I was giddy with anticipation for today. I was only out twice on Puget Sound all winter, one for crabbing and one for Blackmouth fishing. Sad I know, however those were both great trips. I was more than amped to plan a trip with a few friends for the opener. The 2022 May 1 Lingcod opener is my official return to (hopefully) weekly trips until the end of salmon season. Evan, Chris, Sean and I were prepared, rigged and ready for the first shot at Puget Sound Lingcod.
We had perfect weather and the Puget Sound was looking amazing. It was a classic May day on Puget Sound, with blue skies broken with those classic heavy spring clouds. The Olympics were covered in snow and peaked through the cloud cover. We splashed the boat at an uncrowded Shilshole boat launch and headed out to catch a cooler full of flounder to use as live bait. Flounder fishing was great, and we had enough after a few short drifts near West Point.
We headed south past Downtown Seattle towards one of our favorite Lingcod spots. Possession and a few other areas in Puget Sound are large enough and well known enough to share by name, but I will encourage you all to look at some diving websites to discover all the small natural and artificial reefs for yourselves. We headed to several areas around West Seattle and Bainbridge that I have fished before, and they were no secret. Plenty of other boaters had the same idea on this opening day.
We fished a mix of soft plastics on a lead jig head, and flounder on a live-bait setup. The first spot was really busy, and we saw a bunch of Lingcod caught. Our luck wasn’t as good as others, but we did end up with a few undersize Lingcod. Two that were below the 26″ minimum size, but super fun to catch! Regardless of what we bring back, I’m still in the learning stage so catching any Lingcod on our Puget Sound Lingcod fishing trip is a success in my book!
After feeling like we had covered the area pretty well, we decided to try out another area and moved across the Sound. We were welcomed by another tightly packed group of boats all hovering over the structure I had marked on my charts. Once again, we witnessed quite a few Lingcod caught by boats around us, which was a welcome sign that the Lingcod population in Puget Sound is healthy.
Drift after drift yielded us a few more lost rigs, snagged in the structure. Finally, Sean’s rod bounced twice and fully loaded up! He coaxed it towards the surface a couple times, only to have this monster scream back to the bottom structure. After a harrowing battle, we finally were able to slip a net underneath it, and brought it to the boat. We measured twice, and it taped out at 35.5″ from the tip of it’s jaw to the longest part of the tail. If it were even a quarter inch longer, we probably would’ve errored on the side of caution and released it, but there was no question it was within the 26″ to 36″ Puget Sound slot limit.
After another hour or so, it seemed like we had all that we were going to get that day, and with the currents shifting and the drift changing to our disadvantage we decided to call it a successful day and head back to Shilshole.
The opening day excitement was pretty strong throughout the fleet we fished around. I love this fishery because it’s almost like a homecoming of sorts for us locals. You may not know anyone fishing around you personally, but share that same love of Puget Sound and the fishing we are blessed with here. Hope all of you that made it out on opening day had as good or better experience than our day on the water!