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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

January 6, 2015 at 8:08 AM

Ring in the New Year with Tony Floor’s Tackle Box

Ilwaco5 Aug. 20-2012Here is Tony Floor’s Tackle Box report for December:

The Boat Show, the Boat Show, the Big Seattle Boat Show tune is playing through my head.

The smell of new fiberglass for 10 days straight days, beginning January 23rd in downtown Seattle. It’s time to go boat dreaming dude and I love it! I dig the shine of new aluminum fishing boats too, with high-tech horsepower and state of the art fishing electronics, baby! What is wrong with that!!!

The big Seattle Boat Show, produced by the Northwest Marine Trade Association, is the biggest boat show on the west coast which makes it a happening thing. Just ask the 50 to 60,000 people who invest a day or two at the Show every year. These people come from all over north America, in some years, as high as 41 states and Canadian provinces, to stay tuned-in to the latest and greatest. Ahhhhh, I’m inhaling the aroma now!

The Seattle Boat Show is approaching it’s 68th year which qualifies it as the grand-daddy of boating and fishing shows west of the Rockies. I’ll spend about one third of this month at the Show, gripping and grinning, checking in with all the peeps in the industry. Grady-Whites, Boston Whalers, Ospreys, Ocean Sport, Weldcraft, Alumaweld, Hewescraft and all the cool fishing boats made in the US of A. Excuse me while I wipe the drool off my chin.

And hey, check out the all-new 21-foot NW Salmon Derby Series Hewescraft at the Show too. That’s my boat, baby, at least for the next nine months until I give it away at the Everett Coho Derby in late September.

I’ll teach it how to catch crab and salmon for the next nine months, an awful assignment that I dread every year.

Finally, as I ponder the upcoming big Seattle Boat Show, I also get fired up sitting in on some of the fishing seminars at the Seattle Boat Show. The strategy to organize these fishing seminars is to introduce show goers to the best of the best. If you can’t be fishing, why not be talking about it! Check out the Seattle Boat Show website ( and make your plans to take in a seminar or two. You will not regret the wealth of information you’ll learn from a first team group of fishing seminar speakers.

Ilwaco7 Aug. 20-2012

Winter blackmouth fishing

Speaking of things to consider doing, inside and outside during January, the winter blackmouth fishing is rocking, especially in the San Juan Islands. And, the best is yet to come, although way into April!

Early this last month, I spent a couple of days fishing with my buddy Derek Floyd, Angler’s Choice Charters in the San Juan Islands. Here is the short version: Dude! The fish are there!

Having invested significant numbers of winter days fishing in the San Juan Islands for 40 years, the fishing/catching is as good as I can remember. In a two day period, we hooked at least 25 hatchery produced blackmouth (the adipose fin-clipped mark rate was 90-100%) during those two days in early December, as the winter blackmouth season in the Islands begins December 1st. The fish I witnessed ranged in size from 7 to 14 pounds, beautiful fat chromers, stuffed into my cooler, that complained about the drive down I-5 from Mt. Vernon to Olympia understanding that it’s just like cruising the San Juan Islands but different.

I suspect, for some readers, this song sounds like an old violin playing the same ‘ol tune. It’s a tune that keeps my motor going on these gray, damp days we all know too well spending our winter months in the Pacfic northwest.

But hey, the fish are there and that’s what this column is all about: going fishing! I’m constantly thinking or planning to get outside, taking what Mother Nature will deal this old cat and putting the bonk on a few hatchery produced winter blackmouth is not a bad thing to do!

And, as I’ve also written in this space, in my opinion, these winter blackmouth rival the filet mignon of ALL salmon, including highly sought spring chinook. A little bite, between the cheek and gum causes eyeballs to migrate to the back of the head. Somebody call 911. Breath, dude, as here comes the next bite. Lucy, help me.

By the way, the biggie of blackmouth fishing tournaments is just around the corner with the Roche Harbor Salmon Classic. It is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, February 6th and 7th and considered the most prestigious salmon tournament, limited to 100 boats, in the Pacific Northwest. Be there, be square. Find Debbie Sandwith at the Roche Harbor grocery store and she will dial you in.

Dungeness winter crab season

Yes, Mabel, the winter Dungeness crab season just ended on December 31st. As the catches were very mixed from the last three months, depending on where you dropped your gear, the 2014 season is a wrap, which means it’s time to report your catches to WDFW during the month of January ($10 penalty if you chose to not report your catch). Once those catches are tallied by shellfish biologists, I’ll give you an update in this space in the next few months.

In the meantime, I’ll see you on the water and at the big show!

(Tony Floor is the Director of Fishing Affairs for the Northwest Marine Trade Association (NMTA) and a former 30-year veteran of state Fish and Wildlife. NMTA advocates for and promotes recreational boating and fishing in the region.)







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