I have been asked by a few ifishers for information on bobber and egg fishing in tidewater. Some of these are new to the area and some new to tidewater Fall Chinook.
I sat down and wrote a piece on Bobber fishing. These are not the only procedures but they work for me.
I hope this will help others to enjoy bobber and egg tidewater fishing.
The following is how I Bobber and Egg fish in the Tillamook Bay Riverís. (In tidewater.)
I have been fishing down there since the early 70s when I came to Oregon. One of the main reasons I have stayed in Oregon.
Now letís get started.
First letís talk about the equipment. I have always fished on a budget so havenít spent thousands on equipment but I believe I fish with equipment that wont let me down when I hook into a 50 pound Chinook. Lots of 50 pound fish in the 70s and a few now, they are there and a few come out every year.
I have a 9ft Okuma rated for 20 to 40 line and a 9 ft Berkley IM-7 rod rated for 15 to 50 lbs. My reels are Ambassador 6501 C3 loaded with 65 lb tuff line braid. I carry them both one for backup because you can and will break a rod on these fish. One important thing to remember is never to high stick these fish or they will break your rod. Been there done that. Not Fun.
Now we are ready to rig for bobber fishing tidewater in Tillamook Bay Rivers and a couple places on the bay itself. The same rig will work on the Nestucca River tidewater at Pacific City and the Nehalem River tidewater.
Now we attach a bobber stop (that you can slide on the main line to adjust the depth of your offering) on the main line followed by a bead that the bobber stop wonít go through and a large enough bead not to follow the bobber stop through the top eye on your rod. After the bobber stop bead I put a small corkie (usually a glow in the dark for the early morning low tide-more on the tide a little later) then a bobber that is teardrop shape and orange on top. (My preference). Then an egg shaped weight with a hole thorough the center for your main line to pass through. You want it to be able to slide as to not create slack and let a hooked fish become unhooked (some use a fixed weight like a inline sinker with the small chain) I donít, I want a sliding weight.. Next a bead to protect the knot and followed by a swivel. That is the main line rigging.
Bobber stopóbeadócorkieóbobberósliding weightóbeadóswivel.
Note: the weight should be matched to the bobber so that when the fish takes youíre offering he/she wonít feel the bobber. But not enough weight to sink the bobber. Then when the pull is hard enough to sink the bobber let em have it, set the hook. (More on the hook set later.)
I use 40 to 50 pound test line for my leader as these fish are not line shy and have sharp teeth.
Hooksóthere are lots of good hooks Gamakatusu, Mustads and my favorite and the only hook I use is Owner Cutting Point Hooks in size 6/0 or 7/0
Now tie a hook on your leader with an egg loop knot and I use about 2 feet (Maybe a little longer) for my leader and then tie to the swivel with an improved cinch knot.
Get a good knot book and practice. There are some good knot tying web sites for us to use.
Above the hook I tie a piece of yarn to hold scent (more about that later).
Now you are ready to fish.
Buy the best eggs you can find they are not cheap so if you get a hen learn how to cure your own. I have a dozen quarts of my own eggs but find myself buying better eggs if I can find them. You want them sticky enough to not fall apart on the hook when attached with the egg loop but moist enough to milk good in the water. Good eggs are important. I usually take two or three quarts every trip. Sometimes you only need half a quart other times more.
Tillamook Bait Co, http://www.ifish.net/TillamookBait.html
and Amerman eggs http://www.ifish.net/amer.html
are hard to beat. But donít pass up good eggs no matter the label.
Buy the best scents you can find. Once again Tillamook Bait Company is a good place to buy scents but there are lots of good scent that can be purchased at any good tackle store such as Fishermans and Joes.
I use about a half golf ball glob of eggs and hook them up good with the egg loop on your hook then add scent to your offering and to the piece of yarn tied just above the egg loop. Some tie the eggs on with a small egg net and stretchy string but I donít, I just hook them on through the egg loop. Some put a sand shrimp under the egg loop on top of the eggs. I tried this but it didnít seem to help.
Note at this point it is important to talk about human scent. I use Lemon Joy and water often to help keep the human scent off the eggs. Some use rubber gloves. Some use nothing at all to control human scent. However all add fishing scent to mask the human sent and attract the fish. Add scent to the eggs and the yarn above the eggs.
Cast up stream and let the eggs flow thru the hole being careful to mend your line so that if you get a hit you have a good hook set and not jerking a lot of slack line. If your eggs are dragging on the bottom adjust the bobber stop so as to lift the eggs off the bottom and do it all again. As the tide goes out you will have to adjust the depth a couple times. I like to keep the eggs about 2 feet off the bottom. Some like it lower, some higher.
NOW to the fun part... You are faithfully watching your bobber and it is going thru the drift and disappears. Some take downs are definite and the hook set obvious. Other times the fish will mouth the bait. If you have been paying attention you have no slack in your line and you real down easy to know if it is a fish and if you feel a fish WHAMO set the hook like you was going to jerk the fish out of the water then reel down and set the hook again. Better to loose the fish right there than to not have a good hook set and loose the fish at the net. This is the exciting part and for sure will get the blood flowing and will bring you back year after year for more. It is just as exciting every time. It never gets old.
More about the sliding weight.
I like the sliding egg weight so that when the fish does his/her head shake it pulls the line and not the weight. I feel that the fixed weight would allow for some slack in the line during the head shake. With a sliding weight the rod has direct contact with the fish and not the weight.
Lots of fishers use a fixed weight as I mentioned earlier and they are good fishermen.
Line wearing from the sliding weight??
I have not noticed line wear but a couple times during the fall Chinook season I re-tie and snip off about 2 feet to prevent any problem with wear on the line. The weight would never slide unless you had a fish on and then only slide as much as the head shake.
Check your leader after every fish for nicks. In fact I use new set up on every fish I donít want to loose one to a nick in the line.
The prime time for Tillamook tidewater fishing is the last two weeks of October and the month of November. Earlier at Pacific City
The best fishing hole on the Trask is the hospital hole. ($5 a day) Also the busiest bobber and egg hole with shoulder to shoulder fishing the norm. There are other places up river a bit to fish that donít cost and are productive like at the end of Tone road.
Nice tidewater places on the Tillamook River and the Wilson but both are better in tidewater from a boat. Donít expect to be alone. There are no secret holes in Tillamook Bay Riverís tidewater. The Kelchis River may be a little earlier and probably produce fish in late September and early October but I have not fished it much as most is thru private property and I do not have a boat. (However I might look for a tidewater boat to improve my fishing enjoyment)
Tides--- The best tide is the last 2 hours of outgoing and the low slack and when the tide starts coming back in I switch to wobblers and spinners. More fish are caught at low slack in tidewater than the other 22 hours of the day. For me the best time is an early to mid morning low tide. I like the first light bite and the low slack to be close together but never the low slack before the first hour of fishing. I have gone then there more than once and had two nice 30 lb hens on the bank in the first hour it is legal to fish.
Thus the glow in the dark corkie that is above the bobber so you can see a bobber down in the dark. Nothing more exciting than fighting a hog in the dark or very early morning light.
If I had to tell you my secrets (and I will) they are. Buy the best eggs you can, fish the last of the outgoing and low slack and use Owner cutting point hooks.
Now this is how I do it. There are lots of other little tricks that good fishermen and women have that work for them and they are good at what they do.
I keep doing what works for me and it keeps working and working.