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November Chum

Updated: Oct 5, 2021

Bill Matthews Outdoors Chum fishing

My son Michael & I headed out to the Oregon Coast on Sunday morning to see if we could find some Chum Salmon. We are on a dual search this Fall. Part one is to catch fish in their spawning colors and photograph them, part two is to catch as many Salmon species as possible in 2015. So far we have been able to land Chinook, Choho and Pink Salmon. A Chum would leave us only one short of catching all five Salmon species found in the Pacific NW: Chinook, Coho, Pink, Chum and Sockeye

Although not prized for their meat, Chum are know as one of the hardest fighters of all Salmon, and they have a unique and beautiful look when headed in from the ocean to the rivers. They turn into a beautiful mixture of purples, greens and metallic brass - an almost unbelievable mixture of colors, that when seen with the other colors of Fall, make you believe that their truly is a higher power that decided to make this season as vibrant as possible using every color available!

We arrived at our spot and starting fishing a bobber and jig on Wright & McGill Salmon/ Steelhead series rods and some jigs that Robert Campbell of Fisherman’s Marine and Outdoor had recommended to us. On my fourth cast my bobber sank and I set the hook on a beautiful November Chum! These fish fight like bulldogs and it took me several minutes to finally land it.

Although many fish were rolling in the river, we did not get another bite for a couple of hours. We tried adjusting our depth, worked up and down the river and changed our lures, but nothing seemed to get them to bite.

Finally after what seemed like a few hundred casts, my bobber sank again and I set the hook on another Chum. Chum are not known for jumping, typically they just dive deep and fight like a bulldog, but this fish came completely out of the water after I set the hook and I got a good look at its size. It was big! When it landed back in the water the splash was like someone had thrown a bowling ball in the river. I was able to get the fish to my side of the river, but it hunkered down into a deep hole and I was not able to move it. This Chum simply had too much power for me to get out of the hole. I waited it out for what seemed like an eternity and finally was able to coax it to the shore. It was the biggest Chum Salmon I have ever seen. I did not have a tape measure or a scale, so I don’t not know how much it actually weighed, but it was a big beautiful fish! Michael snapped a few pictures, and I quickly released it back into the river and stood in disbelief as it swam away. This is more than I could have ever wished for, a beautiful Chum Salmon in its Fall colors, that just happened to be a giant!! Amazing.

The Chum had mangled my gear so bad, that I decided to be done for the day. I put the

Bill Matthews Outdoors Chum Fishing

rod away and watched as Michael worked the river for his first Chum. It took another hour or so, but finally his bobber went down and he hooked up on his first Chum! It was a beautiful Chum that looked to be straight out of the saltwater. It was not as colored as the other two, and the teeth were not as pronounced, but it still had some beautiful stripes.

After that fish we packed up and headed home, it was another great adventure!

Thanks for reading,



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