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TUNA GOING STRONG, KLAMATH AND ROGUE RIVERS PICKING UP

Rick Berryhill (left) and Kirby Renfro from Central Point caught these two 20-pound tuna on Mexican flags on Tuesday while fishing 20 miles out of the Port of Brookings Harbor. (The Pilot/Larry Ellis).
Rick Berryhill (left) and Kirby Renfro from Central Point caught these two 20-pound tuna on Mexican flags on Tuesday while fishing 20 miles out of the Port of Brookings Harbor. (The Pilot/Larry Ellis).

By Larry Ellis

Pilot staff writer

The top ten most asked questions at the Brookings fillet station

While this is not the David Letterman show by any stretch of the imagination, I do like his "top ten" topics of the day that he presents from time to time. David usually starts out with the most mundane point of interest, usually number 10, and then slowly builds to a climactic gut-splitter being number 1. While I don't claim to be a comedian, some questions always seem to tickle me to no end.

I've spent a lot of time in the cleaning stations in the last year and just when I think I've heard all of the possible questions anyone could possibly ask, someone ends up proving me wrong. With all the tuna hoopla that's consumed the minds of the sport and commercial fishermen in the last two months, I've come up with my own set of top ten questions asked at the Brookings fillet station:

•Question Number 10 – Why does the sewer always run through this place?

•Question Number 9 - What's the difference between a nautical mile and a statue mile?

•Question Number 8 – Do those maggots crawling on the inside of the barrels affect the eating quality of the fish carcasses?

•Question Number 7 – Do you mind if I have a taste of your fish to go with my freshly made wasabi?

•Question Number 6 – Is that a squid or a halibut you're cleaning?

•Question Number 5 – Why do you waste so much meat?

•Question Number 4 – Have you ever noticed how much fish look like their captors?

•Question Number 3 – Why don't you use an electric fillet knife like all the rest of the folks?

•Question Number 2 – Are those bonito you're cleaning?

•And finally, Question Number 1 (drum roll please) – Why does it smell so much like tuna in here?

In a way, tuna and snow have a lot in common. When you haven't had any for a long time, you can hardly wait for a first appearance. Once tuna starts coming within range of the sport vessels, anglers can hardly wait for the chance to go one-on-one with one of nature's hardest fighting fish.

And just like snow, you wait patiently for that first blizzard to bring the first few inches of powder.

In the beginning, anglers can't wait until tuna come within range so you can start canning them and making presents for your relatives at Christmas.

When the first snowflakes arrive, people can hardly wait to go outside to catch the first snowflakes on their tongues and make snow angels.

Upon the first arrival of tuna, you say, "Wow, just look at all of Davey Jones Locker's beautiful sea creatures. I hope that shark leaves my precious tuna alone. I hope this keeps up all summer."

When the first snowfall arrives, you say, "Wow, just feast your eyes on Mother Nature's beautiful white wonders. I hope that snowplow doesn't mess up the freshly cleaned sidewalk. I hope this lasts all winter."

After a month of catching tuna, you start to grow weary from fighting these powerful beasts and scrubbing the blood off your boat. You slip on the blood on the deck and sprain your ankle. You start to think, "Is this the way it's going to be all summer long?"

After a month of continuous snow blizzards, you tediously shovel snow and ice off your walkway. You slip on the ice on your sidewalk and sprain your knee. You start to wonder, "Is this the way it's going to be all winter long?"

After three months of tuna messing up your freshly cleaned deck, you say to yourself, "If I catch one more of these stinking bloody tuna, I'm throwing it back to the sharks."

After three months of seeing nothing but snow, you say to yourself, "If I see any more of that stinking white stuff, I'm throwing a shovel full of it at the man who runs the snow plow."

Well, it's really not as bad as all of that. This is the best fishing we've had in decades. I think every tuna fisherman wants to catch these powerful finned creatures all summer long. I know I do. But how about a little salmon thrown our way for variety?

It looks like that just might happen this week. Mike Ramsay from Sporthaven Marina keeps his eye glued pretty tight to the Terrafin Charts, and last Thursday, Mike said it looked like today might be a good day for both tuna and salmon. I think you're going to see some variety at the fillet stations this weekend.

Klamath River Chinook and steelhead bringing anglers solid action

Jim Bansemer from goldriverguides.com has been reporting some very steady action from salmon in the mouth of the river, and some exciting fly fishing adventures for steelhead upriver as well.

"It's been solid," says Bansemer. "A couple weeks ago every boat was going out and catching two or three every night."

Bansemer says that the action can be fair one day then just suddenly break wide open the next. Because of the extremely clear water conditions, he suggests downsizing your spinners and long-lining them for the best results. He suggest using a No. 2 Mepps spinner instead of using a 4 or a 5.

"Most of the people in my camp are spinner fishing," adds Bansemer. "The fish seem to like gold. They're fishing a spreader-spinner with maybe 2 to 4 ounces of weight, and they outfish anybody."

In addition, Bansemer is running catch and release fly fishing trips for steelhead upriver. "They're going for the typical steelhead flies like Nos. 8 and 10 Brindle Bugs and Silver Hiltons," notes Bansemer. "Right now it's spectacular. I think the steelhead numbers are high and they're thick, and that's why we're seeing this success rate."

Rogue River action expected to heat up

According to Steve Beyerlin from fishoregon.com, the action in the lower Rogue estuary should pick up, especially this time next week. Right now it's typical for boats to hook up a couple of times a day.

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