Uncle Josh Fishing Baits Bring Saltwater Fishing Success
I am extremely fortunate to live on the Oregon Coast—home to, in my opinion, the best saltwater fishing in America. Lingcod up to 30 pounds, halibut to 50 pounds, and 25+ species of rockfish all thrive here, and limited fishing pressure creates a high-quality fishing experience. One beautiful June day last summer, my crew and I were fishing out of the port of Bandon, on the Southern Oregon coast. We had fished this port a couple of other times, so we knew a couple of hot spots where a series of submerged islands rose up from the sandy bottom in 100 feet of water to about 50 feet. About the size of a large house, these seamounts can be fish magnets! The fish that we were targeting—lingcod and black rockfish, are known collectively as “bottomfish,” since they are usually found near structure. As I was hovering over the structure, I was marking clouds of fish from the bottom all the way to the surface. The rockfish were suspended, feeding on krill and baitfish that were being pushed up by the current hitting the seamount. The four of us dropped our lines in the water, each with a different lure. Squid baits, twister tails, and shrimp flies all descended into the abyss. After 10 minutes, we had only a couple of quick bites but nothing in the boat. Odd, I thought, since the fish usually bite pretty quickly. I took off my rubber tube jigs and put on two MEAT minnows, shad-colored. Down it went, and it was immediately fish on! A nice double of five-pound rockfish was quickly landed, and we were sold. Everyone switched over to MEAT and we had a tough time keeping up with the flow of fish into the boat. The rockfish limit is 7 per person, and we had 5 crew members. When we got 35 fish on board I switched my rod over to an 8oz Kalin’s Big‘n Jig with a MEAT white fluke belly, hoping to nail one of the aforementioned 30 pound lingcod. I handed the rod off to our youngest crew member, my friend’s 9 year-old daughter. She bounced the jig on the bottom a few times, and before we knew it her rod was doubled over. We inched off the structure (lings can sometimes swim into caves in the rocks, cutting your line) and slowly dragged the huge fish in. A quick scoop of the net and the biggest fish of the day was in the boat, smiles were all around, and we headed back into port, tired and ready to clean a cooler full of fish.