Thursday, April 21, 2011

Newport Marina and Charters


I have fished the Pacific Ocean a few times, twice with my Grandpa Burris and a few more with my dad. We always fished the jetties and tide pools and caught lots of kelp greenling, or sea trout, and the surf perch, or sea perch as we called them. Sometimes a flounder or rock bass was landed, but I mostly remember the sea trout and perch.

Once my grandpa took me on a 75 foot cliff. We fished off of it and hooked quite a few. But the long haul back up proved difficult for landing a thrashing fish. I'd have loved to have been in a boat at the bottom watching the fish POP when they hit the surf. Catch and release from that height doesn't work out so well. We did land a few though. I also remember scaling a nasty hillside/almost cliff, to get to some tide pools at low tide. The fishing was fantastic, until the seals showed up. The rocks we fished off of were covered in mussels. There was a pool of water in a depression in the rock platform we kept our fish fresh in. There were star fish and sea anemones in there too.

I have always wanted to return and fish the coast again, and honestly I've always wanted to charter a fishing boat and go out on the ocean. So last week we scheduled a 6 hours trip through Newport Marina and Charters. We were on the Ms. Raven, a 46 foot charter boat. It was AWESOME. We were targeting rock fish and cod. The cod fishing is best in the early spring as they are spawning and very agressive.

We boarded the boat around 7:30 AM and headed out of Yaquina Bay into the Pacific on a rising tide. We dropped a dozen crab pots and then headed south to fish. I caught the first of many black rock bass. It was a blast fishing with my dad, brother-in-law Matt Yoshioka, his daughter Mori, and my 3 oldest kids, Tyler, Corey, and Abbie. Everyone caught fish, but my dad was the lucky one of the day.
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I wish I had taken more video and just sat my rod in the rod holders. The "motion of the ocean" added enough movement to the jigs that hook ups were consistent for those who fished that way. But I like to cast, reel, and jig, so I didn't video much of what I should have. Like a couple of hundred black and blue finned rock bass, finning, or surfacing on dungenous crab larvae. The larvae were there by the 10's of thousands, and the fish were surfacing in 70 feet of water, sucking in the larvae, growing fat on pure protein. I would have killed for a fly rod at that moment. The sea birds tipped us off, grouping on the surface to feast. When we got closer we could see hundreds of fins breaking the surface as the rock fish fed.

I was having so much fun watching Matt puke--hee hee hee--that I didn't film him "chumming", or the fining rock fish, or the birds, or all the hook ups. Typically the kids brought in two fish at a time. We easily filled our 7 fish limits. We hooked a lot of cod as well, both green and brown, but only had one keeper. Cod have to be over 22 inches to keep, and my dad got the only keeper, a green cod of around 30 inches. Tyler, Corey, and I all caught fishing in the 21 to 21 and 15/16th range, but no keepers.
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I think Tyler caught the greatest variety of fish. One of his doubles was a canary rock fish--which must be released--and a copper fin rock fish. Both are a bright orange, but the canary has yellow striping on its head and body. We caught yellow fin rock fish, kelp greenling and Mori got a cabezon that was a legal 16 inches. Most everything we caught, though, was a black or blue finned rock fish.
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This is video of Tyler's Copper Finned Rockfish. I couldn't get the video out fast enough to show him fighting it. Honestly, we were hooked up on fish so often I wouldn't have fished at all had I been trying to video everything. Because you never knew what you had until it was almost in the boat, it was hard to get something "unique". So I just fished until something "unique" surfaced, and then got out the camera.

Tyler was reeling in one of his many doubles when Grandpa Isaacson's rod dipped. He set the hook on what he thought was the bottom. That is until the bottom exploded, moving at warp speeds, wrapping EVERYONE'S lines around his. When the Chinook Salmon broke the water, Captain Mike yelled, "we have a Chinook on".................................and that is when things got crazy, and my camera came out. Captain Mike and Billy, one of the deck hands, moved in from both side of my dad while he fought tooth and nail the biggest fish of his life! They got all the lines untangled working as a team, passing rods over, under, and around. They cleared everyone out and Captain Mike kept telling him.........nice n easy, nice n easy.....................but why ruin the experience, better if you just watch if for yourself. It's much more exciting!

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This is the 3rd salmon caught this year on their charters for BOTTOM FISH. This is the only one caught during an open season, by a person with a tag, so it was triple cool, cause dad caught a salmon bottom fishing, in season, and he had a tag. By the way, it measured out to be 38 inches long and weighed in at 34 pounds! Can you say HOOKED! All grandpa wants to do now is fish the ocean for salmon! Can you blame him?

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This video is of the trip out, setting crab pots (Billy, the deck hand, has the black hoodie on, Captain Mike has the red hat). I didn't video us bringing them up because I was busy having fun helping. Sorry.

The crabbing was okay. Lots of females and only about half the males were keepers, but we still brought home 9 big dungenous crab. The kids loved them. In total we brought home 49 rock fish, one cod and one salmon besides the crab. And if that wasn't enough, we got to watch the human filleting machine at the docks. It's $1 per rock fish, $1.50 per cod, and two-fiddey (as he said) for the salmon. I have always prided myself in my filleting abilities, but I am humbled by this guys sharp knife and quick hands! It was a wonderful time with family and an experience I won't forget. One that I hope to repeat again, and again, and again, and again.................and again!

Below are the videos of the human filleting machine. I've included both the salmon and some rock fish so you can see how fast he fillets and also learn from his technique!
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Filleting Salmon

Filleting Rockfish
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Photo Time at the Cleaning Station
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