Clouds moved in yesterday evening and the wind came up here on Oregon’s Central Coast. And sometime in the night it began to rain. This morning, the ocean was angry.
Which is what I say anytime the sea is rolling outside the windows of my inlaw’s home south of Yaquina Bay. In truth, it’s more like the ocean is somewhat miffed today, and that’s about how I feel too.
The plan to hit tomorrow’s coho opener out of Depoe Bay has been scrubbed, my captain, Andy Schneider, called to say as Amy, River and my mother-in-law wandered through Newport’s waterfront in the wind and light mist late this morning. So much for fresh salmon fillets for Saturday night.
I don’t blame Schneider, of course, it’s his boat. And it was all weather-dependent anyway. We’d made the rough plan about a month, month and a half ago as we were putting together our June issue of Northwest Sportsman. Schneider’s photo of friend John Bond on the cover holding a spinner-caught coho intrigued me and I wanted to know more about that action, so Schneider invited me out.
But after two weeks of relatively calm seas (one of our readers was, no shit, 75 miles out on a whale-watching/tuna expedition on “greasy-flat” seas June 10), the weather changed at practically the last minute. I saw it come in from the Northwest as we collapsed on the beach yesterday afternoon after the 300-plus-mile drive from Seattle. By dinner time, it had clouded over. What crummy timing.
River didn’t care, of course. He loves it here at Nana and Vaeterchen’s house. Down on the beach in the afternoon, he stomped on the sand castle towers and Winnie the Pooh sandcasts his mom and I made, found himself being buried in sand by his German grandfather, peed in a hole (he’s in potty-training, and since we didn’t have his potty and he wouldn’t stand up to pee …), and had lots of fun in the sun.
This morning, the little guy, dudded up in his blue cowboy boots as well as a warm sweater, toured the waterfront. First stop was Aunt Belinda’s for jellybeans (sour gummi’s for Mama). When we parked in front of the candy store, however, our first thought was that Auntie B and her killer Kahlua truffles had gone out of biz. The shop was empty and dark. But a sign on the door pointed one business down to their new location. Phew. Sounds like Mo’s, the famous Oregon Coast fast-food joint next door, might expand.
We strolled down the sidewalk, the rich smells from Trident wafting across the street and T-shirts emblazoned with “I Got Crabs in Newport, Ore.” hanging in windows. A pair of anglers walked out of Harry’s B&T with grins and a new trout rod. A sign in the shop’s window reads “Support Your Local Hooker.”
We went to check out the local sea lion herd, but only one of them, a blonde-headed beast, was hauled out on the dock. On the other side, a father and daughter were crabbing from the pier. They’d caught one red rock, but had only been tending their pot for 20 minutes or so when I spoke to them. Out in the bay, anglers who had been kept off the ocean by conditions were jigging for herring.
Walking back through the bayfront, I stopped in at Captain’s Reel Deep Sea Charters and thanked Cap’n Dave for running an ad in our June issue. He was rigging up a pair of salmon rods for tomorrow (they’re heading out at 1 p.m., if you’re interested). While he said some coho are being hooked on bottomfishing trips of late, it’s going to take some searching to find any concentrations of them.
We headed up Canyon Way and of course stopped in at the bookstore. River found a mess of kid’s stories he just had to have, and Dianne obliged (heck, she bought me a brand-new kickass Oregon mapbook too). Then we dropped in at Sandcastle Toys. River made a beeline for the train set and pushed locomotives around the tracks almost the whole while (and, yes, his dad spent a fair amount of time at the race car track, winding up the little speedster for repeated runs through the loops).
And that’s about the time that Andy Schneider called and left a message. When we got home, I returned the call and heard about Plan B: Columbia estuary sturgeon. Good bite, too.
It seems like a long ways, I said, but it also sounded more productive than dragging herring around at Tillamook Bay for this year’s few springers.
Truth be told, I don’t think I’m quite up for the 2:30 a.m. wake-up call and long, windy drive up the coast to meet him at Warrenton at 6:15. River woke up last night around 3:30 and was awake for an hour at least. Amy couldn’t get him back to sleep, and it was only after she left and I rubbed his back that he dozed off. Right now, they’re both napping. I need a nap too, but Juergen’s got some plans for me and my muscles this afternoon. He wants to make a “tunnel” for River in our backyard out of a giant fishing net he found washed up on the beach. We’ll have to clean it out, mend it and pack it away for when he and Dianne come up in two weeks. And then I’ve got River this afternoon as Amy gets a massage and her eyebrows done back in Newport. So a run halfway back home is … well, it’s a tough proposition.
But damnit, I really didn’t come this far this weekend to not fish. So I’ve done a little sleuthing of my own and have come up with a Plan C for tomorrow. Turns out all those spinners and spoons I bought for ocean coho might just have another application …
I’ll detail that tomorrow, but first, it sounds like somebody’s woken up from his nap. Time to switch jobs from reporter/editor to dad again.