I've been on enough boats to understand that there are different kinds of pukers. Me - I am a silent puker, but there are also groaners, growlers, coughers, and the dreaded try-to-hold-it-in-so-it-sprays-everywhere pukers. One trip to Oregon in 2005 yielded a close encounter with a particularly vociferous groaner.
I decided it would be fun to try a salmon fishing trip - having never caught a salmon in Oregon before. I booked the trip and set out early the following morning. Our boat was very small for a charter boat. There were only three passengers on board; myself, a man probably in his late 40's, and his elderly father. The weather that day was decent, the swells probably in the 3-5 foot range - not flat calm, but certainly very manageable. After a short jaunt to the fishing grounds we set out the down-riggers and cut-plug herring and began to slowly troll our way around, searching for promising looking blips on the sonar.
I think we trolled for about a half hour without incident. However after that, it soon became clear to everyone on board that the elderly gentleman was having a less-than-pleasant morning. Did I mention that he was a groaner? Well, he was a groaner, and an enthusiastic one at that. He tried to tough it out, and his son tried his best to help, but he just kept getting worse and worse. I tried to act like I didn't notice or mind , but on a small boat there is really nowhere to go and not much to do if the fish aren't biting - which they weren't. In the end I just managed to fight the urge to plug my ears, pinch my nose, and shut my eyes.
He finally ended up sitting on a cooler next to the rail and turning and leaning over the rail when the need arose. This worked for a while until he stopped making it all the way over the rail.... Anyway, I'll spare you the juicy details, but suffice it to say that it was a very noisy, smelly, and nasty hour until they finally asked the captain to take them back to the dock.
As we motored back to the harbor, I wondered what would become of my morning. Much to my relief the captain said we could go back out. He gave me the option of trolling for salmon some more - which by that point had lost it's appeal, or going to the old standby - bottom fishing. I opted for the latter.
It was fun having the boat and captain all to myself. He took me to some spots that I hadn't fished before. Most of the time we were within about a quarter mile of the shore. It was obvious that there were a lot of fish around and judging by the size of the fish we found I'm guessing that the fishing pressure there is light. Several times I saw groups of fish hitting something on the surface within casting range, so I sent my jigs over to greet them - something you normally can't do on a charter boat full of people. It didn't take long until we both had our limits. My biggest black rockfish for the day was about twice the size as my previous best! I didn't measure or weigh it but I think it's pretty safe to guess it at 7 or 8 lbs! That made for a very good ending to a day that got a rocky - and nauseating - start.
|My personal best black rockfish