Lots of sport tuna anglers fishing out of Winchester Bay were successful this last week. Catches ranged to more than 50 tuna per boat, although the average was probably less than half that. Some of the tuna were caught within 20 miles of Winchester Bay. However, at the end of last weekend, the proper water temperatures and the tuna seemed to be moving around.
For most of last week salmon anglers were able to cross the Umpqua River Bar and fish the Ocean. Very cold water near shore limited the salmon bite for many anglers, but anglers venturing farther out enjoyed a somewhat better bite. Grant Sheeley got his five clients into ten salmon last Sunday, while the Lewis’s – a father and son team that often fish with Richard Babcock got six salmon for three anglers in two hours of fishing on Sunday morning with five of the salmon being Chinooks. and in the short period of time they were salmon fishing they also got a boat limit of ocean crabs.
The best news for Winchester Bay’s sport crabbers is that Half Moon Bay is starting to produce limits of crabs and, judging by how good the ocean crabbing is right now – the crabbing in the lower Umpqua River should continue to improve. Dock crabbing, although improving, is still pretty tough.
Shore anglers have not yet started catching salmon on their pink and chartreuse spinners, but their first catches, most likely at Half Moon Bay, should be imminent as a number of salmon have been caught by boat anglers farther upriver near Reedsport.
Few anglers have been fishing the South Jetty/Triangle for bottomfish, but cabezon are now legal to keep with a daily limit of one cabezon 16 or inches or more in length.
Even though the run of spawning redtailed surfperch in the Umpqua River above Winchester Bay is pretty much over, there were boat limits of perch taken as recently as last Friday. Billy and Bob Eaton were the anglers who caught that limit and several of their “pinkfins” weighed more than two pounds.
Some recent, but very impressive catches from outside our local area include a 95-inch long, 482 pound Pacific halibut that was caught on July 3rd in Alaskan waters by a 77 year old angler. Other catches include a seven pound spotted bass from Whiskytown Reservoir in northernmost California and a 25.5-inch post spawn largemouth fom Hagg Lake near Forest Grove – a reservoir that has produced the last several state record smallmouth bass for Oregon.