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Author Topic: Sea Ducks  (Read 1306 times)

Offline DAMdoug

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Sea Ducks
« on: January 10, 2017, 04:56:04 PM »
Is anyone interested in getting together to hunt sea ducks? I would like to go with someone who has hunted sea ducks. I am new to Washington (from Montana) but I have hunted some public land east of Aberdeen, several places on the Hood Canal and Skagit bay. I am mainly interested in old squaw and harlequin. I have a boat, dog (picture below) and some diver decoys* (see below). I plan on hunting Padilla Bay or Semiahmoo Bay. But anywhere would be fine. I would rather go with someone that has hunted sea ducks and is better setup than go by myself. If anyone is interested let me know.

Thanks Doug

*Decoys - 4 hand carved cork goldeneye, 1 dozen crappy flambeau bufflehead decoys (head shape-looks more like ring necks, bought them real cheap) that I repainted to look like bluebills, and some flambeau mallard drakes that I painted to look like goldeneyes. I just ordered 6 GHG bluebills and 6 surf scoter. I also planned on using about a dozen pintail hen decoys to help fill out the spread, should be a little over 3 dozen total.  I am in the process of rigging these up on longlines. Any suggestions on length of mainline to anchor/weight? 

Offline h2ofowlr

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Re: Sea Ducks
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2017, 07:31:14 PM »
You will need a motor in those bays due to the currents.  I wouldn't try it otherwise.
Cut em!
It's not the shells!  It's the shooter!

Offline DAMdoug

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Re: Sea Ducks
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2017, 07:55:35 PM »
Actually I have 25 hp outboard, I forgot about that detail.

Offline huntingfool7

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Re: Sea Ducks
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2017, 07:58:38 PM »
Cool boat.  I'd like to see some more pics of it.  Did you build it?

Offline h2ofowlr

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Re: Sea Ducks
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2017, 08:15:45 PM »
When hunting the bays it is usually 8'-15' deep where I hunt most of the time.  I run a 15' dropper to my 5lb claw anchors and I have a 100' of line on each spool.  I have clips on everything, so it is easy to hook up.  I run 12-18 decoys on each line and most of the time I run 4-5 lines up to 10 lines.  I also have 24 or so decoys that I throw in as fillers to break up the lines.  They really aren't to challenging to hunt, if you locate the line they like to fly it will be a quick hunt given the small bag limits.
Cut em!
It's not the shells!  It's the shooter!

Offline DAMdoug

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Re: Sea Ducks
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2017, 08:53:42 PM »
huntingfool7 - Yes, I built the boat out of plywood, epoxy resin with fiberglass cloth, from an Arthur Armstrong Broadbill plan about 20 years ago.

h2ofowlr - Thanks for the info on rigging. I was planning on clipping/snaps on everything also, including weights. Do you ever get any other divers (bluebill, cans, etc.) while hunting sea ducks?

Next project I have wanted to do for a long time is make some decoys. Are there any decoy carving shows in the Seattle or Portland areas that anyone knows about?


Offline h2ofowlr

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Re: Sea Ducks
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2017, 09:00:28 PM »
huntingfool7 - Yes, I built the boat out of plywood, epoxy resin with fiberglass cloth, from an Arthur Armstrong Broadbill plan about 20 years ago.

h2ofowlr - Thanks for the info on rigging. I was planning on clipping/snaps on everything also, including weights. Do you ever get any other divers (bluebill, cans, etc.) while hunting sea ducks?

Next project I have wanted to do for a long time is make some decoys. Are there any decoy carving shows in the Seattle or Portland areas that anyone knows about?

Lots of good local carvers in the Skagit Valley.  They will all come out for the Washington Brant Foundation.  Watch for that coming up as it is usually mid May and held at Holiday Sports.

When set up for sea ducks we usually get scoter and GE with buffleheads mixed in.  The occasional blue bill.  Depending on where you set up you can get long tails that are going to deeper water locations.  A few spots for Harlies and a few select locations for cans.  You will have to move around and re-set up to get the various birds in most conditions. A few harli locations where you pretty much just get those or visa versa.  Just pay attention to the weather forecasts as they spots you mentioned can get rough in short order.  You will also need to study the boundary maps for up north, so you don't get ticketed for hunting within city limits or private property.
Cut em!
It's not the shells!  It's the shooter!

Offline DAMdoug

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Re: Sea Ducks
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2017, 05:12:53 PM »

When set up for sea ducks we usually get scoter and GE with buffleheads mixed in.  The occasional blue bill.  Depending on where you set up you can get long tails that are going to deeper water locations.  .... You will also need to study the boundary maps for up north, so you don't get ticketed for hunting within city limits or private property.

For long tails, what water depth do they like? Is it better to setup for Harlies closer to an island/beach?

I have a GPS with onX Hunt installed, I also have the app installed on my phone. So I have been using my phone while in the boat to navigate the delta's and check for boundaries. The phone has such a bigger screen it is really easy to use.

For the south end of the Strait of Georgia, out in the bay, I should be ok? But what about Hat island, Dot Island? They show to be owned by the state of Washington. Have you hunted up north by Blaine? I was thinking about hunting outside the spit, maybe north of Semiahmoo Park about a 1/4 of a mile off shore? Trying not to trespass and be respectful even if it is legal to hunt. Hunting in someones "backyard" does not make for a quality hunt for me. Thanks for your input.


Offline Whitenuckles

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Re: Sea Ducks
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2017, 02:44:27 PM »
Love your set up. But listen to H2O. You don't want to go in that boat. Trust me..... I go all the time in a 20' Lund. And I still get my butt handed to me. The sound is no joke, you can lose a boat in 5 mins.  :twocents:
GEAUX TIGERS

Offline DAMdoug

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Re: Sea Ducks
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2017, 09:09:53 PM »
Update and question.

Went out last weekend and set up longlines for the first time. Shot a couple of surf scoters, my first sea ducks, dog retrieved ducks and no tangles so I am calling it a win.

Question is you start in a low tide, set your lines, and you have 6' feet of water coming. How do you set lines to allow for tidal changes?

I have searched and googled and read forums, thread after forum thread and have not seen this question. Last weekend I just left slack in the main line so when the tide started rising the decoys just rose with the tide. Everything I see or read it sounds like they set there lines tight by dropping first anchor then dragging the line into position (and tight?), drop the second anchor.

Offline lokidog

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Re: Sea Ducks
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2017, 12:19:54 AM »
Seems like you would need the slack in your line, on both ends. I'd have a longer tail than lead so that if water level goes down, the tail decoys can drift over the weight. But it probably would not really matter of you ended up with some curve in the decoy line.

Old Squaw will dive to sixty feet or more to feed, but I mostly see them in 30-60'. I don't hunt Skagit though.  These sea ducks can swim a long way under water when wounded, so smack them quickly if given the chance.

Offline ASHQUACK

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Re: Sea Ducks
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2017, 02:50:03 AM »
I set my lines with no weight on one end. I just set everything far enough apart so they don't wrap up when the tide changes and they change direction. If their heads up shoot em again.

Offline lokidog

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Re: Sea Ducks
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2017, 06:12:21 PM »
I set my lines with no weight on one end. I just set everything far enough apart so they don't wrap up when the tide changes and they change direction. If their heads up shoot em again.

The one time I tried decoying them out here, I tied them to the back of my boat On a long lead.  :)

Offline ASHQUACK

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Re: Sea Ducks
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2017, 07:02:31 PM »
Ah, yes, the traditional drift set. It absolutely works I just don't like it mostly because of having to chase wounded birds down.

Offline lokidog

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Re: Sea Ducks
« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2017, 12:30:44 AM »
I didn't have that problem, nothing came near me....  :rolleyes: Probably why I try to drift ambush them instead (which we can do out here all ye internet police).

Offline ASHQUACK

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Re: Sea Ducks
« Reply #15 on: January 26, 2017, 12:47:03 AM »
Actually, in some places the run and gun guys got so bad that they passed laws that make it so you can only shoot from an anchored platform.

Offline lokidog

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Re: Sea Ducks
« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2017, 01:04:13 AM »
I know, Skagit is that way, that is why I mentioned it. I've never seen another duck hunter where I hunt so no worries about too much harassment.  ;)

Offline DAMdoug

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Re: Sea Ducks
« Reply #17 on: January 27, 2017, 04:27:53 PM »
I set my lines with no weight on one end. I just set everything far enough apart so they don't wrap up when the tide changes and they change direction. If their heads up shoot em again.

How many lines? and how long are your lines?

Offline ASHQUACK

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Re: Sea Ducks
« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2017, 08:59:26 PM »
It depends on where and what I'm hunting. I run up to 6 lines with about a hundred decoys in some spots. Others I will run 2 or 3 just depends.