Having spent the weekend with my in-laws had me thinking of how opening day was for my Puget sound friends. The reports were pretty dismal for factory Kings, this coupled with the poor weather and full moon would probably be a recipe for weak fishing. Sometimes, that doesn’t matter when so many positive reports were coming from Westport. On the drive back up to Seattle I told Phil, ‘were a go,’ so it would be a couple more hours back at home, packed and trailered up and out the door at 10:30 pm, destination Grayland, WA. Phil’s friend has a cabin there and it would be our oasis to park, rest, refuel and prep for the next day.
We arrived close to 1 am and quickly hit the pillows for a little shut eye before the 5:30 wakeup call. The cabin is just 6 miles from the launch and there was no wait under partly cloudy marine layered skies. We motored out at 6:30 and met ‘the bar’ at 7 am, according to NOAA the max ebb would be at 7′ swells at the bar but it was a snap. We expected rougher seas, but it was pretty smooth sailing. We decided to motor north once we hit the open water and drop some crab pots and troll for a close in King. My buddy Lance A. reported good fishing in 50′ of water with 20-30′ of cable for 20# kings a week ago, so we followed suit for 30-40 min. Without any takers. We made the decision to bust out west in search of 230′ of water under foggy marine layer that wasn’t burning off as quickly as we’ d hoped for. The 40 min run would bring us to 200′ of water and upon our arrival we were greeted by a party fishing boat much to our amazement.
We dropped our downriggers, one at 40′ and the other at 150′ and started the troll at 3 mph due west. Within 5 minutes we were greeted with a dancing rod and fish on! A nice 10# wild Coho was released and down the Q Cove green dragon flasher and purple haze coho killer went down. As we made more passes we began to see more and more private vessels and bait on our screen. The next two hours would bring a total of 18 Coho from 6-10# to hand with only 6 of them being wild and the rest factory fish. We had a couple of double hookups and only lost two fish, so it was a very successful trip especially since this was our first trip to Westport and exploring new waters is always fun to do. Although we wished we could’ve had another day but we had to be back as the hall pass was expiring soon.
The bar crossing eastbound was pretty rough with top speeds of 15 mph it took us 2 hours to return to Westhaven and we were pretty beaten up with the bashing our bodies took but our spirits were good since we got into some really nice fish. From the radio chatter on 68 sounded like finding a King was pretty slim with most of that rush of good fishing the week before having moved southward.
Some things to remember next time out is to have the fly rods rigged and ready with clousers to throw at hooked fish. We witnessed some pretty aggressive behavior with usually a second fish trying to smash the lures from the hooked fishes mouth. A nicely presented fly would have resulted in another hookup, for sure. We did have two instances of a double hookup and that was pretty exciting to experience and successfully land and release those fish.
From here on I’ll likely focus my attention to our local marine areas for a chance at a King and the next species, pinks. We still haven’t been to grill up a King yet, but hoping that will happen in the next couple of weeks.