I have fished for salmon a bunch out of Port Townsend over the years. But it has always been the trolling drill at Mid Channel Bank. But yesterday morning we tried something new. We found a really cool pocket of old school moochers and joined them for a new experience. My 18′ boat was a little out of place fishing around the kicker boats. But we worked really hard to learn the program quickly and fish among some really old-school and talented anglers.
Point Wilson at Port Townsend
Point Wilson is on the extreme edge of Puget Sound. And it is the delineation line between the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Admiralty Inlet. I have never experienced a more challenging place to mooch for salmon. The currents race outbound on the ebb and the mooching zone it tight to the beach. It’s pretty much a locals only spot.
The fleet of small 14′ to 16′ Pacific Mariners and Olympic kicker boats head out of Port Townsend everyday and cluster around the lighthouse. These same boats have been fishing out there for 50 years, passed down to the next generation. Each one looked like it was meticulously cared for, shiny and waxed. Not a scratch. These folks seemed to put as much care and attention to their mooching craft as they do to keeping their boats in tip top shape. Maybe the motors have been replaced a couple times over the years, but it was a step back in time, witnessing the same scene that used to be commonplace in every fishing haunt throughout Puget Sound.
Small Boat Fleet and Motor Mooching
Quarters are tight, and it seemed like this small band of moochers have had a couple decades fishing next to each other. Figuring out how to motor mooch and maneuver around each other and get the drift down to an exact science. We don’t have many mooching strongholds like this anymore.
End of the Morning Ebb
The morning ebb was moving about twelve feet of water. We arrived a couple hours before the tide exchange and as the currents weakened, we were able to fine tune our drift. With the kicker barely in gear, we essentially were back-trolling outbound to the Marine Area 9 boundary. All of the regulars did the same. They were dropping their baits to the bottom and hovering, allowing the currents to get their cut plug herring to spin. And they were catching a few!
We did our best to drift mooch with the fleet, but opted for a drop and reel style of mooching. Shortly after we arrived, I hooked a good one! My biggest to date of the Puget Sound Chinook season! Ten minutes later, I found his twin brother, but it was lost at the net. Probably should’ve let him tire out a little more. It was a little hot when we tried to net it. I guess every day needs to gift us with a learning experience! We saw a number of other Chinook landed by the small boat club, and I can say that it was one of the most memorable mooching days that I have had in Puget Sound.