Fort Bragg fishing cool in more
ways than one
Foggy, damp skies and chilly early morning temperatures are easy enough to endure considering the fabulous fishing in Fort Bragg.
I found a smaller boat—a 31-foot Boston Whaler—run by Patrick and Karen Heaviside, both certified skippers on the licensed party boat. Instead of the usual 7 a.m. departure, they point the craft out of Noyo Harbor about 90 minutes earlier, gaining a jumpstart over the main commercial fleets.
Patrick Heaviside explains that if there’s an early bite, he’ll often have limits by the time the big boats come out.
On the bigger boats, the deckhand handles baiting the hook and dropping the rigs to a desired depth in an effort to minimize tangles. On the smaller boats, individuals set their own depths.
The first day out, Patrick Heaviside, who does deckhand duty while Karen pilots the boat, tells us to drop the lines about 45-pulls and to experiment from there.
There are only three on board. By noon, all three aboard the Bragg-N, have full limits of salmon up to 22 pounds, two apiece and we head in through peacefully calm waters. Trolling began about 2 miles straight out from the harbor and ended just north, in front of McKerricher State Park.
While six keepers were locked into the ship’s fish box, the number of undersized Chinooks and Cohos that had to be released were countless.
My hunting partner, Brian Richter from Pilot Hill, got so excited seeing the salmon I brought back to the docks and booked a trip for the next day.
Almost immediately, Richter’s rod took a nosedive.
Salmon have soft mouths so a light drag is required, otherwise there’s
a risk of having the hook pull loose. So working the fish nice and
easy is a must. Not more than a minute or two later, Richter’s
20-pounder was netted.
Patrick and Karen Heaviside not only fish for salmon,
but also rock cod and albacore tuna. To book a trip on their boat,
Call for information or to make reservations today at 707-961-9692.