Halibut show up, tuna on horizon
BROOKINGS, Ore. (July 4, 2023) – Lingcod and lunker rockfish have been biting at the Point St. George Reef Lighthouse – when the weather is calm enough to get there – while Pacific halibut action is heating up closer to the Port of Brookings. Albacore tuna, meanwhile, are almost within range of the sport fleet, with a pocket of warm water inching closer to the Oregon Coast.
The Brookings Fishing Charters fleet has been fishing daily, with good success on rockfish and lingcod when the ocean cooperates. Windy weather made fishing challenging the first week of July, but better ocean conditions are expected this coming weekend. Just before the windy weather, halibut catch rates improved. Coho salmon season also is open, but catches on the Southern Oregon Coast have been few and far between.
The best bet in recent weeks has been the Point St. George Reef near the historic lighthouse. The productive reef is halfway between Brookings and Crescent City. The best lingcod areas are closer to the lighthouse, where the Brookings charter fleet often returns with limits of both lingcod and lunker rockfish. The Crescent City charter fleet often focuses on South Reef, where rockfish are abundant, but lingcod have been less common this season.
Halibut action started off slow out of Brookings when the season opened May 1, but catches have improved steadily. Charters in Brookings were averaging a fish per rod at the end of June. Halibut season continues through October. July, August and early September produce the best catch rates out of Brookings. Halibut are caught in 200 to 250 feet of water, 3 to 5 miles offshore. Unlike other areas of the coast, fairly light weights are used while fishing aboard charter boats in Brookings, with 12 ounces to 16 ounces usually enough lead to stay on the bottom.
During local half-day bottom fishing trips, the action has been fair, as windy weather and choppy seas have kept boats from more productive areas. With nice weather expected after the Fourth of July holiday, catch rates will improve for lingcod and rockfish as boaters can once again reach the Bird Island, House Rock and Mack Arch areas.
Albacore tuna water is a little more than 50 miles offshore, but as offshore winds subside, surface temperatures will increase and the bubble of warm water will move closer to shore. Tuna could be within 30 miles by mid-July. Brookings Fishing Charters operates off of a call list for tuna. When the forecast shows good weather conditions, the booking office will put trips together. Call (541) 813-1082 to be added to the call list.
To book a fishing charter, call (541) 813-1082, or visit www.brookingsfishing.com.
Here are some catches from recent trips aboard the Miss Brooke, Kraken, Dash, Papa B and Nauti-Lady.