After 20 years of guiding from drift boats and sleds, I had things pretty much dialed in. My sleds were custom built to my specifications in order to provide the best possible fishing experience for my customers. I love fishing for salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon, but there are so many more species we can target on the Oregon Coast. In 2022 we decided to throw in something new while we’re out on the ocean – bottom fishing! And it’s been lights out for black rocks, canaries, and lingcod ever since. You may be thinking I’m crazy, and if you’re picturing me out in my classic 25’ Willie sled, you might be right. But…we decided to step it up a notch and in 2022 we new boat in the slip at the West Mooring Basin in Astoria.
Here she is…
This boat is incredible! It’s 9′ longer and a foot and a half wider than my old sled. Everything has been updated and we’re set for our premium fishing trips. You’re going to love what Legion’s Mercy brings to your experience on the water. First off, it has a center console, with a head (yes, a bathroom on board). Can we get an amen, ladies? We’ll be fishing up to 5 people for most of the trips on Legion’s Mercy. This boat is built for safety, comfort and speed. How about a self-bailing deck, a 24-degree deadrise to cut the water, a dry, not pounding, ride at cruise speeds up to 37 mph. Think salmon, trophy sturgeon, bottom fish, halibut, and tuna – in comfort and style! Legion’s Mercy is a boat that allows us to get away and fish areas that 99% of the fleet can’t fish.
Couple Legion’s Mercy with the rest of our boats and we think we have an option for just about everyone that would want to fish the Astoria area. Here’s what we have in store for Legion’s Mercy and our classic sled trips out of Astoria…
Astoria is home to some of the most incredible sturgeon fishing in the world. During the summer months sturgeon from the ocean and rivers around the Pacific Northwest converge in the mouth of the Columbia River to gorge themselves on baitfish and clams in the sandy estuary. While the average sized fish is around 125 lbs, some customers have had the chance to battle monsters up to 9′ to the boat. This fishery is known for action-packed days and it’s not unusual to have doubles or even triples on at the same time. At times it makes for some fun dancing in the boat. This sturgeon fishery is different than other fisheries, even those just upstream in Portland or the Gorge, because of the shallow water that we’re in and light tackle that we use. Targeting trophy sturgeon where the river meets the ocean really is a bucket list item. If you haven’t experienced Astoria sturgeon fishing, you’re missing out on an amazing experience.
If you’re heading out to the ocean to chase some salmon, why not hit the reefs for some bottom fishing while you’re out? We’ve been having a lot of fun with this new fishing experience on Legion’s Mercy. Take a look at Lance live from Legion’s Mercy while cruising back in from a bottom fishing/salmon combo trip. With twin engines, it’s a quick trip down the coast to the reefs by Tillamook Head or out to the Astoria Canyon. Both are home to rockfish and lingcod and we’ll go to whichever offers the best fishing on a given day. On the way back in we can spend some time in the salmon fishing grounds if you would like a combo trip. After Labor Day we may be able to drop the crab pots as well. Talk about a smorgasbord!
Yes, you read that correctly! Legion’s Mercy is set up for tuna fishing and we’re looking forward to some exciting ocean trips this year. Imagine heading back into Astoria with the ice box full of fresh tuna! Will you grill it, kabob it, or can it? This trip maxes out at 4 anglers and we’ll have a deckhand onboard to help give you the best experience possible.
Summer fishing culminates with the Buoy 10 salmon season, which typically opens on August 1st. For many anglers this is the highlight of the year. Who wouldn’t want to have the opportunity to target salmon as they enter the mighty Columbia? The Chinook season takes place in August while Coho can be retained all season long. Once Chinook retention closes, we move to a Coho only fishery, which sometimes has a 3 fish limit per day. Between Chinook and Coho, we’ll be chasing salmon as they funnel through the mouth of the Columbia River clear through September and into October. That’s a lot of days of salmon fishing to look forward to!