Anyway, we hit the road Friday afternoon and headed towards saltier (more species rich) water. There's enough new (to me) stuff still in Puget Sound that I can usually pick a pier that I haven't been to yet, and scratch up one or two new species per day. So we ended up fishing for the evening at the Dash Point fishing pier north of Tacoma. Nothing new was caught for me though unfortunately, but for the kid it was all new, so she loved it! We walked passed all the people casting for pink salmon and pulled out the bait hooks since that's how you catch the good stuff! And we never saw any pinks caught that night anyway.
Shiner perch and staghorn sculpin were ubiquitous as always:
|This one's stripes aren't as prominent as is typical for this species so I took its picture hoping it might be something new. It wasn't.
|That's Tiny Abby there on the left.
|My biggest rock sole so far.
|From what I can tell, flatfish all have good attitudes, because they're always looking up! Get it? Cause they're eyes are both on the top of their... Oh never mind. You're right that was a bit forced.
|Brooke learned the proper way to hold a Pacific staghorn sculpin; a quite spiky species!
These are still the single weirdest fish I've ever seen. I've noted their forehead clasper before (which has spikes on it by the way), but I didn't notice the large claspers by the pelvic fins before. Or maybe this one just had huge ones... Whatever the case, this one's claspers looked like a couple pairs of hind-legs dangling there!
The kid was hoping for a dogfish, and I thought we might get one as evening approached, but it wasn't to be. We fished till dark totally undisturbed by any dogfish, then packed it up and headed to the hotel for about 4 hours of sleep.
Bright and early the next morning we hit the road again in time to be at the dock in Westport by 5:30. The kid hadn't ever been out on the ocean before so it was all new and exciting to her, and I was anxious to see if she'd get seasick. We both had on those little sea-sickness behind-the-ear patches, but you never know, especially with kids. Sure enough about 5 minutes past the jetty, the first dude started chumming for us. I was sure she'd join him at the rail, but she just chuckled and said that was gross!
|No sea-sickness here! She thought going up and down the big waves was fun!
|I'm afraid the same cannot be said of Tiny Abby however. She got sick and went all rail-bunny on us before we even started fishing. Lucky her big sister was there to hold her hair for her.
|Yellowtail rockfish. Not a new one, but definitely still fun!
|She brought in this double all by herself.
|These ones were much bigger than I had previously caught, so that was definitely fun.
|If you look closely, that's a blue shark thrashing about.
|Say it with me... Shark Bait Ooh Ha ha!
Unfortunately that's as far as the story goes. I set the hook and it was gone. In hindsight, I probably should have let it eat it for a bit before setting the hook. Next time. Not long after, the captain figured out what I was doing and the gig was up. We had a good chuckle about it. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted!
We resumed our regularly scheduled rockfish chasing. It wasn't long at all till the crew decided we had our limits. On my last haul of the day from 300 feet down, I knew I had something heavier on the line. I was both super excited and a little bummed to see my biggest yelloweye rockfish ever pop up to the surface. On one hand, it was an awesome fish, but on the other hand, it had barotrauma like nobody's business, and I'd be very surprised if it lived, even with the captain's deep release mechanism. These can't be kept in Washington, since they're very long lived and prone to overharvest. It was a beautiful fish though!
|My biggest yelloweye by about 15 pounds!
|I think they're pretty, though I guess they're sort of like a spiky goldfish on steroids!
|Tiny Abby got in on the action as the deckhand was cleaning the fish!
|Naps on the way back to the port are how all the best trips end.
We met up with Gabe, another buddy, at his house and jumped in with him and soon launched his boat on a nearby (undisclosed) lake, sent down the downriggers, and began trolling. I can't think of any witty quips to liven up this part of the story, so maybe insert your own joke here if you like... But definitely make it better than my flatfish joke for sure.
Anyway, long story short, we both ended up getting our first lakers! They were by no means large lake trout, but I by no means cared either. I was just happy to finally add that one to the list! Huge thanks to Gabe!
|Yes I know, you've caught a bigger one. I'm just happy I can finally check this one off. I've tried more times than I care to admit to get one.
|Not an unattractive little fella though.
|I don't know what was up with Tiny Abby at this point, she lost it a little I guess.
|She's in the club as far as I'm concerned, even if she was concerned that her hair was messy in this picture!