Had family in from CO and pounded the water hard all day Friday with no pinks in MA11. Saturday, we moved to the east channel and fish hard until noon with only 1 fish to hand. Wind was kicking up and the schools were sporadic and sparse. Had lunch at Alki crab shack and decided to wait it out for the afternoon low. It was worth it… From 2-4 it was a fiesta, with a couple doubles and EZ limits for my guests. I was so busy keeping the boat in position (anchor wouldn’t hold in the wind) and netting duty that wasn’t able to fish much but got a kick from seeing their expressions as they caught their very first salmon. I think by next week the water will be boiling hot. I’ve smoked over 70 lbs of fillets and have another 30 lbs brining up for tomorrow’s smoke. Even though it’s alot of work it sure is fun.
I’ve been trying to get my cousin Andrew out to fish with me here in WA for as long as I’ve lived here for the past ten years.
Since the pink run was so epic in 2009 I gave Drew the ultimatum that he absolutely had to make a run out to fish with me this year.
I had done some scouting the days before their arrival and thought I had a good course of attack as the two previous days of fishing proved to yield some positive numbers. However, mother nature isn’t always on our side and sometimes the fish aren’t always a player.
We pounded the south sound from 9:30 Til 5 pm hitting Redondo, Poverty, Dumas, Dash, Browns, Puyallup, Quartermaster, Maury with no luck. We saw 2 fish jump, 1 fish landed from another boater in that time. My cousin didn’t go fishless as he did catch a sandlance and a small Dungee crab. You can imagine the argument that he and his brother in law Donald had over that one…
I was getting a little nervous that the day would be a complete bust, but they wanted to keep pressure and perhaps wait for the tide change. We topped off the fuel and got some more supplies at Des Moines and decided to make the most of the day since it’s been so nice. We had a great wind drift and on a pass Donalds rod goes tight and a flash of silver comes to view. We all got excited but the only fish to hand would be a dogfish.
Soon after Drew would pick up a rockfish and then Don would hit another rockfish. We found a big school and typically when you find one you’ll find many more. We couldn’t keep them off the line as it alternated dogfish with rocks and flounder. It was a fun distraction for a couple of hours but not what we were targeting. The next day we would set our sights on hitting the east channel of the Duwamish. We pushed off at 7:00 am and hit the water 30 minutes later and quickly motored over to the waterway. Things were looking bleak from the bridge as there were no fish breaking the surface and no visible boats in the channel.
When we arrived we were greeted with all our 56 best friends on Spokane street. We weren’t the only boat on the water as there was a group of guys fishing from a Maxum ski boat. My initial thoughts led to this weekend being a total bust for us. We did spot a rather large school of 20-30 fish near us but we couldn’t get a cast in by the time it was too far away.
The wind started blowing and I couldn’t keep the boat in position so we decided to tie up on the pilings and cast away. I was ready to call it but the guys seemed eager and wanted to keep pressing on after lunch. We spotted some activity and Drew hooked up with his first salmon, woo hoo! While it was eventful for Andres, it was especially frustrating for Donald as he had lost two fish in the mid morning due to weak hook sets or soft mouths.
After an hour of being confined to the pilings, the wind died down a bit and the tide was on its way down, so we decided to motor north. Around 2pm Drew hooked up again, and again, and again. This drove Donald crazy since he was on fire with these fish that were eluding us for the past day and a half. After a little coaching we adjusted Don’s retrieve to mimic Drew’s and within minutes he was into his first landed salmon. It was a pleasure seeing the satisfaction and the joy of fishing for these two Colorado guys. Andrew commented that they were the biggest fish he’s ever caught. While there are anglers that turn up a nose to pinks, they’ve provided lots of great memories, laughter, enjoyment and time well spent together with my family. That is priceless and I am blessed to have been able to share these times with them.
The guys landed 8 fish and lost that many or more. If it wasn’t for them making the trip out, I probably would’ve left much earlier, but the lesson that I learned was to be patient and sometimes good things come to those that wait.