MATT SCHUBERT’S OUTDOORS COLUMN: Redtail surfperch is a little fish worth angling for in area

REDTAIL SURFPERCH ARE often the forgotten fish of the North Olympic Peninsula.

Abundant in numbers, but smallish in size, the disc-like denizens of the area’s coastline are often ignored by anglers searching for something more substantial.

That doesn’t mean one would waste a day at the beach targeting the tasty table-fare.

The notoriously voracious feeders usually make for a very active day of fishing, poo-pooing the notion that size is what matters the most.

Surfperch season tends to come alive during the spring, especially once May rolls around.

That’s when they usually begin schooling up along the coast as they get ready to spawn.

Swimming in the turbulent tidal zone in search of food, the white-fleshed fish will feed on just about anything you throw out there.

More accomplished anglers than yours truly may try to hook a few on a fly, but I prefer a much simpler method.

Just attach two leaders a foot or two above a piece of lead, chuck it out into the surf and wait for something to hit.

About any traditional bait works, including clam necks, squid or sand shrimp.

When I went fishing for them at Kalaloch last spring, I was able to hook a couple of eight- to 10-inch beauties using squid cutlets.

An earlier foray with sand shrimp proved to be much less effective, however, mostly because my egg loop tying abilities are more than a little suspect.

As is the case with all fishing, finding something that you can keep in the water for long periods of time is most important.

The fish should be schooled up in little depressions and troughs along the beach. Thus, once you hook one, it’s best to keep fishing the same spot.

Craggy, rock-garden beaches like some of those found at Kalaloch are great places to fish for surfperch.

In fact, Kalaloch produced the state record surfperch (4.05 pounds caught by Chris Maynard) 15 years ago.

But one can also hook surfperch near LaPush, around the mouth of the Hoh River and even inside Strait of Juan de Fuca near the Twins area.

Hit one of those spots when surf conditions are calm — like say, this Friday, Saturday or Sunday — and you just might get a one or two tugging at the end of your line.

Coastal cleanup

Perhaps this will be the time someone finally gets Sting’s SOS to the world.

Volunteers will be taking out the trash along the state’s coastline, including inside Olympic National Park, this Saturday as part of the annual Washington Coast Cleanup.

There’s still openings at approximately 40 sites for those looking to pick up flotsam, jetsam and any other debris (bottles with messages included) that have washed ashore in the last 12 months.

Last year, more than 1,000 volunteers cleaned up 16 tons of household plastics, lost fishing gear and other debris that sullied otherwise pristine beaches.

Volunteers may help with a variety of tasks, including running volunteer check-in tables, transporting collected debris to local dump sites and holding the barbecue celebrations after the Coast Cleanup.

“Olympic National Park is grateful to the thousands of volunteers who dedicate their time to look after and protect our coastline,” Olympic National Park Superintendent Karen Gustin said in a news release.

“In conjunction with Earth Day, as a part of National Park Week, and every day within the park, volunteers make a difference.”

For more information, or to sign up, visit the Washington CoastSavers website at www.coastsavers.org/washington.

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