Pretty much the sum of the day:
I hooked 3 lings and a nice sized rockfish. 1st Ling came unbuttoned after a short battle, second chewed thru the 40lb Maxima leader, it was brand new btw…. 3rd was a small throwback. Rob picked up two with his purple pattern and his dad picked up two rock fish, no lings.
We met the fish creek checker and only one other boat had a fish to show. Otherwise it was pretty slow. At least I had a strike and played a few of them which is often the highlight of Ling fishing on the fly.
Ron invited me out on his Bayliner which was very fast and comfortable on the water as it cuts threw the chop very nicely. However with its higher profile and stance it’s not as ideal to get close to rocks. I tried Orange and Olive while Rob used Purple and his father black.
Even though I didn’t land a keeper fish it was nice to get out and enjoy a day targeting Lings on the fly
After a successful opener I wanted to invite my friend Ching for a try at Lings on the fly. After a very unsuccessful last year fishing with him on my boat I told him that if we didn’t land a keeper sized fish that it would be it for him being a deckhand on the SS Hewes.
We didn’t leave Bellevue until 8 am as we both had to drop off our kids to school and or daycare. I had left the boat hitched up and ready to go and all we needed was food and drinks. I always check the marine forecast prior to fishing and there was a small advisory for the afternoon as the winds would pick up to 15-20 knots with 2-4′ wind waves. Not conducive to good Ling fishing at all. Lings like calmer water without a big tidal exchange and the weather could have been a slight factor.
We fished my usual haunts and a couple of known spots but we came up empty handed and scratching our heads. Luckily my friends were fishing location and already had 3 keeper sized fish aboard for 4 guys and had lost 5 others. Around 11 I decided to motor over to that spot which is new to me and I’ve not spent any time fishing. The move proved to be a good one as we were able to get 2 fish to cooperate and then we called it quits shortly thereafter.
At the launch we met WDFW enforcement and he had no reports of seeing anyone or himself having any luck. When we showed him out our cooler and licenses, he asked of we were using sand dab. I explained that we caught them on the fly and showed him my Cliffs Barn Bugger filled with my creations. He shook his head and was in disbelief and said ‘no, you gotta be BS’ing me’ and I said ‘no sir… I wouldn’t be caught fishing with bait when I can have this much fun on the fly. It was confirmation that my improved rod, line system, and flies are proven ling cod producers.
By the time I got home and the boat and gear cleaned up I was too beat to process the fish. I bled it out and packed it on ice to worry about the next day. Tonite we’ll enjoy Baja style Ling cod tacos with all the trimmings, looking forward to eating and living well in the pacific northwest! I’ve had many inquire about locations and details which I don’t like to divulge as more and more folks seem to be out there chasing after these tasty and toothy creatures.
The marine forecast was not looking pleasant with small craft advisory that was supposed to be lifted by 5 am, winds from the SSW at 20-35 knots, and 2-4 foot wind waves. We however decided to make the annual run for the May 1st Ling Cod opener. I woke at 5 am to hear the wind still rustling outside and was a bit concerned with the 3 am marine forecast that called for the extension of the small craft advisory until 8 am. When I arrived at the boat ramp at 5:30 to meet Rob D. it appeared fine with only a handful of trailers in the parking lot there was one other boat launching and the sky was starting to break and the sunrise was filtering through the Seattle skyline.
The guy launching his Hewescraft asked me if the Lings were open and I said ‘yes’, May 1st, and he strugged his head wondering where the crowds were as he motored out. We set up our gear, launched and also motored out and by then, there were bigger waves and the wind speed was picking up behind us as we motored to the north out of the bay. Rob was feeling a little worried about our safety and his boats well being as it was tough keeping the bow straight in order for us to put in any sort of casts as waves were crashing over the rock jetty. We decided to wait it out in shelter while I peppered the interior wall with casts. Within our first pass, the line went tight and I knew it was Ling fever, a mouthful of teeth and partially digest sand lance spat up with the first 22″ that came to hand. It was a positive sign, but was hoping for something bigger. With each pass I picked up more Lings, but just were the cookie cutter size, with the biggest measuring out at 25″. Finally we snugged up to a guest dock and waited things out hoping that 8:00 would bring calmer winds and stable seas, which never happened. We decided to bust out back to the launch and when we were within range the wind slowed and the water calmed. A couple more passes through the pilings and in front of Salty’s didn’t produce any bites, as I knew our presentation and depth was good, showing 20-40′ of water.
I finished out the day at 10 am, needing to get back for a meeting and finishing up some work around the house. We’ll watch the weather report for tomorrow and hopefully make a re-visit to hit some of my more favored spots in search of a bigger female. Final tally was 6 Ling Cod to the net, and the only fly I used was my double bunny articulated string leech.
Rod: Sage RPLXi, 9′ 11wt
Reel: Galvan Torque 8
Line: Rio coldwater 0.30 intermediate running line with Rio high density sinking head.