Salmon fishing has slowed significantly, the odd fish still being caught, but with Lingcod set to close at the end of the month I’ve focused my efforts on bottom fishing.
The end of September is an excellent time to target Lingcod. The ocean conditions are seldom more favorable as they are now, and big lingcod have begun their seasonal migration from deeper water in order to stage for spawning through the winter. At this time males select nest sites in rocky habitat and aggressively defend these areas. Target drop offs and ledges in 30-150ft of water. The key to success is large lures, fished on or near bottom. Be prepared to donate some gear to the reef, because if you’re not hanging up, you’re not close enough. Select a time when the tide is slack or on a low swing, I find a 3-4 foot change ideal. Position yourself over a likely looking spot, take your motor out of gear and note the direction of drift. Ideally you want to drift towards deeper water as this decreases your chances of hanging up or “snagging” bottom. Stay in touch with bottom, feeling for a tap on every jig. If you feel any resistance on the up stroke, set the hook and hold on, the initial run can be quite exhilarating. Should wind be an issue, turn you boat stern to the wind and put your kicker in reverse to control the drift (bow to the wind is hard to control, and eventually you will be spun around). You want to keep your lines near vertical, but drift slowly to cover ground.
Large plastic lures such as Savage Gear’s Cutbait Herring, Berkeley Power Mullets and Delta’s Hali hawg have gained a huge following with local anglers. These larger lures will also reduce the chances of incidental by catch of smaller rockfish. For rod’s I prefer a Shimano Trevala paired with an Avet MX and 65lb Power Pro, but we have several other options in store to suit your budgets and needs, come in and see either myself, Dane, the Steve’s or Bill to get hooked up!
Be aware of Rockfish Conservation areas (Jesse Island to McKay Pt, Snake Island to Tinson Pt./ Jack Pt. and Round Island on the Southside of Dodd Narrows). Respect size limits (Min. 65cm) and daily limit of 1. Although it’s not required, it’s encouraged to release large fish, as most lingcod over 20lbs are female and carry upwards of 200,000 eggs!