Monday, January 24, 2011

Latest Yes bay Opening Special for 2011

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Capt Jim

Friday, January 21, 2011

Jiggin / Moving Bait works for bottom fish!!

The Underwater Secret Lives of Lingcod

2 Comments 18 February 2010
The Underwater Secret Lives of Lingcod

By John L. Beath

Our jumbo-sized white curly tailed worm lay motionless with a big hook sticking out of its side. Flat ocean seas combined with sunny skies gave us a perfect, can’t miss picture of the ocean sixty feet beneath our boat. As we watched and waited patiently for one of the curious 10-plus pound lingcods to bite the tail instead of just stare at it and swim by, we developed a quick but accurate assessment – lingcod do not like dead bait.

At first glance, the lingcod, whose Latin name, Ophiodon elongates means long toothed snake, looks so ugly only its mother could love it. In reality though, its mother would eat it without giving it a second thought and have a toothy, I’m-still-hungry-grin afterwards. Lingcod may be ugly, even grotesque in appearance and attitude, but they are one of the finest eating fish in the world – and they will bite a variety of baits and lures if you know how to trigger the lingcod into a feeding frenzy.

Our underwater camera tracked several lingcod that approached our motionless lure before we decided to confirm our theory. Years of experience without the benefit of a peeping tom camera lens in the lingcod’s eat-or-be-eaten underwater world also confirmed this theory. Now we could put our experience to test and confirm our findings on film.

To test the theory we employed the best weapon against lingcod that we know. With a short sweeping motion of the rod, the white worm came alive as if it had to flee for its life. The camera sent us real-time, high-resolution color images of the previously lock-jawed lingcod springing into attack mode after the now lively worm. Lingcod mouths opened wide exposing dozens of flesh and lure tearing teeth. Two seconds after twitching the worm upward the rod sent waves of energy down its length to confirm what our camera had relayed a split second before the rod shook violently.

First and most important lesson learned about lingcod – they want active lures instead of dead, motionless baits and lures. After viewing hundreds of hours of underwater footage while filming “Underwater Secrets of Catching Halibut, Rockfish & Lingcod” with co-producer Chris Batin, this lesson became the most important and repeated lesson about lingcod.

During our always fascinating but sometimes boring filming, we wondered if we were watching lingcod or they were watching us! We did learn that lingcod can be one of the most curious fish near the bottom. After lowering new offerings, whether using dead herring or a motionless jig, lingcod approached very closely and oftentimes just stopped side-by-side as if waiting for its quarry to play a deadly game of tag. Lingcod seemed too thoroughly enjoy a sporting pursuit.

Years ago, a commercial lingcod angler told me a trick that helped him put many lingcod on his commercial pipe jig off the coast of Washington. He told me after pounding his lead-filled pipe on the bottom he would reel as fast as he could thirty feet off bottom, stop reeling, free spool the jig six feet, reengage and jerk. He demonstrated the technique to perfection. As he explained, after creating lots of noise with his jig on the bottom, the action of the jig fleeing triggered the lingcod into an attack mode. As the lingcod pursued the jig it opened wide enough for the jig to fall down its throat, literally. Since his powerful display of professional lingcod fishing, I too have used the super effective technique. A pipe jig or leadhead jig paired with skirts or curly tails makes a life-like jig and allows the angler to beat the bottom with sound emitting vibrations.

Commercial lingcod anglers also used gear called “dingle bars” that bounced noisily just off bottom. This technique worked extremely well because it took advantage of the lingcod’s curiosity to sound, vibration and the lively looking jigs attached to the contraption. Our filming confirmed what commercial anglers know as fact, that lingcod are attracted and very curious about underwater sounds and vibrations. When we temporarily lost control of our multi-thousand dollar camera and it hit an outcropping or huge rock, we silently cringed and hoped the accidental collision did not cause any damage. The noise almost always brought curious fish, including lingcod, that wanted to see what the commotion was about.

My son Christopher, who grew up and became a commercial diver, also confirms this fact. During his last visit after Christmas, he sport dove Puget Sound’s frigid waters “just for fun.” That night he excitingly told me how lingcod moved toward him and seemed very curious but kept just out of his reach. Lingcod are very curious predators that inspect anything, regardless of size, to see if it will fit in their mouth.

Some anglers call lingcod “hitch hikers,” “ride alongs,” “cling ons,” “high jackers,” or “rough riders” because they commonly grab fish already hooked by anglers. On numerous occasions I have caught lingcod that refused to let go of rockfish, greenling, other lingcod, and sometimes salmon too. A friend of mine once landed a 50-pound lingcod that bit and held onto a 30-pound lingcod that bit and held a 12-pound coho salmon in its mouth.

Three years ago, while fishing in Alaska, I hooked a chicken-sized 12-pound halibut. After a few seconds of battle, my smallish halibut turned into a monster of a fish and fought hard from 310 feet on the bottom. Peering into the inky waters a dark, toothy image emerged, with my halibut sideways in its mouth. The 55-pound female lingcod refused to let go, even with some gentle coaxing. We finally pried the ling’s mouth open, held it up for a quick picture and lowered it back into the water. My halibut lay motionless and dead from multiple lacerations on both sides of its body.

In addition to underwater filming, I have experimented with numerous colored lures for lingcod. During one memorable trip to the Queen Charlotte Islands, I found a nearshore lingcod lair filled with dozens of 10-plus pound lingcod in just 30 feet of water. Luckily, I had all of the primary colors to send to the bottom and watch through the crystal clear water, which color of lure the lings preferred. They reacted to two colors so favorably it became obvious they loved chartreuse and hot pink. At first, I thought these colors would only be their favorite in shallow water, but further experiments proved they love the same two colors even when fishing for them beyond 250 feet deep. They also love white, another top-producing lingcod color.

Best Baits

Live baits, where and when legal, work extremely well wherever lingcod live. Live herring, sardines, small sand dabs, greenling or rockfish are the same to a lingcod as offering a Starbuck’s Grande Latte to a three cup-a-day coffee addict stuck in bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic. Spreader bars are a good choice when fishing bait. They allow you to send the bait to the bottom rapidly without tangling the mainline. To avoid loosing anything but your weight, tie a 20-pound test, 24-inch leader to the swivel on the bottom of the spreader bar, then tie the leader to the 8- to 24-ounce weight.

Best Lures

Leadhead and pipe jigs work extremely well when kept jigging up and down and occasionally pounded on the bottom. Point Wilson Darts, Stingers and other baitfish imitating jigs also work well, but must be kept off bottom and out of the rocks. These baitfish jigs weigh less than pipe or leadhead jigs and offer a completely different element of sport. When using lighter jigs, light weight rods provide more fun and fight, especially when fighting big lingcod. And with lighter jigs it is much easier to maintain a lively presentation without wearing out your body.

Where Lingcod Live, Work, Date & Eat

Male lingcod inhabit rocky, rough bottom terrain nearshore and offshore in depths ranging from 50 to 150 feet deep. Mature males range in size from four to 12 pounds – almost never exceeding 14-pounds. The male will guard his territory all year in hopes of attracting a female during spawning season. This territorial behavior results in bone-jarring hits that fool you when trying to guess the size of fish hooked. Most summertime fishing pressure is from private boat anglers fishing nearshore shallow reefs. Some female lingcod, ranging in size from 12 to 60 pounds, also inhabit these areas, especially after spawning season. (Large female lingcod should be released to help sustain healthy populations).

Most mature female lingcod inhabit offshore underwater reefs and banks surrounded by much deeper water than where males call home. These offshore rugged and rocky bottoms range in depth from 150 to 600 feet deep. Female lingcod spawn annually from November through April, depending on location and water temperature. During their spawning cycle, they move from deep waters into shallow, inter tidal zones that have rocky bottoms or lots of crevices to hide and deposit their eggs. Depending on their size, lady lings deposit 60,000 to 500,000 eggs. The bulky mass of eggs attach to a rocky substrate. A male will then fertilize the eggs, stand guard and fan water over the eggs for approximately six weeks until they hatch.

The “ideal” location to find hungry and aggressive lingcod will have steep, rough, rocky crevices with strong tidal currents flowing over the reef or bank. “Lingcod tend to lay in the upside of the current flow over a rock. They wait for their prey to flow over them so they’ll lay in these hydraulic liaisons and jump on prey going over them,” explained Tom Jadiello, Washington Department of Fisheries Lingcod Biologist.

How to Look For Lingcod Habitat

Use large scale nautical charts (1:10,000) or (1:40,000) to look for extreme changes in bottom depth. Look for reefs and banks. With the use of a fish finder/GPS unit, you can locate areas from your chart. Once you stop on a likely looking lingcod area, ALWAYS fish downhill, from the top of the structure to the bottom, while drifting with the current. Proper planning of your drift will keep you from losing expensive lures.

While the bait or lure is moving down the steep terrain, keep letting out enough line to keep it as close to the bottom as possible without snagging. Whether using bait or artificial lures, bounce the jig or weight on the bottom, never drag it. Every few minutes, reel the bait/lure off the bottom 30 or 40 feet, then free spool back to the bottom. If the jig or bait stops or in anyway pauses, jerk, it might be a lingcod.

Size Limits & Restrictions

Always be aware of size limits when lingcod fishing. Many areas now have slot limits that only allow anglers to take lingcod that fall within this range. This size range allows us to keep the best eating size lingcod in the 8 to 18-pound range. Large females should always be released and respected for their spawning value. If forced by regulation or you make the choice to release a lingcod, for whatever reason, rest assured, they will survive the ordeal. Unlike rockfish, lingcod do not have air bladders – they can swim freely throughout the water column without injury.

Proper care of your catch will result in “prime” fresh fish. Immediately after landing a lingcod carefully measure its size. If legal, cut through its gill-rakes and allow it to bleed out. Put your catch on ice immediately and it will be among the best white fleshed meat you have ever brought home.

To purchase lingcod tackle please visit:

About the Author

John L. Beath is the editor/publisher of Go Fish Magazine and lives in Monroe Washington. He began fishing for lingcod at age eight, 20 years ago.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A few favorites from the past couple weeks!

Here are a few of my favorite photos I have taken over the past few weeks!


Captain Jim

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

2011 Sport Show Schedule

Come see us at the Shows - Kevin is "on the road" make sure you stop by our booth and say hello when he is nearby!!

Captain Jim Lucas

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Photography 101!!

As what I would call a "Semi-Professional" photographer (Yes I do sell an occasional photograph) The question I get asked most often is "What kind of camera do you use"! I am torn on what my response should be, since I am of the strong belief that the camera is NOT what makes the shot, there is so much more involved than that!!

So I will list what I think are the most important elements of a good photograph!

1. Subject - This is the most important element, before you can take a good photograph, you must have something to shoot!

2. Composition - I try to frame the subject as best I can, look beyond the subject and watch the background for interfering elements and minimize those when I can. In landscapes I generally try to get something interesting in the foreground to add depth to the shot. Composition can be somewhat corrected after the fact with good cropping and some special effects in post processing - More on that in a minute.

Now to the mechanics - not always a requirement but it does help! Quite frankly the above two items are far more important which I will show you in a minute.


1. Sharpness (Focus) - Make sure your primary subject or focal point of the picture is sharp and crisp.

2. Exposure - With adjustable cameras there are three factors which control exposure and selecting the primary adjustment factor for the proper exposure can be critical.

  1. ISO - If your camera has the ability to adjust the "speed" of the film or camera sensor, you can adjust the amount of light required to make a proper exposure by selecting the proper ISO. A low ISO (100) requires more light and is best selected for bright daylight type photography. There are several technical advantages to a lo ISO. Clearer pictures with less "Noise" or sensor contamination in the dark areas. High ISO 800 and above, allows you to take pictures in darker areas but you sacrifice some details and can add "noise"!
  2. F-Stop or Aperture - This is the size of the Iris (Think about your eye Bright light = small iris). The smaller the F-stop or aperture the less light that gets to the sensor or film, but you get sharper pictures generally and a much larger "depth of field" or area in focus.
  3. Shutter Speed - Think "Blink". The faster the shutter speed the better the camera will stop action or freeze motion, even something as simple as a little wind moving a flower a tiny bit will yield better results with a faster shutter speed.
The proper combination of the above three things are all required to get the proper exposure, if you set your camera on automatic it takes care of all that for you, but your picture may suffer the consequences. If the camera selects a high ISO, you will get noise in the darker areas. If your camera picks a slow shutter speed your picture may have movement blur. If your camera selects a large F-Stop - Some of your subject may be out of focus, or at least it may have moved from you primary subject matter.

Quite frankly I shoot on automatic a bunch. However, I am looking at what the camera is choosing and may adjust accordingly.

Example - I want a large depth of field (area in focus) so I see the camera has selected a large aperture. I may change this to a smaller aperture and decrease the shutter speed accordingly to compensate for the smaller iris or aperture.

SO - NOW that you are totally confused let me prove how unimportant some of these things are.

The following photos were all taken with an Apple I-Phone. They have no control of focus, F-Stop, ISO, Shutter speed. It just takes good subject matter, steady hand holding and good composition.

The above photos were all grabbed from the internet, using a "Photographs taken with an I-Phone" search, so if they are yours congratulations and I hope their use here causes no offense, they are great shots!

So you see subject matter and composition make these photographs, the photographer had NO Control over anything else!!

The last item I will touch on briefly is what is now referred to as "Post Processing". In the old days it meant taking your film to a lab to be processed and you could select a good one to be enlarged, cropped and even color corrected. In the new digital world, most serious amateurs and of course profession photographers all "adjust" their photos on their computer using some sore of photo editing software. It can be the savior of bad photographs and it can make a good photograph a great photograph.

Learning to use a photo editing program can be critical to advancing from the "snapshot" phase to even the serious amateur category. Way too much to even begin to discuss here, but a few of the programs which people use are: Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Elements. All fantastic programs, there are also many free or nearly free programs which will do some of what you will need.

So - What kind of camera do I use? Well I chose Olympus cameras for several reasons. I think they make some of the best lenses in the world, certainly the best for the money! I prefer the smaller sensor size of Olympus for a couple reasons. When Olympus chose to go to the smaller sensor 4/3 format. It required them to re-design all of their lenses for digital photography. (Re-design means utilizing the latest technology to create the new lenses, rather than relying on lenses from the old film days, they had to design specifically for the new electronic digital world) I felt this was a good thing. The smaller sensor means you get smaller (Physical size) lenses than in the old full frame equivalent. Example - in the old days a "normal lens was considered a 50 mm lens (Pretty much the same angle of view that your eye sees is what that is based on. With the 4/3rds format a normal lens with the same angle of view as your eye is a 25 mm lens. On the other hand one of my primary lenses is a 50-200 zoom, in the old full frame sensor this would be equivalent to a 100mm to 400mm zoom lens. And is physically at least half the size, less weight, more compact easier to hand hold that long telephoto and it is sharp as a tack. All of the pictures in my preceeding thread at the Indian Pow-Wow were taken with that lens and the addition of a 1.4 tele-converter which increases the focal length from 50-200 to 70-280, but you lose 1 F-stop in light (an additional piece of glass between the lens and the sensor has a cost, but you get a "longer" lens with more reach!

So there - That is why I chose Olympus and I am very happy with my system. Oh there are other very good systems out there, in the film days I shot Nikon, Pentax and Mamiya exclusively. When I went to digital I did my homework and chose what I felt was one of the best and still feel that way. I will put the quality of my shots up with any of the other premier brands...even the I-Phone!!

So you see the type of camera is not nearly as important as most people think. Any of the current model higher end "Point & Shoot" cameras will at least surpass an I-Phone and you can see above what can be done with that!

So grab a camera and go shoot - you have to take a picture to get a good one!

Capt Jim

Auburndale, Florida - Indian Pow-Wow 2-8-2011

I had the opportunity to go to an Indian Pow-Wow in nearby Auburndale, Florida. If you ever get the chance to attend one of these, it is a must do!!

First the photographic opportunites are endless, although it is tough shooting, lots of background issues and too many people in the way, ect. The dance circle is just that, a circle, so there are always people in the background unless you can get real low or high and avoid some of that. Also lots of other background issues, like food tents, poles etc...

Anyway, Here are a few of my shots...

Needless to say I had a great time and my camera got a workout for sure...the colors at these things is phenomenal!!

To see my full SmugMug Gallery of Pow Wow shots



Captain Jim

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2011 Pink Salmon Run Projections in SE Alaska

The Southeast Alaska pink salmon harvest in 2011 is predicted to be in the excellent range, with a point estimate of 55 million fish (80% confidence interval: 43–67 million fish). The categorical ranges of pink salmon harvest in Southeast Alaska were formulated from the 20th, 40th, 60th, and 80th percentiles of historical harvest from 1960 to 2010:

Category Range (millions) Percentile
Poor Less than 11 Less than 20th
Weak 11 to 19 20th to 40th
Average 19 to 29 40th to 60th
Strong 29 to 48 60th to 80th
Excellent Greater than 48 Greater than 80th

All in all, 2011 promises to be another GREAT year of fishing at Yes Bay Lodge!

Capt Jim