These past few days of fishing have been fantastic.
With fish being caught at every point by both anglers, mammals, and birds alike. The waters, still calming down from the rough seas a week before, were rife with bait as the wind and currents pushed schools of herring, needlefish, and clouds of krill onto our grounds. In the distance tail slaps rang out as Humpbacks and Gray whales celebrated full bellies at the surface, and Eagles could be seen swooping down between boats saving daring Coho from anglers’ lines. Towards the end of day, on Sunday, a pod of Orcas was spotted moving into our grounds, off of the face of Bird 2, along with several Humpback whales that were bubble feeding; making it tough for all to leave the grounds despite the chop that was being whipped up by the strong gusts of winds, still swirling off the coast as a new pressure systems pushed its way in.
Despite challenging waters, and large tides, giant sea creatures of all shapes and sizes were being pulled up from the depths, with several large Halibut releases being called out over the radio as well as more than a few large Lingcod brought to the dock. For those that stuck it out onshore, battling through the constant flood of coho, and smaller chinook, large chrome hogs could be found from 20-40 feet on the downrigger.
Suffice to say that there were a few extra dents added to the bell hanging in the Bell Ringer this past trip.
Towards the end of day Sunday, with multiple hook ups on every pass, one such hog named Walter would bless the end of my line, off of Cape Naden, as we tucked our bow behind the point, right in the strike zone. Peeling out line, he raced against the rushing flood, out towards Bird One, only to be expertly brought near the boat several times. Full of energy, this continued for nearly twenty minutes until the fish decided he had had enough of teasing us, poked its head up out of the water, looked us in the eye, and spat our hooks directly back into the boat as if to remind us why we call it fishing, and not catching. While the pain of losing such a fish is palpable, witnessing it’s beauty and knowing it is still swimming out there to be caught tomorrow has me counting down the minutes until I can get back off the dock tomorrow.
Guide, Jaxon Jones