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spectr17
05-23-2003, 02:30 PM
A true fishing tale with a reel ending

By Mark Yuasa, Seattle Times staff reporter

5/22/03

Even Ripley's "Believe It or Not" would have a hard time comprehending this wild fishing tale.

In early May, Homer Dyer of Kirkland went with his son on a halibut fishing trip out of Westport.

They were aboard the Tequila Too of Deep Sea Charters, about 21.8 miles off the coast west of the Queets River mouth.

The morning started off well enough for Dyer, who pulled in a 41-pound halibut and a nice 15-pound black cod before it happened.

"It was about 1 p.m. when I decided to drop my line down to see if I could catch another halibut," he said.

But, before Dyer could relax, his rod made the familiar twitch indicating another halibut was gobbling the bait. While he was reeling it up using the rod holder for support, the rod sheared off behind the reel and fell into the water.

"I couldn't believe it," Dyer said. "It was a nice Penn 30T two-speed fishing reel that cost me $750, plus an expensive rod."

Skipper Ken Culver told Dyer his GPS could get the boat back to within 5 feet of where the gear went into the drink.

"We went back the next day to the same location and I remember telling a couple of people about what happened, and that (Dyer) offered a $100 reward to anyone who found it," Culver said.

"On the first (drift) of the morning there was a guy fishing on my boat who caught the lost gear, if you can believe that," Culver said.



"Usually when someone catches lost gear, it's a finder's keepers situation, but since it was some pretty expensive gear we made an exception, plus the guy got a cash reward," Culver said.

How common is it to find lost gear in the middle of a huge ocean?

"We've lost rods, and it is more common for someone to lose it and catch it the same day because sometimes we fish over the same spots," Culver said. "But I can only think of one other time in 25 years where we've lost a rod and caught it again the next day."

Tidal flows, heavy undercurrents and rough seas make it unlikely for an angler to ever find lost items.

"When I got a call from the skipper, I couldn't believe they had actually gotten my rod and reel back for me," Dyer said. "This was truly a fish story that even I couldn't believe."

Word on trout fishing

Trout fishing on both sides of the Cascades is still generating interest, and catches remain remarkably decent in many lakes.

On the westside, hit Green, Ki, Pine, Rattlesnake, Kress, Riffe, Mayfield, Spanaway, Mineral, Lone, Pass and Offutt.

In Eastern Washington, Chris Donley, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist, reports that West Medical, Badger, Williams, Clear and Fish lakes, all in Spokane County, are holding up well under heavy fishing pressure.

Fishers looking for less competition might try Chapman Lake, which has good rainbow and kokanee fishing.

Other good eastside lakes are Nunnally, Lenice, Curlew, Fishtrap, Roosevelt, Conconully, Loon and Deep lakes.

Top spots of the week

1. Halibut and bottomfish off the coast: Fishing for halibut off Neah Bay and La Push will reopen tomorrow and Saturday.

Halibut fishing in Strait of Juan de Fuca, Westport and Ilwaco remain good, and just fair at best in Puget Sound.

The Port Angeles Salmon Club's Halibut Derby is Saturday and Sunday at the Port Angeles Yacht Club next to the West Haven boat ramp. Details: 360-452-2363.

2. Spring chinook and steelhead in Columbia River tributaries: "There is a big school of fish just upstream from Shipperd Falls (in the Wind River), and fishing should be good around milepost 7 by this weekend," said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. "Anglers also did well (last week) at the mouth and in the gorge."

The daily limit in the Wind River has been raised to four spring chinook starting tomorrow through June 30.

Other decent reports were listed in the Cowlitz, Lewis, Drano Lake, Lake Scanewa, Kalama, White Salmon and Klickitat.

3. Spot shrimp and shellfish in Hood Canal: Fishing is open Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. only. The other opening date is May 28. Fisheries will assess catches and could reopen it in June.

After shrimping, hit the beaches during low tide for clams and oysters. Check the regulation pamphlet for open beaches.

4. Lingcod in Puget Sound: "Two best bets in South Sound for lingcod are Itsami Ledge (off Henderson Inlet's north end) and Toliva Shoal (off Steilacoom)," said Tony Floor, a state Fish and Wildlife spokesman.

Other spots worth trying are south of Alki Point around the green markers, Point Evans near the Narrows Bridge, Possession Bar, the west side of Scatchet Head, Edmonds Pier, Utsalady Bay, Burrows Island, Smith Island and Lopez Pass.

5. Sturgeon in Lower Columbia River: "Sturgeon fishing is good around Tongue Point (near Astoria), and we got limits with fish averaging 46 to 52 inches," Floor said.

Other fishing spots


Icicle Creek: "On the opener (May 16) we checked 54 spring chinook, and most were 5-year-old fish weighing 25 to 30 pounds," said Bob Perleberg, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. "But (Tuesday) it was pretty quiet, and the water is low and clear."

North-coastal rivers: Good for spring chinook in the Soleduck and Quillayute, but the water level is very low. Also, the Hoh is good for spring chinook but is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

Southern Puget Sound: Areas south of Narrows Bridge are open with a daily limit of two salmon, but only one chinook. Target places like Gibson Point, Anderson Island, Ketron Island and Point Fosdick.

Columbia River: "Some shad being taken by boat anglers in the Woodland area," Hymer said.

Good for bass and walleye in The Dalles Pool and John Day Pool.

Yakima River: Good catch-and-release fly-fishing for trout.

Willamette River: The Oregon City area is still good for spring chinook.

Mark Yuasa: 206-464-8780 or myuasa@seattletimes.com