September 13th, 2009
The long ocean swell was at 8′, but with an almost 14 second duration and little or no wind waves, we headed out to sea to try to locate the Tuna.
Actually the day started out a little more confused than that…. As we were approaching the mouth of the bay, we radioed our intention to depart, when the Coastguard radioed us back advising that the bar was closed to all recreational vessels. This conflicted with a phone call that we had made to the Coastguard Office about 20 minuets prior, where they had stated a 26′ restriction. After a brief phone discussion on the matter with the crewman manning the phone, we were preparing to return to our slip when the Officer in Charge called us back on the phone and cleared us to go to sea. This is when a good reputation for experience, safety, and caution pays dividends!
Because of the preceding weeks negative weather predictions, we were actually prepared to fish inshore for Salmon, so the unexpected smooth ocean was a pleasant surprise. After clearing the bumpy water inside the bay, the ocean laid down nicely and we pushed the throttles forward and charged toward our plotted fishing grounds about 45 miles off shore.
As we began to approach our destination, the water temperature started looking nice (62 degrees) , and began to turn clear and blue. Our first stop (about 8 miles short of our destination) proved to be fishless, so we ran out about another 5 miles and again dropped the gear. After trolling for a few minutes, the shout of “FISH ON” went out, and the battle was on. Logan our youngest crew member of the day, grabbed the rod and began to expertly work the fish toward the boat, with lots of advice and encouragement being shouted from his crew mates, Dad Don, and friends Walt and Steve as well as from the Captain and Deckhand! After the usual blazing run and resulting tug-of-war, a very nice 20+ pound Albacore was pulled into the boat! After the obligatory back slaps and photo’s, the gear was deployed and off we went to find some more fish. Shortly, one of the handline shock cords stretched out to it’s maximum which signified a fish on, and then it was hand-over-hand worked to the boat and pulled through the transom door for fish #2!
Well unfortunately that was it for the day’s fish catching, and from then on it seemed the ocean turned into a literal desert, with not a fish to be seen. Usually by this time of year the Tuna are frequently seen jumping and feeding on the surface, but we did not see a single jumper. What a strange and unusual situation! As a matter of fact, we did not even see Porpoises or Whales, which was also very unusual. What a strange day! We trolled and searched in vein for more fish for another couple of hours until it was time to organize the boat and head back to port.
On the return, the wind picked up and the waves began to build to around 3′ on top of the 8′-10′ swell, which made the ride a little bumpier than on the trip out, but altogether not too bad of a run.
As we approached the harbor entrance, just past the last bell buoy, a large Gray Whale suddenly surfaced and began crossing our path about 50′ in front of the boat. We stopped to allow him time to move past, when he suddenly changed direction and moved toward the boat and passed close enough for us to see and hear one of these ocean giants on a very up close and personal basis! Very cool indeed to see one of these guy’s that close…. probably no more that 30′ away when he swam past, lifted his tail out of the water, and sounded!
Well, although the fish proved to be scarce, the weather and ocean were beautiful, and we believe a good day was had by all.
This trip was really special for us because we had donated it to a great organization by the name of CAT (Cat Adoption Team) where Don had won the trip in a silent auction!
The Cat Adoption Team is the Pacific Northwest’s largest nonprofit, no-kill cat shelter with its own full-service veterinary Hospital on-site. They are a leader in the shelter community with its extensive shelter medicine, adoption, and foster care programs. CAT cares for 400 to 600 cats and kittens on a daily basis with the help of a dedicated team of staff and volunteers at CAT’s shelter in Sherwood, foster homes, and various outreach locations throughout the Portland metro area. As a nonprofit organization, CAT receives no government funding and relies on the generous support of the public and volunteers. For more information on CAT, please follow the link found in the Links section of our Web Site.
We want to thank Don, his guests, and C.A.T. for the chance for us to participate in this very worthy cause. Let’s do it again!