I considered my options, and that they boiled down to two: cry into my beard all weekend, or go fishing anyway. I of course chose the latter and quickly came up with a plan B. I would drive to the Washington coast and hit up some long overdue saltwater species, and sprinkle in a little pink salmon fishing somewhere in the Puget Sound area. So on Thursday afternoon I hit the road.
|This bruiser along the way was kind enough to pose for a couple pictures before chasing after his girlfriends.|
|I don't know who Erick or Eddie are, but if it was safe enough for them, that was good enough for me!|
|The Westport Jetty|
|That little black dot in the water is a harbor porpoise (or maybe just a little black dot...). A big one and a baby kept swimming back and forth in front of me. Probably eating my fish. No fair. Fun to watch though.|
Over the next few hours, I probably caught 30 more perch. Among them were some really nice redtails:
|THIS is a redtail Surfperch. Disregard the baby in the last picture...|
If you're really curious, (I won't be offended if you're not...) click here for the full current list of all my species and subspecies.
|Silver surfperch. Species 101!|
|Pile Surfperch. Species 102!|
|Is it bad when they rear up an hiss?|
|I broke out the micro-gear to see what these tiny fish were under the docks. They turned out to be just more shiner surfperch.|
|Here's a pacific staghorn sculpin. These are like the bluegill of the pacific coast. They're everywhere. To the point of being annoying...|
|Sight fishing for these big pile perch was one of my favorites of the day. This one was my biggest.|
|White surfperch. Species 103!|
I did manage one last species just before it got dark though. And it ended up being my favorite fish of the trip. It was obviously a sculpin, but I had never seen one that had antlers before! It was a buffalo sculpin (so named because of it's "horns"), and it was one of the coolest fish I've seen. It had horns, huge cheek spikes that it stuck out menacingly, a great big pot belly (even by my standards...), and seemed to have scutes like a sturgeon. Perhaps strangest of all was the fact that the whole time I was holding it, it was vibrating just like a cell phone. No joke! Apparently it's a defense mechanism to help scare off predators. Did I mention that it was cool?! He quickly became probably the most photographed buffalo sculpin in the history of buffalo sculpins, then after his photo shoot, he grumpily vibrated back out to sea.
|If you're wondering, those are not just for show. They're sharp!|
I don't know about you guys, but six new species is a GOOD day for this guy!
The next day, I had grand plans of fishing from the other side of the jetty and catching some some kelp greenling and some coho salmon that were just starting to come in, but the forecast for Saturday ended up actually being an understatement. Mother Nature was officially off her meds again. It was just too windy Saturday morning to fish in Westport, even for me. So I packed up and headed inland to go chase some pink salmon. I had caught pinks before, but didn't have a good picture, so it needed to be done.
I ended up at the Snohomish River, about a 1/2 hour north of Seattle (depending on traffic...). I'll spare you most of the details, but except for the 60 mph winds that came through in the morning and all the trees that blew down, this picture about sums up the activity on Saturday:
Sunday was a new day though. The windstorm was gone and it didn't even rain too much. I soon had a few pinks, although they weren't quite as plentiful as I had hoped.
|A much more inviting Snohomish River after the storm.|
|Don't ask me why they're called "pink salmon". I think they should be called brown salmon. Pink is probably more appetizing than brown I suppose.|