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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

July 26, 2009 at 11:11 AM

Salmon fishing trip turns into a pesky dogfish free for all


After going fishless on three of my last four trips in the hatchery chinook fishery in Central and North Puget Sound [Marine Catch Areas 9 and 10], I decided the night before to change up my MOJO.

I didn’t wear the same baseball cap as I did on previous fishing outings. I changed to a different jacket and pants than I normally wear. And to top it off on the way out this morning at 4 a.m. we saw a falling star.

I thought all the fishing MOJO stars were aligned on my trip to the Richmond Beach area in search of salmon this morning, but that was not the case once again.

In the pre-dawn darkness we arrived to the sound of rain showers, although this wasn’t the west stuff falling from the sky.

It was the sound of herring baitfish flipped all over the surface of the water and you could see the dimples of the schools of fish everywhere.


Both I and my fishing partner Rey Pastores were getting pretty excited that under all the bait there was a king salmon or two waiting to gulp down our cut-plug herrings that we slowly motor mooched about 20 to 30 pulls under the water’s surface.

It didn’t matter what depth as the fish finder showed the bait was a big cloud from top to bottom.

Sure smelled fishy.

Then the worst jolt came like clockwork just as it has been doing for the past week, but only worse.

Schools of DOGFISH.

The pesky leader wrecking fish were on the prowl gobbling up all that bait in the area, and not a salmon in sight or maybe there was but they had so much food in the water who needed our frozen cut-plug herrings laced a scent of Smelly Jelly.

We did everything we could to not keep catching them, outside of throwing in the kitchen sink. But, they were relentless.

Our friends arrived in their boat shortly after us, and they proceeded to show us up by catching a nice king.

Then another friend showed up and said he got a 12 pound king yesterday in the same spot.

Oh sure rub it into our face with the sand papered bodies of those green-eyed dogfish sharks.

We kept on plugging away as the sun rose over the hillside of Richmond Beach, and the visible bait was still flipping on the surface clear up to the Edmonds oil dock.

We tried 90 feet. We tried 100 feet. We tried everywhere from 105 to 190 feet.

Dogfish after dogfish after dogfish, and burning one fishing leader after another until I noticed that I had gone through 10 custom tied leaders and Rey had wasted 12 plus he was now using his smaller sized hooks normally used for coho.

We wondered if we’d run out of leaders or herring first.

The herring won and we called it quits at 8 a.m.

While we didn’t get into any kings this morning, I’m still holding out hope that we’ll get our chance soon.



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