Blackmouth in the San Juans

038This last weekend, Darin and I went up to Scout Patch to see if we could put some fresh salmon in the boat.  We left early Saturday morning and took the ferry from Anacortes over to Friday Harbor.  An hour later,  we  jumped in the Hewescraft moored there,  motored over to Scout Patch to pick up the downriggers, poles, and tackle box, and got busy.  After rigging up, we headed to Rocky Bay and put the poles in.  Fishing for blackmouth in  winter is a hot or cold proposition, one day can be fantastic, the next very difficult to scratch even one up to the boat.  The key is finding long stretches of fairly deep water with a sandy bottom,  and fish the area with scaled down replica’s of needlefish as lures.  The salmon seem to hang in these areas feeding on what is remaining of the prodigious amounts of baitfish left over from the summer.  We fished for a couple of hours around high tide and were only able to put one of these tasty fish in the boat for our efforts.

Beautiful end to a beautiful day...

Beautiful end to a beautiful day…

The next morning, we got up early and headed out to the Speiden channel to fish a local hotspot.  We found the sandbar, set the GPS waypoints, and got the lures into the depths.  Back and forth and back and forth we went.  We were marking some fish, but just couldn’t seem to get one on the line.



Monday morning found us again out on the water looking for at least one more fish before we caught the ferry back home.  This time, we stacked the odds and enlisted one of the locals to help us out.  Gene drove the boat over to Eureka Bay and put us on the sandbar immediately and started trolling.  It wasn’t long before we started marking some small bait balls on the bottom.  This is what we were looking for.  We were eight or nine passes through when Darin’s pole lit up and we put a 7-8 pound chinook in the boat.  Expectations ran high, but alas, this was the only fish caught.

Great eats!!

Great eats!!

We loaded up and caught the ferry back to Anacortes.  The ocean was glass and the sun was shining on a cold winter day.  As the ferry made it’s way across the water, I reflected back on what a great weekend it was and how much I love this beautiful place…….

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Tight lines!

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