10/05 & 10/06 Report - Oxbow Park

L
LawyerBob
Short Version

Visited Oxbow on Saturday and Sunday. Water's running nice and surprisingly clear. There was easily over 10' of visibility both days. I checked out a few usual spots at Oxbow Park. There were a few dozen people out there both days. Spoke to many. General consensus was there's still a good number of wild chinook in the water (to no one's surprise). A few rare, stray hatchery chinook are sprinkled in. One person reported catching a coho "somewhere" on the Sandy on Saturday. Otherwise, everyone was still waiting for the big coho run. Several old timers weren't convinced there would be one, judging by the last few years.

I tied into four chinook; landed one on a 7' medium rod spooled with a mere 100 yards of 8lb line. These were my first Oregon salmon hookups, and my first Oregon salmon landed. I hadn't fought a salmon in well over a decade, despite several trips in the last two years. Awesome day that will be remembered fondly. Pic below.

Long Version
(My First Oregon Salmon)

I went out there geared for Coho but ended up hearing they missed the bus and were being redirected. Maybe. Saw several chinook jumping at one spot, and while I hear jumpers aren't biters, I figured I'd at least spend the day in the sun practicing my spoon/spinner technique (aka feeding the river).

About three hours into Saturday, things took a decisive turn. I hooked into my first Oregon salmon. It was big. Really big. It also had the decency to do a full body breach and hang in the air for what seemed like forever. The fish and I shared a nice moment while I heard a familiar, annoying voice in my head--"hope you adjusted the drag after breaking your line off." Oh snap. Note to self: double check the drag periodically.

Having gone after salmon a dozen times without so much as a bite, I thought that would be the highlight of my day. Nevertheless, I tied on another similar lure and tossed it out there. It was taken on the drop. Having a functioning drag, this fish and I squared off. So... treat it like a large trout that jumps like a bass? I guess. But what's all this head shaking nonsense? Oh. :lol: Note to self: fighting salmon in a river =/= fighting large trout or bass in a lake.

Two hookups on one day? My best day ever. Time to test my luck. Within five minutes I had yet another large fish on my line. My medium rod was doubled over something fierce. We covered the same steps as prior fish, but then it almost spooled me. So... turn it?! Sure! Due to my bendy medium rod, I had to stop reeling to get the power I needed to bring it about. And it worked! While I was giving myself a mental high-5 for not snapping my 8lb line, the fish charged me. I pulled a total deer in the headlights. :hypnotysed: Hello slack. And welcome back, lure! Notes to self: don't bring 100 yards of line to a river; salmon will charge you, and slack is bad, m'kay?

Around this time a drift boat with 3 guys anchored downriver decided to row upstream and anchor 15' below the small pocket of water I was working. One of them even got out and waded within 8' of the spot I was working. Water clarity was at least 10'. Great. For the next hour they carpet bombed the area with an assortment of noisy, flashy spinners. The bite went dead. I thought my day was set to end on a sour note. But then, finally, a fish jumped upriver. So off they went. Much to the chagrin of the bank anglers already working that area. Back to business.

I had since lost my favorite lure and was out of similar colored ones. The sun was now high. So, I decided to try something far more subdued in an attempt to entice a spooked fish to bite. 15 minutes later, I was able to land the cast I was trying for and hooked into a submerged woody obstacle that previously ate 3 lures. Exasperated, I gave it a sharp tug. It tugged back.

Building on my prior mistakes, I fought my way back to and up the bank to gain some much needed leverage. I avoided several earlier rookie mistakes and turned the fish a few times to prevent being spooled. After a few frantic runs I was able to work it into the shallows and get a good look at it--a nice, big, wild fish. Seeing as I had my anti-tangle, silicon coated net with me, I asked my buddy to have at it.

As she approached it, I realized the fish wasn't going to fit unless bent into a "C". Oh well, control the head, control the fish. Right? It took a few attempts, but we eventually got my first Oregon chinook landed. Took a few hasty snaps and sent it packing. As to my ace hookset? The width of my hook between tip and shank was the same size as it's row of teeth. The hook wasn't actually sticking in, it was merely curved around the row of teeth. It fell free by simply giving it slack. Wow.

What a great day on the water!

1266956_947970253133_504605228_o.jpg

Edit: typo
 
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Reactions: JeannaJigs and Admin
J
JeannaJigs
Awesome report! It's that first fish you work so hard for that is the most rewarding, and that's a dandy. It only gets easier from here on out. I don't know about the Sandy specifically a whole lot, I've only fished it twice, but if I was targetting chinook (which it sounds like you originally went for coho, and not chinook this trip) I'd bump up my game on the line and rod. For coastal fall fish I run heavy gear. 65 pound braid on my float rods with 40 pound leader. My spinning reels are rigged with 40lb P-line cxx. It definitely puts things moreso in your favor, and I go for whatever edge I can get on those fish, as you learned there are some difference in fighting a fish in a river than a lake lol.
 
Admin
Admin
Great report! Keep them coming! :thumb:
 
S
Spydeyrch
Awesome!! Just pure awesome man!!

But if I may correct you on one minor point: I am sorry to say that your day wasn’t great, like you stated at the end of long story version. I would surmise that it was EPIC!!! Especially for not fishing for salmon for a decade or so! I wish I had your luck and skill sir. :clap:

-Spydey
 
T
troutmasta
Nice job, I have that same net.
 
O
OnTheDrop
Epic report. Felt like I was watching you fish.
 
rogerdodger
rogerdodger
what a great report, thanks, I love getting big fish on light gear.

one way to up your line would be to spool up 30# braid on your spinning reel, it is same size as 8# mono. I have some Shimano '2500' size reels, hold about 150yards of 8#, I put 150yards of 30# powerpro braid and was totally amazed by how well it casts larger spinners/spoons (say 2/5 to 1oz), I use 10# leader in lakes for coho and 20# leader for kings in the tidewater. I'm not saying I want that 30# braid line on when tossing small lures for trout but for salmon and even winter steelhead, that is what I am going with....cheers, roger
 
Raincatcher
Raincatcher
Great report! One of these days I will know that feeling, but you gave me a real sense of what it will be like. :)
 
L
LawyerBob
Thanks all. I definitely need to look into putting some braided line on, especially since I'm eager to head out to the Wilson. (=
 
bass
bass
Great report! Way to learn from your mistakes (and thanks for sharing them so we can all learn).Also, congrats on your skills. You know you did a great job of fighting a fish when you can land it when it is "hooked" like that.
 
F
Fish-N-Chips
Nice net mkay!!! sweet report!! The words and direction of your report were quite eloquent!! Good stuff!! I have had epic days in the fall out there too!!
 

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