Anglers take advantage of early opener

"Photo: Dave Anderson was the first angler to catch his limit of two coho when he hit the beach before sunrise Saturday morning. Anderson, a 10th District state representative, helped get the season opened early.Jim Larsen / staff photoMore fishing opens FridayMore waters around Whidbey Island will open Friday, Sept. 1 for salmon fishing. They include Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet, including Fort Casey, Lagoon Point and Bush Point) and Marine Area 8-1 (Deception Pass, Hope Island and Skagit Bay. Check the Fishing in Washington pamphlet for regulations and limits.Whidbey Islander anglers starved for some salmon action found it last weekend on a 200-foot stretch of beach in front of Possession Point Bait Company.The shore fishing season there opened two weeks earlier than planned thanks to the efforts of State Rep. Dave Anderson, D-Clinton, and John McCoy, a Tulalip tribe member who is running for the other 10th District House seat.Anderson was among the first fishermen on the beach when the season opened Saturday, and limited out with two small coho.Guess who got the first limit? asked Anderson, who was fishing at 4:30 a.m. If that isn't self-serving, I don't know what is, he laughed.About 20 anglers lined the beach Saturday morning, but word hadn't yet spread that the season had opened for coho salmon that were reared in the pond of the Possession Point Bait Company. Anderson and McCoy had lobbied the state and tribes to allow anglers to catch the fish rather than let them go to waste.It would be a shame to see the majority not harvested, said McCoy, who arrived at 6:30 a.m. This was the logical thing to do.Wild fish were also considered keepers, however, as the tribes wanted a count on wild stock in the area. One of Anderson's two fish was wild. Each angler was given a sheet of paper to fill out, whether he or she caught anything or not.The early fishery was a big financial boost for the Possession Point Bait Company, which sells herring, fishing gear and snacks to the anglers. The season traditionally opens Aug. 1, so this year's late opener hurt the business, owned by Jim Cooper and his family.Dan Cooper was busy all weekend dipping herring from their pond to satisfy the demand from anglers. According to Angie Cooper, business picked up as the weekend wore on. It was a madhouse down here, Angie Cooper said Monday. They were shoulder-to-shoulder. People were waiting for other people to leave so they could fish.While fishing wasn't spectacular, nobody seemed to mind. At least there was somewhere they could fish, Cooper said, explaining the general sentiment. She estimated 20 coho were caught Saturday and a few less on Sunday.On Monday, Dan Cooper made a run to the store to stock up on supplies. The season happened so quickly, the store didn't have time to properly get ready for last weekend. It was bam, you're open, said Cooper.But nobody's complaining. They'll be fishing at Possession Point through October, and the Coopers are one happy family. "

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