The ocean off Northern California has been loaded with king salmon all summer, so three of us took the ol’ skiff out of Bodega Bay the other day to try to get in on the action. We ended up hooking over a dozen kings and landing our limits (6) in what proved to be a very nice day on the creek.
While I wasn’t really intending to do any testing, a very interesting pattern developed. I brined half our herring & anchovies in Atlas-Mikes Brite and Tight the night before and left half of it “naked.” My uncle and I fished the brined baits, while our buddy, we’ll call him “Knucklehead Angler #3,” ran with the uncured stuff, laughing off my “silly little colored Swedish Fish-looking baits.”
Well, the final tally was all but two bites came on the cured baits: We fished all lines at 114 feet on the downriggers and the green cured stuff took top honors, followed by the red and then blue. Natural herring and anchovies came in dead last. Knuckle Head #3 only switched to the brined stuff at the end of the day…because he was sitting on only 1 fish!
Now, I’m not even sure the kings can discern colors down there at that depth, so I’m thinking the fact that the cure is UV-infused helped the fish locate it better. Also, it’s got a bunch of scent in it, so that probably made the cured baits easier for the fish to zero in on as well.
So, this is just a one-day, impromptu test but the results were pretty dramatic! The brined rods went off steadily all day while Knucklehead’s was silent pretty much the whole trip. In fact, take a look at the text I got from him just this morning…Apparently he is now a believer!
The fish off California this year are nice and fat! They are apparently eating well and look almost like silver largemouth bass with that football shape!