The final week of our season was the best it’s ever been. We ran six boats on September 9 for the first time in our history and ended on the 10th with three boats. We were fortunate to hit a favorable stretch of weather that allowed us to fish the open ocean wherever we pleased. Most groups experienced great success, boating limits of big cohos, kings, halibut, and rockfish.
During the last week, we changed our salmon approach from long drifts over our northern areas to drifting more productive sections off the Cape. As was the trend at the end of August, cohos kept feeding aggressively and in large numbers. These fish attacked baits from depths of 150 feet to the surface. Numerous times, the fish that attacked near the surface was accompanied by other fish, which benefitted the other anglers onboard. If they were fortunate enough to have their baits near the surface, they also got bites.
A new technique emerged as an obvious rip line in the water appeared. Bait fish searching for protection and cover collected near big kelp patties and driftwood. With the bait, there were silvers. If you were drifting near the rip line, you probably had a lot of opportunities high in the water where salmon were searching for hiding baitfish.
Kings also hung around until the very end. Most kings we saw were around the 28-inch benchmark to keep, but there were a few no-doubters sprinkled in – an appreciated bonus this time of year.
As for halibut and rockfish, there was no surprise to us that they finished the year strong. From the day we began on May 6 to our final day of September 10, those species of fish were extremely reliable. Weather allowed us to travel offshore to depths of 500-600 feet and find a consistently fast bite of fish ranging from 35-41 inches. Rockfish off the Cape are huge – 2-3 pounds heavier than average and there are a lot of them. We caught them just below the silver zone of 150 feet. Everyone who boated a few of these bass will be grateful when it’s fish taco night this winter.
We officially ended our season on September 10, but the silvers are still feeding on the ocean, and in big numbers. The halibut, which are here year around, also showed no signs of slowing down. With discounted September rates, this time of year is perfect for one last summer vacation and an ideal time if you are in search of that trophy-class, 20-pound, hook-nose silver!
2015 was another memorable year. Stay tuned for Captain Tom’s recap of the season.