By Larry Ellis
Pilot staff writer
Rockfishing and lingcod were in the center spotlight at the Brookings Harbor fillet station last week. Summer in Brookings often brings calm seas as it did last week. Anglers reported catching their rockfish on a variety of lures and baits, while many lings were caught using live sea trout or rockfish.
Limits of rockfish were the top draw with lots of blue rockfish, China cod, grassies, quillbacks and occasional vermilion thrown in for good measure.
In addition to rockfish there were quite a few lingasaurs filleted at the tables as well. Although not everyone limited out on the mottled toothmeisters, the ones that were caught were pretty good size.
As you can see in today's photo, the lings are beginning to fill out with eggs, giving their stomachs that beer-belly appearance.You can expect the lings to start filling out even more this month because they are starting to prepare for the spawn.
At last glimpse, cabezon was starting to reach their quota. According to Don Bodenmiller, ODFW fisheries biologist in Newport, we may cap out some time this month, so keep your eyes glued on the ODFW Web site at www.dfw.state.or.us.
Sandabs and crab
With bottomfishing and salmon the way it is, why not give sanddabs a go?You're allowed 25 of them and they're the tastiest fish in the ocean.
They should be in about 160 feet right about now and they will bite just about anything. The usual rig is a sinker on the bottom with three dropper loops with snelled hooks attached to the droppers.
Just about anything works for bait: squid, mussels, pieces of anchovies, you name it.
Also in the Port of Brookings at the public piers located near the Coast Guard Station, people have been scoring radically on Dungeness crab.
Crabbers have been using rings and butterfly traps. There is plenty of hanging bait in the fillet station cans and the good thing is that it's free. Just make sure you don't use any cabezon carcasses because you will NOT get bit.
According to the National Weather Service, the calm southwest wind which also brought tuna close to many ports is supposed to turn northwest today with a moderate 10 knot breeze, but then turning north from Sunday through Tuesday with winds increasing to 20 knots or more.
This is the typical summer effect that most of us in Brookings have grown to know and love. We'll get about 5 days of calm weather alternating with 5 days of winds.Who needs the weatherman when you live in the Banana Belt? The weather practically predicts itself.
I called most of the Oregon ports last week and most of them reported getting some nice tuna right around the 58-degree temperature break. Ken Butler from Prowler Charters in Bandon said Wayne was out in the Mischief on Wednesday and got about 50 tuna. He was out again on Thursday.
"He got his first fish in 56-degree water and they were big fish," said Ken."His biggest fish was 36 pounds."
On Thursday Wayne got over 70 tuna and at the last report he was fishing on Friday.
The Brookings fleet likes to hear how Bandon and Coos Bay are doing because it affects their decisions whether or not to head directly out of Brookings or tow their rigs up towards Charleston.
I had a report from the Osprey boys on Thursday who were tentatively planning on making a tuna run Friday or Saturday. My guess is that they are going to do pretty well.
One week ago Friday, a lot of boats in Brookings made trips between 40 and 70 miles in the hopes of finding tuna. They found ideal tuna temperatures but got the proverbial goose egg.
Then on Saturday, exactly one week ago, a few guys trekked up to Charleston and launched there, where many were rewarded with bloody decks and lots of tuna.
So the tuna fishing appears to be giving Brookings at least one good shot a week.
Surfperch and coho
Meanwhile the surfperch fishing still remains on fire about a mile uphill from the Winchuck Wayside.The cans at the fillet stations revealed plenty of filleted carcasses.
The coho quota has now reached just below 60-percent for the entire coast. Brookings caught their fair share last week, however the fish were smaller inside three miles, averaging about 7 pounds.
Those souls who ventured out 10 miles got the bigger coho, fish ranging from 10 to 12 pounds.
The fish were biting on hootchies and anchovies. The rig of choice was a Deep Six Diver at about 17 pulls leading to a hootchie with a piece of cut bait or a whole anchovy.
The coho are appearing to be busting a move further north, like they do every year, on their way to the Columbia.
Chinook fishing in the lower Rogue estuary has gone from slow to fair, with some very nice fish being taken.
"We're seeing some nice big fish in the 40-pound category and several 50s," says Jim Carey from the Rogue Outdoor Store in Gold Beach. "On Saturday we had one shy by about 4 ounces."
The Rogue has been putting out about 20 to 30 fish on the better days.
I have to hand it to Todd Confer, our district fisheries biologist.His prediction was for a fair amount of fish, but the ones that would be caught were going to be hawgs. Right on Todd!
Half-pounders are still making a decent appearance in the Rogue from Clay Banks all the way up to Agness, with Hotel Riffle and below being good spots.
"We're seeing reasonable numbers," notes Carey, who suggests focusing in the lower part of the river.
Redtail surfperch are holding their own in places like Kissing Rock, the Gold Beach south jetty spit and Nesika Beach. Some salmon anglers are even getting a few of the pinkfin while trolling for salmon.
"We're even seeing them now in a little more strength than last week," says Carey.