The plan was to troll the morning high tide on the southwest side of Possession Bar during today’s Central Sound hatchery Chinook opener, and yes, we did that, but while not with the firepower we’d anticipated using, the results were perhaps better.
SCENES FROM TODAY’S MARINE AREAS 9 AND 10 HATCHERY CHINOOK OPENER. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)
Our lone keeper king of the day, a whopping 6-pounder, came on a whole herring behind a diver of all things — plan B — while the spoons and flashers we dragged around off a downrigger at the bar were, shall we say, less successful.
Judging by that and the few we saw caught in our little bubble of operations in PoBar’s salad mixing bowl, we should have just hit Kingston first thing.
A boat that came in just ahead of us back at Shilshole around noon had five from there, one gent told me, and they had all been caught just north of the ferry lanes on jigs starting around the first drop at 5:45. (It wasn’t clear if they were all kings as I saw the checker only wand one.)
Yes, we hit Kingston too after picking up that king, but by then it was feeding time for the dogfish, which ate through our herring supply like wolves on a kill.
We had given up on trolling and were mooching. It was actually the first time I have ever mooched anything besides beers and probably a few other things, and it was an education.
SOMEBODY NEEDED TO CULL THIS SMALL KING FROM THE GENE POOL. (MARK YUASA, NMTA)
I was fishing with Mark Yuasa, a confirmed salmon moocher, and his son Tegan and friend Patrick.
EXTRA HELP WATCHES THE RODS. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)
Mooching is an old Puget Sound Chinook tactic involving a big banana weight and a whole herring on a two-hook rig at the end of a 5- to 6-foot leader.
Yuasa, who is the grow boating rep for the Northwest Marine Trade Association, organizers of the Northwest Salmon Derby Series, and the former Seattle Times fishing reporter, uses a toothpick up the anal vent to help get the spin salmon look for in a wounded bait.
The hooks are pinned through the lower jaw and side.
His instructions were to let out slowly till you find bottom, crank up eight times and then let the bait sit a bit before another five cranks, maybe a 30-second pause, and repeat.
If the fishfinder is showing lots of bait, stop halfway up and drop the set-up back in and repeat.
There was definitely a lot of bait off Kingston but another species was quite eager to get after it, the aforementioned dogs.
But even so, salmon were being caught there. Skippers Justin Wong’s and Keith Robbins’ crews had a few, including a reputedly nice-sized one.
Back at Shilshole, one of the two WDFW checkers had seen 18 fish for 18 boats when I asked for a score update around noon.
I didn’t get the other checker’s tally but hers would have improved considerably with the aforementioned five-fish boat.
Today’s king opener encompassed Marine Areas 9 and 10 outside Elliott Bay.
The quota for the former (5,663) took a hit from my circle of angling acquiantances, with one report of three from Midchannel by 7 a.m. and another of a trio from the PNP area by noon.
The latter area’s stoppage point, 4,743, well up from last year, will likely hold longer.
Whether you are heading for your local bar, eddy or elsewhere, it can pay to be prepared with a plan B and C. Thanks to Mark’s, we’re eating well tonight.