OREGON TUNA CLASSIC @ Charleston Oregon, August 20, 2011

With three down and one to go, Team KingFisher finds itself in the hunt. The Charleston stop of the OTC series proved to be another tough one with similar conditions that the team saw three years ago, but we were still able to compete.

By mid week we all were looking close at the forecasts and hoping for more favorable updates. With some vacillating back and forth, we decided to make the journey to the south coast.

To get a shot at ‘Big Fish Friday’ and being that we’re not familiar with the local conditions, it was important to us to pre-fish the tournament. With daunting conditions we slugged our way through the ocean until we found some promising water to fish. With limited time due to the 3 hour run out and 2.5 hour run back, we did our best to make the most out of our time and just before noon found fish. We hustled to put some nice grade fish on board and pulled gear for the long haul back.

At the captains meeting we were among 29 teams that checked in, all knowing the following day would be a tough one. With the forecast dropping a bit we hoped for better conditions only to see the forecast return to the original weather Friday evening. We stuck with the same game plan for Saturday looking to find the similar grade fish to Friday’s, even though it was 42 miles offshore.

Thick fog delayed the shotgun start 15 minutes but kept the wind down. Hearing the countdown we pinned them around 6:17 for the beginning of our slugfest. Fog kept the wind down as we headed offshore 45 minutes or so only to see the forecast become reality. Two hours later we were on station and we went to work.

Our temp was off from the day before so we moved a bit south to find the break and worked that area. One at a time fish came over the rails but the fish were not the same grade as Friday. After fishing as long as we could we pulled up and headed east, giving ourselves ample time to get back for weigh in.

 

Weather:

After getting a call from a friend early in the week, we began to watch the weather close. By mid week the forecast was:

-Friday: N wind around 21 kt. Patchy fog before 11am. Mixed swell…SW 2 ft and S 2 ft. Wind waves around 5 ft.

-Saturday: N wind 20 to 22 kt. Patchy fog before 11am. Mixed swell…SSW 2 ft and S 1 ft. Wind waves around 5 ft.

Friday’s run was rough early and laid down a bit as we made it offshore. With it still white capping most of the day, the 15-18kt. wind seemed to produce between 4-5’ wind waves on top of around a 2’ swell.

Saturday was opposite with good running early, minus the thick fog inland. After being teased with light winds and around 4’ seas, we found a mixed swell and strong North wind producing a confused sea offshore. Most of the wind blew an average of 15 kt, with it picking up to +20 kt occasionally. The swells and wind stacked up to overhead seas and some very large sheep in the pasture….

Gear:

With the wind blowing, we knew the boat would surge and focused on heavier gear and a more spread out surface set to minimize tangles. We were able to keep seven rods trolling uphill and downhill being cautious with our turns. After experimenting with a lot of different gear we settled mostly on clones. Friday we saw several multiple hook-ups. Saturday we did not.  Despite considerable effort, we didn’t have much luck with our iron or swimbaits.

Results:

Saturday evenings live weigh-in (broadcast live via internet) brought 16 out of the 29 teams that checked in to weigh their fish.  Our team had 10 fish to pick from on Friday and 12 to pick from on Saturday. We knew our fish Friday could contend which proved correct with a 2nd place finish for ‘Big Fish Friday’. Saturday produced mostly medium grade fish for us and we were able to finish 6th in the tournament (http://www.goodsitesolutions.com/otc/charlestonweighin.cfm). With the points earned, Team KingFisher moved up to 3rd place overall in the IGFA points standing for the season.  It’s official, we are in the chase and honored to be among some fine fishermen.

The tournament produced 1965 lbs. of fish going to local food banks. The event was very well organized by an all-volunteer staff lead by port captain Jim Pex. Big thanks to all of you guys and an appreciation for the work you do.

Team KingFisher travels to Westport next weekend for the WTC and then moves to the season finally of the OTC series at Garibaldi the following weekend. We are excited for a shot at the IGFA top finish and will give it our best effort.

 

 

Mike Domeyer

Team KingFisher

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