Port Orchard, Washington
Manchester inlet is one of the most popular fisheries for winter blackmouth and is a quick boat ride from Elliott Bay, Tacoma or Bremerton. There’s also a great boat launch right in the small town of Manchester, near Port Orchard.
The majority of the fish are usually taken between the Navy fuel dock and the houses located a mile just to the south of the fuel dock. This area puts out the majority of the fish for both trollers and moochers. The bottom is gently sloping in this area and is relatively smooth with no big ledges or pinnacles to hang up on. This makes mooching a good bet in 90 to 100 feet of water. Trollers will catch fish out in the deeper water here, targeting suspended bait schools that attract the local blackmouth in to feed. An excellent mooching technique is to use two to three ounces of lead and a small orange or red label herring, with ten to twelve pound leader.
Like most locations in this area the ebb tide seems to be the most favorable. Fish can be caught on either tide, however, and normally the bite will happen 2 hours on either side of a tide change. Work the long trolling path from Orchard Point towards the Navy Fuel dock, then in toward Manchester boat ramp, and then down south about a mile towards Yukon Harbor. This area stays relatively flat with only a couple of humps. The majority of the bait holds in 90 to 120 feet of water here. When the bottom starts to come up near Yukon Harbor turn east towards Blake Island and follow this ledge out until the bottom starts to drop off, then it’s a simple turn back North to complete the circle back to Orchard Point.
The North end of Blake Island is a moochers dream, with a nice sloping drop off that produces well on the outgoing tide.
Allen Bank, located just offshore on the north end of Vashon Island, can and does produce great fishing along the edges of the bank. There is also a hole that will hold fish on the north side of the Southworth Ferry Terminal in 70 to 120 feet of water. Anglers are advised to keep care of any ferry traffic, however.
While Manchester doesn’t get huge numbers of summer kings, there can still be some action here for those willing to put in the time. Moochers will score kings in August and early September working 70 to 120 feet of water both north and south of the Southworth ferry terminal. The basin in front of the Navy fuel pier near Manchester will also kick out a few kings during the late summer when fish swing into the bay to feed.
Coho bound for Curley and Olalla Creeks, as well as streams further south, will provide action near the Southworth Ferry terminal and in the rips off of Orchard Point. Cut plug herring seems to get most of the attention here. Trolling gear is also a great way to cover water when searching for south sound silvers.