Happy Thursday everyone. We are still on track for having one of the nicest and warmest summers ever, the days have been warm and sunny and the ocean has really been cooperating with us lately in terms of fishable conditions. The tuna bite has been on lately, for the most part folks are heading straight west to about the 125 and then either a little south or north. It’s been a spotty bite with some folks getting single digits and some scoring in the 20’s or better. Quite a few tuna in the 30 pound class are being caught. It sounds like chumming lightly with IQF anchovies is really helping some of those with bigger scores, don’t throw out buckets of them, just a few here and there to keep them interested when you get them up to the boat.
Salmon is still slow but we have had reports of a few being caught up by the McCullough Bridge and a few by the chip pile, the numbers should steadily increase as the season progresses. The rockfish and lingcod bite remains good to excellent with a lot of the black rockfish being caught on or near surface, throw small pink jigs in the ½ to ¾ ounce range and you should limit out in no time. Lots of large cabezon are also being caught lately. Surf perch fishing remains hot off of Horsfall Beach with many in the 1 pound and better class being caught. Dungeness crab, what can I say other than wow? We’ve seen quality and quantity like we haven’t seen in years, there are some soft crab being caught but overall a lot of hard shelled, full crab are being brought in and enjoyed by sportsmen every day. I’m hearing stories of 20 plus keepers to a pot on some days and I have personally seen some of these crab easily in the 8 to 9 inch across class.
Today’s topic is the Skate, the “Big Skate” to be precise and I want to thank Al for the suggestion. We don’t see a lot of them but when we do they always make for an interesting fishing story. Most times they are caught it is initially thought the angler has on a big ole’ halibut as they can feel the same and even kind of look the same when first spotted in the water being pulled to surface.
The Big Skate is the largest of all the skates in North America and can reach sizes of 8 feet long but rarely get larger than 5 feet long. The one pictured in this story was just over 4 feet and caught off of the glass house in about 100 feet of water. The big skate is easily identified by its almost square body (if you turn it 45 degrees) and two large circles, one on each wing. The Big Skate can be found from Alaska all the way to Chile and live at depths of up to 2,600 feet but usually stay at shallower depths of around 10 to 400 feet living off a diet of small fish and invertebrates on the sandy ocean bottom. The Big Skate live to a ripe old age of about 26 years and the female Skate reaches reproductive maturity at around 12 years of age. The female produces an egg capsule commonly referred to as a “mermaid’s purse” which can occasionally be found washed ashore after the young have hatched. This dark papery “purse” is typically about 9 by 4 inches and originally held one to seven Skate embryos within. She deposits her eggs on a muddy or sandy bottom with the eggs taking 9 months to hatch! There is a lot of talk of skate wings being used with a cookie cutter type set-up to yield imitation scallops which are then sold in unscrupulous restaurants as the real thing but honesty I think the time and effort would cost more than the authentic product. There is a lot of cartilage in the wings and there is some difficulty in extracting the meat but I’m told it’s worth the time. If you catch one there are some good resources online on how to “fillet” one out, if you do please let me know what you think of it, I’d love to be able to pass that information on to my customers. Whether you are reeling in a skate or a bottom fish on your next trip out I hope to see you out there.
Basin Tackle Rob, or “BTR” is the owner of Basin Tackle www.basintackle.net in the Charleston Marina and can be reached by phone at (541) 888-FISH, by Facebook at Basin Tackle Charleston, or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Robs fishing reports can be heard daily at 6:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. on KRSB Best Country 103 out of Roseburg and his Basin Tackle Outdoor Show can be heard Wednesdays at 3 p.m. on kwro.com. In addition to all this he sometimes actually gets out and catches a fish or two.