I don’t know that I had ever experienced consistent, world-class, ocean King fishing until fishing the Ocean waters off the Umpqua River. I’ve had good chinook fishing in the ocean around Tillamook and even occasionally off the mouth of the Columbia River, but nothing like the charter fishing I get to experience at Winchester Bay.
Of course the Umpqua River boasts a sizeable return of Chinook and Coho that begin into the river around the first of August, but what really separates the ocean waters off of Winchester Bay is the often times huge numbers of Salmon that are headed south to the Sacramento, Klamath and Rogue Rivers. Fisheries managers are predicting that over 1.2 million fish will pass by Winchester Bay this year enroute to Southern Oregon and Northern California Rivers. These forecasts for this years returns remain on par with last years return and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was excited.
The Chinook that we encounter off of Winchester Bay behave differently than any of the fish that I’ve targeted up North. I’m not going to get to far into the details, but let’s just say that you really have to give these fish a chance to get a hold of the bait. Granted there are plenty of fish that decide they’re going to commit suicide on whatever this herring thing is spinning in front of them, but more often than not, the bites start really subtly and can sometimes take 30 seconds to develop into full blown rod bending, “hey, I think you’ve got one!”.
Because of this, rod actions are never more important than they will be when fishing Winchester. The 9’ variety of rods like the G. Loomis, SAR 1084 don’t offer quite enough length to really provide these fish with the false sense of security that I want them to have. This same 9’ rod is perfect up off the mouth of the Columbia, but the 10’ 6” version provides me with even better results. Otherwise known as the SAR 1265, this rod had been helping fishermen bonk kings for almost 35 years and it still works fantastic for the slow biting Chinook off of Winchester.
All my herring rods are equipped with Shimano 300 Tekotas and lined with #65 PowerPro. I’m a big believer in fluorocarbon and have been fishing Seaguar for over 12 years. This combination of gear is time tested and has never failed me, not once.
A lot of the Chinook off of Winchester Bay are big and strong. Ocean Kings will flat dog you to the end and I guess that’s why I’ve fallen in love with this area and am looking so forwad to this years run.
If you’d like to get out and fish Winchester Bay, send me an email or call me at 503.680.6809