With the ocean conditions improving and the weather getting nicer, it is time to start getting out on the ocean to target bottom fish.
During the early and late portions of spring the bottom fishing can be a phenomenal fishery along the Oregon Coast, specifically the Depoe Bay and Lincoln City areas.
Roman Smolcic and Tad Mick, the new owners and operators of the Depoe Bay Tradewinds, offer several types of fishing trips out of Depoe Bay. They have a large fishing fleet and offer trips that target bottom fish, halibut, salmon, and tuna. The vessels range from six pack boats all the way to Delta Marine charter fishing boats.
While fishing the Depoe Bay region, bottom fish can be found directly in front of the bay entrance all the way up to the mouth of the Siletz River and Spanish Head near Lincoln City. The areas near the Siletz River and Spanish Head are well known for the rocky reefs that cover the bottom of the ocean floors which hold a significant amount of bottom fish and ling cod that can be targeted with light tackle, depending on the water currents and depths. It is a key component to have good electronics so one can find structure on the bottom of the ocean to target these fish. If an angler is searching the area and notices a flat bottom on their electronics, move from the area until structure is found because you will not likely find rock fish or ling cod in sandy conditions.
While searching areas for productive bottom fishing, it is common to find these fish in depths ranging from 30 feet of water all the way to 150 feet of water while fishing the inshore regions. In many cases, the rock fish will show up on the fish graphs tight to the ocean floor and suspended all the way to the surface. Ling cod, on the other hand, are generally tight to the bottom as they like to stay close to areas with lots of structure.
Bottom fishing gear:
When targeting bottom fish, it is important to run gear that is heavy enough to get to the bottom of the ocean floor, especially if one is targeting ling cod.
The gear that has proven to be very effective while targeting rock fish and ling cod has been Chasebait Ultimate Squids and Chasebait grubs which are made out of a PVC material which can take significant abuse while being being used for aggressive rock fish and ling cod. It is always a great idea to match the bait with the appropriate scent. Pro-Cure Squid Super Gel is a great choice to apply to your Ultimate Squid.
The PVC material is much stronger than typical plastisol plastics. While using the PVC material that Chasebaits offers, an angler can retrieve multiple fish on a single artificial lure before the material begins to break down and fail to stay secure on a hook. It is not uncommon to retrieve up to 10 fish on one of these artificial baits before one is needed to be replaced. Regular plastisol baits will often fall apart after one aggressive fish and it needs to be replaced.
While utilizing an ultimate squid, there are two different sizes that are very effective for inshore bottom fishing. The squids come in a 5.9” and a 7.8”. In most cases, the 7.8” squids have shown great success, specifically for ling cod. However, the larger species of rock fish will hammer these baits as well without hesitation.
When rigging the 5.8” squids, it is generally best to run them on a 2-3 ounce bullet style jig head. When rigging the 7.8” squids, it is a safe and effective option to run them on a four ounce bullet style jig head to get them to sink faster and fish more effectively in stronger currents.
Another effective option while setting up the jig heads is to attach a 3/0 Owner sabiki stinger hook on the shaft of the hook. This allows the short biters to get hooked up easier since the stinger trails approximately one inch below the main hook on the jig head.
If an angler is pouring their own jig heads with a lead mold, it is best to pour the jig heads pairing them up with a 7/0 Owner saltwater jig hook. These hooks are resistant to the saltwater and do not corrode easily. They also hold a very sharp needle point and do not get much damage to them as they are jigged through the reefs. Standard hooks that are cheaper will usually bend easily and lose their point after a few drifts through a reef that has a lot of structure.
When pre-tying your gear, it is good to get your rigs set up on a leaderboard for quick and easy access since it is common to lose some gear will fishing on the reefs. A Fisheng leaderboard is a very useful tool to utilize for pre-tied gear. The leaderboards and other gear can be found online on the Fisheng website.
With the spring spawn starting to get underway, book a trip with Depoe Bay Tradewinds Charters and get in on the action! The fishing is always productive and it is always unknown as to what may be caught while fishing on the bottom fishing reefs.