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Author Topic: A word on Oregon spearing  (Read 1201 times)

Offline winklecl

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A word on Oregon spearing
« on: April 26, 2012, 03:54:55 PM »
I know there is some curiosity on this board about diving in the state of Oregon. I've gotten many questions from people planning a road trip to this area. Usually they ask about the rumors of the big abs here but this post is NOT about abalone. Much to my chagrin I have not had the opportunity/fortune to hunt abalone here. (That is going to change!)

Instead, what I want to do is offer some perspective on off-shore spearfishing in Oregon. Off-shore spearing in Oregon has been a goal of mine since moving here and I think I can finally do the subject some justice.

What can I say about spearing here? IT'S FANTASTIC...when the weather permits. The last year has been fairly productive for me, especially since I've equipped myself with a kayak. There are a number of excellent haystacks and pinnacles along the northern Oregon coast (Newport and north) that hold large numbers of rockfish.

What really impresses me compared to NorCal is the size of the average rock fish and their abundance. I have yet to fail in bringing home my bag limit of rock fish if I'm diving off-shore. That certainly was not the case in NorCal (whether that was due to me or the fish is up for debate). In terms of size, I see mention of a 17" blacks as being large on this board. Well, a 17" black here is on the small end of my limit.  My largest to date is a 22", 7lber and I've seen what I swear must have been a larger one (I just suck and didn't manage to shoot it). The blues here are also amazingly large, many being in the 17" and 4lbs range. Must be something in the water.

We also get big lings here (see HLers come in with 40"+ regularly). I haven't personally tied in to anything bigger than 32" 12lbs, but the number of legal 22-27"ers is amazing! I will frequently see more than two legals per dive and you have to make it a challenge by only shooting the bigger ones in some areas. And this is true year-round, not just when they are spawning.

I also think the cabs get larger here on average than in NorCal with most being over 20" The big one in the photo below is a 27" 15lber that I'm pretty proud of but is by probably not the largest I've seen. The only drawback with cabs is you are only allowed one a day and the season is only from April-Sept.

I know the HLers take vermillion here, but I've yet to find where they their hide out. I'll keep you posted.

One fish less commonly found in NorCal than in Oregon is the China rockfish. Not be confused with the B&Y rockfish, China's have great flavor and in spite of being a crustacean eating rockfish, does not seem to harbor roundworms to a great degree. From my understanding, these fish are somewhat uncommon so I feel privileged to have taken some nice ones here.

And a final word for you that is not related to spearing is: scallops. I've never seen this kind of concentration in NorCal. Due to multiple factors, large number of vertical walls/currents/available food supply/low harvest, scallops thrive here off shore. I've even found them in bays. The generous limit of 24 a day (which, yes I have taken but seriously that's A LOT of scallop shucking) will slow your kayak down to a crawl.

So when you plan your next trip north, consider throwing in the dive gear and the shortest gun you own (it's all you'll need, or want if the vis isn't great). Even if the weather is blown-out off-shore, bay jetties hold plenty of (if smaller) fish to be taken, as exhibited by the last picture (this was the result of a 1hr 20min dive on a bay jetty this winter).

Off-shore results

Don't let the drysuit fool you, we're only free divers here!

Jetty

« Last Edit: April 26, 2012, 04:08:09 PM by winklecl »

Offline Rob102

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Re: A word on Oregon spearing
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2012, 07:36:23 PM »
Sounds like I need to put Oregon on the "Places to Dive" list.  How is it in July?

Offline winklecl

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Re: A word on Oregon spearing
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2012, 11:19:44 AM »
Sounds like I need to put Oregon on the "Places to Dive" list.  How is it in July?
It's usually pretty good location and weather dependent (of course). During the summer months the swell switches to a primary NW which brings in cooler water from the north pacific and tends to improve the vis off-shore. We get occasional blooms, but those are usually only in the shallow bays with less mixing. And you can hunt abs all year round here too.

Offline Rob102

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Re: A word on Oregon spearing
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2012, 04:04:32 PM »
What are the daily and seasonal limits on ab?

Offline winklecl

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Re: A word on Oregon spearing
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2012, 06:00:56 PM »
What are the daily and seasonal limits on ab?
1 a day 5 a year. So look for big ones.

Offline MATT MATTISON

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Re: A word on Oregon spearing
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2012, 08:06:21 PM »
Hey winklecl I have my ab card so any time your ready lets plan some thing and I will drive on up have nothing but free time right now would love to put that lic and card to use this year.
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scotty_rez

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Re: A word on Oregon spearing
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2012, 11:48:57 PM »
My uncle lives outside of Gaston and I might be on my way up there to work for him. The coast is about 1:40 from him??? What water temps am I looking at?

Offline DWL707

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Re: A word on Oregon spearing
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2012, 04:59:46 AM »
For those trying to stay hip on the regs, you are legally allowed to take abalone on scuba up there and the season is year round. I know of a few people on humboldt who makes runs up to southern oregon (closer than mendo by 2 hours) and pull abs in the winter months.


Offline MATT MATTISON

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Re: A word on Oregon spearing
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2012, 06:47:05 AM »
For those trying to stay hip on the regs, you are legally allowed to take abalone on scuba up there and the season is year round. I know of a few people on humboldt who makes runs up to southern oregon (closer than mendo by 2 hours) and pull abs in the winter months.

if you could find out some area's to go and lets plan a group dive up there.
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Offline winklecl

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Re: A word on Oregon spearing
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2012, 01:39:53 PM »
My uncle lives outside of Gaston and I might be on my way up there to work for him. The coast is about 1:40 from him??? What water temps am I looking at?
Nothing too much below Norcal. Lowest would be high 40's. I dive year-round in a 7mm.

 

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