Well….sort of. Today we’re jiggin’ for bait in Windy Bay. Winchester Bay, Oregon along Coast Highway 101 has a high, long, public crabbing dock. The dock is utilized by many for catching the prized Dungeness crabs of the Pacific Northwest. Dungeness are very expensive to purchase and on any given day during the season many locals and visitors can be seen dropping their crab pots into the bay from atop this high off the water dock catching a truly scrumptious dinner.
Another popular use for the dock is jigging for bait. While it appears easy to do there are tricks and techniques for obtaining your own bait but the basic technique is called jigging. There are varieties of hooks, lines and poles that can be used but they all depend on the jigging.
Early in my residence at Umpqua River Haven I was visiting the bay and walked out on the pier noticing a gent sitting on the pier manipulating some kind of line I’d never seen before. I stopped to ask about it and this retired fella from Alaska explained jigging to me. His line was hand-held instead of being on a pole and he explained that it had several hooks up and down the line. As he jigged it with his hand making a constant motion with the line, small sardines would bite at the moving hooks and become lodged on them. Periodically he would pull up the line to harvest the small fish.
Often very shinny little fish would be interspersed among the sardines and I was educated that these are baby salmon and illegal to catch. He would carefully remove them from the hook and toss them back into the bay hopefully to grow up to make someone a delicious meal. When my family came to visit for the first time I was able to minimally explain jigging to those that like to fish and crab so they were able to catch their own bait.
The retiree from Alaska and I visited for quite awhile and he mentioned that his daughter had an espresso stand in Reedsport in the Safeway parking lot. My family is big into designer coffee and we tried this stand. Delicious. We’re not certain she is still there but if you see this small heart-starter wagon near the Safeway or elsewhere, we recommend this latte stop to anyone visiting here.
Extending out from alongside the land entrance to the dock is a nice swimming beach and grassy picnic area. In better weather, families come here to cool off and enjoy a picnic style meal together. The family has done both and highly recommend the sandy beach in this protected bay cove.