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Resurrection Derby photo

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January Highlights: Great Winter Blackmouth, Seattle Boat Show

o you smell something? I think I detect the aroma of fresh fiberglass. Now, blindfold me and shove me in the door of the Seattle Boat Show, the largest boat show on the West Coast and let me inhale. Ahhhhhhh, how I love the smell of fiberglass in the morning! Paris has nothing on this fragrance! Dude! It’s happened every January for the last 68 years. And not to be denied, here it comes again, like a train on schedule, beginning Friday, January 29 through Saturday, February 6. I can’t help getting amped-up for the Seattle Boat Show. It’s a ritual for this cat, to stroll down the aisles of the Show, drooling like a St. Bernard on a hundred degree day in July. Look at all the awesome fishing boats! Ocean Sport, Grady, Osprey, North River, Hewes Craft, Sea Sport, Weldcraft, Duckworth! OMG, somebody help me! And check out the free fishing seminars offered by the best of the best fishing speakers in the Pacific Northwest. Crabbing, shrimping, winter blackmouth, summer king salmon, albacore, lingcod, halibut and more. It’s a grand salami dude! I can’t recommend a better investment of time: To learn from experts on how to improve your 38 NW YACHTING JANUARY 2016

success pursuing fish and shellfish throughout the year. Winter Blackmouth Fishing As resuscitation eventually kicks in, I’m also thinking about more winter blackmouth fishing this month. As most of us recognize, blackmouth fishing got off to a rocky start with unprecedented restrictions in central and north Puget Sound, known

as Areas 9 and 10. And, in marine waters behind Whidbey Island, the lack of keeper-sized blackmouth has been beyond boring, setting the tone for questions about survival rates and absence of 22-inch plus fish. Many of us waited, a month ago, for the blackmouth fishing opener in the San Juans on December 1st, remembering the 2014 opener when it rained big, gorgeous winter chinook salmon in the Islands.

From left to right - Kirk Hawley, Mike McAuley, and Pat Phillips shared the prize money from their winning 18-pound blackmouth at the Friday Harbor Salmon Classic. Jimmy Lawson, far right in a tuxedo, organized this new tournament that was recently added to the Northwest Salmon Derby Series tour.

I was there for the first two days of December, fishing with San Juan Islands highliner angler Derek Floyd. Again, if you fished the Islands last month, the bonanza of December 2014 was not to be repeated. Sublegal sized blackmouth, a lower than normal presence of hatchery produced adipose fin-clipped chinook paved the road to unveil a historical lackluster opener for the San Juan Islands winter fishery. Hey, coming home from the Islands with two 10-pound chinook will not trigger an orchestra to break out violins for this angler, as I am in the camp that one of these gorgeous fish per day meets the definition of a good fishing trip. The catch rate for winter blackmouth in the Islands was clearly captured during the Friday Harbor Salmon Classic and Resurrection Salmon Derby on the first weekend of last month. As many of us know, both tournaments, based out of Friday Harbor and Anacortes respectively, produced about a 100 blackmouth from 170 boats, about half of recent year averages. But ask Bellingham veteran angler Mike McAuley, who fished with San Juan Islands fishing guru Kirk Hawley and WDFW salmon hatchery manager Pat Phillips during

Profile for Northwest Yachting

Northwest Yachting January 2016  

Northwest Yachting covers yachting and boating on the west coast of the United States and Canada

Northwest Yachting January 2016  

Northwest Yachting covers yachting and boating on the west coast of the United States and Canada