Neah Bay now holds a place in my mind that I will always
cherish. It's almost a magical and sacred place for any
angler who wishes to experience the saltwater opportunities
in the Pacific Northwest. Gamefishin.com has been making
an annual pilgrimage to Neah Bay for several years. It has
been the most anticipated trip every year - the one trip
not to be missed. I took heed of the stories and advice
by the ones who has been there and made sure that I would
have ample time to spend at Neah Bay.
We arrived on a Friday afternoon and waited by the marina
for the Gamefishin.com crew to come in. We observed anglers
of all types come in with coolers full of fish and on their
way to the fish cleaning station. Having seen wheel barrels
full of fish was enough to get me excited for my adventure
for the following day. Finally, the Gamefishin.com crew
arrived from the day's fishing and all I could see were
big smiles. One look at Bruce's fish covered deck or John's
stuffed cooler and I could tell that the boys had a successful
day out on the water. Wow, was all I could think to myself.
I just stood there in awe, gazing at all the fish (LingCod,
Halibut, various Rockfish, and Cabezon) strewn all over
Bruce's Trophy boat.
My anticipation was running high as I tossed and turned
on the bed trying to get some sleep. Of course, all I could
think about was my turn to fish. The day finally came and
Kandi and I were at the boat slip at the designated time.
A few minutes to fill up our tanks with gas and we were
on our way with 4 other boats in tow. I reveled in the feeling
that on the 3 other boats following us were all our friends
and all had one common goal for the first half of the morning.
- Catch our limits of Halibut. On our way to the Halibut
grounds we came across a huge pod of Dolphins (maybe they
were Porpoises) and a Gray Whale. It was a calm morning
mixed with fog and cloudy skies. Nevertheless, the run to
the fishing grounds was smoother than I expected. We spent
a few hours at the Halibut hole with Bruce and Bug picking
up 2 fish. All Kandi and I can muster were a couple of DogFish.
We also learned that we needed a bigger reel with better
gears to help turn the crank while hoisting 3-4 lb. weights
over 300+ deep waters. A Penn 340 GTI seemed to be the norm.
By noon we were headed to spots closer to shore for some
bottom fishing action. This was also my very first glimpse
of the many bottom fish species found up and down the coast
of the Pacific Northwest. Soon enough, I was hoisting fish
(Sea bass and Cabezon) into the boat as fast as I could
drop my jig. We were able to find schools of sea bass and
catch our limits in no time at all. We had many occasions
were we had multiple hook-ups. Bruce elected to try to catch
the bigger LingCod by employing other tactics - he was successful.
When he had a hook up I knew it would be a large fish. I
would just automatically drop my rod and grab the gaff ready
to help. We had our limit of Lings in no time and then concentrated
on the rest of the bottom fish. It was a kick in the pants
catching the bottom fish species with medium/heavy gear.
I highly recommend rods rated with this action and paired
with either a medium to large capacity spinning reel or
casting reel. My particular set-up was spooled with 17 and
25 test line. For large Lings, heavier action rods and large
capacity reels would be appropriate. Wire leaders might
be a good idea since this fish has some sharp teeth.
With the boat loaded with our limits of fish and with aching
arms and tired bodies we headed back to the marina. We took
our time as we motored past the rugged and beautiful landscape
along the shoreline. It's hard to describe the feelings
and thoughts that I had while at Neah Bay. One thing is
for certain; it'll be on my yearly list of thing to do.