by Amy Spoon
Summer is for FISHING! While I am still spending my summer days getting ready for the fall, I love spending every single chance I can, out on the water chasing fin. I am extremely lucky to have the Pacific Ocean in my backyard, and the luxury of getting a chance to fill my freezer with multiple species including rockfish, lingcod, salmon, halibut, tuna, perch, and tons of shellfish.
I can’t get enough of these fisheries, and have spent the last six years organizing women’s only fishing trips during this time of year in order to create an opportunity for other women to have a chance to take part in these adventures and get a taste for what the Pacific Ocean has to offer. Not only do they get to try something new, it’s also a chance to get to go on an adventure with like-minded outdoor women in a relaxed and fun environment.
The first trip of the year is always our annual halibut and lingcod trip that we call the “Big Butt Party.” I also refer to it as the “tastiest” trip of the year because halibut and fresh lingcod are some of the best tasting fish out there, and you’ll be able to make fish tacos for your family and that are absolutely killer! We fish out of La Push, WA for this trip, and seeing this place for the first time will leave you in awe. It is an absolutely gorgeous shoreline that will have you snapping pictures left and right.
We started the day with a 40-mile run offshore to the halibut grounds. This gave us a little time to catch up on some beauty sleep after a 4 am wake-up call. When the motors stopped, the naps were over, and the excitement soared. Our deckhand Janae quickly had rods in everyone’s hands and our gear was making its long journey to the bottom of the ocean. The gear we were using is called a “pipe-jig,” and it is essentially what it sounds like. It is literally a piece of heavy copper pipe with a treble hook attached. Once the gear reaches the bottom, you repeatedly jig the gear to get it to lift up and fall back down on the rocks at the bottom. The sound it attracting and it also imitates a dying fish, and the halibut strike.
Halibut fishing is no joke! Getting a halibut to bite your gear, that’s the easy part. We are fishing in anywhere from 500-800 feet of water. Now imagine reeling up a wet mattress from the ocean floor 750-feet down. That’s halibut fishing. It’s extremely tough fishing. It can take a really long time of hard fighting to get your fish to the boat, but when you do, it’s such an accomplishment.
The girls did great; they all fished their “butts” off and earned every bit of it. It was awesome to watch them reel them in. While they were fighting the fish, it was a look of determination, and when the fish was finally on the deck, it was a look of exhaustion, relief, and pride.
Fishing was extremely hot that day, and we all quickly limited out on our halibut. We then turned our focus to lingcod. We got into some seriously nice lings that day, and being able to limit out on those too made the trip an absolute success.
I absolutely love these women’s trips in getting to share these opportunities and help provide experiences that might not otherwise happen. Fishing the ocean can be intimidating, but if you have the opportunity to do it, don’t think twice, go for it! It’s a different world out there full of sights and smells you won’t get anywhere else. Be an adventurer!