Summer is approaching, and at least one man recommends that Washingtonians get out there and take advantage of it.
Rod Marecle, 58, is the owner of Zak Tackle, a fishing tackle wholesaler. Marecle, a native of Parkland and a graduate of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, bought the business roughly 20 years ago. He has been owner and general manager ever since, and a few years ago, moved the business from its previous address in Lakewood to a warehouse on Pioneer Avenue in downtown Puyallup.
True to his business, Marecle is a fishing connoisseur. Inside his office hangs a novelty frame with photos of himself and his father fishing in Alaska, one of his favorite vacation spots. However, he is quick to point out that one does not need to go that far to have a good catch.
“We are so blessed here in the Pacific Northwest,” he says. “We have such great places to go fishing, and experience the outdoors (in general).”
Marecle was willing to offer tips on where one can find great fishing in western Washington this summer.
The best saltwater fishing in the Puget Sound area, according to Marecle, is directly outside the entrance to Gig Harbor.
The best time to set off is at slack tide, the period when there is no significant tidal current. Marecle says slack tide generally occurs in this spot between 5:30-8:30 a.m.. The water should be about 80 feet deep.
The fishers should launch their boats at the Gig Harbor entrance, and then travel north about 200 yards, making a “fairly tight turn” around the tip of peninsula.
While the boat is in motion, the driver should slightly increase their speed when turning. Doing so will keep the bait level in the water.
Zak Tackle makes the Wally Whale M742 45-inch Hoochy, a component Rod recommends for this fishing trip. If one is unsure about what to use for this adventure, he says that local retailers can help, as explained below.
As for freshwater fishing, the perfect spot depends on whether or not the fisher in question has a boat. For those without a boat, Marecle suggests Bradley Lake Park on South Hill as “a perfect spot.”
“It’s got beautiful surroundings and a nice beach,” he says. “Plus, they have benches–––you can sit on the bench and supervise your kids and grandkids while they fish. That beats having to move your beach chair from place to place.” He adds that Bradley Lake is especially abundant with rainbow trout, and that the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, the agency charged with managing fish levels in the lake, “does a good job of restocking; there’s always a good amount of fish.”
If you have access to a boat, Marecle recommends Lake Lawrence in Yelm, in part because it touches a personal nerve of his.
“My grandfather had a cabin by the lake,” he says. “There was no electricity. He would cook pancakes on a wood fire stove.”
Lake Lawrence has a public boat launch, and its primary fish include rainbow trout and smallmouth bass.
Tips for beginners
Rod Marecle is a professional at fishing, but he holds no judgment in offering tips for beginners.
He recommends Salmon University (www.salmonuniversity.com), which has advice on all matters of fishing, including equipment, boats, weather, and even recipes. Salmon University also has region-specific advice on fishing in the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, and British Columbia.
Another website he suggests is Game Fishin’ (www.gamefishin.com), which has reports, reviews, and maps for various fishing spots in Washington.
Two stores that Marecle directs all kinds of fishers toward are SportCo and the Point Defiance Boathouse. He says the former is for fishers who want to buy their gear in advance, while the latter–––located on the shores of Tacoma, just outside Point Defiance Park in Tacoma––– is for those who want to buy their gear “when they drop in the water.” He says the key in both places is to ask as many questions as you need to.
“Don’t be intimidated to admit you don’t know anything about fishing,” he advises. “These people want to help you catch a fish with their gear––you’ll be more likely to go back to their store if you do. (It’s in their interest) to help you.”
By the same token, he advises that beginning fishers avoid general goods retailers like Walmart.
“If you go to Walmart,” he says, “you could be paired up with a salesperson who’s never gone fishing a day in his or her life.”
Above all else, Marecle encourages locals to get outside and enjoy the water.
“For someone to live in the Pacific Northwest and not take advantage of the water is a tragedy,” he says. “The Puget Sound, the Pacific, lakes, rivers… state parks… (Go out) with your kids; it’s a great opportunity to do family activities.”
And that’s not just limited to fishing.
“Clam-digging, boating, even just going for a walk along Point Defiance… whatever it is, do it. To not enjoy the water we have in the Northwest would be sad indeed,” he says.
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost