The Futures Bright For Coos Bay Deepsea Bottom Fishing

Just like the lyrics 1980’s pop song, “Futures So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades”, the future of “bottom fish” can be described like this; things are going great and they are only getting better (can you hear the harmonica blaring in the background?). Increased bag limits, extended seasons, and relaxed regulation all bode well for the recreational offshore angler in Oregon. It wasn’t like this for bottom fishing in the not so distant past. Unregulated commercial fishing and a poor understanding of the fishes biology nearly wiped out entire populations of bottom fish. Now with strict management, a healthy ocean, and better science the sport fishing off the Oregon coast has returned to being a world class destination for fishing.

If your not a local and accustomed to the local slang you might be wondering what exactly is a bottom fish? A “bottom fish” is a broad and somewhat dull term used to describe a multitude of fish species found near the Pacific coastline. These nearshore species include rockfish, lingcod, halibut, and sculpins. Some species of rockfish are vibrantly colored, and are anything but dull! A great example of this beauty would be the Tiger Rockfish, aptly named for its brilliant orange body and black tiger like vertical stripes, any angler would be stunned to see this appear at the end of his line. These fish species typically orient to geographic features associated with bottom structure, hence the name bottom fish. Rock,mud,sand are all habitats that “bottom fish” inhabit off the coast of Oregon. Most of these fish species occur in the nearshore and continental slope habitat within 5 miles of the coast. Depths that fish occupy include very shallow to depths unreachable with traditional fishing tackle. Most of the recreational fishing off the Oregon coast for bottom fish is done in depths from 50 feet to 300 feet out of ports that have rocky reefs nearby and are easily reached by small recreational fishing boats. The Port of Charleston happens to be located in one of these prime locations in Oregon to catch bottom fish. The port has a safe deep bar crossing, cozy accommodations for overnight travelers, and world class charter fishing services.

Many local and travelling anglers choose to go with charter fishing guides to benefit from the local knowledge that these fisherman have earned through years of experience on the fishing grounds. Charter boat captains must prove there knowledge to the US Coastguard through rigerous examination prior to being allowed to take passengers out to fish on the sea.  The bottom fishing trips are usually offered year round with the months of May-September being the calmest seas. After a short 30 minute ride to the reef anglers can expect to catch limits of rockfish in the 2 lbs. to 5 lbs. class, lingcod upto 40 lbs., and halibut upto 125 lbs. Fishing in Oregon rivals any experience you might have had in Alaska, and is second to none in my opinion. The daily bag limits for fish are always changing but as of this year we can keep 7 rockfish, two lingcod on the typical bottom fishing trip. These strict limits help protect the fishery for future generations and quality of fishing. However the take home of fish is quite generous and equates to on average 10-15 lbs. of fillets, perfect for making fish and chips for upto 30 of your hungriest friends.

So if your ready for an adventure or just want some really good eats consider going bottom fishing on your next vacation. Its not the lowly fish that its name implies. It should be called “action fishing” because that is what you will have fishing out of Charleston, Oregon! Its a fishing experience for the whole family on the Oregon Coast.

Trophy Lingcod

Are you searching for an adventure this winter in the great outdoors of the Pacific Northwest and have a passion for saltwater angling? Then you might consider “Deepwater Lingcod”, for you next great fishing adventure! Lingcod fishing in Oregon is a year round passion for many anglers but the winter season is special. Anglers are allowed to venture further into the deep reefs of the ocean, outside of usual depth restricted areas. Anglers, targeting trophy Lingcod in the 30# to 50# class,search in depths of over 300 feet. Due to this great depth, the use of heavy lead pipe jigs in the 2# class, studded with large menacing trebles hooks is a favored lure. To retrieve this heavy jig the electric powered levelwind reel is becoming more popular. I use Diawa Tancom 500 electric reels on my vessel with great success. They allow the angler to retrieve his lure quickly when its necessary to reset a drift across the reef. This time saving method is extremely important when your trying to maximize fishing times in the ever present inclement weather of the Pacific Northwest in the winter.  Some anglers that I fish with choose to go one on one with a trophy lingcod using there high speed levelwind and crank them up by hand which adds to the excitement. There is something about the huge head, gaping mouthful of sharp teeth, and the heavily camouflaged body of the lingcod that makes the imagination of the angler run wild. The strike is quick and the initial fight of the fish is strong! The large lingcod commonly will rest while being reeled and then dash madly for the bottom many times as they are reeled up from the depths. Many an angler on my vessel has though that there fish had gotten away only to be surprised by a bent pole and peeling drag moments later. There is also the infamous “hitchhiker” scenario to consider when fishing for the trophy lingcod. Lingcod love to eat fish, especially wriggling fish that are stuck on a hook. As you jig the bottom for lingcod it is not uncommon to have a rockfish bite your line and while trying to escape attract a lingcod which in turn bites and latches onto the struggling rockfish. Hence the term “hitchhiker”. The largest lingcod that have been landed on my vessel have come as hitchhikers on other smaller rockfish. So while angling for them it is important to remembe that if you feel a slight wiggling on your line while jigging it is best to leave it there and wait for a true giant! So don’t forget when the winter gets you down, remember there is always a silver liner in those clouds in the form of a trophy winter lingcod trip with Sharky’s Charters!