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North Coast shakes off holiday hangover

By Frank Galusha
05/26/15 -- North Coast charter boat websites and fishing forums were quieter than usual over the Memorial Day holiday thanks to the distance to be traveled in a bumpy ocean with no where to go to find salmon or bottomfish.

Many skippers were forced to cancel bookings and the small boaters had little if anything to report out of Shelter Cove, Eureka or Trinidad after Friday. Despite the disappointing holiday, there was lots of optimism among the fleet and those who pass along scuttlebutt.

Jake Mitchell, skipper of the Sea Hawk out of Shelter Cove had the most positive report for Friday and Saturday. On Friday, they started trolling for salmon and landed two, while missing a few others. Mitchell then switched to rockfish for boat limits of lings quickly but had to work hard to find cod in the breezy conditions. “It was a fun group of people and we got to share lots of laughter, which always makes the days a little better,” Mitchell said. For the day the anglers brought in 2 salmon, 21 lingcod, 47 crabs but only 16 rockfish.

On Saturday, they gave the salmon another go and ended up finding a few biters before the wind kicked up and pushed them off the water around 11:30. “We put three fish in the box to 17lbs and I feel had the weather been a little nicer we would have done better. The ocean has been changing every day and the water went from clear and not much bait on Friday, to a dirty green with some good amount of feed on Saturday. If we can get this better water to stick around for a few days I think we’ll start seeing some better fishing. I cancelled Sunday’s trip due to a crappy forecast, but it turned out to be a mistake, as the ocean ended up being pretty decent.”

Skipper Tony Sepulveda of the Shellback out of Eureka also had a good report for Friday of last week.

Lingcod, Cape Mendocino, Tony Sepulveda, Greenwater Adventures

Mark Carter of Eureka had his hands full while hoisting his 35-lb lingcod taken while fishing on the Shellback out of Eureka on Friday with Captain Tony Sepulveda. Photo courtesy of Greenwater Adventures

"The ling bite is as good as I’ve ever seen it with fish to 35 pounds devouring anything that hits the water,” Sepulveda said. “Today we kept 18 (limits) in the first hour so we took all the swimbaits off and switched everything over to shrimp flies to keep them off and get the rockfish we needed. We still landed another 20 plus lings. Four different times we had doubles with one on each hook. It really doesn’t get any better.

"On the salmon front, the bite got tough through the latter part of the week but bounced back in a big way on the 24th. I didn’t chase them but limits were the word from the boats that did and the grade has gotten bigger. It’s coming into prime time for us and I think the weeks ahead are going to see some great action.”

Skipper Matt Dallam of the Fishy Business, also out of Eureka, did not fish over the weekend and was not on the water today; however, he expects to be out tomorrow chasing the fish being found near the Eel Canyon. “The ocean seems to have calmed down a little,” Dallam’s first mate (Lisa Dallam) said.

Some forecasts are calling for better conditions starting tomorrow and could be ideal by month’s end and the re-opening of Pacific Halibut fishing from June 1 to June 15.

Skipper Marc Schmidt of the Scrimshaw of Coastline Charters expects to be salmon fishing tomorrow. According to Schmidt the commercial boats are picking up enough fish to warrant a trip. Schmidt also has his eye on a body of 58 degree water that appears to be hanging about 30 miles off Shelter Cove and Cape Mendocino. If he gets a crew together he may see if he can land the first tuna of the year if conditions allow.

Ian Kramer, Skipper of the Cuervo of Joli Time Sportfishing was not out over the weekend but has a trip planned for tomorrow as well as several trips booked for halibut June 1 and later.

According to Sherrie Klassen, first mate to Skipper Tim Klassen, of the Reel Steel, her hubby was fishing for rockfish today but it sounded as though the bite was slow. She also had heard the Shellback and Skipper Gary Blasi’s Seaweasel II made the trip to Eel Canyon today and all had caught fish, limits or near limits, based on sketchy marine radio reports.

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