Sail Fishing from a Mac

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    If you drag a hook & line behind a Mac – sooner or later you will catch a fish … and if you drive the back roads of the Pacific Northwest long enough – sooner or later you are bound to run over a Sasquatch 🙂 About the same odds I think: not impossible, just remote.

    Seriously, the short answer is yes, if your hook is wet – you might catch something. I can guaranty that if you hook is not in the water, you will never catch anything ;). I usually drag a line and catch lots of kelp and jelly-fish.

    Pacific Strait salmon are becoming rare, with a few big runs now and again. I posted in the chat box on our website a few weeks ago about NOAA’s findings from a 10 year study on why the decline of population of resident Orca whales and one of the top three was lack of food supply, and all that residents Orcas eat are salmon.

    I took my lunch break today and jotted down some ideas in the hopes that other members see some value, and add thier owns ideas to share..

    Sail Fishing from a Mac:

    Under sail around 4-ish knots, to make things easy use:
    – 6 foot heavy trolling rod
    – 6-8 oz slip weight
    – 8” small flasher
    – hook: metal spoon or metal baitfish, hoochies, or a buck-tail Coho fly. (all with herring attractant spray)
    – about 60’ of line out (depth would be about 20’-40’) (or adjust down to fish depth with diver weight, or remove flasher)
    * at faster speed: no flasher, just 6-8 oz. weight and spoon or metal baitfish. (chances are reduced but hook is still wet)

    Fun Fish Facts:
    – standard trolling speed is +/- about 2 knots.
    – fish depths: downrigger (down to 200’), divers (25’-100’) slip-weights (less than 50’).
    – big fish (chinook-spring) like everything slower, small fish (Coho, pink, sockeye, chum) like things fast (this includes boat speed & action of bait/lure)
    – bigger fish tend to be deeper, smaller fish tend to be shallower (depends on water temp and season)
    – fish are lazy to conserve energy, they eat when it’s easy or they are agitated. (just like me)
    – most productive time is at dusk & dawn, or 1 hour before and after slack tides.
    – fish eat wounded fish first, make bait/hook look hurt, change speed & direction, most fish strike on a turn (hook drops deeper) so tack lots if under sail.
    – fish along the surface tide-lines, or where sea birds are congregating on the water (bait fish herring etc. are there).

    What are we trying to catch:
    – since we are under sail about 4-6+ knots we will be targeting smaller fish. 5-15 lbs (Coho, pink, sockeye, chum).
    – pinks only run during odd years

    Hooks and Leaders:
    – regs say only use barbless hooks for salmon, so must always keep the line tight and rod tip up, or he will spit out the hook.
    – don’t use bait (herring/anchovies), the higher boat speed will make a mess of it.
    – Spoons. About 4” if using a flasher, lager 5”-6” if by itself.
    – Hoochies: must use flasher to give action to hook
    – Buck-Tail Flies: must use flasher to give action to hook
    – when pinks are running, use anything with a pink color (small pink hoochies work well)
    – leader length between hook and flasher: 20”-48”. (depending on the lure and fish you are targeting)
    – length between flasher and slip-weight or diver: about 4-6 feet.
    – reel in every so often to check for crap on hook.

    Dodgers & Flashers:
    – attract fish by sound & sight. Long distance (40 yards) sounds like other fish feeding on bait fish, closer look like big fish swimming erratic when feeding.
    – flashers rotate 360* loop, and dodgers only rotates 180* side to side swaying action, both gives different action to hook.
    – flasher generally work better than dodgers at higher speeds
    – narrow end of flasher goes toward the rod
    – colors (best guess at the time)
    – use smaller size at higher speed, less stress on the rod.

    – 2-8 ounce slip weights. These slip down to the hook or flasher when a fish is on.
    – divers will get you deeper. Different size different depth. adjust release stronger for more pressure due to higher speed.

    How much line:
    – counted by pulls. One pull = 2’ of line. (reel to first eye on rod = 2 feet)
    – depth will be determined by angle of line into water depending on speed. (if line is 45 degrees – depth is 2/3’ds of the line out)
    – example: (Coho=2kts/3oz/30-pulls) to catch coho near shore: +/- 2 knots with 3oz weight and 60’ of line out.

    Fishing Rod:
    – heavier 6’-8’ trolling rod, not a thin downrigger rod or a heavy halibut rod.
    – rod should have action (movement) on the tip when trolling underway.

    What did I catch?
    – Coho & Pink jump, Chinook run to the bottom.
    – fish ID.– biggest tells are the spots on the tail and the color in mouth.

    Can I keep it?
    – Fish regulations. Zone, size, species, etc.
    – need saltwater fish licence, plus salmon stamp.

    How do I get the fish on the Mac:
    – make sure the fish is finished fighting, if he is not doing the back stoke when he gets close to the boat he is not ready to give up and come aboard for dinner. Playing the fish longer to tire him out also increased your chance of losing him. But if the fish is not tired when it comes to getting him on board he will flip & fight and spit out the hook (or in a case I had a few weeks ago, bang his head against the boat to break the hook and go home, damaged the gel coat) If you have no net, bring through the open transom on X or M, but take engine out of gear and watch for tangles. Once onboard through a deck towel on him to reduce the mess.

    What to do with your catch:
    1) Bleed. Ok, this is the kinda gross part but very important. Put the fish in a deck towel on the sole to reduce the mess. Give the fish one good hard bonk on the head to stun it but don’t beat it to death. Run a small line through its gills and mouth (watch out for teeth) so you don’t lose it overboard. Then on an X or M lift up seat and put the fish in the motor well, cut both gills while the heart is still beating to bleed it out. Let it bleed in motor well or hang off the back (but watch for seals stealing it). The fishy will bleed to sleep in a few minutes. Always bleed right away before rigor mortis sets in, or the fish will spoil faster and will not taste as good (will be more fishy tasting because of more lactic acid in the flesh)
    2) Clean: clean right then and there is best. By clean it, I mean slit open the belly and remove the guts and gills overboard or in baggie for crab bait.
    3) Store: keep fish as cold as possible, as fast as possible. Put in plastic fish bag, in cooler on ice. Remove air from bag. If fish bag is tightened well it should not smell the cooler, or let air in to spoil flesh faster. Do not let fish float in cooler water without being in a bag or flesh gets gooey.
    4) Steaks or Fillets. Steaks are easiest to make but still have all the bones in (lay fish on side with its back facing you, remove tail and head for crab bait, slice fish from back to belly in 1”-1.5” strips). Fillets are boneless but takes some practice.
    5) Cook: BBQ or pan fry. BBQ is best to seal in flavor. No topping is required but always nice and usually include butter and lemon. Grease grill 3 times with olive oil first, cook at 400-ish degrees for about 15-18 minutes, straight on the grill, do not turn. (cook until white protein is coming out & meet is flakey). Pan frying takes a little less time and you need to turn once.

    – RCA Areas. Cannot troll through a rockfish conservation areas. See list on DFO website.
    – Flotsam. Steer clear of floating crap it will grab line and go down to hook. Good chance of catching jelly fish (use gloves).
    – Ling cod. Aggressive with big mouth & teeth. Don’t bring on board, buy hook pliers with long nose & release over the side. Seen them bite scuba divers.

    Tight Lines and Great BBQ-ing to you all … from the Majors

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