BROOKINGS, Ore. -- Finally, after years of dreaming about being a fishing guide on the ocean, Clarence Cole, Jr., is doing so.
The 54-year-old from Klamath Falls established Fishin’ Trips Charters in 2017. In his 2015 26-foot Hewescraft Pacific Explorer, Cole took clients on fishing trips out of Brookings and Coos Bay along the southern Oregon coast, pursuing salmon, tuna and bottom fish.
“I’ve been dreaming about this forever,” Cole said. “I love to fish. That’s what I do, I fish.
“With my wife’s blessing and several friends pushing me, I’m now guiding,” he explained.
Cole will be available to talk about fishing and his own fishing experiences at the 18th annual Newswatch 12 Sportsmen’s & Outdoor Recreation Show at the Jackson County Exp Feb. 23-25.
Cole had many fishing experiences in his younger years, working as a teenaged deckhand when his father, an Air Force veteran, ran charter fishing trips out of Pacific City and out of Charleston for active military members and for retired veterans. Then after graduating from Mazama High School in Klamath Falls in 1981, Cole joined the Coast Guard and he was able to fish when stationed at Ketchikan, Alaska, Winchester Bay and Coos Bay. He’s also been able to fish along the Gulf Coast and in several Canadian lakes.
But after his four years in the Coast Guard, he worked fulltime for Jeld-Wen and Pacific Power, putting his dream of a guiding business on hold for a few decades. He still fished on weekends, but didn’t go fulltime as a fishing guide until deciding early in 2017 to quit his job with Pacific Power in order to pursue his dream job .
“I love what I do,” he said of fishing. “I’m one of the luckiest guys walking.”
Cole fishes out of Brookings from March through June and then moves north and fishes out of Charleston during July, August and September. He wraps up the fishing season back in Brookings, fishing out of that port during October. “It’s all weather dependent,” he said.
Cole said he most enjoys fishing for tuna. “I’ve done a lot of different things in my life, but probably the most exciting fishing I’ve done is catching tuna,” he said. “There’s nothing like it. Even a 15-pound tuna, when it turns to run, it’s all you can do to hold on. When you catch a 35-pounder, it takes everything you have to hold on. Tuna pull harder than any salmon.
“To be trolling along and running six fishing rods and then to have all six screaming, that kind of excitement is awesome,” Cole said.
During the 2017 fishing season, Cole said the average tuna trip was 30 to 35 miles offshore. He said salmon trips out of Brookings were 6 to 12 miles offshore and the bottom fishing trips were just a half to one mile out.
Cole said he enjoys teaching people how to fish and he likes to take first-time anglers out.
“Those are my most fun trips,” he said. “To see somebody catch their first fish, that’ll get them hooked on fishing and that’ll keep fishing alive. You also make a friend for life.”
Cole was able to take two people in wheelchairs fishing this past year.
“Those were cool days,” he said. “To have those people on my boat, to share the love of the sport of fishing with them, to share with people who are ready to give up because of their disability, to see a smile on their face, those are wonderful days of fishing.”
Cole encourages those who fish with him to get involved in all aspects of the fishing experience, from baiting the hooks to landing the fish. He wants visitors to feel like they are part of the crew.
Cole can be contacted by calling 541-891-2309 or by email at FishinTrips@msn.com. More information on Cole’s fishing guide business can be found online at FishinTripsCharters.com.