By Larry Ellis
Where areour tuna?
While on the road to Tunatown last Tuesday I stumbled into the land of Albieville and decided to stay a while. Albieville is a place where Lothario Ellistein's mind wanders when he needs a giant warm fuzzy.
Anyway I was looking at the ol' Terrafin Sea Surface Temperatures (SST) hoping to find 62-degree water near Brookings.No luck.
However I did discover a very well-defined edge of warm/cool water about 20 miles off of Newport.
So on a whim, I embarked on a chlorophyll quest. Simply put, high chlorophyll reading means the water is loaded with plankton, and that's where you'll find greener water.Low readings means there are low levels of plankton and blue water.
Since there wasn't a chlorophyll picture for Tuesday, I figured Monday's readings would probably suffice, especially since the weather was fairly stable earlier in the week.
What I discovered blew one of my socks off.On the ol' chlorophyll chart there was an interesting pattern where slightly green water met a well-defined edge of blue water.Again 20 miles offshore. A lightbulb went on.
As I eyeballed the two maps, the contours of both edges seemed remarkably similar, so I took a screen shot of both maps and layered one on top of the other.
Where areour tuna?Bingo!Two perfect edges lined up almost in unison. The weather in Albieville was becoming more tropical by the minute.
If this wasn't tuna water, then King Kong wasn't an ape.
I made a phone call to my buddy Chris Olson at Newport Marina Store and Charters in Newport on Wednesday.
Olson informed me that a couple vessels in their fleet had gone out two days in a row and just slaughtered the albies.The distance? 22 miles from port.
On this particular Wednesday, he told me that the first boat came back with a similar haul of tuna and the same grade that I had caught when I went fishing with them last year.
On that day I rod-and-reeled a dozen cookie cutter tuna that went 25 pounds each.
Olson also informed me that another one of his vessels had gone 30 miles out that day, and was on the way back to the landing with some really BIG tuna.He didn't know the exact weights, but if they were bigger than the ones I had caught, they had to be humongous.
On Thursday I made a follow-up call to ascertain the weights of that last batch of tuna.The shock of what Olson told me blew my other sock off.
31 tuna weighed between 30 and 40 pounds.
Will that tuna water ever make it to Brookings? Funny you should ask.Still in Albieville on Thursday evening, I brought up both SST and chlorophyll charts for the Brookings area.
To make a long story short, both SST and chlorophyll data showed yet another duplicate overlay of well-defined water about 25 to 30 miles from shore, only this edge was so sharp you could shave with it.
The temperature wasn't 62-degrees, but it was 61, and that's close enough for government work.In addition, the green water met an even deeper shade of blue water. To me that spells T-U-N-A.
It seemed odd that the water was so warm in the midst of all these northwest winds, but when I reminded myself how dreadfully hot Thursday was, all the stars lined up.
Hopefully by the weekend, those edges will continue lining up.But just in case they don't, I think I'll stay another day or two in Albieville, thank you very much.
Salmon fishing on the lower Rogue
The Rogue estuary's been a fickle pickle last week; however a few choice morsels were indeed plucked out of the pickle barrel.
"Today was the second best day this month," said Larry from the Rogue Outdoor Store on Tuesday.
There were about 50 Chinook reported caught that day, so I had to take a drive up to Gold Beach and check it out for myself.
Indeed, Tuesday was one of the Rogue's better days, with one of the hot tickets being a deep green colored Big Al's Fish Flash with a cut-plug herring or a spinnerbait rig/anchovy trailing behind it.
On that particular Tuesday there were five button fish weighed in at Jot's Resort; one was 40 pounds and the rest were in the mid-30's. And that's just the salmon people actually brought in.
These buttons that Jot's gives out are pretty cool. They're medals of honor and anglers sport them proudly. If you have a fish you suspect is over 30 pounds, by all means bring it into the dock and have someone at Jot's weigh the fish in.
There are also a few Indian Creek fish being filleted at the cleaning tables.Most of the Indian Creek Chinooks have been 3-year-olds averaging between 8 and 12 pounds, nice, fat footballs. The reason I know some of these fish belongto Indian Creek is because a friend caught one the other day that had a coded wire tag in its snout.
Rockfishing fair to middlin out of the Port of Brookings
I hope last week's article regarding fishing the tide changes was helpful for some folks.I realize that not everybody has the time to always hit the tides at the choicest times, but if you do have an option, definitely spend your time fishing a few hours before high slack.
Mike Josephson's crew went up to House Rock early last week and scored some really nice rockfish and lings. All together they caught at least eight different varieties of fish, which included China rockfish, quillbacks, vermilion and even some olive rockfish.
The group said the fishing was slow at first but it picked up when the tide turned.
While being able to catch fish on tide changes may be easier, I always admire the charterboats that limit their passengers on rockfish no matter what part of the tide they fish.It seems as though they're on a totally different level.
Jan Pearce from Tidewinds Sportfishing said their clients limited out on rockfish early in the week.
Jan's last three tips for catching rockfish are still echoing in the caverns of Ellistein's mind: "You gotta be quick, you can't dilly-dally and a quick throw of the net doesn't hurt either."