David Johnson isn’t the only well-known salmon-steelhead expert in the region who’s swapped out his FlatFish for X Raps and headed out to sea in recent days.
Also out on the briny blue in search of tuna, steelhead plug-fishing author and former guide Mike Laverty.
As DJ and our Andy Schneider were landing a dozen albies 18 miles straight off Nehalem Bay on Saturday, Laverty and his bride Cheryl Kindwall were fishing 20 miles out of Pacific City in his dory, the Beer Can.
“We used mainly Daiwa and Penn rods and reels, and boated most of the fish on Rapala X Rap 20s,” reports Kindwall, who is a tackle buyer for a major Northwest Sportsman advertiser, Fred Meyer.
Cheryl has also appeared in numerous Fred Meyer ads over the past couple years.
Meanwhile, we just received this phone call from our Tri-Cities-based tuna tackler:
“I desperately want to go tuna fishing again,” said Jeff Holmes.
He and his wife were off Ilwaco last weekend on a boat that brought in 40 for 10 anglers — he reports even better fishing inside of their position and to the north.
And with the warm water that’s helping albacore action also hampering offshore salmon fishing, a whole lot of other anglers are making the midsummer switchover to tuna.
WDFW creel sampler Wendy Beeghley reports landings up and down the Washington coast.
“We’re seeing a wide range of success rates, from less than a fish a person to as many as 10 per person on private boats,” she says.
Her counterpart at ODFW Newport says last week saw “very good catches” everywhere from Astoria to Charleston.
“It’s becoming a pretty big year,” says Eric Schindler.
While it’s blowing today off The Friendliest, he credits calm weather and good ocean conditions for the launch of something like 350 boats out of Yaquina Bay on Saturday.
“It really laid down last weekend,” he says.
By comparison, on calm all-depths halibut days, as many as 500 boats will pour out of the harbor, he says.
“It’s still pretty early,” adds WDFW’s Beeghley. “August is usually our peak month.”
Last year saw 95 percent of the Washington catch occur in August and September.
SINCE RETURNING TO THE TRI-CITIES, Jeff Holmes has made unusual use of their catch — he’s brewing up the tuna as part of a new batch of tomato tea, a fertilizer he’ll pour over his garden.
“Won’t you be…my neighbor,” he writes on Facebook. “Six tuna carcasses, lots of composted steer manure, 2 cups of brown sugar, and a cup of epsom salts are brewing into a fine compost tea on my back deck right now, aided by a 30 yr old aquarium pump aerating the brew. If I can avoid throwing up all over our garden, the tomato plants should really enjoy this stuff and the compost pile will benefit from the leftovers. Waste not…”