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Now that’s much better!

May 10th, 2010 · No Comments

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I packed up the car yesterday and headed out to Pacific City this morning. I’ve never fished there before, but was eager to give it a shot. It’s a very popular place for kayak fishing, surfing, and a meal at Pelican Pub. Pacific City, Oregon, is well known for its Dory Fleet, which also launch right off the beach.

I got there about 7am to see the surf conditions to be just what I expected – damn near flat. The waves were only about 2′, with a few 3 footers thrown in for good measure every once in awhile. The air was calm, and the rain had just finished. Just before I launched, another guy, Madoc, from the Northwest Kayak Anglers arrived. I dilly-dallied a bit, but decided not to wait for him.

I headed straight for the Haystack and began my fishing at the NW corner of the rock. I was jigging a 4oz Kastmaster (yes, I LOVE Kastmasters of all sizes) with 2 shrimp flies tied on above it. Just a few minutes into things I slowed down my jig, and picked up the camera to try to snap a few photos. Naturally, at that same moment I had a strike. Fish On! Up at the surface I found myself with a 16″ Kelp Greenling. Not bad for my first saltwater fish of the year!

He picked up one of the shrimp flies, which I had coated in a bit of sardine oil. I dropped the jig again, and continued right where I left off (except for a fish on the stringer!). Just minutes later I picked up a tiny lingcod, only 14″ or so. That was followed by more (smaller) greenling, and I was getting bored of them. I had drifted a good distance north of the rock, and I decided it was time to head back towards the haystack. I brought the line up and paddled the short distance back to the rocks. I re-scented the shrimp flies, this time with anchovy oil.

I had barely had my line in the water when the rod was shaking! I had a decent fight on my hands when I finally saw the first ling of the day surface! It was a bit small, measuring somewhere around 20″, so it got the release. I thought it odd, but it also hit one of the shrimp flies. I dripped a little scent into the trailer on the Kastmaster and sent it back down.

AGAIN the rod throbbed, this time just as I was passing over the first bit of kelp in kelp bed on the NE corner of the rock. I knew this had to be a keeper ling! How wrong I was. At the boat I discovered a beautiful looking cabezon! He was small, at only 15″, but he had some great color! The funniest thing was that it seemed he didn’t want to leave! I we played for a bit and I eventually talked him into swimming again. I was amazed by how hard these guys hit. He easily felt several times his size.

I regrouped and sent my Kastmaster plummeting for the depths again. I started watching the birds swimming, flying, and roosting around the rock. I wished I had brought my Canon dSLR so I could have gotten some pics of the scenery. At the same time, I didn’t want to have to worry about the camera and its dry bag (time for a Pelican case!) and all that nonsense.

Just then I had another hit! Again, this one felt good, but didn’t seem as strong as the lil cabezon. Oh, but how things change!

Oh how sweet it was. Lings are ssooo tasty. I love ’em. A face I’m not even sure a mother could love, and some gnarly teeth.

If you watched the video, you heard me mention not catching any rockfish. I thought it was odd. Most guys that come out here seem to limit out on rockfish pretty easily, and here I am catching everything BUG rockfish. Hmm.

I was just nearing the end of the kelp bed and I figured I’d get through that, paddle back to the other side, and drift through again. My line was in the water just a couple minutes and SNAG! Doh! I gave the line a couple shakes and then I cracked off. Great. Snapped just below my swivel, so I lost the Kastmaster and the shrimp flies. Since I was already near the end, I opted to paddle back through the kelp bed, tie on another leader, and get back to fishing. I also noticed the wind had picked up a bit. It wasn’t causing much problem, but it was pushing my drift along much faster than I wanted to go. I HATE the wind….

I had lost the only big Kastmaster I had, so I opted for a 3oz jig, and threaded on a swimbait that I had originally planned on using back at the tournament in Georgia a couple months ago. It wasn’t “supposed” to be on a jig, but I didn’t care. I bounced it up and down along the kayak a couple times, and the tail action was great. I scented the bait, and both shrimp flies with a lil squid oil, and sent it back down.

The jig hadn’t even hit bottom when I had a hit. I brought the line back up and found a lil 10″ black rockfish. Hey! It was about time I saw a rockfish! He was a tiny little guy though, so I thought I’d try doing what I’ve heard others do so many times – Send the rockfish back down, still attached to the hook, and try to find LingZilla.

Barely my jig tapped bottom. Once. Twice. BAM! My rod was doubled over. This had to be it! I tried to lift my rod up a bit to begin the fight when SNAP! Over just as quick as it began. My adrenaline was pumping and so quickly I was disappointed. I brought the line up, and found the rockfish missing, but both shrimpflies intact. My jig, however, was missing. Wow. That had to have been some fish.

I tied on another jig, paddled back to the beginning of the beds, and started my jig again. I was fighting the wind some more, and starting to curse at it. My line shaked yet again, but I was pretty sure this wasn’t anything major. Up to the boat came a 15″ rockfish. That’s much better! There are a couple good fish tacos in that one! That fish went onto the stringer, instead of back in the water.

I still had more than half the kelp bed to cover, and I knew it wasn’t going to take too long. I dropped the line back down, fought the wind a bit, and started to think about calling it a day. Pelican Brewing is right on the beach, next to where I parked, and I knew a good ale and a sandwich would be an excellent end to the day.

Again, my rod doubled over

Can you tell I was a little excited?!? Yeah, that’s awesome. I didn’t know the lens was buggered up, so I apologize for that. But, yeah, the jig I had lost, was back in the gullet of that fish.

I tried to make another pass through the kelp bed after that. What to you know, I snagged up again and lost the jig. Lame. That’s it, time to call it done. After getting the kayak situated and all the fish bled, I started to make my way back to the beach. I hadn’t seen Madoc in awhile and wasn’t sure where he was. I had wanted to check in, let him know I was headed out, and to meet me at Pelican if he wanted. Just as I set off, I looked back and saw him fishing the South side of the Haystack. Brilliant man! He was out of the wind.

I circled back to watch him pick up a black rockfish and we compared stringers. He wasn’t exactly done, but was getting close to it. Even on the lee side he was getting pushed around enough.

I made it back through the surf unscathed, and practiced a bit of bracing just for the heck of it. Sure enough, after loading the car, putting the fish on ice, etc, I found myself at Pelican for a Reuben and a pint of one of the seasonals – Angler Amber

How appropriate

Tags: Fishing Report

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