lunch made and we were rolling by 4:00. A quick stop at Holiday Market for non-ethanol, ice and hot breakfast burritos. Yes, 4:00 in the morning and they have fresh house made breakfast burritos! We arrive at the launch in Everett at 5:00 and were underway around 5:15. Cruising mostly in the dark, we arrive at North Bluff around 7:00. My plan for the day was look for larger fish, we were going to start at the Greenbank/North Bluff area check out the conditions and move to a few other large fish spots if the fish didn’t want to come out and play. A solid plan, but I didn’t stick to it. A buddy was trolling just ahead of us landed a 8-10 pound fish and my only competitive gene kicked in. Instead of sticking with the plan I stuck it out and continued to fish less than ideal conditions while trying to redeem my fishing mojo.
That said in spite of the conditions we were hooking fish, we just couldn’t put one in the boat. Based on what we found in the bellies of our salmon last weekend we started with a larger herring imitation spoons on one side and a whole herring in a helmet on the other side. Both were running behind a an 11” Pro-Troll ProFlash flasher (I’m not sold yet…). The spoon on 42” on 30# Seaguar fluorocarbon and the herring on 60” of the same. I did not chase meter marks but instead fished the mud in 100-120’ of water.
Overall the plan was a good one we hooked 4 really nice fish and had a number of drive-bys. Two of the fish got wrapped in the downrigger cables and we lost them. To that note: we even lost a downrigger ball on one of them (earlier I had dropped a ball overboard rigging the gear). The fish wrapped the around the braided downrigger cable and ran. Even giving it slack the smaller braid on our reel cut the downrigger cable 40’ above the ball, a first on my boat. The other lost fish were more routine. Lost one on the hand off, a long release on a wild fish and another that popped out of the clip on a turn and then ran ahead of the boat and back around the downrigger cable before we had control of the situation. Stuff happens and after the fact, it was pretty exciting fishing.
We slogged it out, working Greenbank, North Bluff and then ultimately down to East Point with a few more drive-bys before calling it for the day. Once everything was secured for travel, we went on a whale hunt. On generally flat water we ran around Port Susan and were blessed with the opportunity to spend time with multiple gray whales and what we think was a minke whale. No good pictures on my phone but the wife got some great pictures on her big camera and telephoto lenses. Fish or no fish it was an incredible day on the water. I love the PNW, Puget Sound and the opportunities we have in our back yard. I think we got back to the ramp around 5:00 and the fish checker said she had checked 46 boats with about 100 fishermen for about 1 chinook for every 2 boats. 2 fish were from Marine area 8-1.