OUTDOORS: Full moon Friday

A FULL MOON occurs today, and while interpretations of what impact the lunar cycle has on fishing range from positive to little at all, there’s plenty of speculation.

There are those that believe a full moon is a boon for fishing as many species may feed more due to the greater visibility provided.

The Moon’s gravitational pull is at its strongest during a full or new moon, producing strong tides — and by extension stronger currents — potentially moving baitfish and other prey around while food fish follow close behind.

And there will be significant tidal ranges today through Monday.

Today’s morning high tide crests at 5.95 feet at 1:48 a.m. off Ediz Hook, with low tide (-0.90 feet) at 9:16 a.m. The evening tide is much lighter with high tide coming at 5:09 p.m. at 6.8 feet and low tide following at 5.36 feet at 10:09 p.m.

Similar tides will follow through the weekend.

Take advantage. Or blame your lack of luck on the lunar cycle. It’s up to you.

Free charter tours

U.S. veterans and their families are invited to head out on charter fishing and wildlife viewing trips out of Neah Bay next Saturday, Aug. 4.

Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary’s R/V Tatoosh research vessel and Neah Bay’s Wind Song Charters (360-640-8728) are providing the outings.

Wind Song will offer a morning fishing trip and an afternoon wildlife viewing adventure, while the R/V Tatoosh will take vets out on the water to view wildlife in the afternoon.

Reservations are required as space is limited.

To reserve a spot, phone the sanctuary’s Chris Butler-Minor at 360-406-2092 or email [email protected]

Beach fishing options

Anglers can try a new approach to catch some coho — beach casting for salmon in the waters off Jefferson or Clallam County.

“Fishing for coho off the beach should be excellent this summer especially since the food chain is so active,” said Quilcene’s Ward Norden, a former fisheries biologist and owner of Snapper Tackle Company.

“Even the resident coho are a pound or two larger than usual.”

That might sound small, but these resident coho living in the waters of Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca are only around 3 pounds and growing by the day at this stage of the summer, fattening up on krill.

Norden believes “outside coho” (ocean-going fish) will be beginning to trickle in.

“In about a week to 10 days, “outside coho” will begin moving in slowly and they are another pound or two heavier than the resident fish.

“By the end of next month, all the coho will have put on an additional pound per week making 10-pounders a common occurrence.”

Fishing from shore is the economical choice as well.

“Beach casting is by far the cheapest and most efficient way to put a salmon on the barbecue,” Norden said. “All that is required is a 7- to 9- foot spinning rod (a steelhead rod is the best) and reel loaded with 12-to-15- pound monofilament. Just tie on your favorite lure and start casting at one of our popular beach casting beaches.

“Of course, every beach has its own traditional lure, but I always recommend the Rotator Jig made right here in Sequim. The best colors are pink, chartreuse and flame most seasons, but the other colors work well too.

Norden said there are locations all over the North Olympic Peninsula to try out.

“Starting out west is the breakwater at Neah Bay then east of there is Eagle Point just west of Sekiu,” he said. “Nearer to the big towns [Port Angeles and Sequim] are the beaches near Port Washington followed by our most popular casting beaches, Point Wilson and Marrowstone Point in the state parks near Port Townsend.”

Canal turns blue

I haven’t crossed the Hood Canal Bridge since Memorial Day weekend (tourist season traffic and I do not mix), but I’ve heard Hood Canal has turned a milky blue hue for the third straight year.

The cause? A species of coccolithophore, a single-cell phytoplankton that covers itself in shiny, round plates made of calcite.

The bloom appeared in June this year after popping up in July in 2016 and 2017.

The phytoplankton blooms are not harmful to humans, fish or shellfish, but do signal a nutrient-deficient environment, allowing coccolithophores to proliferate at the expense of other phytoplankton.

Science, man.

Slow bass action

Norden said bass fishing has been slow in Jefferson County lakes, an expected outcome of warm summer temperatures.

“I have caught some nice largemouth bass every evening I have been out but they had to be earned,” Norden said.

“Of interest to me anyway, is that there are now spawning populations of largemouth bass in every lake of east Jefferson County. The last holdout had its first successful spawn last year and a few of those little guys have already been caught and released.”

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Sports reporter/columnist Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or [email protected]

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