Hunting For A New Game In PNW

Last year on the T-Bird

This week will be my last in Washington before heading down to SoCal for a visit.  Hopefully, the next time I make this trip, it will be for good.

I’ve got an overnight trip with Capt. Tyler Hill on the T-Bird heading out on Saturday, September 19th.  There is still room, so come out and fish with me.  The fishing has been good of late.  Limits of dorado continues to be the story, with yellowfin and yellowtail figuring strongly in the mix.  Since the limit is only 2 fish per day (on the dodos), people are releasing the smaller ones in hopes of landing a bigger one later.  Definitely a good problem to have.  I can’t wait to give it a go.

Scouting In and Around Seattle

This last week up here in the Pacific Northwest has been about me looking for a new game.  I haven’t fished the same place 2 sessions in a row.  Tuesday, I tried the boat ramp at Redondo Pier (where I fished with the crabbing lady last week), I found a window of clean water at high tide close to dusk and put in a couple of hours until I lost light.  Just shakers.

The next morning, I took a long drive down to Hoodsport which is on the peninsula side at the extreme south end of Puget Sound.  On a tip from my buddy Jason Brooks, who’s a hunting and fishing magazine and radio guy up here, I went there about a month back and fished in front of the hatchery.  There were fish, but a sea lion mother and pup had them in survival mode (so not biting).

This time I tried the public fishing pier, just a block away down the beach.  I caught it at high tide and fished through to about an hour after.  Looked good.  Lots of bait around, saw a few fish jump, saw a sea lion catch one, but I didn’t…other than some more shakers and one small flounder.

Thursday morning, one of my new friends from Dash Point Pier, Ken Kim, invited me to fish his private beach close to Poverty Bay, in between Redondo and Dash Point.  He had spotted some boats anchored up just off the beach and theorized that they were there intercepting the coho salmon as they hugged the coastline on their way to the Puyallup River.  We tested out his theory but came up with nothing to show for our effort.

Friday I took a break from chasing salmon.

My mom said she wanted to come with me on one of my excursions, so I took her to my rockfishing spot, “The Rock Dock” on Whidbey Island.

Berkley Fishing sent me a care package and I wanted to play with a couple of the items…the Gulp Crazy Legs Jerk Shad and their new X9 Braid.  I enjoyed using both.  The larger profile of the bait kept the little ones away, and the big ones were crushing it.  I’ve only ever caught rockfish at this spot.  You can’t keep them because they’re no take in Puget Sound, but it’s always entertaining.  I caught something on almost every cast, but there are a lot of tangles for the fish to take you into, so it’s still challenging.  And unlike previous times at this spot, I caught something other than rockfish!  I caught 2 kelp greenlings, and a sculpin to go with numerous rockfish.  The marina employees were so shocked to see something other than rockfish get caught that they took a picture of me to put on their facebook page.

Sunday, Ken had a new plan.

He wanted to head up north, past Seattle, and fish the Edmonds Pier.

Ken’s had some luck at the spot.  He’s caught twice up there this year.  We got there near the top of the tide.  Not a lot was happening until after the tide had peaked and we hit the slack tide.  The bait started getting active and we started catching shakers on almost every cast.  It felt like it was building into something and sooner or later something good would come of it.  Shakers feel pretty good when you hook them in deep water.  Then they feel smaller as you get them in closer.  I got a deep hit that felt heavier and I swung on it to set the hook.  It responded by fighting back and taking some line.  Fish!

Ken and the guy fishing next to us, Tino, both reeled up to give me room to fight my fish.  I had lost one a couple of weeks back when it was in its last-ditch efforts at the top of the water.  One of the regulars told me he likes to back off his drag at that point and let the fish take a little run rather than thrash on top.  I remembered his advice and backed off my drag.  I don’t know if it mattered since I had both hooks in the fish.  At the end, when the crab net hit the water to hoist it up, the fish was sufficiently spent to guide it in and land it so I think it contributed to the successful result.

In all likelihood, that’s probably the last king of the season for me…at least from a pier.  I want to try to head out to the coast and fish a coastal river.  We’ll see if that happens before I take off.  If not, I’ll find someplace to fish.

Good luck if you get out there.

Joe Sarmiento
Joe Sarmiento is the founder and primary writer of the So Cal Salty blog. The blog covers saltwater fishing, primarily aboard the many sportfishing boats of Southern California. In addition to writing his blog, Joe's writing has appeared in Western Outdoor News, The Log and Griffin Media. Joe is ...