Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Seafood Triathlon

Sunrise at Potholes
Potholes was an OK place to stop for the night but two nights would not be recommended.  It is a recreational specific park and unless you are fishing or bird hunting I would probably only use it as a stop and rest spot. Early Thursday morning we packed up and continued on over to Westport, WA.

We arrived at Westport just in time to jump in Don and Caroline's car and head to the beach for the first part of the Seafood Triathlon. Razor clam season opened and the slack tide was upon us. Last time we visited we got our first taste of the fury of razor clamming.  At slack tide the clam beds are approachable and everyone heads to the beach with shovels, buckets, boots and Clam Hawks to dig their fifteen clam limit.

Harbor dredge at Baker Bay.
 It only took us about a half hour to get the clams and head back to the house. Caroline had made clam chowder and we ate dinner and talked until bed time.

The next morning Don and I loaded up and took our camper south to Long Beach area to join a group of folks on Don McMaster's boat to pull crab pots and reap their bounty. We launched in Ilwaco and ran out Baker Bay to Cape Disappointment.  Don M. has about 14 big crab pots that he takes up and places out in these waters.  The day is spent baiting the pots, placing them, pulling them and then running back into the boat launch where they are boiled and everyone gets their limit. Then Don M. loads up the boat with a new crew and repeats the process. This happens as quickly as possible and he is able to make four trips out to the pots.  With this process Don fills everyone's limits and on this day brought in over 230 real big dungeness crabs. We figured that it amounted to over $3500 in crab meat.

I watched Don M. and I could tell that he really loves to do this for his friends and co-workers.  It definitely wasn't work for him, it was his entertainment and he was good at it.

After all the crab was processed and the second stage of the Sea Food Triathlon complete, Don M. lead the way as we drove to the cabin he had rented, ate some dinner and went to bed.

The next morning we woke up, ate breakfast and then drove back up to Don S's house where we off-loaded the crab pots and loaded back up with gear for upriver fishing. Upriver fishing, the final leg of the Seafood Triathlon, took place in the waters of Grays Harbor, east of South Bay in front of the mouth of the Johns River. We launched Don M's boat at the Westport boat launch and followed the markers out and up the channel to our fishing spot.  At that point we rigged up the rods with divers, followed by a flasher, followed by cut sardines as bait.  We trolled west, up the the bay waters until the in- coming tide had slacked and started to return.

About fifteen minutes before the slack tide I had a hit on my rod and the fight was on.  It was a big female Coho and she didn't want to be caught.  It was quite a fight!  I loved it!.

The two Dons.
I got her to the boat and Don M. netted it.  A keeper for sure.

We continued on fishing for the next hour but had no luck. Finally we turned around and ran back to the boat launch and pulled the boat.

Back at the house Caroline had fixed a big dinner of chili and corn bread. Don's son Chris and his wife Holly arrived with Holly's sister Heather and we had a fest.  About 9:30 PM I crashed and Linda and I excused ourselves for bed.

Don S. woke me at 6:50 AM and we ate breakfast and loaded into Don M's truck for our final morning of fishing. We launched at Westport and motored directly into South Bay. We went under the big bridge and past Don and Caroline's house up to the mouth of Dempsey Creek where we trolled with spinners for the Coho.  Don S. had the right color spinner on and his rod caught two nice male Cohos. There were a lot of fish jumping and we had a great time fishing this area.  We were back to Don S's house by noon and both Don M. and the Bennetts were on the road and listening to the Seahawks by 1:00 PM.

We had a wonderful trip down to Don and Caroline's home.  They are such great hosts and every time we get to experience something new and unique to the coastal region. We can't express how wonderful our stays are and how much we appreciate their friendship.

Readying for Razor Clams.
Sunset on the clam beds.
It's a social affair as much as anything.
Don S's big male Coho.
My female Coho caught on Sat.
The two Coho caught on Sunday morning.

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