For those who want to experience a DIY sea fishing adventure and value fresh fish tacos in true catch and cook form, the Westport Jetty is a destination for motivated anglers. No boat no problem, just park your vehicle at Westhaven State Park, which requires a Discovery Pass, and pack your gear for the short scenic hike out towards Chehalis Point. There is a beautiful stretch of beach to enjoy with versatile activities to discover like surfing, beachcombing and bird watching.
When to Go Jetty Fishing at Westport
Spring and summer are the ideal times to catch bottomfish. With the right bait, appropriate gear, patience and a little luck, expect to catch rockfish – most common is black sea bass – lingcod and sea perch. The Westport Jetty extends nearly a mile into the Pacific Ocean and the northern harborside offers calmer waters to cast from. There is a significant wave break on the southern side that attracts surfers from across the state. Finding the right spot along the 17,000-foot stretch of rock is a combination of intuition, physical adaptability and visual acuteness to find a flat enough rock to get as close to the water’s edge as possible while staying safe and keeping dry from the occasional big swell. It is not a crowded fishing destination so there is plenty of opportunities to move locations if the bite is slow.
Choosing Gear to Fish the Westport Jetty
Scott Turner with Silhouette Outdoors from Boise, Idaho has had great success Jetty fishing at Westport and plans on returning next spring to film the experience for his YouTube channel. “I like the challenge, enjoy the dynamic nature of ocean fishing as well as the variety of fish that can be caught without paying for a charter service,” explains Turner, who holds multiple state fishing records in Idaho. “My go-to setup is a ¼-ounce lead head with a ‘Gulp’ sandworm grub using an 8-pound Fluorocarbon fishing line on a light action rod. For lingcod, I like a medium-heavy salmon fishing setup with a 30-pound test monofilament using a 1-ounce lead head and large white curly tail grub, typically 4-6 inches long. Make sure to bring a net for the bigger fish. Let the bait drop to the bottom and retrieve slowly.”
Scott offered the following tips for fishing the Westport Jetty:
- Pay attention to wind as anything over 15 mph makes for tough casting and it becomes harder to detect strikes
- Take a 5-gallon bucket for your fish and add some salt water to keep them fresh.
- Black rockfish and surf perch are choice meat for fish tacos. Beer battered lingcod fried in hot oil is an excellent preparation for your catch.
Safety Considerations for Jetty Fishing
Coastal weather changes rapidly so plan ahead by checking the weather forecast and always bring layers like rain gear and a hat. The reflection of the water can cause severe sunburns on the face and lips so apply sunscreen. Plan on bringing everything you might need for the day with you as returning to the car would be a significant journey. Hiking shoes and comfortable clothes are best to rock hop the jetty so it is not advised to wear rubber boots or waders. Choose a day without rain as the rocks can be very slippery when wet. Wearing a Personal Floatation Device (PFD) is suggested if casting close to the water as there is always a risk of sneaker waves, especially for youth who might be joining in on the fun.
Regulations and Resources
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife lists the Westport jetty as Marine Area 2 so be sure to check the 2022/23 Marine Area Fishing Regulations before you head out and note the daily limits. Typically, the bottomfish opener starts in mid-March and runs through mid-October. Make sure to buy the appropriate saltwater or combination license in advance which can be purchased at local tackle shops or online.