Westport jetty fishing
Westport has always been Washington’s most popular fishing port. Dubbed Salmon Capital of the World, Westport has a reputation as the place to go if you want to catch salmon. While most of today’s hype is of Westport’s ocean fisheries for salmon, halibut and bottomfish, it offers shore bound anglers the chance at some quality bottomfishing at the Westport Jetty.
About the Westport Jetty
The Westport Jetty pierces the Pacific Ocean at the mouth of Grays Harbor. It is considered part of Westport Light State Park (Often refered to as Westhaven State Park). This Washington State Park is popular with beach combers, surfers and anglers. The jetty is about 1 mile long, and requires some serious effort to hike to the end. Near the beach, the jetty is composed of smaller boulders and is an easier hike.
Jetty rocks are extremely hazardous to walk on while wet, so be careful! Fishing can be excellent on both the Grays Harbor side or Pacific Ocean side of the jetty, yet the water on the Pacific side is usually too rough to fish.
Anglers target surf perch near the jetty from the beach, but jetty anglers target black rockfish, lingcod and greenling.
Gearing up for the Westport Jetty
Typically, the fish at the Westport Jetty aren’t monsters. Most bottomfish weigh between 1 to 10 pounds. The two main factors when determining what rod to bring are as follows. Lingcod often ambush baits and immediately retreat back into their rocky burrows. Having a rod that can force lingcod to the surface is required. Also, light lines can be easily frayed from the rocks and barnacles of the jetty, so we typically use between 15 to 20 pound line.
Since jigging is the method of choice, a shorter rod with a fast action works well. We use the Shimano Clarus 7’9″ 12-30lb casting rod, anything close to this length and taper will do.
Westport Jetty Lingcod
Lingcod live in the cracks between the jetty’s rocks. They wait in their burrows for passing prey to swim by, then they ambush it, and immediately retreat to their home.
Fishing the structure of the jetty requires a 1/2 oz. to 2 oz. jighead to get down. Cast a short distance, and allow your jig to stay as close the the structure as possible. Often times this results in plenty of lost tackle, but it is the most effective way to catch lingcod from the jetty.
Soft plastic curly tail grubs are excellent lures for lings, as are swimbaits. Lingcod aren’t shy, and large swimbaits will attract the most aggressive lings nearby.
Once a lingcod is hooked from the jetty, it needs to be yanked away from its burrow quickly…or else the chance of landing it is slim. Many serious jetty anglers bring a net to assist in landing trophy lings.
Westport Jetty Rockfish
Black rockfish are the most common bottomfish at the Westport Jetty. Although they are called a “bottomfish” they suspend and are often found off the bottom, at whatever depth has forage. Smaller 1/4 oz. to 1 oz jigheads work well for rockfish, use 4″ to 6″ curlytail grubs or swimbaits.
Metal jigs can work extremely well for rockfish, but most jetty anglers use inexpensive jigheads.
Westport Jetty Greenling
Greenling are the easiest of all bottomfish to catch at the Westport Jetty. They are abundant, and can be found in the sandy bottom away from the jetty as well as in the rocks. Use a small slip egg sinker, a short leader accompanied with bait. Still fishing with clam necks, small herring strips, sand shrimp or cocktail shrimp will catch these smaller bottomfish. On occasion, anglers reeling in a greenling or small rockfish will be surprised by the vicious attack from a hungry lingcod. While light tackle fishing is fun, gear up to land the big ones, if they happen to hit!