May 1st came and went and I wasn’t able to get out for my annual Ling Cod fishing trip and had a series of issues come up that prevented me from fishing until today. My boat had been in storage all winter and when I went to fire it up a couple of weeks ago it never purred like it did before I winterized it. So, I had to diagnosis the issue. I knew it was a fuel problem as the only way that it would stay lit up was with the manual choke on. It would sputter and die out once I brought it back to normal idle. Darn… I decided to buy a new marine batter for it since the battery that came with the boat was a bit older, out of warranty and I was concerned with it keeping a charge. I decide to upgrade the marine starting battery that I’ve used with my trolling motor, so off it went with the upgrade.
Anyways.. short end of the story is that I went through all the carbs and cleaned them out, still wasn’t sure where the issue was as all three of them were clean as a whistle with all the primary and feeder jets having no gunked up 2 stroke oil or other contaminant issues. Once I re-assembled it, and turned the key, it fired right up and idled just fine. I water tested her on Lake Washington just to make sure she was going to be reliable for a day on the salt.
Im just so leary about taking the boat out now after the first season of mishaps. I guess its all a part of boat ownership and one has to expect things to happen. Even thought this is a small boat, cramped and a bit oddly laid out, it works and fish don’t care whether its a 25′ center consule Grady White or a 1985 Tiderunner thats been around the block a few times.
I decided that I needed a break from trout fishing and wanted to get out to my love of the saltwater and invited Sun to join me. I’d been promising him that I’d take him out in the boat and he was enthusiastic for the opportunity to fish for Ling Cod. Two seasons ago, we had the opportunity to get him into his first Ling on the fly and he had such a good time that he jumped at the opp. This morning was an early one. I arose at 4:20 am, Sun said he was up at 3:30. We met up at the launch at 5 am, prepped the boat and proceed to head out at o’dark thirty to my honey holes in search of Lings.
Within Sun’s first cast his line went solid and the pull was on… but not a Ling. A nice black rockfish, probably the largest I’ve seen around this marine area. This year the WDFW has mandated that there is an emergency closure for all rockfish and they should be returned to the water immediately. Usually we catch alot more rockies, but its been lower on the catch rate with bigger fish noted as with Sun’s nicer fish.
With my first cast and strip, BOOM! Fish on and this time was not a Rockfish, but a small Ling of 24″. Sun and I have a bit of a competitive nature when fishing as he thinks he can match the fishing ability of his teacher. Yup, I taught him how to flyfishing a few years ago with catching trout on the Green River. Hes come a long ways and indeed shares in the passion for all things that swim. I think he’ll go bezerk once we make it to Mexico for the blue water species, but thats another story.
We continued to have a blast fishing for Lings, with the best action happening in the first fews hours of the morning. The tide change was big and I know that Lings like stability, so it was crucial that we fished early and had the first stab at this toothy creatures of the deep. They are the ultimate predator, with pre-historic eyes, huge jaws, big teeth and voracious appetites. If you’re fly is in the zone and a Ling is around, you can bet its going to be hook up time.
I caught and released 8 fish, and I think Sun did about the same or slight less with 6 fish to net. But he definitely got the big fish award. A slab that came in a slot that I fondly remember on my first Ling trip. His line went shooting down and his 8 wt. rod taco’d x10 with this hefty finned monster at the end. She made some dashing runs under the boat, into the prop, in the kelp, and in the rocks trying to break free of the double bunny leech special. But finally fisherman won with the netting, photo, and release of the big beauty. A 52″ 15 lb Ling, the largest I’ve seen before. Just seeing that leviathan sent shivers through my spine, the mouth on her looked like it could swallow a bowling ball. Once we netted it, we could see something in the esophagus. What looked to be another fish it’d had the evening prior as a snack.
We’ve seen all sorts of fish, squid, other Lings get coughed up from caught and netted fish. This was was pretty large with a partially digested rockfish getting thrown up. What a beast! Just that much more exciting on the fly rod in close range and the tug is definitely the drug. Can’t wait to get back out on the water for another chance at her bigger and more uglier sister. We did keep our limit of one fish per angler. There is a slot limit for keepers: 26″-36″, that will make a nice Chinese style steamed with ginger, garlic, green onion sauce and Ling Fish and Chips.