By Larry Ellis
Pilot staff writer
Fishing Report for August 3 9
In-season regulation change by ODFW
As the saying goes, "We have some good news, and we have some bad news." Bearers of misfortune usually prefer to get the bad news out of the way first because after delivering a disheartening downer, the only way the recipient has to go is up. That being said, I'll start with the good news.
Last week was one of the best weeks we've had this season as far as big cabezon being brought to the fillet tables goes. There were more cabbies brought to the cleaning station than I've seen the entire year. One gorgeous specimen would have gone 12 pounds easily.
Now for the bad news. Starting today you can't keep em. Whew! And I thought breaking that minor catastrophe was going to be the bummer of the summer. Hey, don't shoot the messenger. It's really not as bad as all that as I'll explain later.
It was inevitable. The harvest cap for cabezon was once again nearing its quota earlier than usual this year. Actually Don Bodenmiller, who is ODFW's Marine Recreational Non-salmonid Fisheries biologist, warned me last week that the cabbies would probably cap-out early.
Now for the not-so-bad stuff. This little rundown has a slight twist not akin to the typical "good news bad news scenario." It's actually a "good news bad news good news" burlesque sketch. There are two positive perspectives at looking at the season shutting down.
Perspective 1: cabezon are the most slimy, slippery critters in the ocean, and they are often the most difficult, if not impossible fish to fillet correctly. One person, who shall remain nameless, used to toss all of the cabbies we caught over to my side of the fillet table while he cleaned the black rockfish and lingcod.
I actually can't blame the fellow for doing it. He always told me cabbies were bad luck, almost tantamount to having a banana on board. But I never listen to him. I was always stoked catching big cabbies because their eating quality is superb.
He used to fish quite frequently with my stepfather Leon and myself, and all I can say is those are some of the best days I have ever experienced.
The second positive aspect at looking at the season being shut down is that it's really not completely over with. True, it is now illegal for all boaters to retain cabezon heavy emphasis on boaters.
However, ODFW set aside a little quota just for shore-based anglers and shore-based divers. Some of the best places to catch cabezon are from shore and those places happen to be tidepools and jetties. So again, it's a "good news bad news" scenario. It's bad news for boaters but good news for shore-based anglers.
Salmon brought into the fillet station
Monday was one of the best days I've seen this year as far as Chinook salmon goes. When I hit the cleaning station at 1 p.m., 17 kings were accounted for by ODFW fish checkers. Then limit after limit of Chinook kept coming to the fillet tables.
There was a good mixture of sizes, ranging from 12 pounds to almost 30 pounds. That is indicative of a healthy ocean salmon bounty. It shows that there are Klamath fish out there as well as Sacramento and Rogue fish.
And let's not forget the Smith River, Winchuck, Chetco River, Pistol River and Hunter Creek stocks either. All the salmon in these rivers are south migrators and share the same ocean. It's hard for me to believe that there aren't a few of these rivers' stocks mixed in as well.
Sunday was an excellent day for kings as well, but at any rate, I would venture to say that there were more Chinook limits brought in Monday than on any other day this year.
Anglers were whistling away as they were filleting salmon after salmon. You always know people are happy when they're whistling.
I always thought it would be kinda cool to have some really good whistlers get together and harmonize, like a barber shop whistling quartet or a symphony of whistling wizards with the only instruments being the lips and the lungs.
Brookings could have their own whistling contest. We could call it drumroll please: The Brookings Harbor Whistling Festival. Everyone walks around town whistling happy tunes and spreading good cheer. While many people can't carry a tune vocally, it is rare when you hear a really bad whistler. But anyway, this is supposed to be a fishing column.
Not only were salmon brought into the fillet station on Monday, but an extremely good grade of rockfish were brought in as well. Joe Morin had two of the biggest vermilion I've ever seen. Those were two beautiful goldfish, Joe. In addition, his crew had some really huge copper rockfish in their creel as well.
On Tuesday Mike Ramsay from Sporthaven Marina got his limit of salmon. The bite dropped off somewhat and then came the inevitable. The tuna came back.
Tim Coakley of Brookings was one of the guys who went out 27 miles to nail his tuna. Just when you thought it was all over, the albies returned. I think this is definitely what you call a tuna trend.
Even when the northwest winds kicked up on Wednesday, some anglers still stayed inside of the red can buoy and limited out or limited their clients out on rockfish, and on occasion, some very nice lingcod.
These winds will probably stay with us for another few days and my prediction is that by Sunday or Monday, Mother Ocean could lay down for us again, and if she does, the tuna will be back.
Another in-season adjustment was made by ODFW, NOAA and the IPHC. Starting Aug. 10 through 12, the all-depth summer halibut fishery from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain will go every weekend from Friday through Sunday as opposed to every other weekend. It will continue until the 80,000-pound quota is used up or until the season ends on Oct. 28, whichever comes first.