Tag Archives: Lingcod

big-westport-lingcod

Bob’s Big Ling

When you fish every single day, it is sometimes not easy to remember every little detail about every single trip, and that is exactly why I like to take photos. It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and when I browse through the fishing pictures from days gone by, it helps me draw details from my memory bank. I found this photo today from a great day’s worth of fishing sometime last week.

We had a group of folks on board that were a pleasure to fish with, pictured above is Bob, one of the day’s guests. Bob showed up to the boat to chit chat about our trip the evening before, and I could sense he would be a fun one to have on the boat. He brought his own rod and reel, which isn’t uncommon, but rare that a guest would have the perfect setup for the targeted species (perfectly matched rod for the fishing method plus the same braided line that we use on our own rods).

Bob had a new rod that he wanted to try out, and I thought it would be perfect for today’s Lingcod & Rockfish adventure. Later in the day, when I saw Bob’s rod double down into a hefty Lingcod, I smiled a little, glad that he had a chance to nail a respectable fish on his new setup. I didn’t weigh nor did I measure this monster Lingcod that Bob caught out of Westport, but regardless of whether it was twenty or twenty-five pounds… it was a memorable fish, caught by a memorable Bob.

possession-bar-lingcod

Possession Bar Lingcod Report May 22

Today I helped out Captain Randy with Northwest Fishing Charters on a Lingcod trip. We had phenomenal weather and great fishing at Possession Bar. I have never fished with Randy before, and was excited to finally get the opportunity. He has been running a charter business on Puget Sound longer than I have been fishing, so I was very interested in getting to fish with a veteran Lingcod angler. We had a great group on the boat, a family from Maryland that wanted to experience what local Seattle area fishing has to offer.

Randy operates a Uniflite Salty Dog named the Dom Perignon which is moored at the Everett Marina. We met a little early to rig rods and get a game plan together. While we each consider ourselves decent fishermen, we hashed out our strategy for the day. Steve, Lauren, Ben and Sam met us at the dock at 7am and we were off.

We issued fishing licenses and headed over to Hat Island to catch a day’s worth of live bait. Randy had a really efficient way to fill the live-well. He rigged up a double dropper setup with small barbless baitholder hooks and tipped them with a small chunk of cialis generic, it caught fish and was extremely durable). We set up a drift in about seventy five feet off the Southeast edge of the island. It didn’t take long before we had a dozen small Sand Dabs in the livewell and were off to find our guests some Lingcod.

We cruised south to Possession Bar under bluebird skies, everyone soaked in the beautiful view. Mount Baker was visible to the north, Rainier loomed over Seattle to the south. A perfect day to show off our neighborhood to visitors. We had an incoming tide throughout the morning with a very small exchange of about 4 feet. When drift fishing for Lingcod, a small exchange is nice because it allows the captain to easily back the boat up to keep the lines at a vertical angle but still cover ground, so to speak.

Our first few drifts at Possession weren’t anything to write home about, in fact they were downright disappointing. We hooked a couple anenomes and even one that was affixed to a beer bottle. As of the first hour, our guests would’ve had a great we didn’t catch anything except a beer bottle! story to share… and those don’t look too good on Yelp! We kept at it. Our drifts were perfect, and we had the boat positioned over some great bottom structure. Our sonar screen image showed off small rockpiles and depressions, even a few fish hunkered on the bottom. We knew we would eventually get em!

As the saying goes, when it rains it pours, and soon our luck would drastically change. As we drifted over some fishy-looking structure, one of our rods doubled over. It was a classic live-bait takedown. A few short throbs, then a steady load of the rod. Fish on! Steve grabbed the rod to battle our first fish of the day and wham! The rod on the other side of the boat doubled over in the rod holder! We fought both and landed one, a nice 27 inch keeper. We made quite a few more drifts and hooked one after another. Steve had his keeper in the fish box and I had just netted Sam’s first Lingcod, both were nice fish, but what happened next was the highlight of our day.

Ben was up next. As his rod folded over, I grabbed it and reeled down on a hefty fish before the handoff. A true monster was on the end of Ben’s line! Line ripped off the reel as the fish headed straight back to the bottom. He battled it for a while, and all the while keeping his composure. Not once did he offer the fish any slack, nor did he horse it in. He fought the good fight. And as I dipped the net underneath the biggest Lingcod I have ever seen in Puget Sound, we all cheered! We boated it to get a quick measurement; the beast taped out at 45 inches long. I have released a big 42 inch fish at Foulweather once, but this one appeared as if it could’ve eaten that dink! We snapped two quick photos of it before reviving and releasing it. It is my belief that these large fish deserve the protection that they are given, and I always tail them in the water until they are ready to swim away on their own, this one took a minute to revive but swam away to live another day. What a thrilling experience!

As the day came to a close, we battled and lost a few other Lingcod. Those buggers can come unlatched pretty easily when fishing with live bait. Just as Randy gave the call to reel up the gear for the return to port, Lauren grabbed her rod and got hammered by a fish!

“I think there’s something big down there!”

She had a little bit of a tough time with the rod, so I gripped the butt of the rod to give it a little stability while she cranked. She was excited but calm and steadily cranked it all the way to the surface… Lift, Scoop, Net in the boat, our third keeper taped out at 34”. Randy and I were pretty darned excited that everyone on the boat was able to battle a Ling to the net.

All in all we had about a dozen opportunities, of which we experienced three double-headers (which really goes to show that when you find the structure that Lingcod like, you can find quite a few fish in a small area). We ended up with three very nice keeper Lingcod: 27”, 28” and a 34”. The monster Ling that we released really capped off the day and made it special for all of us.

possession-puget-sound-lingcod

westport-halibut

Westport Halibut Report May 11

Sunday was our second chance at Halibut fishing in Westport this year. I fished aboard the charter boat Reel Tight with Captain Todd. With the way our trips had been going, we were very excited for another day of fun on the water and expecting to limit the boat on both Halibut and Lingcod for 6 passengers plus ourselves. We knew exactly where to find the Halibut, and while we have a Lingcod spot that is almost a guarantee, Todd was excited to find our guests some big Lings out in a few deepwater spots he had fished years ago.

Me: Great to meet you, my name’s Andrew and I am your deckhand today. (handshake).

Rich: Good to meet you Andrew! So how long have you deckhanded down here for halibut?

Me: This is my second day! Hop in the boat and let’s go!

While the answer shocked Rich somewhat, honesty is always the best policy. The crew had a rookie deckhand for their Westport Halibut trip, but they needn’t be worried. This wasn’t my first rodeo. I have made quite a few trips to Neah Bay with friends, fished for ‘Buts in the Puget Sound, and spent the last 4 years at a fishing lodge in Cordova, Alaska where I had handled more than my fair share of Halibut. But up until last week, I had never been given the opportunity to fish for them in Westport. I can now proudly check that one off the list. So off we went.

We cruised out of the Westport harbor and across a placid Grays Harbor Bar. The ocean couldn’t have been calmer, and I would guess that the swell was under 4 feet and spaced very far apart. Our target was the Quinault Canyon to the northwest of Westport. When we reached the Halibut grounds, we were greeted by about half of the Westport charter fleet plus a few private sportfishing boats, you would think a 5 am departure would give you a head start, I guess not.

It appeared that every guest aboard was excited to be out on this Halibut fishing charter, along with the possibility of taking home a big one. One of the guests mentioned that they didn’t mind releasing “a bunch of chickens” to get that barndoor. I was excited to see a big Halibut as well, but from what I have been told, most of the structure in Westport holds averaged size fish. This is not the land of barn door Halibut. When I mentioned that the average fish we were likely to keep was in the 20 to 30 pound class, they took that statement with a grain of salt.

Eventually our two hour cruise to the Halibut grounds came to an end, as we neared the dozen or so charter boats already fishing at the edge of Quinault Canyon. This deepwater canyon pierces eastward from the ocean’s abyss eastward into the continental shelf. It is along the edges of this canyon where Halibut can be found in high concentrations. We were not the only ones that know this, and the spot we stopped at was one of the more popular spots to fish. We set up for our first drift. For the first drift, we kept things simple and deployed only three lines to lower the chance of tangles. Once our gear reached the sea floor (900 feet beneath the boat), it took about a minute for all three rods to hook up. Three lines, three Halibut on! After a few minutes to battle these fish from the deep, one by one they came into view. First one: 15 pounds, released. Seconds one: 20 pounds, released. Third one: 22 pounds, released. I knew that these fish were close to the average size, but asked the guys if they wanted to keep their fish. “Nope! Let’s try for a bigger one.” So we continued on. After releasing numerous other fish, and witnessing nearby charter boats keeping pretty much every halibut they brought up, the guys decided that the 20 to 30 pound fish we were catching was better than the average. So we filled the fish box. Our Halibut limit was filled before 9am, which gave us plenty of time to search around for some deepwater Lingcod.

Pipe Jigs are a deepwater Halibut and Lingcod angler’s best friend. They are made by filling a copper pipe with molten lead and attaching a huge treble hook. They are simple and don’t give an angler much hassle with fouled gear. They are heavy so they sink fast and stay on the bottom. The contact of the two dissimilar metals creates an electric charge that attracts deepwater fish to strike. We cruised around to a few spots, made a few drifts, and searched for some good rocky deepwater structure. Eventually our search paid off and Captain Todd put us into some excellent fishing. Drift after drift produced multiple quality Lingcod, as well as a few more Halibut that were fought and released. By the end of the day we had our boat limit of Halibut, our boat limit of Lingcod and were very happy with the results of our exploratory deep water Lingcod hunt.

As we cruised back to Westport, I filleted our catch and separated out each guest’s fish into bags. It was a great day of fishing, we had great weather, we had a fun crew. My second day of Westport Halibut fishing was in the books, and I sure can’t wait until we head out again!

westport-lingcod

washington-ocean-lingcod

Washington Lingcod Seasons 2014

Lingcod are one of Washington State’s most popular bottom fish, and almost every marine area offers a fishing season for these voracious predators. They are prized for their aggressive hunting habits, their willingness to strike a variety of lures and bait, and their delicious filets. Washington has such diverse marine areas, each has its own character. In nearshore areas, Lingcod can be found concentrated around inshore bottom structure such as marina breakwaters, jetties, shoals and rockpiles. Along Washington’s Pacific Coast, they reside along the rocky coastline outward to the depths around the edge of the continental shelf. Here is a breakdown of the 2014 Lingcod Season for Washington State. This is just a simple guide, please consult the Washington State Fishing Regulation Pamphlet for full rules. Please be aware that each area may have a specific depth restriction, marine preserves closed to fishing, retention limits, emergency rules.

[table caption=”Washington Lingcod Seasons 2014″ width=”500″ colwidth=”100″
colalign=”left|left|center|center|center|center”]
Area,Season,Limit,Min,Max,Depth Restriction
MA1: Ilwaco,March 15-October 18,2,22”,None,Yes
MA2: Westport,March 15-October 18,2,22”,None,Yes
MA3: La Push,March 15-October 18,2,22″,None,Yes
MA4: Neah Bay,April 16-October 15,2,22″,None,Yes
MA5: Sekiu,May 1-June 15,1,26″,36″,Yes
MA6: East Straits,May 1-June 15,1,26″,36″,Yes
MA7: San Juan Islands,May 1-June 15,1,26″,36″,Yes
MA8-1: Skagit Bay,May 1-June 15,1,26″,36″,Yes
MA8-2: Everett,May 1-June 15,1,26″,36″,Yes
MA9: Admiralty Inlet,May 1-June 15,1,26″,36″,Yes
MA10: Seattle,May 1-June 15,1,26″,36″,Yes
MA11:Tacoma,May 1-June 15,1,26″,36″,Yes
MA12: Hood Canal,CLOSED,-,-,-,-
MA13:South Sound,May 1-June 15,1,26″,36″,Yes
[/table]