This is my second year owning the salt water boat and I can say that it was one of the best purchases that I’ve made. Dad and I had a blast fishing Elliott bay last year on opening day along with the trips out to fish for Pink salmon in Neah Bay and in the south sound. I wasn’t expecting to find great fishing but the reports have been good regarding the record returns of King salmon to the Columbia and also through the Straits, so we had to make it an inuagural outing. I’d set my alarm for 03:15 and wanted to be on the road by 03:30. The boat launch at Armeni can be packed if you don’t get there in time and those minutes can be crucial to the King salmon bite.
Thankfully, it wasn’t a zoo and no wait to launch the boat. We motored out to my favorite crabbing spot, and proceed to rig up, bait and drop pots to let them soak for a few hours. After that was all set up, we motored back towards the bay and rigged up the downrigger roads with flashers and Coho killers.
One was with a Purple Haze UV flasher with corresponding Coho Killer, the other was Chartruese with glow splatter back green Coho Killer. Since I’m a newbie to this type of fishing, I prefer to use gear versus bait (cut plug herring) I know there are probably advantages to the bait, but its messy and you have to tend to it quite often. The Coho killers worked well last season and was responsible for some nice Kings to hand, so they were promptly tied up on 42-44″ inches of 20 lb Maxima leader and down they went.
First one was at 50 feet, the other at 100. We trolled for about an hour with no luck and then the Purple Haze rod at 50 feet bounced, I set, played the fish momentarily and it came unbuttoned. DARN! As it was getting lighter out, I noticed the bait was concentrating at 60-75 feet, so proceeded to lower the Purple Haze rig down to 75 on the Penn and kept the troll speed between 2.7-2.9 mph. Essential to give the lure the proper wiggle.
Next pulse and fish was on, I was not losing this one! Netted, bled and put into the fish box. A nice male of 9 lbs measuring 26 inches. The minimum size for juvenille Kings (Blackmouth) is 22″, so we felt fortunate to have brought at least one to hand. We had a couple of other hits and played those fish briefly before they came unbuttoned, and then as we were making a pass on the East Channel of the Duwamish, the Splatter back went bonkers, I picked up the rod, unclipped it and handed it to dad. He was all grins, enjoying the fight of a King, his very first played out from beginning to net.
Another nice male, of 8 lbs, but a little smaller, measuring 24″ on the dot. He was promptly given the ‘wood shampoo’ and put into the bleed box. We checked our crab pots, but no legals and just a bunch of starfish. It was a bummer however because I think someone lifted one of my pots, oh well… If Im in the mood for crab, I’ll probably just go buy it in the store. All in all, a wonderful day to share with my dad and bonus that we got into the first salmon for 2010.