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Update: Tuna go wild off Brookings

On Oregon Waters, by Larry Ellis, author badge,

[Updated 7/25/15 -- On Friday, tuna hunters on a 253-degree heading out of the port of Brookings Harbor caught at least 100 tuna approximately 23 miles from port, plus this 65-pound Opah that whacked a tuna clone trolled by Steve Wallace of Escalon, California. And the bulk of the albies had yet to cross the bar]

Photo by Larry Ellis

07/25/15 -- Last Sunday and Monday were the first days in several years that anglers were able to slay the fatted albacore while exiting the Port of Brookings Harbor. While scoping out the website several days previously, tuna buffs decided it was about time to go looking for albies. While only between 20 and 25 miles from port, on the way to the famed Three Humps high spot, anglers found albacore between the 124-degree, 40-minute and 124-degree, 50-minute lines of longitude while staying just south of the 42-degree line of latitude.

Ron Northcutt from Escalon, California and Richard Bacus, from Virginia City, Nevada caught the first tuna out of the Port of Brookings Harbor, photo by Larry Ellis
Ron Northcutt from Escalon, California and Richard Bacus, from Virginia City, Nevada caught the first tuna out of the Port of Brookings Harbor last Sunday. The two intrepid tuna hunters were fishing between 20 and 25 miles from port on the way to "Three Humps", a popular albacore high spot off the California/Oregon coast.

The schools were reported to be scattered, with anglers catching between 2 and 12 tuna each, on both hand lines and rods-and-reels using tuna clones in the colors zucchini and Mexican flag.

Keep your eyes peeled on the terrafin web site because as of Thursday, there was a hard chlorophyll break in the same area, with blue water on the outside meeting warm water on the inside. Fishability will depend if the wind kicks up, so keep your eyes on the National Weather Service’s and Magic Seaweed’s web pages.

Ocean salmon fishing slow near Brookings; picks up in Eureka
While very few king salmon have been reported off the coast of Brookings and Crescent City, where there are salmon in the KMZ, there is hope. The Chinook bite has picked up in recent weeks off of Eureka, the southern end of the Klamath Management Zone, and those big ‘buoys’ and ‘gulls’ could be heading toward the northern end of the KMZ.

“For the last two weeks, the salmon fishing has turned on epically again,” said Gary Blasi of Full Throttle Sportfishing out of Humboldt Bay. “This is my biggest grade of the season, with fish averaging 15 to 18 pounds, with some upward toward 27 pounds. It only took an hour and fifteen minutes today to get 14 nice fat ones, and we’re catching them on everything.”

Blasi has pulled up stakes at the Eel Canyon and is now fishing off of Cape Mendocino, about 20 nautical miles south of Humboldt Bay.

“Cape Mendocino’s past the canyon,” commented Blasi. “But we don’t have to fish deep for them anymore. We’re catching them on Deep Sixes.”

Tie your own spinnerbait/anchovy rigs
Salmon fishing on the Rogue bay has been phenomenal on some days, while moderately mediocre on others. You just have to be tenacious and fish every day in the hopes of getting one or two take-downs.

Remember that you must keep your trolling speed under 3 miles an hour, so if the wind is kicking up and pushing your boat forward too fast, hang one or two wind socks out the back end to slow the boat down to ideal trolling speed.

On some days anglers have been catching them while trolling straight spinners like CV 7’s or other collectable spinners, but on most days anglers have been catching them on the traditional spinnerbait/anchovy setup. Why not learn to tie these puppies up yourself?

A spinnerbait/anchovy setup is comprised of a front sliding hook, either a number 1 or 2 Gamakatsu octopus hook, and a rear treble, which is attached to a loop at the end of the line.

On top of the sliding hook are 7 marine-colored green beads ranging from 6 mm to 4 mm. On top of the top bead is a plastic quick-change clevis, which allows you to change your spinner blades at will.

To rig up, an angler inserts a notched bait threader from the back hole of the anchovy, goes through the center of the bait, and then comes out of the anchovy’s mouth. The notch at the pointed end of the bait threader grabs the back loop and pulls it back through the middle of the anchovy and out the fish’s anus.

From here, you insert the loop through the eye of either a size 1 or 2 Gamakatsu treble hook, pass the loop around all of the hooks and pull the knot taut. Every time you put on a new bait you must take the treble hook off and repeat the aforementioned procedure.

Get yourself a 6-foot piece of 20-, 30- or 40-pound monofilament for your leader. For the back loop, I highly recommend tying a perfection loop ( if you’re using 40-pound test, because the tag end of the loop always sticks out 90-degrees to the leader, and you can trim it fairly flush with the knot.

If you’re using 20- or 30-pound test leader, then I recommend tying a double overhand knot for your back loop.

After tying your back loop, you will want to tie on your top sliding hook. You will be using 20- or 30-pound test fly line backing or Dacron to tie the sliding hook onto the leader.

You won’t be sliding down the top hook down the leader first though because you will never get the Dacron through the hook eye this way. You will be tying the first half of a simple snelled leader through the top hook eye first. Here’s how it’s done.

First cut a 12-inch piece of fly line backing or Dacron. Hold the back, round end of the top hook in your left hand and then insert the braid through the eye facing the back of the hook so it goes past the hook shank about one inch. Pinch the braid onto the hook shank with the fingers of your left hand.

Now, insert the other end of the leader back through the hook eye so that it is facing away from the hook point. You will be making a circle with your braid.

You will now easily see that you will have to pinch two pieces of braid onto the hook shank in order to maintain the circle of braid.

Now you can carefully slide the end of your leader through the hook eye, from the back of the hook out through the front.

Start wrapping one of the loops of the braid downward along the hook shank about 8 turns from the eye of the hook toward the hook point.

While keeping all the loops taut, you now pull the end of the braid that comes out of the front of the hook until the knot is fully taut. But don’t pull it fully taut yet. Trim your ends but leave about a 3-inch piece of braid hanging out of the front of the hook.

Now carefully slide the top hook down the leader so that it is about 8 inches away from the bottom loop.

Now slide down two 4 mm beads, one 5 mm bead, one 6 mm bead, one 5 mm bead and then two 4 mm beads. On top of the top bead, down your plastic clevis and attach the spinner blade of your choice.

Using your bait threader, pull the back loop from the baitfish’s mouth back out its anus, and then insert the point of your top hook from the bottom middle of the anchovy’s jaw up through the middle center of the anchovy’s head (the strongest part of the baitfish).

After inserting the treble hook through the loop, insert one of its hooks into the baitfish’s anus. Slide the top hook down the baitfish so that the anchovy has a slight bend, before finally tightening and then trimming the top piece of Dacron.

If you don’t want to tie these things up yourself, the Rogue Outdoor Store has them in stock, but prefers that you order them a day in advance. Jot’s Resort and Lex’s Landing also carries plenty of these Chinook killers on hand, as well as a wide assortment of blades.

Use gold Hildebrandt blades on sunny days, and then use copper Hildebrandt or various colors of green blades on overcast days.

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

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