Green Harbor Fishing Report – Mackerel, Bluefish and Harbor Seals
This is one of those fishing trips I will never forget. The southwest wind and afternoon tide line up perfectly. Taking full advantage of the break in the weather we left the dock at 3:15pm one hour before the high tide with a livewell full of tinker mackerel. We are using Shimano Baitrunner 6500’s (spun up with 80lb hollow-core backing with a topshot of mono) that were set up for schoolie tuna fishing. Live bait swimming almost freely on the second drag is the way to go especially when using circle hooks (ie Baitrunner). We have high expectations as we set up for our first drift. With two mac’s deployed we drift over the structure but come up empty. After a quick reset drift number two produces a 15lb Bluefish but this story isn’t about a big bluefish.
Green Harbor Bluefish - "Dave can't work a camera!"
The fishing was pretty slow so we try different spots around the same structure. Eventually I’m tight on what a thought was a bluefish but pretty soon into the battle it was clear this wasn’t a bluefish. Now I’m wondering if I may have hooked the biggest bass I’ve ever seen or a small tuna. Three huge runs take the reel way into the backing doubling the rod over to the point where the 20-40lb reel looked like it was going to snap and I still with no idea what I’ve hooked. I put the screws to the drag and muscled it to the starboard side of the boat after about 15 minutes I discover, to my surprise and disappointment, I realize I’ve hooked a 125lb harbor seal (I could not believe my eyes). He was as exhausted as I was and looking at me with a ‘WTF” in his eye (which is I’m sure how I was looking at him) Lucky for him I’m not in the market for a new seal jacket and also that we were using circle hooks. The hook looked like it was in the corner of his mouth the same way you’d hope to hook a striper. We cut the line as close to the as we could get to the hookset and set the “not so little” guy on his way. He thought he was getting and easy meal by stealing my live mackerel and instead got a new piercing. If my buddy knew how to work a camera there would be a photo here, sadly he doesn’t so you will have to take my word for it.
I’ve seen more seals on and around south shore beaches this year than ever before. Recently I’ve seen several seal carcass on the 4×4 Duxbury beach. Harbor seals are protected under the MMPA. According to NMFS, harbor seal stocks have increased since the passage of the MMPA in 1972. Populations in Oregon and Washington are at or approaching their “carrying capacity” with a population of roughly 22,380 seals. The California coast stock is beginning to stabilize at 34, 233 seals. In New England, the population is increasing is and currently estimated to be 91,000 seals.