Elliot Bay Salmon Opener: July 3rd, 2009

Last year my buddy Gil introduced me to downrigger fishing. While Gil and I consider ourselves avid fly fisherman, there is a gene in us that yearns to catch fish using other conventional methods. For Gil, its a familiar thing as he grew up in Vancouver and was exposed to this type of Westcoast fishing all his life. For me it was a foreign thing and even having a motororized/fishing boat is new. So when Gil ended up buying a new boat, I ended up buying his old boat. After much planning and outfitting of the new boat, I decided to make the inagural downrigging fishing journey today, the opener for King Retention on Inner Elliot Bay.

Knowing that it might be a zoo out there, we decided to launch around 4 am. My father recently purchased acquired his fishing license as he really enjoys clamming, crabbing and fishing. He was in the boat to accompany me on todays outting. I ended up visiting Outdoor Emporium several times in the recently days, buying downrigger cable, clips, lures, flashers, boating supplies, crab traps, all fairly new stuff for the tool box.

While I love the pursuit of King Salmon on the fly rod, its really a deep water trolling gig to get these salmonids in the salt. I’d done alot of research on Salmon University.com and studied the locations, lures, and techniques of effective downrigger fishing in Elliot Bay. I guess some of that planning and preparation with a bit of luck all panned out this morning.

After we dropped out crab pots near Alki beach, we motored over to the deep water buoy and rigged up to start our troll. Being the first time, it was a little awkward with the ‘new’ gear not even being out of the wrapper. I rigged up on the 60″ boom, with 60″ Scotty release, a green Pro Troll UV chip Flasher with an Ace Hi-Fli UV. Plenty of Lunker lotion to add some scent and off she went down to 100′. The second rod was rigged with a purple UV Pro Troll chip flasher to a small green ‘Coho Killer’ lure. Thanks to Paul from Outdoor Emporium for setting me up with the right stuff and not unloading a bunch of useless gear. His advice and knowledge was also very helpful for our success today.

I had so much new equipement today that I thought I’d definitely have the ‘jinx’. Dad and I followed the path south along the 100-150′ line along Salty’s the container channels, into the Duwamish mouth and ultimately to the Bremerton Ferry. I didn’t know if I had the right set up as no one else around us was having any luck, and I didn’t know if the speed was right. Paul at Outdoor Emporium suggested a slighty faster troll as the early Kings like more action. So I decided to speed up so that the downrigger line would have about a 20-30 degree angle. Once we passed through a very large Cosco container ship, the magic happened. The rod tip on the Ace Hi Fly started pulsing and I set the rod to find fish on! After a short reeling ended up with a juvenile, ‘Blackmouth’ which was just the right size and promptly bonked for the cooler. I was on high, having caught the first salmon of the season and doing it with something that was completely foreign to me. WOW! The first fish taken was around 6 am. We decided to stay in the area knowing that where theres one fish, there might be a good chance there are others.

I’d recently added a bow mounted fly casting seat to the boat so that 2 fisherman could easily cast without the potential of hooking one another in the tight quarters of the main fishing area. This also proved to be a good vantage point for Dad to sit and rotate the seat and watch the rods. Dad suggested to make a closer sweep near the large container ship. Not more that a couple of minutes after we did so, tap tap tap, wham! FiSH ON! This was a much nicer fish as the head shakes, runs, and jump would cause both our hearts to race as we wanted to land the big King. After a few minute battle, the Chinook adult came to the net and was bled, and thrown in the fish box. WOW!!! This one was thick and measured out at 30″, I would estimate the weight at 12-13 lbs, see the photo and judge for yourselves. After that big fish, we decided to pull our crab pots. We did make a final sweep through the mouth resulted in another fish taking the Coho Killer, but it wasn’t ‘on’. So all in all, a really good morning for dad and I today. Even though its not fly fishing, I like using the rods and reels that I bought. They are stout 9′ Daiwa Wilderness rods from Sportco, which I paid like $20 bucks a piece and Daiwa Mooching single action reels, loaded with 30 lb Maxima. The set up is like a stout fly rod, and the single action reel, similar looking to a centerpin reel is like fighting the fish with a fly rod.

In preparing the fish, the juvenile was a whiter meat and not as flavorful, but the large one, which I decided to steak up was the characteristic red color for King, was awesome. Mom made up King salmon Miso spicy soup with Asian Radish, zucchini, onion, garlic, a little jalepeno all made with her homemade beef base broth. OHHHHHHH! It was excellent! The meat was buttery, rich and delicious and had wonderful flavor. I think I could get used to this really fast. To compliment our outting, we took 3 large Dungees and 1 big Red Rock Crab. We’re going to have a nice 4th of July BBQ with my wife’s family in town. We’ll have Korean Galbi ribs, Grilled King Salmon Steaks, mom’s soba noodle salad with her fresh kimchee, freshly boiled up Dungee crabs, tons of fruit and all the fixings. YUM, can’t wait!

The one thing that isn’t so good about new gear is that it all has to be washed down and I go through a ritual of washing down the boat, rinsing the motors, running plenty of fresh water through everything to get it all clean and ready for the next outing. Even with the work, it was all worth it to see the smile on Dad’s face and being able to experience a totally different sort of fishing. A check in with the WDFW creel checker revealed that only 7 fish had been seen that morning, we pulled out around 11 am with 60-70 boats on the water. We feel very fortunate to have hooked a few fish.

The other photos in the report are from our outing on Wednesday to Blake island. Dad, YuJ and I wanted to hit the crab opener. Since it was nice out, we made the 8 mile run over to Blake Island. Proceed W at 250-270 degrees from the Alki lighthouse. I wanted to scope it out prior to our anniversary, where we’ll be camping and attending the Tillicum Village native show and dinner.

Hopefully the weather will hold out and we’ll be able to catch a few more crab, and with a little luck perhaps another King.

Categories: Fish Porn - No Skin Just Scales!, Fishing Reports | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Elliot Bay Salmon Opener: July 3rd, 2009

  1. Mike Rex

    Mr. Kim Mr. Kim, makes me get a itchy casting finger just seeing what you caught. Can’t wait for the trip. Looks like dad had a good time also.

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