Halibut, lighthouse seasons May 1!
Two of the most anticipated seasons of the year for the Brookings Fishing Charters fleet open May 1, when charter boats can begin fishing for Pacific halibut out of Brookings, and also start running trips to the highly productive Point St. George Reef and lighthouse.
Brookings Fishing Charters operates both trips aboard its fast, comfortable six-pack charter boats, as well as the spacious Nauti-Lady party boat. The lighthouse is known for its fish-after-fish action, with the potential for trophy lingcod and rockfish, while halibut are one of the most prized fish on the West Coast.
Halibut season out of the Port of Brookings-Harbor runs May 1-Oct. 31, or until 8,000 pounds of halibut are landed out of Brookings and Gold Beach. The quota generally lasts the entire season. Anglers may keep one Pacific halibut a day, with no size limit. Sanddabs and petrale sole also may be kept on halibut trips.
In recent years, the Brookings Fishing Charters fleet has been the most successful group of charters on the far Southern Oregon Coast getting customers into halibut. Captains Andy, Travis and Rye have considerable Alaska halibut charter boat experience, and have decades of experience catching halibut out of Brookings. Capt. Michael and Mick also are local halibut experts with a reputation of catching lots of fish each season.
Halibut generally run 15 to 25 pounds on the Oregon Coast, with fish over 75 pounds caught each season. Two years ago, Capt. Rye got a client into a halibut just under 100 pounds, one of the largest halibut ever landed by a charter in Brookings.
Anglers wanting to catch halibut out of Brookings will immediately notice the skill level of the Brookings Fishing Charters captains in finding and catching halibut. Using advanced techniques to anchor in deep water, the captains create a potent scent trail to bring halibut to the area they are fishing, using a variety of big baits, scents, and combinations of smaller baits. Through trial and error, and years of halibut fishing experience in local waters, the Brookings Fishing Charters captains have an extensive list of waypoints that produce halibut season after season, and the knowledge of when to fish each spot, depending on tides, ocean conditions and time of the season.
Most of the halibut fishing out of Brookings takes place in 180 to 250 feet of water, much shallower than the halibut hot spots further north on the Oregon Coast. Because of the shallower water, and the advantage of fishing on anchor, lighter weights may be used. Instead of 3 or 4 pounds of weight, we often catch halibut with just 12 ounces, which makes catching them more enjoyable.
The Point St. George Reef Lighthouse is located 11 miles straight out of Brookings just across the border in California. The reef is highly productive, with a large variety of rockfish, and some of the largest lingcod caught outside of Alaska. The area opens to fishing May 1.
Several of the boats in the Brookings Fishing Charters fleet have California Commercial Passenger Fishing Vessel permits, allowing them to fish in Oregon and California waters. Customers need a fishing license for both states to fish the lighthouse area. One-day licenses are available.
Few private boats venture to the remote Point St. George Reef Lighthouse, located between Brookings, Oregon and Crescent City, California, making it one of the most productive fishing destinations on the West Coast. The seldom-fished waters on the edge of the Point St. George Reef marine reserve offer unmatched lingcod and rockfish opportunities, often with much larger fish than the closer-in waters out of Brookings and Crescent City. The area of the reef with the best fishing is known locally as the “Dragon Channel” a lingcod and trophy rockfish infested section of rockpiles, pinnacles and ledges. Swift currents, sudden depth changes, and an extremely rugged undersea terrain provide ideal habitat for big rockfish and lingcod, with an occasional halibut mixed in. Oldtimers tell stories of lingcod between 50 and 70 pounds, and each season plenty of trophy lings are caught.
The action is fast-paced at the lighthouse, with black, canary, vermilion, yellowtail, tiger, blue, copper and China rockfish, among others. Lingcod to 50 pounds are caught each year at the lighthouse, with fish over 20 pounds common. Most of the keepers are 10 to 15 pounds, an ideal size to eat.
The Miss Brooke, Kraken, Dash and Bout Time get to the lighthouse quickly, and use light tackle to catch the trophy-size lingcod and rockfish. Customers who have done the trip comment on what a blast it is to catch the variety of quality rockfish with light spinning tackle.
For larger groups, the Nauti-Lady allows up to 15 people a chance to experience the lighthouse fishing on a single boat. The comfortable ride to and from the lighthouse on the Nauti-Lady makes the experience even more enjoyable, with plenty of room to spread out on the 42-foot charter boat.
To book halibut or lighthouse trips, visit www.brookingsfishing.com or call (541) 813-1082.