Silvers in Randomland
The silver has gone from an automatic to a bit more work for the past two weeks. The fish are mainly offshore – meaning in deep water on their migratory routes. They aren’t heavily schooled and concentrated over bait. Speaking of which, there isn’t a major baitfish concentration offshore and we’re seeing very few whales out there. Whales gather where feed is abundant. The hope is to find a stretch of ocean that has enough silver density to make it work and we’ve been able to do this most days. It does feel very random, however. One drift you get 6, then you run the boat back up and do it again and get one. Yesterday I did a drift and didn’t get a bite. Captain Ryan followed on the same drift and got 5. They swim around a lot. If your luck is average, the catch is good. If you’re really luck is great, you knock them dead. The silvers are the biggest of the year with fish in the mid to high teens ever possible.
Anything but random. Only one description for one particular halibut spot we’re fishing – “Lights-out”. Two days ago, I was giving instructions to my anglers: “When your sinker hits the bottom, reel up four turns of the handle and wait for a bite.” The problem, and it’s a good problem, was that they hit bottom and by the time they reeled up four turns, they had a bite. It took less time to get a limit than it took to set and pull the anchor.
On less windy days, when you can get your gear down deep while silver fishing, there’s endless opportunity to get a limit of very large black rockfish. We’re talking 5 to 8-pound rockers that are schooling well off bottom. Yesterday, while fishing in 320 feet of water a bait was hit 21 feet from the surface. We assumed a silver. Wrong! It was a 6-pound black rockfish.
As has happened in recent years, blue sharks have invaded the salmon grounds. Hooking and fighting a very occasional blue shark might be fun, having them rip thru 10 salmon set ups a day, plus a few halibut rigs gets old. We’re not sure why, but we’re running into a lot of them. All blue sharks that we get to the boat are carefully released.