Grays Harbor and Harry Connick, Mission Accomplished!! 6
I finally got the chance to fish the John's River mouth in Grays Harbor for salmon. In the past, football and lack of knowledge about the fishery have always been in the way of me trying this great and sometimes wide open salmon fishery. That all changed this past weekend when John Keizer of Salt Patrol invited me aboard the Lowrance boat to give marine area 2-2 a try.
John sent an email out early in the week with a few different ideas of where to fish this past Sunday. With Grays Harbor being one of the options I quickly responded with an "I'm in". Of course in the excitement of finally having an opportunity to learn this fishery from one of the best, I forgot of my committment to my wife Sonya to attend the Harry Connick Jr. concert Sunday night for her birthday. I explained to her that this was a geat opportunity to get this fishery dialed in so that I could take her sometime. She was unimpressed but said "Just try to be back on time". Next, I had to convince Keizer to come off the water early so that I could get back in time. I think John made the mistake of mentioning my delimma to his wife Norinne and of course she sided with Sonya so the stage was set, I was finally going to get to fish Grays Harbor.
I met John and Dave Aumen, who fishes the Simrad boat, at the boat launch in Westport at 6:30 in the morning. To our surprise the wind was blowing about 40 knots and the Coast Guard guy met us at the boat launch and advised us that the bar was closed. Luckily we were headed the other direction and hopefully finding some cover. As we went further into the harbor the chop laid down to a fishable level and we started trolling just short of what everyone calls the goalpost. We had to go to 8 ounces of lead with the wind being what it was. The lead was rigged to a slider with about 12 inches of line. From there we had a swivel with about 20 inches of leader, another bead chain swivel to a Kone Zone flasher and then about 4 ft. of leader to a cut plug hering. We were dropping to the bottom and giving it a crank to fish just off the bottom. Checking your bait often is a must as well, there was plenty of grass around and you aren't fishing if your pulling a bunch of it around on your rig.
As we trolled further into the harbor the wind started to lay down, the tide started moving and it was fish on. Dave caught the first, a nice coho that had plenty of fight in it.
After that it was my turn, but by the way it fought we suspected that it was a king. Our suspicions were confirmed and it we released a mid-twenties king. Of course I told my Outdoor Line compadres it was a mid-forties king and the text started flying from Nelly. The jealousy was obvious but as usual, Nelly's words provided a good laugh. Next up it was Capt. John with a nice keeper coho.
After that fish the bite started to slow and we were left to troll around and wait for the next tide change. Captain John had explained that this fishery is really dependant on the tides with the bite turning on and off around the tide changes. We trolled up past the Johns River mouth to the water tower and back with a one coho after another teasing us with big splashes as if to tell us that they were there but not going to bite. Quite a few other boats joined us before the afternoon tide and sure enough as Capt. John was saying the bite should turn on I had another fish on, another mid twenties that we released.
Dave followed that up with a really nice king of his own, this one we had to chase a bit. One of the really fun things about this fishery is that your fishing some shallow water and the fish make some blistering runs. As fun as it is to catch these nice kings, I had promised Sonya some delicious salmon for her birthday. Just as I was thinking this to myself, wham! my rod went down and stayed down. Finally a fiesty coho for the dinner table.
We caught another king and a few smaller silvers and then it was time to go. It was hard to leave because we each new there were fish still there to catch but John and Dave were gracious and got me back to the dock on time. We heard later that the bite continued after we left and as hard as it was to hear that, it made it all worth it to see my wife's smiling face as we got to our seats just in time for the first song. Thanks Capt. John and Dave for a great day out on the water and thanks Sonya for putting up with my fishing addiction.