A morning at the Oyster House - www.ifish.net
The Oregonian's Bill Monroe!

Go Back   www.ifish.net > Ifish Archives > Ifish 2002 archives

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 08-22-2002, 10:34 PM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Just downstream from the Hole O' Garbage'
Posts: 8,838
Default A morning at the Oyster House

Yes folks, it is time for another episode of "As the Impeller turns" in Hogmaster's adventure file.

This one is for all the newbies to salmon fishing in the upper tidewater area of Tillamook Bay. For once, it doesn't involve the Red Sled, although it does involve the propulsion provided by Hogmaster, as you will see if you continue to read.

The year: 1986 The Month: May

The situation: Hogmaster, being a newby to salmon fishing in the greater Portland area after moving up from God's Country (sorry, Keta, not K-Falls but instead the beautiful Rogue Valley), convinces his friend Greg (now known as "Donny" but that is another story) to take his hand-me-down fiberglass Larson 16' ski boat to Tillamook. The boat, passed down from Gramps, had seen better days and wasn't really a skier as it was equipped with tired 18 and 20 horse Johnsons. They were connected to a steering wheel on the red and white wind screened craft. It even had a name - Sock it tu'em

The Story: We, being adventurous sorts, decided that we should hit Tillamook Bay and fish spinners for the spring Chinook that were to be had from reports heard at "Larry's". Some of you remember Larry's don't you? Well, I being the kind to fully investigate the rainbow I want to chase, learned that we should launch at some place called the "Oyster House" and then look for the "deep hole". If we concentrated our efforts in said hole we would surely limit out in no time 'tall we believed.

Mind you, neither of us had ever been to the Oyster House launch before but we got good directions and preparations were made to get up at O'darkthirty to get down and catch us a clutch of hogs early in the day. Tide? No idea about that.

As usual though, with Greggie, the trailer lights didn't function, the boat wasn't loaded, the lunch needed to be made and the constitution was calling after I arrived at his house in the morning at the prescribed leave time. So after everything was er, addressed, we got a late start.

We got to the ramp about 7 or so, and of course in May that meant it was full daylight. But we were pleasantly surprised to find we were basically the only folks launching there. Didn't occur to us that might have been an indicator.

Anyway, we launched Sock it tu'em without incident and soon were motoring out from the Oyster House. Now, where is the Mecca of salmon holding water, that "deep hole"? Away from the ramp we notice the water go from 9 to 10 to 11 to even 12 feet on the sophisticated Hummingbird depth finder (the only piece of modern equipment on the boat, including our gear). "No hole here", we say to each other and decide the hole must surely be out there toward the middle of the bay somewhere.

I point out to my Captain with great certainty that I know the Wilson River comes into the bay down aways, probably around that far point, and there probably is a big scoured out area down there. Surely that is where that "deep hole" is. So off we motor, although relatively slowly and, thank goodness, only with the 20 horse turned on.

As we made our way toward the middle of the bay slightly turning around that point I noticed the bottom was coming up rather quickly. I suggested that we slow to idle speed to get through this little area that must be a bit shallow before we get to that salmon nirvana spot. It was then that we noticed for the first time that even at idle the Sock it tu'em was traveling with a fair amount of speed. You see, the tide was running out very rapidly at this moment and, scraaaaaaaappppeee. "Geez! What the heck! Follow that channel!" says I. "I am!" says Greg. Scccccccrraaaaaaaape. "Dang!!" (edits for ifish here folks!). "Follow that channel" "I AM!"

Well, we followed a snaky channel for several hundred yards as it became increasingly narrow like you would follow a capillary out of a vein. All the while not realizing that, probably on the first bottom rub, the shear pin had done it's duty and we were basically using the two motors as rudders and the Johnson that was running was not actually propelling.

We discovered this when I finally convinced Greggie that the capillary was closing and we needed to 180 or we were going to be sand fishing.
He turned the wheel and Sock it tu'em responded by turning broadside in a ditch about as wide as her. But when he applied power the engine revved but lo' and behold our new boating position: Stationary.

Oh oh.

The boat, while almost totally out of the water, was now situated approximately 37 miles from real dry land. Other capillaries, veins and arteries of water extended in every direction as far as the eye could see. There would be no walking away from this one.

Now what? Well, being industrious and understanding the principle of outgoing tide and that we were not likely to go anywhere without quick and decisive action, I did the only logical thing. I took off my wool pants.

OK, I took them off as well as my socks, shoes and wool shirt and, in my boxers and Tee, jumped overboard into the foot deep water and gruffly said, "Gimme the damm bow rope!" (Now I would have said "line" but I wasn't that sophisticated then). I started a human tug effect while Greggie looked at me somewhat in disbelief that I would think we were EVER going to get out of this mess. I remember him asking me what the Donner party would have done.

Frankly and somewhat to my surprise I decided we were not going to stay there until the fall rains and that was that. The boat slowly responded and actually finished the 180 turn with my pulling and then I started dragging her up channel. After about 20 minutes of this exercise, Greg finally got enough tilt on the 18, which we hadn't wanted to risk losing the pin on it too (he hadn't learned the "spare parts" concept yet), that it actually hit a slurry that was at least somewhat wet so he added some churn propulsion as well. After some extra hard tugs I found myself in knee deep water and knew we had a shot. We wouldn't starve after all. The boat was still floating as I jumped aboard and slipped back into my woolies, mighty glad to have brought them after all.

So with eyes peeled on both sides we managed to sneak back up the snake channel and got back near the launch. Greg, fit to be tide (sic), said, "We're outa here!". We trailered Sock it tu 'em and headed for home. It was 8:30.

Moral of the story:
1) Know the precise location, not the general one, of the rainbow you are chasing. Newbies, straight out from the launch IS the "deep hole" We were looking for something 30' or so deep.
2) Know what the tide is doing if you are boating in tidewater. We found out later it was a minus 1.7 and had a couple more hours to run out. Oh, and newbies, the best time to be spinner fishing is on the incoming.
3) Know current data. ifish was not in existence then so we got advice from a guy in Oregon City who had probably never fished there in the spring. There was a reason there were no fishermen there that day. It had to do with the fact there were no fish there that day either.
4) You are probably stronger than you think you are. I weigh all of a buck and 1/2 and I found I could drag a ski boat upstream in sand with a rider. Still don't know to this day how I did that...
5) If you ignore all of these pointers, bring a big lunch.


[ 08-23-2002, 06:20 AM: Message edited by: Hogmaster ]

Hogmaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old 08-23-2002, 04:32 AM   #2
is on the big blue pond again
skein's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Sweet Home
Posts: 8,921
Default Re: A morning at the Oyster House

Hog, you spin a good yarn. Brought back a memory or two.

Years ago I had heard stories of salmon fishing out of Brookings. Packed up the wife and headed down. We didn't get stuck in the mud, but we had plenty of room at the boat ramp. Need I say more?

Thanks for the chuckle - and the memory.

...my family, my flag, and my fishin' pole....
skein is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2002, 05:41 AM   #3
Posts: n/a
Default Re: A morning at the Oyster House

That was you!? :grin:
  Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old 08-23-2002, 07:02 AM   #4
Chum King
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Newport, Oregon
Posts: 561
Default Re: A morning at the Oyster House

Now that's the kind of tale that I can believe. I always have trouble buying the stories that actually have fish in them... since mine rarely do.
As for the tides and their importance to a happy and safe trip, they can never be emphasized enough. So many poor souls get into serious trouble by not reading and understanding the tide table before heading out the door. [img]graemlins/1zhelp.gif[/img]

Oh, one point about springers in Tillamook Bay, they don't hold in front of the Oyster House. Although there is some good sturgeon fishing in that area, and it is a pretty good hole for fall chinook.
Chum King is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2002, 07:21 AM   #5
Get Bit
Ifish Nate
Get Bit's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Forest Grove,OR
Posts: 2,581
Default Re: A morning at the Oyster House


Nice Effort ! :smile:

Get Bit
"Man can learn alot from fishing. When the fish are biting, no problem in the world is big enough to be remembered." Oa Battista
Get Bit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2002, 07:22 AM   #6
Bait O Eggs
King Salmon
Bait O Eggs's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Amity
Posts: 13,101
Default Re: A morning at the Oyster House

Well written story, a nice way to start out the morning reading a story that.... er, .. brings back several memories. :smile:
I married better than my wife did!!
Bait O Eggs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2002, 08:21 AM   #7
King Salmon
OceanBlue's Avatar
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Halfway between the Boondocks & Timbucktoo
Posts: 7,949
Default Re: A morning at the Oyster House

What a great story. Very well told.

Thanks for the morning chuckle. :grin:
OceanBlue is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2002, 09:02 AM   #8
Han Solo
King Salmon
Han Solo's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: New Vansterdam
Posts: 13,889
Default Re: A morning at the Oyster House

Nice tale, Hogmaster. Don't ask me about the picket fence and launching in the lower bay and fishing the trask tidewater in a prop boat.

Han Solo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2002, 09:20 AM   #9
Pegasus's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Corvallis, OR
Posts: 560
Default Re: A morning at the Oyster House

Hey now,

You're talking my home water there -- I grew up on the dairy farm where the radio station is -- in Tillamook that is....what an awesome place to get your "feet" wet with springers and fall hogs.

I think I have seen all of you stuck on the mud -- nice to have local knowledge, even better to have a private boat launch on the Trask....

I get so disgusted when I fish there now, what a mess....the guides have made fall fishing there almost a miserable experience. Don't get me wrong, there are a bunch of good guys who guide, they know who they are, but there are also a bunch of complete classless idiots!

Thus, I have become a "Salty Dog"

Pegasus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2002, 02:36 PM   #10
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Just downstream from the Hole O' Garbage'
Posts: 8,838
Default Re: A morning at the Oyster House

Hey all,

That's why I write these. I know each of us has experiences that can equate, relate or generally be re-lived through the Hogmaster files...

Chum King, I have to credit you. Your story was the inspiration for documenting this memory.

I do catch fish too, honest! But the adventures that are memories don't always involve the catch, frequently they are the journey.

And yes, ******, that was me in my underwear in the middle of Tillamook Bay that day. At least it wasn't during the fall when I too have laughed at some of the others who followed one of those dead ends and have to wait for the tide to help them out!

Hogmaster is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Cast to

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:11 PM.

Terms of Service
Page generated in 0.17906 seconds with 23 queries