Questions about catching baitfish in Puget Sound

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pugetsoundnewbie
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Questions about catching baitfish in Puget Sound

Post by pugetsoundnewbie » Sun May 17, 2020 11:26 am

As my username suggests I am new to fishing in the Puget Sound and salt water in general. I am looking catch some bait, and wasn't sure where to start. I'm thinking I want to go for herring, but any good bait for flounder, salmon, and dogfish will do. I only really have a kayak to work with, so the simpler the better. I am in marine area 10 near Indianola if that helps. Thanks.

Shad_Eating_Grin
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Re: Questions about catching baitfish in Puget Sound

Post by Shad_Eating_Grin » Thu May 21, 2020 4:07 pm

Use sabiki rigs to target the herring. If you fish near docks, you may also catch surf smelt. Shiner perch will also bite on the sabikis.

The best sabiki rigs are the ones with the small hooks and feathers. Avoid the cheap ones that come with beads. The Gamakatsu brand of sabiki rigs is what I use (usually available online on amazon or ebay).

Limit is 10 lbs combined for herring and smelt. Believe it or not, the limit for shiner perch is 15 fish. I would suggest fishing near shore next to docks, for your best chances for catching some bait before venturing out in the open water.

Smelt, herring, and shiner perch should be good enough to get you going for bait for bottomfish like flounder and dogfish. Alternatively, just go to the store and buy some squid or shrimp to cut up--bottomfish are not too picky.

TrackerPro16
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Re: Questions about catching baitfish in Puget Sound

Post by TrackerPro16 » Fri May 22, 2020 9:39 am

Most of the Sabiki rigs I have seen have four or more hooks on them. I am fairly certain the limit is two hooks per line here? And only one line per person on the salt? Something to be aware of.

hlindsay
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Re: Questions about catching baitfish in Puget Sound

Post by hlindsay » Fri May 22, 2020 5:40 pm

You want to look at page 98 of the fishing pamphlet under "Forage Fish"

FORAGE FISH - Forage fish jig or forage fish
dip net only except anchovy and sardine may be taken by a cast net in Areas 1-4. Only one net may be used at a time. Dip net gear must be held by the rigid handle at all times and may not be used from a vessel while under power. Cast net gear must be in immediate control at all times with retrieval cord in hand. Anglers with the reduced- fee license or a Designated Harvester Card may use a forage fish dip net with a hand-operated gate. Jig gear may have up to three treble hooks or nine single-point hooks, not to exceed 3⁄8" between point and shank. While fishing in Areas 5-11 &13, a second line using forage fish jig gear may be used to fish for forage fish.
You may use forage fish jig gear in Columbia River waters from the Buoy 10 line to the Rocky Point/Tongue Point line.

so you can have this as and added line and more that two hooks

I tried for herring with one of the cheep rigs long ago and didn't do any good. Maybe I'll get one of the good ones and try again.

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Re: Questions about catching baitfish in Puget Sound

Post by Shad_Eating_Grin » Wed May 27, 2020 7:46 am

Yes, the Gamakatsu sabiki rigs are the best I've used. The cheap gaudy Walmart ones don't do too well. I think the feathers and their beads are too big.

stillnofish
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Re: Questions about catching baitfish in Puget Sound

Post by stillnofish » Fri Sep 04, 2020 11:13 am

I'm going to get some Gamakatsu sabiki rigs and give them a try.

I have some size-6 sabiki rigs from amazon. I drop one in the middle of a giant ball of anchovies, and pulled up 3 little Chinook salmon instead. What am I doing wrong???

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Re: Questions about catching baitfish in Puget Sound

Post by 4n6fisher » Tue Sep 08, 2020 1:07 pm

Did the little Chinook eat bait fish you had already hooked (or were hooks too big for the bait fish)? I was able to catch a few with the Gamakatsu rig once I saw them swimming by while shrimping, just slowly jigging. I used the #4 size.

stillnofish
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Re: Questions about catching baitfish in Puget Sound

Post by stillnofish » Tue Nov 03, 2020 2:49 pm

As far as I can tell, there were no herrings on the sabiki when the small salmons hit. The hooks are pretty small, #6 I believe.

A couple of weeks ago I tried again, in the Tacoma Narrows on Gig Harbor side. There were tons of herrings; lots of birds and seals chasing them. I only managed to catch two small herrings; but in the process at least a dozen small Chinooks got pulled up. Had to give up pretty quickly because I didn't want to keep injuring salmons.

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Re: Questions about catching baitfish in Puget Sound

Post by spokey9 » Thu Nov 05, 2020 3:35 am

Baitfish gear has it's own set of regs.i believe 9 hooks on a sabiki was the rule lat I was up there. You can actually use a 3 treble hooks to snag bait as well but be careful because there's a gap size rule for treble. Plus you might run across a warden that thinks your just snagging fish in general.
Fishing relaxes me. It's like yoga, except i still get to kill something.

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Re: Questions about catching baitfish in Puget Sound

Post by hlindsay » Sat Nov 14, 2020 7:44 am

In the 20/21 regs it is on page 102/103.
I said above that I might try a better jig. I haven't done that but looking closer I see that the net I use in fresh water meets the size as a dip net. I may try that next time i'm out and see bait fish around the boat.
The big question is about the statement "may not be used from a vessel while under power. ' The regs don't define "under power" and I can't find it in the RCWs. If I look at the hunting regs it says "Hunting from boats with motors is permitted if the motor is off and it is not contributing to the boat's propulsion."
If I am jigging for bottom fish not a problem. But if I'm trolling for salmon I'm not sure if I can jut cut the motor (that would be "not under power) dip some bait and go back to trolling. I could see a posabilty of the hunting reg being applied. And I don't want to have to fight that battle.

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