Westport surfperch alert!

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by Chester Allen, Apr 7, 2009.

  1. I was surfing at the jetty -- Westhaven State Park -- this morning, and I saw a bajillion good-sized surfperch in the rip I used to ride out to the lineup.
    I also saw some fatties in a trough along the beach about 100 yards south of the jetty.
    I flyfish for surfperch in this area during the summer -- particularly when the surf is fairly small -- but I have never seen perch in these numbers during April before today. I saw all this at the last of the incoming tide.

    The surf is supposed to flatten out a bit this week, and I'm thinking about taking a depth-charge line and some small Crazy Charlies out there to pester these fish. I've fly fished for surf perch since I was a kid in SoCal.

    I also noticed quite a few gear anglers fishing in the cove and hiking along the jetty. I'd be leery of standing on that jetty when 6-foot swells are washing on by.... I'd also be really careful surf fishing, as some of those rips are pretty powerful right now.

    I'm sure everyone already know this, but as a reminder: Don't fight the current if you're caught in a rip. Swim parallel to the beach, and you'll be out of the rip in a couple of minutes. Then you can just let the waves push you into shore.
  2. I gave up my board when I moved up here...Didn't know you could surf locally...How is it?

    Maybe take a longboard and a net and you rod with you next time...:rofl:
  3. Washington surfing is a harsh mistress, cold and fickle with the occasional breathtaking moment that keeps you asking for another day of suffering...

    Chester, I may have shared the line up with you in the past. I haven't been out much lately and prefer the Strait to the corner at Westport (suck at rights). However, I'm looking forward to teaching my daughter to surf this year so I imagine I'll be spending more time down there this year when we get into the small summer swell.

    Back before I started fishing again last year, I was sitting on my board at the beginner spot near Joyce and a massive silver fish swam right underneath my feet creating a bow wave as it cruised into the creek. Dunno if it was a salmon or steelhead but it was defintely 30"+. Since then I've always thought a combined surf/flyfishing day would be a sweet way to spend some time on the OP. Some of the 'mysto' surfing spots up around Neah have some very fishy looking water...
  4. That's great stuff you guys. I've never even dabbled in the surfing thing but the hybridization or even just day-outing combination of sports is really intriguing to me. Since I thought of it I just can't get it out of my mind, I want to visit Yosemite again and fish some spots on the upper Merced via rappel and ascenders to exit. I think there are some possibilities out there that could result in the most pristine fishing to wild fish that have never seen a fly or even the shadow of a human.
  5. how were the waves?
  6. golfman: Washington surfing can be gritty -- lots of onshore winds, blown-out surf and days that are just too big and messy -- it can look like a washing machine out there.

    And the water is always cold -- gotta wear hoods, gloves and booties.


    There are days when the surf is smaller and clean -- or even big and clean -- and it's coldwater paradise. When I say small and clean, I'm talking stomach to head-high, glassy and even with a little offshore breeze. We get a lot of nice swells in the summer -- things are just really getting started right now -- but September is the best. September is the best for fishing in the Northwest too.

    Thomas: You're right about the harsh mistress thing. But when it's nice.... wowsa. I could never go back to surfing in SoCal, as I've grown used to lots of elbow room. I bet we have shared the lineup at Westport. I tend to surf the jetty most of the time, but I have been known to paddle out at the Groins at low slack. I don't know diddly about surfing the Strait, as I live in Olympia during the week and Westport is a fast shot to swells. I've had some good days at LaPush. I also surf the Oregon coast quite a bit.

    I surf a 10-foot Robert August stepdeck, a 9-foot August What I Ride and an 8-foot fish that is like riding around on a jet fighter. I'm pretty much a longboard guy these days. I was never a ripper....

    It might be time for me to invest in exploring the strait. I taught my daughter to surf at Westport, and we've now surfed together in Oregon, Florida, California -- showed her my old haunts -- Oahu and Mexico. Great times, and she's now starting a surfing club at her university. She's also a pretty good fly angler. I'm a lucky dad.

    Jim and Thomas: I've had lot of combination surfing/fishing days. When I was a kid, I used to paddle my board out to the kelp on flat days and catch calico bass, sand bass and smaller halibut. SoCal halibuts are midgets compared to NW halibut. Fun, fun times.

    I surf fish - with my fly rod -- at Westport before or after surfing. I just keep the wetsuit on and go for it. I'm surprised more NW surf anglers don't wear wetsuits. I've also surfed at Westport and fished sea-run cutts in the Elk River estuary on the way home.

    The Northwest is paradise to me.
  7. I've tried the surfing thing..have wet suit and board, but I am terrible! Still haven't gotten up yet, but then again i don't get out and try as much as I could...usually opt for the fishing option. I had a friend several years back who got caught in the rip at the jetty and he realized it too late. It sucked him out past the jetty and he spent 18 hours overnight on his board about 1-2 miles offshore!! He drifted and swam almost 20 miles and finally got close enough to swim ashore near Taholah :eek:. The Coast Guard didn't know how he did it...I don't either, but am really happy he is still kicking, and I'm sure his wife and two kids are too! There is much more to the story, but I swear it is TRUE. Be careful out there.

    I have fished surf perch with razor clam necks, but not with flies. It's on my list, and with all that you've seen out there I hope to make it out soon.
    How do you fish the crazy charlie's??? I have looked at fishing from the beach, and there are a couple sites out there that are dedicated to it.
  8. Interesting thread, and good advice all round. And thanks for the tip on the perch being in the rip, Chester. I almost went perch fishing yesterday, but went lake fishing instead. I was fishing from the Jetty Saturday morning. Man was it crowded! And the bite was slow. I did not see any other fish caught by the many anglers near to me, and I ended up feeling lucky with one smallish Black Rockfish. The guy next to me said the action on the Jetty was very slow on Friday, as well.

    Note on the Jetty rip: It used to be easier to fish the rip from the jetty rocks before the jetty base was rebuilt back around '95. On good days, the rocks were lined with perch fishers there. The fishing was really good at times. We'd be paddling out in the rip to surf, and the perch fishers would cast over us, and we would have to look hard to see the lines and duck under them paddling out.
    Now, Its too difficult to fish from the new rocks there, and is rare to see anyone even try. The reason for this is that during the jetty repair, a bunch of rocks also were placed out along the base on the South (surf) side of the jetty, right where the "old" rip used to be, and that changed the "easy" perch-fishing-from-the-rocks to NOT easy at all. Now there is too wide an expanse of rocks to cast over to reach the rip. My thoughts are that it now would be easier to wade out from the beach and cast into the rip, being careful not to cast when a surfer is paddling through the rip, and being mindful of your backcast.

    The rip starts out in the "trough" right at the base of the jetty rocks, and there is a bit of a sand bar on the far side of the rip right next to it. I think you could wade out and stand on that sand bar and cast into the trough (toward the jetty) when the conditions are right. There are lots of times when nobody is walking thru that zone or paddling out, so you could fish the rip there without pissing off the surfers, if you keep your eyes open and not freak 'em out with your casting. You could only pull this off when the surf is not big, though.

    I have been scouting the beach between Tokeland and the Jetty lately, and have found some perchy looking zones. Now, I have to go fish for them.

    Check out Glenn Yoshimoto's Zen Fly Fishing page at zenflyfishing.com, and click on "Flies" in the menu bar on left. Those flies look good to me!

    Surfing and fishing combo trips are a no brainer! I might have to start surfing again!
    First shot below is heading up into the Elk River estuary.
    Second shot is a primo spot for longboarding and surfperch fishing...Trail 4 at Kalaloch. I enjoyed some really fun longboarding on these waves years ago.

    Attached Files:

  10. Jim -- long-period, clean waves at Kalaloch! Now, that is why Northwest surfing can be so fantastic.
    I was out at Kalaloch a few years ago while driving up to Neah Bay to cover the Makah whaling story -- I was up there for a long time. Anyway, I stopped at Kalaloch to eat a sandwich, and the surf was fantastic. I just happened to have a board in the back of the truck, so I was a little late that day....

    I think the beach between Westport and Grayland is loaded with surf perch. I've usually done pretty well by scouting the area at low tide and coming back and fishing the troughs during the incoming tide.

    I've also seen lots of anglers catching surf perch while fishing the finger jetties -- surfers call them The Groins -- near the Westport harbor. Lots of weird little rips along those jetties, especially on a falling tide. I would not cast out there at low slack if there were surfers paddling out.
  11. I just walked in from outside, and it feels like its going to rain any time. SW winds not too bad yet. I'm going to try to get out of here within the hour to check a spot i've been meaning to check. I know some good troughs. Funny thing is that you find a good surfing peak down the beach, there is often a good trough right next to it.:D

    I used to fish for perch with bait a lot. Haven't done that much in recent years.

    Back in the 80's and 90's the surf at the groins would get good within a couple hours after high tide, when the ebb began to kick in and make the waves break. We'd surf the first part of the outgoing until the rip got too strong to paddle against. Sometimes we'd just have to go in, climb the rocks, run back "upstream" of the break, climb back down the rocks, and paddle back out (with lucky set-timing and hoping you didn't get washed by a cleanup set that suddenly materializes out of nowhere...).
    The underlying sandbar had a different topography back then, and the whole setup and tide-timing were different than they are now. I just love the way this place keeps changing.
  12. Excellent read and some great looking waves....Cold water surfing..hmmm
  13. Got to get back out there for another try at those Redtails. Hey Jimbo, what pattern do you tie up for those Humbolts?
  14. Chester, you totally rock. One doesn't think of surfing here. I do fish the salt. Thought about the kayak thing, but would rather save the big buy for a 3 man pontoon. But a board sure could fit the bill. Now I can't talk the talk about a board. I have used 2 boards at Stevens Pass for the first 18 years of my life. But after '78, it was hard to hit the slopes as a food prep at Pizza Haven on the Ave when I tried the udub. That is until I joined the Army in '82. Then I worked the slopes of southern Germany and Austria. An Army buddy of mine was from SoCal. Mad Mike was the skateboarder from hell. ’83 his cousin shows up with two of the latest boards. We attacked October fest in Munich. I think this might have been before half pipes. His cousin rolled on every piece of hard surface, from Neu-Ulm to Munich round trip, including the train. Plus beer. Mike called skateboarding amongst the German populace, breaking ankles. I never broke any ankles learning. I was always in awe of making a board move without ever setting a foot down. When I got out of the Army, the first thing I did was get a board in ’90. Just something to freak out my 11 and 12 year old when I click clack around the parking lot today. I can still get her to slide sideways…well only downhill, but she squeals. What I’m saying is Chester, would it be worth teaching a 48 year old idiot to surf? If you’re ever on the river, let me know.
  15. A little off base but... I just landed my first ling of the jetty in westport. the waves out there are no joke. Infact after talking with a local surfer I learned that it had been really big the last couple of days. Anyway 26'' Ling wieghed in about 6 lbs. Fish and chips was fantastic. Although I had a hard time getting nice fillets
  16. I grew up in Grayland. Started surfing the summer of 1970 at the jetty and then in the winter we would surf the groins at low water. Gas chamber groin was my favorite. There were probably only 8 or 9 of us back then. Then we discovered a certain point in the Straits. We would surf that during Xmas break from college. Damn that was a good left in the winter. Some say a mirror image of Malibu. We weren't using hoods back then and I remember ice cream headaches when punching through a wave on the way back out. Gawd to be young and stupid again. I still say to get rid of a good head cold is to go out surfing. Something about getting all that salt water jammed up into your nose. Seems to clear a cold out of your head for some reason. Too bad life and work took me away from that sport. Maybe I should go buy a suit (larger size of course :mad:) and a long board.
  17. Awesome thread. The best surf fly-fishing I have ever had was just north of the Washaway beach jetty. I was actually an intern for WSDot working that project. I would get there early and fish the beach. The day I remember most vividly the waves were packed with fish just like in Chester's earlier description. I would cast and make two strips before I had one on, then even if I lost that one, I would have another on before I got my line retrieved. They hit really hard if you are stripping fast.

    Oh yeah, beach 4 is the best surf perch beach I have ever fished. It gets hit hard, but there is structure behind the waves, and the trough is right off shore. The only problem is you need a good period of small swells (2 or 3 days), to keep the water clean. The water near the shorebreak is often too dingy. However, you can get up on some of the rocks and pitch into deeper pockets, which is fun. If the clarity is bad, you may have to bastardize your fly and have a prawn chunk hanging off it . . . if you are man enough.
  18. I didn't start surfing here til the Spring of '79.

    I tried clam necks with a small corky and yarn, with a 1/2 oz barrel sinker sliding on 10lb test, just South of the Washaway Beach jetty today, on both sides of that little outcropping/island with the lone tree on it. The SW wind was blowing too hard directly onshore to fly cast into, and the water was murky today. Was clearer the last time I was there. I was a little late on the tide, after running into an old friend on the way there and swapping stories for too long.

    I hadn't tried that spot before, but it looks fishy. Clam necks suck, any way. Sandshrimp are better bait. Sometimes I like to prospect with bait. I guess I have to go dig some sandshrimp.:eek: If the perch are in close enough, my flyrod will be waiting in its case nearby on the beach.

    I found a couple of troughs along the beach. You can usually find one off the beach somewhere out in front of Twin Harbors State Park. The beach in front of Lighthouse State Park on the end of Ocean Ave is worth checking.

    Hey Banzai, Think you could come up with a battery-powered lighted streamer? I hear they get the big ones at night on lighted plugs. The squid are attracted to the boat's lights. My friends have some good stories about squid fishing. From what I gather, it was done mainly "C&R" to kill time at night when out fishing on three day trips.
  19. Oh yeh! Hey Kim, my buddy just showed me his new 4/5mm hooded winter suit. Its an O'neil. That new rubber is really stretchy and light. Much improved over suits made only 10 years ago. Only thing is, you have to somehow crawl into them through the neck hole.:hmmm: No kidding.
  20. Before I got into landscapes, I would spend lots of time photographing surfing when I wasn't actually surfing myself. Haven't shot any surfing pics lately but here are a few from local areas. Most will recognize the first three as Kookport. The last one is a spot not to be named on the OP that has some fishy as hell looking water around those kelp beds. I've actually seen references to this area here on WFF but for fishing. It's the one place in Washington that gave me the shark vibe.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


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