By Wayne Kruse Special to The Herald
Fishing is fishing, all around the country — at least in some respects.
I called All Star Charters owner/skipper Gary Krein on Monday looking for a fishing report on Marine Area 9, which reopened for winter blackmouth Jan. 16. Krein couldn’t supply one, even with his myriad contacts, simply because no one had been banging around out there on Possession Bar in the wind, snow and slop.
And except for the snow, it was a dreary rerun for Krein, who journeyed all the way to Florida the previous week on a working vacation, part of which involved a couple days of what was billed as easy, laid-back fishing in the warm, sunny Gulf of Mexico.
Krein is an officer in the National Association of Charter Boat Operators, which held its annual convention in Orlando, Fla., this month. After a day taking care of business, Krein was scheduled to go fishing in the Gulf, out of the Naples/Marcos Island area, at the invitation of a couple charter owners who sit on the organization’s board of directors.
“Never wet a line,” Krein said. “Just like up here on the Sound, the guys fishing the Gulf need winds under 15 knots, because they’re running 25 miles to what they consider reasonably good fishing. One day it was blowing 20 knots, and the second, 18 knots. None of us, just for fun, wanted to go out in that kind of water.”
Recreational fishing seasons on the Gulf are as complicated as they are here, and this time of year about the only fish you can keep, Krein said, are grouper, a cod-like fish running 5 to 15 pounds.
“(Anglers) anchor over rockpiles or other structures and fish jigs or live shrimp,” Krein said, “and they’re only in 50 or 60 feet of water, 25 miles offshore.”
So the fishing was a bust, but Krein was able to play tourist in a gold-plated portion of Florida’s Gulf Coast, passing multimillion-dollar “vacation homes” belonging to folks such as movie director Steven Spielberg.
And there were alligators everywhere, Krein said, along with road signs warning motorists to watch out for cats. Apparently there are enough cougars in the Everglades now to pose a problem around its edges.
As of Monday, there were just 15 spots left in the ninth annual Roche Harbor Salmon Classic, running Feb. 2-4 in the San Juan Islands. The event is limited to 100 boats, up to four anglers per boat, for an entry fee of $700 per team. Top prize is $10,000; second, $5,000; and third, $3,000.
Call Debbie Sandwith at the Roche Harbor Market (360-378-5562) or go to rocheharbor.com and click on Salmon Derby.
Up next is the three-day Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby out of the Port Angeles/Sequim/Port Townsend areas, scheduled as always for President’s Day weekend, Feb. 18-20. The entry fee is $40 for one day or all three, and the top prize is $10,000 cash.
Go to gardinersalmonderby.org for more information.
Who are you?
The Reel News, published every month by our local Goerg family, ran a survey last summer to get a better line on reader demographics. The results, which ran in the January issue, were interesting.
Keeping in mind that a substantial percentage of Reel News readers are probably a little more involved in pursuing their sport than their more casual peers, here are a few results to toss around:
While readers’ favorite fisheries are still trout, steelhead and salmon, an increasing number listed crab, bass, tuna and walleye as targeted species.
The average respondent owns an incredible 19 fishing rods and 16 reels.
Readers still prefer shopping at sporting-goods stores and tackle shops as opposed to online or by mail, and most buying decisions come from articles, ads and word-of-mouth recommendations.
Just 20 percent of respondents have NOT used a guide or visited a fishing lodge/resort.
Those readers who own boats have an average of two.
The average respondent spends just under seven days per month fishing. Most are married, have two children, are homeowners and drive a pickup or SUV.
Publishing editor Jim Goerg said readers would like to see more coverage of equipment, travel, angling techniques and freshwater fishing, but without losing articles on other aspects of the sport.
Some of the unsolicited comments accompanying the survey responses were entertaining.
“The most memorable comment for me,” Goerg said, “came from a good ol’ boy of 79, who offered a two-word response to the question of what would you like to see more of in The Reel News? He stated, simply, ‘More centerfolds.’
“Now who can argue with that?”
It should be mentioned that the only centerfolds in The Reel News involve such things as big halibuts.
The next coastal razor clam dig has tentatively been set for Feb. 18-19 at Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks beaches. The tides are 0.0 feet at 4:13 p.m. on the 18th, and minus 0.2 feet at 5 p.m. on the 19th.
For more outdoors news, read Wayne Kruse’s blog at www.heraldnet.com/huntingandfishing.