Coho on the Fly

A much-anticipated fishing day finally happened.  Our first attempt, a couple of weeks back found us on the beach watching breakers churning 1-2 miles out.  A few hardy (foolish) souls actually launched and headed out, only to quickly turn back for hard ground.  Watching them launch and land heighten our desire to experience the same, only under better ocean conditions.


This past Monday we got the chance.  Conditions showed promising seas and comfortable temperatures.  Captain Rob Perkins from Connect Outfitters, Richard Harrington, Josh Linn, and I met in Pacific City (side note, driving over early my truck registered 37 degrees) OUTSTANDING!


Driving onto the beach it was obvious today was going to happen.  The ocean looked inviting, not angry as before, our excitement level high.  Rob's Craft, the "Vision" is a 24' work of art he and his wife Erin hand-built, a masterpiece of design and function.  Many hours were spent measuring, cutting, and attaching each piece with an eye towards the finish.  When onboard, you feel everything they built into her, function and safety being paramount. 


Leaving the beach and heading out through the breakers is an experience.  Rob's professionalism, experience, and knowledge shine, making this passage safe and exhilarating.  Splitting Cape Kiwanda and Haystack Rock we made a 3 mile run out to the fishing grounds.  Rob spotted a tidal rip, always a good place to find baitfish piled up and ripe for the taking. 


Fishing strong 8 weight rods, rigged with intermediate to type 3 sinking lines we dropped flies and started a slow troll alongside the rip line.  Richard struck first, bringing to the boat an exceptionally large Coho, we all estimated at 15+.  Ocean bright Coho are quite a sight and quite the fight.  Spending nearly as much time airborne as in the water.  One just has to experience it, pictures and video don’t do justice.


While trolling allows you time to view the ocean from a different perspective.  The amount of wildlife to be viewed is eye-opening.  We saw multiple Ocean Sunfish basking on the surface.  One can easily add numerous birds to their life list as well.  Haystack Rock is home to a multitude of species not easily seen from shore. 


Josh was next, hooking a mad-dog fish that absolutely turn him inside out before breaking off.  We all watched in awe as his fish, lit up by the sun, made three porpoising jumps going away with a hot pink fly as its trophy.


Our third fish provided some excitement as well.  The near boat acrobatics brought a chorus of oohs and aahs from the crew.  Rob, always quick to the party, netted the fish mid-leap, forever etched in our collective memories.  A wild fish was safely released before high fives were shared. 


While the fishing was never “hot” this trip, there was plenty of hook-ups and fights to make any angler wanting a return trip the next day.


On the way in Rob stopped at a favorite shoal and we added some Rockfish to the day's catch.  Fishing deeper with type 6 sinking lines you basically cast and let the line sink to 20 feet or so.  When at depth a faster twitching retrieve brought vicious takes from aggressive and scrappy 3-5 pound fish.  While they don’t win any beauty contests the meal provided later is well worth the effort. 


This trip provides adventure from start to finish.  Coming back to the beach at day's end is another epic experience.  Crashing thru waves at high speed then smoothly sliding to a gentle stop on the beach was exhilarating.  Masterfully done by Captain Rob.


From start to finish this trip provided all I had expected and so much more.  Don’t hesitate to get this trip booked as you're in for a truly memory-making experience.



Randy Stetzer
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