Every year after Thanksgiving Day, I joke to my wife that it is Blackmouth Friday. And as the shopper’s flock to the stores, I get away from it all by going fishing…..blackmouth fishing!
Winter black mouth fishing isn’t for the slight of heart. When you’re winter black mouth fishing you have to bear bad weather, rain, fog, wind, and sometimes you even have to find a point to hide behind in order to fish. Often times you have to put in many hours just to get one or two fish that are keepers. But winter black mouth fishing can be very rewarding if you put in the time to figure out the different techniques and holes that hold fish.
Often times blackmouth will be down on the bottom rooting out candlefish (also called sand lance). This means you need to look for angled fish marks on your sonar right on the bottom (see graphic above)).
No matter what blackmouth hole you’re fishing you want to be sure, like the old saying says, in the mud and match the hatch. This means right on the bottom even bumping the bottom sometimes and fishing with a lure that matches the hatch. If you catch a fish you can get the fish to see what’s in its stomach. This will give you clues for matching the hatch. Bumping the bottom with your downrigger ball is good as it can attract a strike from these very hungry and aggressive fish.
Good Blackmouth Spots – Marine Area 11
For Marina 11, there are lots of options. One of my favorite places for black mouth fishing in this Marine area is Quartermaster Harbor. In quartermaster Harbor I like to fish along the southern shelf. Here you can fish between 60 and 130 feet of water deep.
If you don’t see much bait don’t give up. Keep an eye open for small clouds of bait attached to the bottom and angled marks on your sonar. This will likely be candlefish that the blackmouth are rooting out of the bottom (see graphic below).
Another good blackmouth spot I like is Point Robinson. Not actually around the Point to the south but fishing east and west along the shoreline starting from just around the Point at the power station crossing down to where the direction begins to turn at a small point right before tramp harbor. Here you want to work between 50 and 150 feet of water.
Trolling Area 11 I like to use a green flasher and green Coho killer or spoon (with red in it) but other combinations will also work.
Beal Point or I should say south of Beal Point. You can work the Shoreline in about 75 to 100 feet of water. Here you will pick up black mouth. There was one December I even picked up a chum in this area fishing right on the bottom. A nice surprise given the fish was about 12 pounds and bright chrome.
Area 11 offers other good spots that you will find in fishing books like between Browns Point and Dash Point.
A great book to learn some good salmon spots is John Martinis Saltwater Fishing Journal. These are mostly summer fishing spots, but they will also work for blackmouth.
Good Blackmouth Spots – Marine Area 13
I used to think that Marine Area 13 simply did not have salmon. Over the years I fished it only when other marine areas were closed and there were no other options. I would catch shakers and an occasional 18-inch fish, but no keepers.
It wasn’t until the state started closing down Area 11 for blackmouth (argh! that’s a sore subject for another time) that I started fishing Area 13. Not only did I fish it, but I grinded on it until I found the fish. I spent many hours in 13 and in the end, I learned that I love it. Not only does it have blackmouth, but it also has a great run of springers that I actually discovered while blackmouth fishing (for more information on that, check out my article: Area 13 Chinook Spring and Fall Returns.
Fishing Point Fosdick you will want to do this when the tides and currents lighter the day you are fishing. However, the night before you want to look for a good heavy tide pushing the bait into the area.
You can troll this area from anywhere from 50 to 100 feet deep along the shoreline and around the corner of Point Fosdick. Always try to troll with the tide or across the tide if you can.
There are a couple ways to fish Gibson point, trolling or mooching. Each of them are good depending on the conditions. If you’re trolling Gibson point you want to focus on the edges of the small plateau found right off Gibson point which comes up all the way to about 60 ft of water. Troll the edges of this and then you can also troll down the reef that extends out into the center of the channel towards the shoal. Be careful not to get too close to the show because there are fish restrictions, check your regulations to know how close you can fish to the shoal.
Winter black mouth will definitely hold in this area with an occasional big one being caught. If you’re a mooching start south of Gibson point and drift into and across Gibson point. There have been many anglers who have caught winter black mouth using the same pattern of drifting. Between Gibson point in Fox point is another great place for trolling. In this area I like to troll with the current, right on the bottom, at about 90 to 100 ft deep. As previously stated, if you don’t see bait pay attention to small clusters on the bottom with fish arches.
In Marine Area 13 I have had lots of luck fishing an 11″ black/pearl flasher and either the White Lightning or Cookies and Cream 2 5/8″ spoons with 32″ leader. And if you want to reduce the shakers a green J-plug also works well in this area.
Marine Area 10
My favorite spot for Area 10 black mouth fishing is Kingston‘s Apple Tree Cove. Apple Tree Cove is just north of the ferries and south of the marina area 10/9 borderline. Here I like to work for Apple cove trolling east to west. Trolling east to west lets you work the entire area without worrying about which way the tide is going and which way you have to troll.
In Apple Cove I have limited many times, even with some larger fish in the mix. At this location I like to fish black, both a black flasher and black spoon. Remember black doesn’t change color the deeper you go…..it stays black. Other colors will change and then eventually disappear the deeper you fish ‘em. Remember, at this location, stay alert and be cautious of the ferries.
My second favorite spot in marine area 10 is fishing the southern ledge of Jefferson Head. Starting on the actual mark for Jefferson head on a chart and trolling east all the way to the edge out in the shipping channel. Then you troll back west and not have to worry about trolling with the tides. Here you will want to keep an eye out for bait or even candlefish right on the bottom. In my experience there have also been winter blackmouth that are suspended not right on the bottom so adjust your downrigger up off the bottom when you see suspended fish.
I hope you are able to get away from all the over-zealous shoppers and get out on the Sound on Blackmouth Friday and have some fun.
Be sure to check the regulations and emergency rule changes before you plan your Blackmouth Friday.
Hook ’em Deep!