Tuesday, August 28, 2012

On Breaking the Oregon Curse

We got a series of Time Life books as kids. Awesome large wildlife picture books. One of these books was all on fish. One of the essays in one of these books was about Steelhead. The full page photo to the left of the essay showed a Steelhead leaping up a huge grey metallic waterfall.

The title of this essay was Excalibur: The Steelhead

It might have even started then a bit. More on this later.

Oregon Coast Surf Perch
On Breaking the Oregon Curse. Since my last post I have gone to the Oregon Coast and caught saltwater fish in the surf on lure. A small river poured into the Pacific through the sand on a beach - and the Redtail Surf Perch were killing white curl tail jigs.  Not little ones either.  This is big. No Boat, No Bait, No Crowds. This means the code has been partly cracked. ever so partly.  Naomi and I took our first multi-night trip in three years to the Southern Oregon coast. Opening the Farm Store has been great but murder on fishing time. For the most part I am still comparing it to epic experiences I had fishing the spring and fall movements on the East Coast.  This Blog is going to be about transitioning from East Coast to West Coast fish. We have been working a lot of overtime since moving here and just now starting to get out and do some real exploring.
A River Flows Magically Across the Beach

This Blog is going to be about spin fishing with atificial lures. Mostly jigs, jerkbaits and spinners and definitely in saltwater when I can.  Weedless Jerkbaits were introduced to me by an East Coaster named Phill Knoll.
This guy really showed me how to catch Striped Bass. Spinners I fish only when the predominant fish is trout or steelhead.  Spinners are new to me - and currently I am deciding that they aren't stupid and do catch trout. I used to think they represented white bait aka a minnow lure - but now am more in agreement with Jed Davis that they are an "attractor". This probably has something to do with triggering aggression strikes.
On the Rogue River Trail with Black Bears

The Northern Pikeminnow in Rogue
Rogue in the Rogue at Foster Bar
 Last few weeks I have been lucky enough to fish a short section of a Northern Oregon coastal stream, a pool on the Umpqua River,  a section of  the Rogue River on foot.  The Rogue was clear, low and warm but still had small trout hitting small spinners.  As the day grew hotter in the afternoon I switched to fishing the deeper pool water and hooked into a Pikeminnow.   I am moving away from hardbaits - aka plugs and lures with multiple treble hooks. I have spent a lot of time fishing bucktail jigs and grubs - both in New York and Florida. I always had 2 rods rigged on my kayak - one with a white jig and the other with a sliver plug ...? The yo-zuri plug was for throwing right up against the mangroves - in Flamingo FL  lingo they call this "banging those edges".  I had the white bucktail or grub on for deeper water so I could bounce it off the bottom. In the winter in Florida I had some good sessions with a simple gold Johnson spoon - but it would mostly be marauding Ladyfish - which I do really like. So my preference is shifting to rubber single-hook jigs. I have been lucky enough to hook a lot of Tarpon at night on my old standby the white curl tail grub. So I will be looking for a way to fish that lure weedless. 

Naomi Demonstrates
  This blog may at some point be about transitioning to fly fishing or some flyfishing. Im not sure. I have so much spinning gear .... and - for the most part where I fish - the big ugly parts of rivers near Portland the fly rod is not the right tool.  Or at least I deem these murky Portland waters to be plenty challenging even with quick sinking jigs. Though my dad has loaned me his 5 wt. indefinitely as encouragement to join the dark side.

For the fun of it - here is a list of the types of fish I have caught  - lifetime - not all on lures and  not really in any particular order but favorites mostly at the top - 

Jack Crevalle
Striped Bass
Spanish Mackerel 
Smallmouth Bass
Chinook Salmon (Lake Michigan)
Shadow of the Rogue River Yoga Vampire
Goliath Grouper (formerly Jewfish)
Black Grouper 
Mutton Sanpper 
Mangrove Snapper
Lane Snapper
Yellowtail Snapper 
Bonnethead Shark
Lemon Shark
Southern Stingray 
French Grunt
Baby Porpoise Skeleton in the Dunes
Brook Trout
Rainbow Trout 
Blueback Herring
Mayan Cichlid
Largemouth Bass
Northern Pikeminnow (formerly Squawfish)
Florida Gar
Longnose Gar
Shortnose Gar 
Blue Runner
Rock Bass
White Bass (known as "stripers" in Iowa)
Back Home Drying Laundry with the Hens
Channel Catfish
Flathead Catfish
Hardhead Catfish
Gafftopsail Catfish
Black Drum
Sheepshead (Florida Saltwater type)
Freshwater Drum (Iowa type)
Yellow Bullhead
Sea Robin
Bowfin (known as Dogfish in Iowa)

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