It’s a big ocean. That’s what you’re up against when you’re trying to find albacore tuna. You likely have to travel vast distances which cut your fishing window down. The trick is to identify where the tuna are before you even leave the dock.
There’s multiple ways to do this. One of them is to have good solid reports or a network of friends to tell you where the tuner are. Another way to do this is to sign up for a website that will give you chlorophyll and sea surface temperature readings (e.g. Terrafin.com). Then what you do is look for brakes in the sea surface temperature usually when the temperature gets up to about 65° and climbs a couple degrees all at once then this could be an area where you would find tuna. This give you a place to start trolling. Then as you troll, you watch the sea surface temperature on your sonar unit for breaks. Also, you can watch for birds and jumpers. Or leverage the technology in most newer radars (called bird mode) and watch for birds with your electronics.
At Robinson point in September there are two areas I like to fish. The first area is parallel to the shoreline east and west but out deeper in about 200 ft of water. I have found that for some reason The coho don’t seem to come in as close to the shoreline in this area. The second spot I like to troll is going north to South across the tides and current right at the point where the shoreline starts to open up into tramp Bay. I have found this very effective for catching coho while using a flasher a short leader and your favorite hoochie. For these fisheries I like to troll a white flasher and white hoochie 40 to 60 ft deep and move at a fast trolling speed about 3 mph.
If I am running a splitter bar with a herring/hoochie (one of my go-to rigs) I like to add a bit of extra attractants to the setup.
I add inline scent chambers that I like to stuff full of Butt Juice Gel or a dough bait (e.g. Fire Bait)
I like to add some rattle by adding spoons that clip on with my lead and that will rattle against the lead underwater
Halibut and Scent Trails
When fishing for halibut a good scent trail is underwater is key. There are many different ways to put off a good scent trail.
One of the most basic ways to put off a scent trail on or around your bait is to use a scent chamber. This is a small device usually a tube that is installed in line with your fishing line or hooks or can be attached elsewhere on your halibut setup. Scent Chambers can be filled full of halibut nectar, Butt Juice, or even stuffed full of dough bait, which makes for a long lasting scent trail.
If you are anchoring for halibut one of the best ways to set off a nice scent trail is to stuff a porous chum/bait bag or scent canister chamber full of bait or ground up bait, such as mackerel, herring, octopus, squid, salmon bellies, tuna bellies, etc. You can also pre-soak the bait in different mixtures of attractants (liquids or gels) to give the bait an extra punch.
Make Your Own Scent
Lots of folks like to make their own halibut scents and this can really pay off. For instance you can use a blender (one that your wife doesn’t also use, lol) and grind up all sorts of oily scent ingredients, e.g. salmon bellies, salmon eggs, etc to get a real good oily substance.
Another option is to add mineral oil to salmon eggs and cook down the salmon eggs (on very low heat) into an oily consistency. Then strain off the chunks.
Both these options are cheap and a good way to use up leftover baits and eggs from other fishing trips.
Crabbing area 11 for Dungeness crab can be a little tricky. You have to get out early right when the season opens to get a hold of good Dungeness crab. After some time the Dungeness crab will be fished out this is due usually to a native American season that opens before the regular recreational season opens. If you don’t get out there early you will find mostly Red Rock crab in your pots.
Good areas for Dungeness crabbing are quartermaster harbor, just north of dash point, and Tramp harbor. Don’t get me wrong there are other spots with good crabbing, you just have to find them. When I’m setting in tramp harbor I like to set right off the shoreline of the house with the big front yard on a hill.. you can’t miss it you will see this house. Not too many people crab tramp harbor even though it’s good, compared to other spots like quartermaster. Quartermaster harbor gets very busy with hundreds of pots but again if you get there early in the season you will get some good crab. Along the shoreline north of dash point all the way up until Des Moines Marina there are good crabbing areas. The key to finding a good crab area is to look for eel grass on the shoreline. Dungeness crab don’t usually go very deep you could set your pots from 30 to 100 feet deep. If you want to attract Dungeness crab rather than red rock crab avoid baits that have fish and use raw chicken. For some reason, unknown to me, really like the raw chicken.
Catching albacore tuna off Washington’s coast is easy once you find the fish. Finding the fish in a big ocean is the hard part.
One of the best ways to learn about catching albacore is from the Tuna Dog himself, Del Stephens.
If you are just getting into Tuna fishing, The Dark Side by Del Stephens is a must read.
I read the book twice. Once before I even ever hit the tuna grounds and then a second time to sharpen my skills.
This book covers it all to help anglers get basic knowledge of fishing for albacore including: tuna gear, setting up tackle, how to find the fish, where to start fishing, how to troll, how to drop irons, how to live-bait.
One of my favorite ways to prepare salmon is also the easiest.
After a salmon is filleted I cut the salmon into steaks about 3-4 inches wide, depending on the thickness of the fish.
Next, I will pull the steaks out of the fridge, place on a cutting board and skin the fish steaks.
After skinning the fish, simply season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a little bit of dill. You can also use garlic salt instead of salt and garlic.
Next, I will heat up a frying pan with olive oil to medium heat. If there is a layer of fat on the fish from skinning, you can use less oil as the fish will actually create its own oil in the pan from the fat layer.
Then I simply cook fish, watching it closely from the side to see that it is cooking all the way through. Be careful not to over cook.
This method of cooking salmon makes the fish taste like salmon in a nice restaurant.
If you fish a lot you know how important it is to have a good sealer. A good sealer will help your fish last up to 2+ years in the freezer.
There are many different brands of sealers, all having their pros and cons. But if you can afford the investment, a chamber sealer might be the way to go. Chamber sealers have been used in commercial kitchens for years and are by far the best sealers.
Instead of pulling the air out of the bag a chamber sealer pulls the air out of the entire chamber.
One of the best chamber sealers on the market is the VacMaster. However, these sealers are not cheap. But over time they will pay off as you can buy 1000 4-mil bags for about $50.
Cheaper Chamber Sealers
If you don’t want to spend $1000+ for a sealer there are plenty of alternatives to the VacMaster ranging from $300 on up. But do your research before buying.
I love to smoke salmon! And it is easy to do if you have a decent smoker.
I use Char-Broil 17202004 Digital Electric Smoker, Deluxe, Silver because it is compact, easy to use, and has double wall construction. Overall, it makes for a pretty good smoker for the price range. No matter which smoker you use, smoking salmon is very simple. The method I use is a dry rub with salt and brown sugar.
Types of Salmon
I like to smoke winter black mouth salmon because usually they are smaller and are great smoker size. Next I would smoke Pink salmon and Chum salmon and save the Coho and Chinook for table fare.
Simple Smoking Method
Make sure your fish is dry. Pat it dry with paper towels if needed.
Mix 4 cups brown sugar with 1 cup kosher salt. Make sure it is mixed well.
Put your fish, skin side down, in glass casserole dishes (1.5-2 in deep).
Completely coat the top (meat side) of the fish with the sugar/salt mixture.
Cover the fish tightly with plastic wrap,
Refrigerate. Depending on how salty (or not salty) you want your fish determines how long you will leave your fish in the refrigerator. If you want you smoked salmon less salty, about two hours in the refrigerator. Medium saltiness, 4 hours. Very salty (if you are making smoked fish dip), overnight.
After you remove your fish from the refrigerator, you will want to rinse the sugar/salt mixture off every piece really well with cold water.
Next lay your fish out on racks. I use the racks from my smoker to lay all the fish out.
Next place a fan so it blows on all the fish. You will want the fan to blow on the fish for at least 2 hours until the fish has a tacky texture.
Smoke. With a preheated smoker, smoke the fish for 2 hours. Read the manual of your smoker to know how long to exactly smoke your fish.