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LOCAL TUNA HUNTERS GOING HOME HAPPY

Jim Day of Brookings hoists two tuna he caught 30 miles off of Brookings on Wednesday.Jim says he overshot the tuna that day:They were as close as 18 miles from shore.  (The Pilot/Larry Ellis).
Jim Day of Brookings hoists two tuna he caught 30 miles off of Brookings on Wednesday.Jim says he overshot the tuna that day:They were as close as 18 miles from shore. (The Pilot/Larry Ellis).

By Larry Ellis

Pilot staff writer

Fishing report for June 29 through July 5

Albacore still going gangbusters

For the second week, fishermen have been experiencing super-mega adrenaline rushes as they have fought the second hardest fighting fish in the ocean, hands-down. We're talking about albacore and they seem to be moving a little bit closer to the Port of Brookings Harbor.

All week long, anglers were lined up elbow-to-elbow cleaning fish ranging from 15 to 30 pounds. All in all, the fishing was very good; that is, when Mother Nature allowed you to get out.

If you've never caught an albacore on a rod and reel, you're missing out on one of life's most supreme joys. Going one-on-one with a fish with this kind of power is so much fun it should be illegal.

I have seen shriveled up, gaunt-looking old men who were just about ready to give up the ghost, suddenly take a turn for the better when they see their rod double-up and hear line zinging off their reel with the clicker on. I truly believe that for every tuna a man catches, another hour is added to his life span.

There are a lot of tourists who pass through the cleaning station, who upon seeing a filleted tuna carcass ask, "Are those bonitos?"

When you tell them they're albacore they almost don't believe you. But when you show them those long pectoral fins, they change their tune.

Here's the thing about albacore. They bite the best in the afternoon from three days before and until three days after a full moon. Since the full moon occurred June 30, and I was invited to go fishing from Newport Marina Charters on July 1, I had the perfect opportunity to witness first-hand whether or not this was an old wife's tale.

From 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., we picked up a single fish every now and again. And I was happy with the 16 fish we had by then. Then, around 1 p.m., here came double trouble. Soon afterward followed a couple triples. Later we had several fours on and finally, at 2:55 p.m., came the six-banger. That day was exactly one day after the full moon and the hottest action occurred between 1 and 3 p.m. That's what made me a believer.

Everyone on the boat walked (or more appropriately, limped) away with six to seven fish each. All the fish weighed about 25 pounds each, making them 4 year olds, and all were hooked on zucchini clones trolled at about 7 knots.

The same could be said about the bite in Brookings. The only thing about fishing out of the Port of Brookings Harbor is, by 1 p.m. the water usually starts getting its first whitecap, and that's when it's time to head for home. So if there weren't more fish caught last week, it was definitely because of the full moon that occurred on Saturday.

But there were still plenty of fish caught. Tim Coakley from Brookings has made five successful trips so far and on Wednesday, Jim Day of Brookings had his moment in the sun as well.

With the full moon waning this week, there should be a lot more hookups in the mornings. There should also be some hot bites in the afternoon as well.

By now, you're probably wondering what the number-one hardest fighting fish is in the ocean. I have to say that it's probably a swordfish, otherwise known as a broadbill.

Everyone I've known who has hooked one on a rod and reel has never landed it. They've been spotted off Brookings, in case you want to give it a whirl. Just keep an eye out for a big dorsal fin laying flat on the surface of the ocean, a posture known as "finning."

Salmon still

10 miles out

All of this warm water has pushed the Chinook further out to sea, and there are some coho in pretty good numbers for those who are willing to foot the gas bill.

"The Chinook were about 10 1/2 to 12 miles out and about 50-feet down," said Monica Fischer from the Chetco Outdoor Store. "It wasn't a monstrous bite, but it was more Chinook than I have heard of in the last two weeks."

The coho bite was also cooperative for anglers willing to head out about 10 miles.

"We went out about 4 days in a row and limited on the silvers," said Jeff Fischer from Fischer Guide Service. "They were out at 275 degrees."

Fischer said the depth finder was reading about 387 feet.

"Friday we must have hooked about 20 fish," Fisher added. "We lost six or seven fish and we let seven go. We had one about 12 pounds."

According to Fischer, and other fishermen I've talked to up and down the coast, the cohos this year are all different age classes. Some may be 2- to 3-pounders, others average about 5, while there are a few pushing 10 pounds or better.

"They're really chompin' on the big sardines," Fisher noted. "I cleaned a 4 pounder that had a 10-inch sardine in its belly."

Rockfishing excellent - lingcod fair

Most fishermen have been scoring limits of some pretty nice-size black rockfish on twin-tail plastics, leadfish, Storm WildEye sardine swimbaits and herring used on a mooching leader.

Lingcod fishing is still sub-par for this time of year but there are a few nice ones still coming to the fillet station.

What I like to do is get a leadfish, the kind that has no paint on it, open the jaws of a big vice about two inches, let the leadfish straddle the vice and then give it a good whack with a small sledge hammer. That puts a kink in the middle. Then sometimes I'll do the same thing to another section of the leadfish to make it kind of squirrely looking.

What that does is cause the leadfish to fall in an erratic motion, giving it the appearance of a dying or wounded baitfish. All fish love to go attack the culls.

Tight lines!

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