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Rockfish season off to great start

Frank Galusha author photo, myoutdoorbuddy.com

By Frank Galusha
05/16/15 -- Limits of lingcod, mixed bags of rockfish and other assorted bottom-dwelling creatures marked the start of yesterday’s 2015 rockfish seasons from Fort Bragg, Shelter Cove, Eureka and Trinidad. No reports came from Crescent City.

Captain Jake Mitchell of the Sea Hawk of Shelter Cove called in late in the day with good news. His group of four anglers managed to sack limits of rockfish including 20 fat blacks, some reds and blues along with a variety of other species including four nice China rockfish. “The lings ranged in size from 8-10 pounds and up,” Mitchell said. “I didn’t have time to weigh them but I’m sure the larger ones were in the 15-17 lb. range, and like last year they were all over the place,” he added. “We fished north of the Cove. The water wasn’t ideal but everyone had a great time and it was a fun ride home.”

lingcod taken Saturday May 16 by Talib Murray while fishing with Capt. Jake Mitchell, Sea Hawk out of Shelter Cove.
This lingcod was taken on Saturday May 16 by Talib Murray while fishing with Capt. Jake Mitchell on board the Sea Hawk out of Shelter Cove. Photo courtesy of Sea Hawk Sportsfishing

Further south at Fort Bragg, Captain Justin Wilder of the Samurai used only one word to describe the rockfish opener: “Awesome!”

A total of 24 lings and 44 rockfish came over the rail of the Samurai at Fort Bragg along with the giant octopus show here. Photo courtesy of Samurai Sportfishing

A total of 24 lings and 44 rockfish came over the rail of the Samurai at Fort Bragg along with the giant octopus show here. Photo courtesy of Samurai Sportfishing

In Eureka, the action was not as hot. In an early afternoon report, Sherry Klassen, first mate of the Reel Steel, said all kinds of rockfish hit the deck. “We had limits of blacks, five nice lings and Tim [Skipper Tim Klassen] had the usual assortment of other colors on the cleaning board. “They were all mixed up which makes it hard for me to get exact numbers but it sounded pretty close to limits for all the anglers.”

Late last night, Tim Klassen posted the details, saying, “Today was the first day of rock cod season so we made the long trek to the rocks. For having no fishing pressure for six months the fish were sure not in a cooperative mood. We were able to get our 5 black rockfish per person easily but we had to work on the other varieties. We ended up with just over one ling cod per angler and some blues, China rockfish, and kelp greenling. The fish did not show any evidence of feeding and their stomachs were mostly empty. Hopefully, this is just a brief phase and they are not all on Jenny Craig.”

Some salmon were also taken south of Eureka on the canyon including one 26-pound hog, according to Wharf Rat on the Humboldt Tuna Club forum, for a total of three fish for two anglers on his boat.

Boats out of Trinidad also scored well on rockfish but not so great on the lings, according the operator at the Trinidad Pier bait shop. “Not everybody had limits of lings,” she said, “but I heard there were also quite a few salmon caught.”

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