Neah Bay Labor Day Weekend
I think we traveled about 150 miles in 4 days in the ocean. We fished Table Top the first couple of days but found only occasional fish and trolled way, way too much. But the weather was great and the ocean was quiet. We woke up Sunday to overcast skys and increasing winds. The report was calling for 15 to 25 later in the day. A young fellow at the dock had told us the night before that Swiftsure was holding huge concentrations of coho so decided to try for it and see how bad the weather was out there. The trip out wasn't too bad; mostly rollers with a little chop. When we arrived at the bouy there were about a dozen boats bottom fishing and a couple of boats trolling for salmon. Lots of birds and a few jumping coho. Not huge signs of fish but more than we had seen anywhere else. The wind started to increase but we stopped and started casting. Lots of rock and roll but good numbers of fish although most were small. The weather finally got too rough and when we turned around there were only a couple of boats left. Decided ilt was time to go back to the beach. Then the 150 decided to give us grief. wouldn't wind above 2700 RPM and could just get on plane but then we were going too fast for the water conditions. It had happened twice before but had healed itself. Dale at Ballard Marine couldn't find anything wrong with it. A huge squall moved in and started to soak us reducing visibility to next to nothing. Not a good place to be with only a hand held GPS and a compass that had lost it's oil and was swinging madly. But the gods looked favorably on two very wet fools and again the Merc healed itself. We were back on the beach taking hot showers and drying out rain gear in another hour.
Sunday dawned even worse in terms of fog with forcasts of more wind. We putted out of the harbor on GPS and just set a course north trolling (did I mention I HATE trolling?) toward Canada. We were somewhere toward the middle when a large ship started sounding it's horn. Well, I think the ship was large because it sure had a big horn, we never saw the ship. Decided that a bass trip to Tatoosh was in order but the further west we went the clearer it became. So we changed direction for Swiftsure again.
About 5 miles off the island we saw birds, a lot of birds, birds like the old days birds. There was the largest mass of krill I have ever seen with salmon crashing, baitfish feeding and gulls and seabirds having all on a huge bite. It literally became boaring. If we wen two casts or five minutes without a grab or a hookup we cranked the motor and moved. Had 20 or more to hand each and it was so easy we left at 1:00 to fish bass. Some guys can't be happy. We even had double headers on topwater sliders. Fish were generally small and by far, most were wild. I did hook one large (16 to 18) fish that I think was a small king but after a 15 minute fight he/she was on its side on the surface 20 feet away and the hook pulled. Oh well, one to remember.
So that was it for Harry for this year, the Canadian lakes are calling him and then there is the Thompson. Joe and I will go back weekend after next to give it one more go and bring the whaler and the airstream home.
I will dream of that Labor Day Sunday until next year. Tight lines and be safe. Bum
Great report. Sounds like the big hooknoses are yet to make their push although it's hard for this displaced PNW salt chucker to be dialed in anymore :(
Someday I am going to find a VCR and convert some video to mpeg so I can put some of the "old days" footage I have from the 80's and 90's out on Swiftsure and the coho madness we enjoyed (not to mention orcas, dalls porpoise, whales, acres of krill, etc).
Sounds like you had a great trip.
We are still in Westport waiting a window south. Boys here are getting a lot of coho. Seas will remain big till Sunday or Monday but then there looks like some really good weather with not much wind for about a week. We think we have our window to San Fran starting Sunday or Monday, 5 day trip for us. Looking forward to some fresh hand caught Tuna.
Best of luck to those who keep fishing out on the coast.
Enjoy the tuna and may you have calm seas on the way to San Francisco
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