Make the most out of ocean trips

By Larry Ellis, fishing columnist January 18, 2013 09:28 pm

Robert Phillips from Brookings holds two of the 18 Dungeness crab that he and Larry Ellis hauled in while crabbing out of the Port of Brookings Harbor on Thursday. The Pilot/Larry Ellis
 

With flat-calm seas last week, salty dogs who played the daily double were rewarded with crab cocktail appetizers and fish-and-chips for the main course.

Combo trips were common from Tuesday through Thursday, where anglers would first drop off a few crab pots and then proceed to fish for rockfish and lingcod.  After catching a few bottom-grabbers, anglers would then pick up their crab pots and begin throwing the tasty crustaceans in their coolers.

Depending how the weather forecast holds up, there might be a few days this week where fishers and crabbers could enjoy another repeat performance.  At the moment, the National Weather Service is predicting that a westerly swell should be peaking to 8 feet today, but the swell is projected to subside through the rest of the week.

 

While fishing with Robert Phillips of Brookings on Thursday, we first dropped off three crab pots and then commenced to throw a few of his hand-made, beautifully-painted leadfish.  Two and a half hours later, after catching several lingcod and some nice rockfish, we picked up the pots to find 18 keeper crab, just 6 shy of our combined 12-crab per person daily limit.

Most crabbers are setting their pots at depths close to 100 feet, and they are getting their crab at all points from the California/Oregon border up to House Rock.  But as the ocean manifested flat-as-a-pancake conditions, anglers started moving their pots closer to shore, because crab are notorious for moving closer to shore during dead-flat seas.

The majority of the bottomfish caught were primarily lingcod with a few blue rockfish, blacks and Chinas mixed in. The bulk of the black rockfish are still holding offshore, but I expect that they will be invading the kelp beds and surrounding vicinity any week now.

My all-time favorite lure still remains to be the leadfish, even in cold water.  I am certain that several of the fish that were hooked and lost were big lings.  I’m also convinced that one of the lingasaurs inhaled my leadfish so deeply that it severed the line with a clean cut with its razor-sharp teeth on the initial bite.

But the real beauty about fishing in the ocean is that it is always teeming with life. Had we not caught any fish at all, or hauled in any crab whatsoever, the trip would still have been well worthwhile.  After almost running over one whale, Bob immediately spotted another as it raised its tail in the air before preparing to dive.  We witnessed this procedure called fluking on several occasions.  There were so many whales swimming in the water, I actually lost count after spotting the first dozen. Multiple spouts were common.

Folks might also consider strapping a shrimp trap on top of a few of their crab pots.  This is another way of adding more variety to your seafood cuisine. Coonstripe shrimp are commonly caught this time of year and Clay Mansur, the new proprietor of Four M Tackle, is starting to make his famed shrimp traps once again. Clay also retrofits crab pots to work as shrimp traps, as well.

Coonstripe shrimp are commonly found in the Brookings area, frequenting areas where reefs adjoin sand.  I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Mansur’s pots in action while on board with local-area resident Richard Christiansen, and they work better than I ever imagined.

You can fry these incredible edibles whole and eat the entire shrimp, antennae and everything. For more information, contact Clay Mansur at Four M Tackle in Harbor.

~~~

Anglers in the lower Rogue River who were anchored up in sleds, setting out plugs like Brad’s Wigglers, Wee Wigglers and 3.5-inch MagLips were occasionally rewarded with a few steelhead.  But due to cold water in the 38- to 41-degree range, fishermen were reporting lots of take-downs that didn’t stick.  The action should change for the better if the river warms up just a few degrees this week.

Tight lines!With flat-calm seas last week, salty dogs who played the daily double were rewarded with crab cocktail appetizers and fish-and-chips for the main course.

Combo trips were common from Tuesday through Thursday, where anglers would first drop off a few crab pots and then proceed to fish for rockfish and lingcod.  After catching a few bottom-grabbers, anglers would then pick up their crab pots and begin throwing the tasty crustaceans in their coolers.

Depending how the weather forecast holds up, there might be a few days this week where fishers and crabbers could enjoy another repeat performance.  At the moment, the National Weather Service is predicting that a westerly swell should be peaking to 8 feet today, but the swell is projected to subside through the rest of the week.

While fishing with Robert Phillips of Brookings on Thursday, we first dropped off three crab pots and then commenced to throw a few of his hand-made, beautifully-painted leadfish.  Two and a half hours later, after catching several lingcod and some nice rockfish, we picked up the pots to find 18 keeper crab, just 6 shy of our combined 12-crab per person daily limit.

Most crabbers are setting their pots at depths close to 100 feet, and they are getting their crab at all points from the California/Oregon border up to House Rock.  But as the ocean manifested flat-as-a-pancake conditions, anglers started moving their pots closer to shore, because crab are notorious for moving closer to shore during dead-flat seas.

The majority of the bottomfish caught were primarily lingcod with a few blue rockfish, blacks and Chinas mixed in. The bulk of the black rockfish are still holding offshore, but I expect that they will be invading the kelp beds and surrounding vicinity any week now.

My all-time favorite lure still remains to be the leadfish, even in cold water.  I am certain that several of the fish that were hooked and lost were big lings.  I’m also convinced that one of the lingasaurs inhaled my leadfish so deeply that it severed the line with a clean cut with its razor-sharp teeth on the initial bite.

But the real beauty about fishing in the ocean is that it is always teeming with life. Had we not caught any fish at all, or hauled in any crab whatsoever, the trip would still have been well worthwhile.  After almost running over one whale, Bob immediately spotted another as it raised its tail in the air before preparing to dive.  We witnessed this procedure called fluking on several occasions.  There were so many whales swimming in the water, I actually lost count after spotting the first dozen. Multiple spouts were common.

Folks might also consider strapping a shrimp trap on top of a few of their crab pots.  This is another way of adding more variety to your seafood cuisine. Coonstripe shrimp are commonly caught this time of year and Clay Mansur, the new proprietor of Four M Tackle, is starting to make his famed shrimp traps once again. Clay also retrofits crab pots to work as shrimp traps, as well.

Coonstripe shrimp are commonly found in the Brookings area, frequenting areas where reefs adjoin sand.  I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Mansur’s pots in action while on board with local-area resident Richard Christiansen, and they work better than I ever imagined.

You can fry these incredible edibles whole and eat the entire shrimp, antennae and everything. For more information, contact Clay Mansur at Four M Tackle in Harbor.

~~~

Anglers in the lower Rogue River who were anchored up in sleds, setting out plugs like Brad’s Wigglers, Wee Wigglers and 3.5-inch MagLips were occasionally rewarded with a few steelhead.  But due to cold water in the 38- to 41-degree range, fishermen were reporting lots of take-downs that didn’t stick.  The action should change for the better if the river warms up just a few degrees this week.

Tight lines!