The Winter Hole not surprisingly is a great place to fish Winter blackmouth. This spot is an outgoing current location. Anglers troll, jig and mooch. The dark blue circle on the chart is the center of the area. When they named this the Winter Hole perhaps they named the deep hole to the East. On an outgoing tide the bait schools up in the deep and then stacks up along the steep ledge and then washes over the ledge onto the shallow areas to the West.
Jiggers do exceptionally well here and often catch more fish per angler than trollers or moochers. If you jig turn on your GPS track and search for bait in the 180 to 200 foot depth. The outgoing current will push you into the ledge area quickly so be ready to crank your reel to keep your jig off the bottom. I hate jigging uphill but it does work here. Once on the other side of the ledge jigging is much easier in terms of maintaining depth control. During strong tidal flows you will need to back troll to maintain line angle and depth control. For optimum success keep your jig within three feet of bottom. These fish are rooting baitfish off the bottom and staying as deep as possible. You can find an excellent selection of jigs at Dartjigs.com
At the end of a drift reel up and start over. Your track mark will help you figure out the current direction, which changes throughout the tide. Be courteous here and don’t wake other boats as you roar past the crowd heading toward the start of the drift. Some anglers here just don’t care and get close enough to wake you so be watchful and hang on when “That Guy” goes by to close again.
Trollers work the area and do circles around and through the high spot. As the tide progresses the blackmouth will spread throughout the shallow area. Keeping gear close to bottom is key here and requires someone to maintain depth control on the downriggers at all times.
Moochers do well at the Winter Hole and often can be seen fishing from the old style Olympic 16 to 18-foot moocher style open boat with tiller handles. Small baits work best because the bait is typically small this time of year. A single or double hook 12 to 15-pound fluorocarbon leader with 1/0 or 2/0 hooks works best. Crescent sinker weight size will depend on current strength. Bring a selection of sizes ranging from 2 to 6 ounces. Work the cut-plug or whole herring from the surface to the bottom. When you hit bottom reel a couple turns, pause then reel up 20-feet and drop back to the bottom. Repeat process and every few minutes reel all the way to the surface. Work the bottom as well as the water column.
Best depths: 60 to 140-feet
Best methods: jigging, mooching and trolling within 5 to 10-feet of bottom.
Best trolling lures: Coho Killers, mini FAT Squids, Squiddy Squids, Kingfisher Spoons and Floochies.
Best jigs: white Point Wilson Darts or Dungeness Stingers in 2 to 6 oz sizes
Boat launches: Best access is from Ediz Hook launch or Port of Port Angles launch.