15 Minutes with Jetty Angler Rick Denham
What we learned…
Location: Northwest Washington in Puget Sound
Tides: Both sides of the high slack. I generally try to fish the hour before and hour after the high tide as there will be the greatest concentrations of bait near the shorelines at that time. More water will give the Lingcod a greater chance to ambush their meal.
Approach: Targeting Lingcod in Puget Sound and in any region is all related to structure. When you find the right structure you can count on a few Lingcod to be had. How does one find this structure you may ask? Well one of the things to take in consideration is that while Lingcod can be caught in deep water off coastal waters, Puget Sound has a depth restriction of 120ft max depth for targeting lings. This really helps to concentrate efforts into more productive areas. Structure becomes easier to find and easier for the angler to fish. Marina breakwaters, local fishing piers, rock piles, jetties, shipwrecks, pilings, and bottom contour changes will all hold Lingcod. I personally love fishing for Lingcod off the local piers here in Puget Sound. I don’t need a boat in order to fish productive water, and I can fish productively throughout the entire tide. No need to worry about how to position the boat with the tide or timing to get back boat launch. Just walk onto the pier and start fishing.
Rigging Selection: When fishing the Hogy Flounder for Lingcod, a Hogy 1-2oz Barbarian 10/0 3x jig hook is perfect for this bait. This rigging will provide the bait to have great movement in the water and the large hook will make for a quick and solid hookup ratio. This is a great rig to use while jigging the Hogy flounder in the rocks near piers and jetties. When swimming the flounder around structure with the twitch and drop method, I love the Hogy Darter head. The unique design of this jig head allows the bait to be screwed onto the jig but provides full range of motion from the bait itself. No big hook in the middle of the bait restricting action. This truly makes the bait swim like the real thing. I like fishing this setup just over the tops of structure or even right along the edge of it. Piers, jetties and breakwaters are the perfect areas to try this rigging setup.
Bait Selection: The Sand Dab Series
Why this bait? The action and profile of Hogy Imitator Series Flounder bait mimics one of the Lingcods prime food sources, the flounder. But looks and profile are not everything; you have to back it up with the action of the bait. When fished the Hogy Flounder swims and looks just like the real thing and Lingcod cannot say no. Whether on a jig head or darter head this bait will look and swim like a Lingcod’s last meal.
Colors: There are multiple great colors to consider for these baits. I personally love the Amber flounder as this is so close to the real thing. But one to also consider is the glow in the dark. This is the perfect color for the late evening tides where light is dim or nonexistent. Combined with the action these colors help seal the deal on the Lingcod’s meal.
Retrieve: When fishing from the piers and jetties you want to be fishing as close as one can to the structure. The Lingcod are waiting to ambush their next meal and you want to present the bait in their face. I found two ways to do this effectively with the Hogy flounder bait. The first is a twitch and drop motion. What I mean by this is casting the bait to the rocks and using a small twitch retrieve of a few inches you can make the flounder swim. I twitch the bait a few times then let it fall, then repeat the swimming motion again. To the fish it looks like the flounder is swimming away then drops right in the face of the fish. A perfect meal for the Lingcod and will trigger the aggressive feeding response. This method can vary as to what structure you may be fishing, but in general you want to be near or keeping occasional contact with the bottom.
Another way to fish these baits is in a jigging motion; this however in not like jigging hardware. These baits will create a swimming dying like motion when twitched near the structure with minimal effort. When I am fishing the piers, I like to drop the flounder right next to the pilings and move the bait around. Sometimes you might even have a marina breakwater deep enough and you can do the same thing. There is nothing cooler than seeing a Ling come out of its rock den to inhale a Hogy flounder bait.
Rod: 8’ 6” Lamiglas G-1310-T 1/2oz-1 1/2oz 10-20lb line
Reel: Abu Garcia Ambassador C3
Line: 15lb Izorline monofilament or 20lb Berkley Fireline Crystal
Leader: 15lb Izorline XXX mono