Will this wind ever stop blowing? That's the question I was getting the most last week from antsy anglers aching to put the hurtin' on some of those 4-year-old ocean Chinook that are predicted to be swimming in the ocean near the Port of Brookings Harbor.
The answer to that question is a resounding yes.
According to the National Weather Service, starting today, the winds are predicted to be dying down between 5 and 7 knots with a 3-foot swell. And the wind is supposed to remain the same through Monday, with a diminishing swell.
That's great news for salmon aficionados, because the blustery winds have cooled the sea surface temperature down to the mid- to upper-40s. After the winds die down for a few days, the water temperature should start climbing to a salmon's comfort zone of 52 degrees.
From the reports I've been getting from reliable sources, there were salmon hanging out close to shore all week. One source told me his fish finder was marking salmon between 34 and 36 inches long, and they were all hovering close to balls of anchovies, Pacific sand lance and herring.
Where these salmon will be when the water warms up is anybody's guess. They might still be hanging out fairly close to shore inside the whistle and bell buoys, they could be sliding into salmon alley off of Chetco Point, or they may decide to head for deeper water. Whatever they decide to do, they will be doing it around bait balls and in that 52-degree water temperature. It's only a matter of time, but I predict that there will be some nice Chinook caught this week fairly close to the Port of Brookings Harbor.
So sharpen your hooks and buy plenty of bait. It's not a matter of "if" salmon will be filleted at the Brookings cleaning station, it's a matter of "when."
I know for a fact that there are some salmon inside the Port of Brookings Harbor. People have been spotting schools of bait fish in the harbor, and some anglers have been catching smelt, herring and shad.
I watched one angler toss a 3/4-ouncechrome Kastmaster, jigging it toward the surface and letting it fall back toward the bottom, when a flash of chrome took a look at his lure and left a giant swirl on the surface of the water the size of a wash tub. If the bait fish continue to remain in the harbor, somebody's going to catch a salmon.
Meanwhile, the crabbing at the crab pier near the U.S. Coast Guard Station Chetco River has been steadily picking up all week, and that was during the high winds.
I watched John Borja, aka Pineapple, catch two keepers on Monday, and he told me that there were a half-dozen keepers caught earlier in the morning. So get your Pineapple traps out of mothballs, spray the springs with some WD-40, load it with some chicken and get ready to measure your crab.
I've also seen some very nice size red-tail surfperch filleted at the cleaning station last week. When the ocean is blowing too hard for boaters to cross the bar, you can still sock it to the surfperch. They don't care how hard the wind is blowing. They're designed by nature to be in the surf. All of the usual surfperch hangouts should be producing fish this weekend as well.
Folks were also catching some large black rockfish and lingcod last week, too. Because of the high winds, people have been getting up at the crack of dawn and fishing a very narrow one- to two-hour window of opportunity before the winds kicked up.
This weekend and into next week, the light winds and a diminishing swell should entice a lot of anglers to try their luck fishing for rockfish and lingcod. Moderate seas should also be ideal for Pacific halibut fishermen as well.