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Brookings lingcod action still red hot

f there is nothing more tenacious than a lingcod, it is perhaps the lingcod warriors who pursue them. This past week, anglers had plenty of opportunity to prove their tenacity when ocean conditions that were as flat as a sheet of liquid mercury beckoned fishermen to trip the ling fantastic out of the Port of Brookings Harbor.

It is hard to keep writing about how hot the lingcod action is week after week without repeating myself, so the only thing I can say is that the action for the fatted lingasaurs is no longer red hot — it’s white hot! In a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best fishing, lingcod fishing is a solid 11.

And we’re talking about lings averaging between 8 and 15 pounds.

Marshal Brose and Dylan Robinson from Red Bluff, California caught limits of lingcod and rockfish on Wednesday out of the Port of Brooknigs Harbor while fishing with Dave Castellanos of Cast Guide Service
Marshal Brose and Dylan Robinson from Red Bluff, California caught limits of lingcod and rockfish on Wednesday out of the Port of Brooknigs Harbor while fishing with Dave Castellanos of Cast Guide Service. Photo by the author

Folks are getting their lings on whole herring, anchovies, plastics of all sorts of shapes and sizes, and my favorite — the leadfish.

Leadfish is just a term for a flattened-out piece of lead that resembles a fish. Companies make them in all colors and flavors, but I find the best ones are the kinds that don’t come painted at all, and you don’t have to use a painted leadfish to get bit.

The Chetco Outdoor Store carries plenty of these inexpensive lures that range from 3 to 7 ounces. You’ll want to use the lighter leadfish in shallow water, say between 30 and 40 feet, and the heavier types in deep water, say from 60 to 100 feet.

Just remember that bottomfishing anglers are now restricted to the 30-fathom curve (180 feet). The 30-fathom curve is defined by a set of way points in the ODFW regulations (dfw.state.or.us)

That being said, fishing for rockfish has not been as good as the lingcod fishing, but the rockfish that are being caught are a very good size, 4 to 7 pounds.

So to become more adept at catching rockfish when the fishing is a little on the slow side, my advice is to fish shallow, toward or within the borders of the kelp beds, and fish by using either single plastic worms or other similar gnarly-looking plastics.

When fishing for rockfish is a little on the slow side, I always like to revert back to my largemouth bass days, and fish my plastics right on the bottom inside the kelp with a 1 1/2 or 2-ounce egg sinker, and I would rig my plastic Texas style.

Fishing this way is frankly a blast. Here’s how to rig up.

Thread your mainline directly through the egg sinker and tie the end to a large 3/0 to 5/0 baitholder or octopus-style hook.

For a more direct action, do not peg your sinker, but let the worm slip in and out of the hole in the sinker freely.

The attached photo shows how to rig up Texas style. It’s as easy as 1 - 2 - 3.

  Rigging up a plastic worm, a creature bait or any other gnarly-looking plastic Texas style (weedless) to use in the kelp beds for finicky-biting rockfish and lingcod is as easy as 1 - 2 - 3....photo by Larry Ellis

Rigging up a plastic worm, a creature bait or any other gnarly-looking plastic Texas style (weedless) to use in the kelp beds for finicky-biting rockfish and lingcod is as easy as 1 - 2 - 3. Photo by the author

Step one. Thread the end of the plastic about 3/8 of an inch up the end of the worm as shown, and push the hook point out of the worm.

Step two. Slide the worm or plastic so that the top of the worm is resting above the eye of the hook.

Step three. Insert the tip of the hook through the side of the plastic so that the hook only goes in small portion of the side of the worm. This will enable a better hookset.

Your rig is now weedless and should pull up and over kelp stringers. By the way, a lot of those rockfish are right in or on the edge of the kelp.

Make a cast and let your rig settle to the bottom. Take up the slack. Now slowly slide the worm inch by inch along the bottom. You will feel the bite on your fingertip. It will be very faint. If you feel anything that feels like a piece of sand or birdshot hit the end of your fingertip, reel your rod tip down to the water to take up the slack and set the hook like you mean business.

Larry Cody from the Rogue Outdoor Store reports that fishing for redtail surfperch has continued to be stellar at select locations. Visit the store and Larry or Jim will show you how to rig up for these barred slabs.

Fishing for springers on the lower Rogue also picked up a little on Wednesday and Thursday.

Four M Tackle, a local Brookings institution, will be closing its doors at the end of this month. Marge just wants to be fully retired.

There will probably be someone else buying the business, but I can assure you that the local institutional knowledge that Marge has is extremely hard to come by if not impossible. Marge is a long-term resident of the Brookings-Harbor area, a respected member of the community and a former commercial fisherman. Marge, and Four M Tackle will be greatly missed.

Everything in the store has been marked down between 10 and 25 percent.

Tight lines!

Larry Ellis, author, writer, columnist and photographer has had a 50-year passion for fishing in California and Oregon's saltwater and freshwater venues. He is a well-known writer for Oregon, Washington and California Fishing and Hunting News, Northwest Sportsman, California Sportsman and Pacific Coast Sportfishing. He currently writes monthly for Salmon Trout Steelheader Magazine, and is the weekly fishing columnist for “On the Water” for the Curry Coastal Pilot Newspaper. He particularly loves living in his hometown of Brookings, Oregon - The heart of salmon country and gateway to fishing paradise.

On the Water in Oregon by Larry Ellis is posted with permission of the Curry Coastal Pilot of Brookings, Oregon.


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