BY LARRY ELLIS
Pilot staff writer
Hey there tuna, y'all come back now, ya hear!
As the saying goes, "You never know how much you miss something until it's gone." Well, we've had almost two months of enjoyable tuna experiences and at least 10 days of back-to-back, rock-solid inshore tuna adventures that put more smiles on the faces of Brookings' residents than Carter's got pills.
It goes without sayin': I miss my tuna more than life itself.
Last week, the northwest winds started howlin' 15 to 25 knots and pushed what little baitfish in the port back out to sea. In addition, the water inshore cooled off below a salmon's comfort zone, so there went the coho bite. Furthermore, along with the bait went our warm water.
It's common in the summer to experience periods of fog and calm seas, alternating with periods of sunny skies and wind. Those periods usually last four to five days, but this year they've been lasting a week or longer. It's part of the Chetco Effect that most of us have come to know and love and it's been going on for centuries. Therefore, there's no need to think anything is going to change.
Fairly soon (and I really believe that moment could come this week), the ocean could lay down and hopefully we'll have some southerlies again to bring some warm water back our way.
Looking at today's (Friday 12 a.m.) water vapor loop, it looks like some southwesterlies are trying to make their way up the West Coast along the inside, but northwest winds are wreaking havoc on the outside.
All I know is that Brookings had a tuna trend well established. I hope Mother Nature is kind to us again and hands us back the ball. If she doesn't thanks for the memories.
The Rogue Bay
Boats have been packing the Rogue estuary like sardines. I'm not going to candy-coat how the fishing's been. My readers deserve the truth. The action's been really good on days when they've been biting, and on days when they haven't felt like cooperating, the bite has been slightly sub-par.
However, on Wednesday, many boats limited out on some very large Chinook, or at least had the opportunity to land some. I've seen some of the results at our very own fillet station, with their captors alongside to give me the skinny.
On Thursday, the bite was fair, but there were still some fish caught and brought to our fillet station to be cleaned.
Predicting how the bite is going to be on the Rogue is even harder than predicting the weather. But the month is just beginning and some of the Rogue's largest fish are caught in August.
Don Shangle caught a 57 1/2-pound Chinook on Aug. 14, 2002. Then Steve Perry of Reedsport caught a 66-pound king on his own lure on the Aug. 31 of the same year. It cannot be argued that there is a trend of catching large fish in the Rogue in August.
I've never met Don; however, I have met Steve. Steve used to be an ex bass pro at one time, and it's really fun talking with him about his bass experiences. But this month he will most likely be on the bank near Osprey Point in Winchester Bay, giving tips to anglers of all ages how to catch coho using his spinners.
Probably half the people lining up on the beach will be throwing the shocking pink Perry's Mag Spinner, the same spinner Steve used to catch that 66 pounder with on the Rogue.
Rockfish and lingcod
Rockfishing slowed down a little due to the northwest winds. But that didn't stop anglers from catching a few limits just inside the red can and slightly downhill.
Many of those who got up at the crack of dawn had no trouble limiting out on some nice black rockfish, blues, kelp greenling and some really humongous lingcod.
Dennis Salanti, captain of Strictly Salmon, was able to get out most days where his clients were puttin' a hurtin' on the "Sebastes" variety, as well as nailing a few nice lingcod as well.
Every day this week anglers kept coming to the fillet tables with rockfish and lingasaurs. Many people said they had to work for their fish while others said their limits came easily. Struggling for limits usually means people weren't able to fish the changes of the tides.
This time of year you often have to struggle to get a few fish until Davey Jones squirts a little Liquid Wrench into their gills and frees their rusty jaws.
I've said it before and I'll keep saying it until the cows come home: Brookings is without a doubt the most cost-effective fishery on the West Coast. When the price of gas was lower, and the ocean was a little flatter, nobody thought anything about heading up to Twin, House or Mack Arch.
Now that the winds have kicked up, people are heading out the jaws and fishing hundreds of high spots within a quarter-mile radius.
But it was the kayakers who beat the system. Several rowed around the north jetty and limited out inside the kelp. How much gas does that cost?
Klamath River Mouth
The hot bite that's been keeping everyone glued to the Klamath mouth fizzled a little bit last week, but not before several anglers got their limits of steelhead, Chinook and their lone jack.
The steelhead were averaging 8 to 12 pounds. Seriously! Although most people think of the Klamath's steelhead as half-pounders, there have been more large fish caught this year than in a decade.
A little rain sent some of the fish upriver, but there'll be more back to take their places. This is going to be an awesome salmon year on the Klamath.
I also think that the Brookings October hawg season is going to be a stellar salmon fishery. So until then I will leave you with the famous words of William Shakespeare: