The lingcod bite out of Westport, Washington has been nothing short of phenomenal. Maybe it was the break that we gave them, being forced off the water due to Covid. I can’t believe I just typed that, but yes, that happened.
Mark Coleman and his top-notch lineup of captains at All Rivers and Saltwater Charters have been putting some great quality lingcod on the deck in short order. It’s been a live bait flounder game for the crew, using a 3-foot leader and twin 8/0 octopus hooks, and an 8oz. to 12 oz sinker, depending on current. The proper way to fish this rig is to send it to the bottom and reel up 5’ and let the flounder (or sandab) hover. These apex predators don’t wait long to attack and latch onto the bait.
This next part is important……..reel slooooowwllllyyy. No Bill Dance bass moments in this fishery. Slow and steady is the key as the lingcod may be attached to the bait but not the hooks. If you don’t get bit in the first 20-30 seconds, drop back down and make contact with the bottom and reel up 5’ and start the process over again. Mark and the crew have been limiting out on lingcod with this method.
Seabass catching has been a different story at times. The cold waters and crab spawn can make these rockfish difficult to catch, especially early in the season. Coleman notes that the bite picks up in mid-May or when the crab spawn concludes, making for a full on ‘whack and stack’ program.
That’s not to say they’re not getting their limits today. They’re just having to work for them. All Rivers and Saltwater Charters Captain Nick Clayton hit a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow the other day. He put his vessel and crew on an absolute all-out foamer seabass bite, with bass boiling all around the boat and jumping left and right, trying to perform their best tuna impression. A two-hook dropper rig and 4 oz. sinker is the norm to put these bass on the boat. And as always, find them with your sonar before dropping a line!
Note: Mark and Merry Coleman are the owners, operators, and founders of All Rivers and Saltwater Charters. Their fine lineup of Captains includes Ian Winder, Nick Clayton, and David Rusu. Follow them on the Washington BD Outdoors Forum as well as Facebook and Instagram.
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