Thursday night I received a text from Brandon Glass that I’d been expecting, but not hoping for. “Winds 15-20 knots offshore, Tuna is a no-go.” For the time being, my bucket list item of heading out to the blue water to chase Albacore Tuna would have to wait. A few minutes later, my phone buzzed again with the promise of rather exciting plan B. “Near shore looks good. We’ll fish Salmon and Sturgeon instead.” My spirits quickly lifted in anticipation of aggressive Chinook and Coho in the not-so distant waters of the Pacific.
The next morning I would join my good friends Tracy, and Chris along with a couple fellas from Wisconsin named Mike and Dave. As luck would have it, Mike and Dave’s previously scheduled guide had to cancel due to illness. Fortunately for them, Brandon happened to have a couple open seats.
We crossed the bar Friday morning in comfort as Brandon’s 28’ Alumaweld effortlessly made short work of 6-8’ swells as we rounded Peacock Spit and headed toward Long Beach.
Our rig for the day was whole Anchovies behind a Yakima Bait Fish Flash. One trick Brandon likes to add is to slide a Hoochie skirt over the nose of the Anchovy. This adds color and can help direct the bite toward the front of the bait and reduce short-strikes. Most anglers use divers to get their gear down but we used lead. His reasoning behind this is that lead allows you to feed line to a fish after it strikes if need be, this often results in another opportunity. In the same scenario, a diver will simply trip and come to the surface. That’s not to say that divers don’t have their place out on the pond, but they do have their short comings.
We began our first pass along a rip line in about 60’ of water straight out from the condos. A quick flurry of bites within the first few minutes resulted in a hatchery Coho, a native Coho, and one that spit the hook. After that, things slowed down a bit as we searched for a new pod of fish. After receiving some intel, we made the move out to deeper water to begin our third pass. This time, as soon as the first two baits hit the water we had a double, then a triple. It was at this point that things got out of hand. The incoming tide kept pushing us toward the beach, so as soon as the bite tapered off, we picked up and ran back out and got right back on the fish again.
I don’t recall a quad, but I counted at least three triples, and too many doubles to count. The grade of Coho is very good for this early on. Ours averaged about 6-7 pounds which is great since most of these fish will spend another month in the fertile pastures of the Pacific before hitting freshwater. We also landed three Chinook and had a couple others spit the hook. I can say with confidence that this is shaping up to be another outstanding Chinook year for Buoy 10. The reports from the ocean outside of Illwaco have indicated that there are a lot of adult Kings out there right now, so get ready.
Though my bucket list item will have to wait until next year, by 11:00, we had rounded out our limits of bright Salmon and were headed back to the sheltered waters of the estuary for some catch and release Sturgeon. Hard to argue with a day like that.
Did someone say Buoy 10? Yeah, it’s already the most wonderful time of the year again and I’ll have a run down for you next week. Stay safe out there and have fun!