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Cool temperatures, big king salmon on north coast
by George DeVilbiss

While south Placer County residents swelter in the July heat wave, those who do escape the valley find considerably more comfortable temperatures along the north coast.

Some visitors t the coastal ranges wear shorts and others, even midday, wear long-sleeve shirts.

Right on and near the ocean waters, daytime temperatures run in the mid 60s while protected campground-RV park areas might top out in the 70-degree range.

For fishing, I spend all my time aboard the “Bragg-N,” a 31-foot Boston Whaler skippered by Patrick and Karen Heaviside whether the trip is in search of rock code or salmon. Salmon fishing has been a challenge in this region due to two weeks worth of closures and the fishery only open on weekends.

The best part of being on a 31-foot boat is there is only a maximum of five anglers aboard. There’s plenty of elbow-room waiting for the bite and plenty of fighting-a-fish room when you hook up.

But, as this column appears, the fisher is again open and stays open with no more closures until the end of the season in November.

Part of the problem with the closure is with the fishery closed for five days, anglers have no idea where the fish have migrated to during the closure. This past Saturday morning, there was about every type of available watercraft on the water, from 14-foot aluminum boats to large luxury yachts and the usual mix of various party boats, ranging from above Ten Mile Beach to the north to below Casper to the south.

While one member of the crew manned the helm, another was busy serving as deckhand for four anxious anglers wanting salmon. Not sure where the salmon were, we began straight out from the harbor.

We varied the depths from 40-feet to 120-feet. Each day, a number of silver (Coho) salmon were hooked and were released, hopefully to survive. However, there are the keeper Chinooks—king salmon—and we had a large number of hookups.

I was fortunate, coming off the boat with a limit of two fat salmon, a pair of 30-pounders. The average fish being taken right now are running in the high teens/low 20-pound range with the occasional smoker hitting nearly 40 pounds.

While the season closure was in effect for salmon, a rock cod trip was made. In the Fort Bragg area they can now fish up to 180-foot depths. We hit the humps around Russian Gulch off Mendocino and worked our way back towards the mouth of Noyo Harbor.

Lingcod, the most prized of all rock cod, were tough to come by. With three of us on board, we got a total of three. Mine tipped the scales at 15 pounds. The 10-fish limits of rock cod were as varied as the wide variety of species available, including the releasing of the prohibited species such as Goldeneyes and Canaries.

Blues are just about considered the bluegill of the ocean. Though some nice ones can be caught, sometimes you have to wade through a bunch just to get something larger, or a different specie, something like a whopper of a Vermillion or a Copper. We each caught Sea Trout, and you can keep one so long as it’s better than 12-inches.

When the waters warm to about 60 degrees offshore about 50 miles out and the seas are calm, it’s time to start fishing for albacore tuna.

They outright waylay these fish and when you get into a school of tuna, you keep catching until your arms ache.

There are so many reasons to go to the north coast this time of year. Beating the heat is only one.

Enjoying some fantastic fishing is another. However, being on the “right” boat can also make all the difference in the world.



Call for information or to make reservations today at 707-961-9692.
You may also call our cell phone at 707-813-0182
or email us at braggnfishing@aol.com.
Pat & Karen Heaviside, 224 S. McPherson Street, Fort Bragg, CA 95437.