When the ocean conditions and water temperatures align, there’s always that chance at an epic day of tuna fishing. And Monday was just that day. It was a one-day weather window and those who jumped at the opportunity were rewarded with coolers full of tuna. This wasn’t a day about trying to come back to port with the highest total. This was all about how much space and ice do we have. And do I have enough strength left in me to possibly reel in another albacore. In other words, it was a pretty good day of fishing and the boats caught all they could handle. These types of days don’t come often but when they do, they’re extremely rewarding. Most of the fleet found the tuna just north of Trinidad, roughly 30 miles from Humboldt Bay. Scores ranged from 20 to 60, depending on the size of your boat and the strength of your crew. The fish were a good size, too, with just a few in the high teens and most averaging well over 20 pounds.
Weekend marine forecast
Northerly winds are expected to increase Friday and into the weekend. Friday’s forecast is calling for winds 10 to 15 knots out of the north and northwest waves 7 feet at seven seconds and 2 feet at 10 seconds. Saturday is calling for north winds 15 to 20 knots and waves out of the northwest 9 feet at eight seconds. Sunday’s forecast looks similar, with winds out of the north 10 to 20 knots and waves northwest 8 feet at eight seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/ or www.windy.com. You can also call the National Weather Service at 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 443-6484.
Like the majority of the fleet, Tim Klassen, of Reel Steel Sport Fishing, opted to chase tuna Monday. “We were a little south of the fleet roughly 25 miles from the entrance,” said Klassen. “Water conditions were perfect and the fish were coming fast. Most of the day we could only get one or two rods out without having a fish on. The fish are a really good grade. We only had a few in the high teens and the rest were well over 20 pounds. It sounded like all the boats caught as many as they wanted. There are a few salmon being caught straight out in 180 feet of water and the fish are holding right on the bottom. When conditions allow, the rockfish bite at the Cape is still really good. There’s lots of variety and some nice lings being caught.”
Curt Wilson, of Wind Rose Charters, reports the rockfish action is cranking right along, with lots of black rockfish coming over the rails. “Between the Head and Patrick’s Point is still producing quality limits of black rockfish,” he said. “We made a couple trips out to Reading Rock and caught a nice variety of rockfish and some big lingcod. A few boats are going straight out and catching a few salmon each day. The fish are right on the bottom. The wind is expected to return later this week and into the weekend.”
With the tuna within striking distance, Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing put away the rockfish gear for the day and headed 27 miles northwest of Trinidad and found the tuna. “It was a flat ocean and conditions were perfect,” said Sepulveda. “We found a defined break, 64 degree water, great chlorophyll and the fish right where satellite images said they should be. The morning bite made me feel like we were well located but they were a touch reluctant. Bites came every few minutes but most were singles or doubles and they were a touch shy, favoring the long lines. We continued to box the area steadily picking away, and about 11 a.m. they came up in force. Lines would just hit the water and three to five rods would go off. Called it good at a touch after noon with 53 in the box.”
“Rock fishing was pretty good last week and the lingcod fishing has finally improved a bit,” said Jake Mitchell, of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “We’re spending most of our time at the Ranch House and Bear Harbor. The salmon bite is still nonexistent. I’ve heard of three salmon caught last week. I put in a total of about eight hours this week for salmon and have t even had a scratch. It doesn’t look like we’ll get a weather window for tuna until midweek.”
According to Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine, the tuna fishing was wide-open Monday 35 miles south of the harbor. “Boats that ventured out landed all they could handle,” said Carson. “The Sisters and the South Reef continue to provide limits of quality rockfish and lingcod. “The salmon action continues to be slow but, but I did hear of a few caught last week. The California halibut bite remains slow, but it typically picks up around the first of Sept.”
Salmon season closed Sunday out of Brookings, and Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife fish checkers counted 18 kings reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Nearly two dozen boats ventured out for tuna on Monday,” said Martin. “The Brookings Fishing Charters fleet found big numbers of albacore 52 miles out of the harbor. Capt. Mick Thomas put a customer into a 38-pounder. Scores ranges from 10 to 45 fish per boat for private vessels and charters. Lingcod and rockfish action has been good, while Pacific halibut catches also have been strong. The halibut limit increases to two fish a day Sept. 1.”
The water color continues to be an issue on the lower Klamath. Some adult kings and jacks were caught over the weekend, despite the water conditions. The salmon are starting to spread out from the Glen to Blue Creek, but the water clarity is definitely hampering the bite.
Fall Quota Update
According to Dan Troxel, an environmental scientist on the Klamath River Project, only 44 adult salmon had been harvested from the State Route 96 bridge at Weitchpec to the Klamath mouth toward the quota of 1,060 for the week ending Aug. 19. Of those, 30 adults were caught at the spit area of the mouth. As of last Friday, 288 adults remained of the 318-adult sub-quota for the mouth. Anglers may monitor the quota status of open and closed sections of the Klamath and Trinity rivers by calling the Klamath information hotline at (800) 564-6479
According to Martin, salmon fishing busted wide open on the Rogue Bay again over the weekend, with guides getting one to two kings per rod. “Fishing pressure is heavy, but plenty of fish are held up along the north jetty. Windy weather returns Tuesday afternoon.”
Kenny Priest operates Fishing the North Coast, a fishing guide service out of Humboldt specializing in salmon and steelhead. Find it on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and www.fishingthenorthcoast.com. For up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information, email email@example.com.