Larry Ellis, fishing columnist

Fishing report

for June 15-21

Need hanging bait for your crab pots and rings? Not a problem! Simply look for the white freezer at the left-hand side of the Port of Brookings Harbor fish-cleaning station, take out a fish carcass and pop two bits in a metal slot for every carcass taken. It's the Port's way of making fresh-frozen, good-looking crab bait available for everyone, and the whole program is based on the honor system.

In years past, recreational crabbers have had to dig through the barrels at the fillet station for fish offal in order to lure Dungeness crab into their traps. That might be OK for people who don't mind getting their hands all slimy from digging through the muck inside of the barrels. But now people can wear their Sunday-go-to-meetin' clothes, pick out the carcass of their choice, lift it out by its hanger, and proceed to go a-crabbin' to their hearts' content andndash; and they don't have to set one foot inside the fillet station.

"The whole idea behind it is to give people something clean and frozen that they don't have to touch," says Dan Hoover, Outside Operations Manager for the Port of Brookings Harbor. "People don't have to dig through the barrels anymore."

Many other ports on the Oregon coast charge several dollars for hanging bait. When I talked to Hoover a few weeks ago, he talked about implementing a program in which people could get fresh crab bait based on an honor system. It didn't take him long to get the ball rolling. So far, local area residents and visitors from the Rogue Valley have been very excited about the Port's new way of dispensing the crab bait.

"We've had such an overwhelmingly good response," says Hoover. "I've had people putting thank-you notes inside the freezer and writing us letters to the office andndash; they just love it."

Hoover also commented about the honesty of the community regarding paying for the carcasses.

"People have been very honorable about paying," adds Hoover. "One day last week when I went to do the count, people actually over-paid. So we're going to keep it at a quarter, and maybe once the bait cooler has paid for itself andndash; which looks like is going to happen really soon andndash; I'm going to push for even a lower price."


Finally, after over a week of gale-force northwest winds, the ocean became calm enough on Thursday for boats to cross the Brookings Harbor bar in search of rockfish, lingcod and Chinook salmon.

Most anglers were successful at catching rockfish on Thursday but very few were able to find the Chinook. That should change this weekend as winds are expected to hover in the 5-mph range for several days, with swells dropping and wind chop expected to be in the 1-foot category.

However, on Thursday, one local charterboat operator was able to find the Chinook.

"Salmon are out there about nine miles," said Jim Bithell, owner of Charthouse Sportfishing on Thursday. "And with this blow, they've been deep, and when I say 'deep', I mean 200-feet deep. So put lots of wire on that downrigger."

Bithell said that the action was consistent on Thursday.

"We had 12 hits altogether," said Bithell. "Five were coho and we landed three nice kings. We also lost several other fish that I believe were kings and had two other hits."

Quick and easyspinnerbait rig

Next week, fall Chinook action should start to pick for anglers trolling the Rogue Bay. The most commonly-used setup is called a spinnerbait rig. A spinnerbait rig is basically a mooching rig using a sliding top hook, with several beads and a spinner blade resting on top of the hook.

Many people tie their own rigs, but describing how to properly tie up one of these setups would take two columns. So, why not do things the easy way? Buy a pre-tied mooching rig and add the beads and spinner blade yourself.

You will need a mooching rig like the one shown in today's photo. Make sure that the rig says "slip" on the package.

You will need to slide the top hook upward, cut the bottom hook off and then tie a perfection loop on the leader's end. To learn how to tie this loop, go to and click on the fish icon. Then click on "Perfection Loop."

Using clear aqua-colored beads, slide two 5mm beads down the mooching rig's line, then two 4mm beads followed by three 3mm beads. Now slide down a plastic clevis on top of the top bead which will accept an interchangeable spinner blade of your choice. On the Rogue, you can't go wrong with a number 4 green-on-green blade.

An anchovy is used with a spinnerbait rig. You will need to draw the perfection loop from the bait's mouth back through the middle of the bait and out of the bait's vent.

To do this, insert the pointed end of a bait threader through the vent of the anchovy, up through the middle of the bait and then out of the bait's mouth. With the slot of the bait threader, grab the perfection loop and pull it through the middle of the bait and back out through the bait's vent.

Insert the top hook from the underside of the bait's jaw and out through the top of the bait's skull. Loop the perfection loop through the eye of a number 2 treble hook and then wrap the loop around the entire hook. One of the treble hook points will be inserted into the anchovy's vent.

Adjust the bend of the anchovy using the sliding top hook so that the bait is slightly curved and spins tight, just like a drill bit. Today's photo shows what your leader will look like minus the anchovy.

A 3-way spreader bar is tied to your main line and your 5-foot spinnerbait leader is tied to the end. Attach a 12-inch monofilament leader, called a dropper, to the bottom of the spreader bar, and to its end, tie on a cannonball sinker ranging from 2 1/2 to 4 ounces.

Tight lines!