Winds over 40 knots greeted anglers trying to participate in the Bayside Marine Salmon Derby on Saturday, limiting both the number of stalwart souls who elected to give it a shot and the number of fish caught. Of the 58 salmon weighed in over the two days, 50 were taken Sunday, after the weather moderated.
Dan Hatch of Bayside Marine said one customer reported heading toward Saratoga Passage on Saturday then deciding that was not such a great idea and retreating to Tulalip Bay, where he and his party were pretty much trapped for the duration.
But an easterly element of the wind shielded, to a degree, the Edmonds/Everett shoreline for a while, and that’s where — off the shipwreck — the derby winner was taken Saturday morning. Kayleen Olson of Everett, fishing with her father, nailed a coho weighing 10.36 pounds to win a 9.9-horsepower Yamaha outboard motor valued at $3,000.
The bulk of the catch Sunday came from Possession Bar.
Hatch said the derby drew 164 anglers, down from last year’s 250 participants — most likely due to the weather forecast.
In second place was Mike Vogt at 10.32 pounds; third, Cory Myron at 9.9 pounds, and fourth, Kenny Porter with a chum of 9.66 pounds.
The derby accepts food donations as part of the entry fee, and this year collected the equivalent of almost 5,000 pounds of food for Snohomish County Volunteers of America.
All Star Charters skipper Gary Krein got out Friday, on the local winter opener, and did well on Possession Bar.
“We got into a good bite at the morning tide change,” Krein said. “We brought 12 fish to the boat, chums and blackmouth, and lost two to seals. All the blackmouth went 6 or 7 pounds, but the chums were running 8 to 12 pounds and occasionally larger.”
The party kept two legal blackmouth and five chums, and released five wild blackmouth.
Of the five chums, only one was starting to darken and the rest were as bright as coho and strong fighters, Krein said. Two of the larger chums were headed for his smoker.
The unusual number of chum entering the sport catch has caught the attention of experienced anglers.
“Clearly, this is the best chum bite here I can remember in a long time,” Krein said. “And the best part is that we’re not even targeting chums specifically. (We’re) not doing anything differently than we do for blackmouth.”
The hot gear Friday, he said, was 3- or 3 1/2-inch Kingfisher Lite spoon in green or black/white “cop car” patterns, fished at 120 to 150 feet along the edge of the bar.
Lots of razor clams
If you’re a razor clam aficionado, you’ve probably attended the popular New Year’s Eve dig on the coastal beaches. If not, this year’s the time. The tide on Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013, is a minus 1.4 sweet feet; it’s at a workable 5:42 p.m., and the clam population is such that we may never see the like again. And four of the five coastal beaches will be open to dig (Kalaloch remains closed).
“Razor clam digging on New Year’s Eve has become a tradition for many Washingtonians,” said state Fish and Wildlife Department razor clam manager Dan Ayres in Montesano. “The tides aren’t conducive to a holiday dig every year, but they’re with us in 2013.”
Ayres said in past years as many as 20,000 people have descended on the ocean beaches to dig razor clams on the holiday.
The department has tentatively scheduled (subject to the results of marine toxin tests) three digs for the month of December, including 15 total digging days and the three-day New Year’s Eve dig at four beaches. Dates, beaches and evening low tides for the proposed end-of-the-year digs are as follows:
Nov. 30, minus 0.1 feet at 4:28 p.m., all beaches except Kalaloch; Dec. 1, minus 0.9 feet at 5:13 p.m., Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks; Dec. 2, minus 1.4 feet at 5:59 p.m., Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks; Dec. 3, minus 1.7 feet at 6:44 p.m., Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks; Dec. 4, minus 1.7 feet at 7:30 p.m., Long Beach and Twin Harbors; Dec. 5, minus 1.4 feet at 8:17 p.m., Twin Harbors only; Dec. 6, minus 1.0 feet at 9:05 p.m., Twin Harbors only; Dec. 7, minus 0.3 feet at 9:56 p.m., Twin Harbors only.
Dec. 14, minus 0.1 feet at 4:45 p.m., All beaches except Kalaloch; Dec. 15, minus 0.3 feet at 5:26 p.m., Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks; Dec. 16, minus 0.4 feet at 6:03 p.m., Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks; Dec. 17, minus 0.4 feet at 6:38 p.m., Twin Harbors only; Dec. 18, minus 0.3 feet at 7:12 p.m., Twin Harbors only.
Dec. 29, minus 0.2 feet at 4:05 p.m., all beaches except Kalaloch; Dec. 30, minus 0.9 feet at 4:55 p.m., all beaches except Kalaloch; and Dec. 31, minus 1.4 feet at 5:42 p.m., all beaches except Kalaloch.
Comprehensive information about razor clams, from updates on tentative digs to how-to advice on digging and cooking, is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams.
All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2013-14 fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, are available at the Fish and Wildlife website (https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov) and from license vendors around the state.
For more outdoor news and photos, read Wayne Kruse’s blog at www.heraldnet.com/huntingandfishing.