Originally Jeff and I were supposed to be
in Baja at the end of September. But Hurricane
Marty forced us to postpone when it slammed
right into the East Cape the weekend before
our scheduled trip, laying waste to the local
highways and power grid.
Jumping into our rental car at the airport,
I noted the bright orange art deco appearance
of the radiator grille, which could only mean
one thing… Monarch migration. We saw thousands
of these butterflies flitting about en masse.
While the north wind did not derail our diving
plans at Cabo Pulmo the first few days, it did
make it a bit more challenging. Of course by
the second night in this rustic setting, I was
ready to grab a flashlight and search the neighborhood
for satellite dishes.
On our last day in Cabo Pulmo, for the sake
of efficiency, we had checked out early and
loaded the car for a quicker post-dive retreat.
After rinsing and changing at the dive shop,
we raced up to Los Barriles, stashed our bags
in our room at Palmas de Cortez, and were sipping
piña coladas at the pool bar in record
time. Before dinner I toured the hotel to see
the recent changes.
Friday the 14th aboard “Rude Girl”,
Jeff and I attempted to go offshore for tuna.
The wind was fierce but we gave it our best
shot. Battling 6'-8' seas took most of the fun
out of fishing. After another boat radioed that
they found the local dolphin school and the
tuna weren't biting, we decided to throw in
the towel. We endured a pounding saltwater shower
for the long run back in.
We took a break Saturday and drove to La Paz
and Todos Santos for a look around. Lunch at
the Hotel California in Todos Santos was to
By Sunday the wind had dropped and once again
team Rude Girl headed out to look for the Spinner
dolphins and the yellowfin below them. We scored!
Trolled cedar plugs and ¾ oz. squid colored
hootchies helped us get 7 yellowfin and 1 odd
skipjack. The tuna ranged from a couple of “sashimi”
size to 35 pounds.
Winds from the west greeted us on Monday so
we tucked in around the backside of Isla Cerralvo.
Jeff briefly fought a sailfish before it spit
the hook, but he went on to produce a nice 5
pound threadfin pompano, which
we enjoyed later for dinner at Tio Pablo’s.
I wound up with a triggerfish
and a whitefish that I gave
It was hard to leave on Tuesday, but we did
so with plenty of tuna, including about twenty
pounds that we had put through the East Cape
Smokehouse. They did a wonderful job with our
fish as usual.
United Angler's annual "Feed the Hungry"
trip on the Queen of Hearts was held today and
I wouldn't have missed it for anything. With
Bob and Sherry Ingles both aboard donating their
vessel for the day, UA was able to benefit from
the $60 fare each angler ponied up to fish the
From the moment lines first hit the water
we enjoyed free goody bags, free raffles, and
free food and beverages. Let me tell you, this
was NOT the day to be on a diet! We had a blast
fishing for rockfish all day,
and then donated all the fish to the Salvation
Army. I also accomplished a personal best on
vermilion rockfish by scoring
four of these beauties.
At the end of it all, no muss, no fuss, dump
your gear in the car and head for the bar. For
my husband Jeff, this was a dream come true;
the trip was tax deductible and I wouldn't be
bringing home any fish that would just wind
up as overstock in the freezer.
October 8 — So I'm dropping off a salmon
at Harry Boos' home for him to smoke and he
mentions that Wednesday is the last day to score
any cabezon, so I figured I'd better go. I hopped
aboard the Queen of Hearts and chatted with
a few of the regulars on the way out. Heading
south from Pillar Point, it turned into a nice
sunny day with a bit of a large swell that tapered
off as the morning progressed.
Some extra coaxing was needed to start the
fish biting, but soon we were hooking up greenling,
as well as blue, gopher,
vermilion, and China
Later that afternoon, the cabezon
woke up and a few lingcod got
hungry as well. Although I failed to entice
a cab up, I did finally whip out the pearl colored
scampi tail to score a nice Ling — nice
enough to take the jackpot and be awarded one
of Captain Bob's "lucky lures" for
October 4 — About to be sidelined for
awhile, Ken wanted to get in one last salmon
trip this year. So at 5:30am, Ken, Matt and
I launched out of Berkeley and ran north of
the Golden Gate.
Ken and Matt both hooked up soon after we started
to troll, but one was a shaker and the other
spit the hook. After grinding away for another
couple of hours, we noticed how flat the ocean
was becoming and decided to hoof it for Point
Reyes, where the water temperature was significantly
Again we tried for salmon, but soon gave up
to fish rockfish. Ken landed a bomber blue
rockfish. I had something for a short
time, but with hardly any swell, the fish weren’t
on the bite. It was so nice at Reyes that I
planted myself on the bow of Ken ’s Skipjack
and got in some serious casting practice. Around
3pm, the vessel sprinted back to the buoy outside
the Gate, and at 4 we had salmon action again.
Every time we’d start to think about running
in, someone would hook a fish at the last possible
moment. And they were nice fish too; just one
short of limits, and the top three weighing
in at 22, 26 and 30 pounds.
As darkness descended upon three weary fishermen
heading for the barn, we enjoyed one last treat.
Passing Pier 39 we caught the fireworks show
all the way back to the dock.
September 14 — As a recent member of
Outdoor Writers Association of California, I
was pleasantly surprised to find out that Tom
and Lisa Mattusch are OWAC supporting members.
Having known Tom for a few years from around
the harbor and as a fellow Coastside Fishing
Club member, I finally got a chance to take
him up on an offer to fish his boat, Huli
Cat. The vessel is a 53' Hoquiam design,
which helps to give it a smooth ride. I talked
Gene Coombs into coming along too. Deciding
to chronicle the trip more than fish it, I brought
along a camera, voice recorder and only a smattering
of tackle and a light rod.
We left the dock around 4:15 am and headed
for the tuna grounds. Anglers hooked up some
nice albacore averaging 18-22
pounds. While on one stop, we were treated to
two large blue whales that hung around the boat
for awhile. A good day was had by all with a
final tally of 38 fish.
I have been attending the United Anglers benefit
dinners for quite some time now, and I usually
wind up whipping out my Visa card to bid on
something during the auction. Last year I
away with two trips donated by Richard Oba
aboard the Sydney Mae II. This 38’ Bertram
twin screw berths in Salmon Harbor, Winchester
Oregon, and is chartered by Pacific Pioneer
Sport Fishing. The vessel is set up to six
but I decided to limit the fun to four: Robin,
Ray, Gene and me.
We drove up from the Bay Area the day before,
a 10 hour trip filled with banter, beautiful
scenery and lunch near Shasta Mountain. After
checking into our rooms at the Harbor View Motel,
we walked across the street to find the Sydney
Mae II. Captain Oba and his deckhand Joe Baima
were busy cleaning up a nice load of albacore.
We agreed to depart the next morning at 6am,
opting to sleep in a bit longer than usual.
Thursday morning came and the harbor was shrouded
in fog. The weather report wasn’t pretty,
but it might be our only shot as it called for
stronger winds the next day. Our hearty group
of four refused to wimp out. The captain and
crew obliged us the opportunity to brutalize
ourselves in sea conditions that would have
turned back the timid at the bar. Conditions
were rough enough that we were the only sport
boat on the grounds among 4 or 5 commercial
We set out four rods and dropped green zucchini
lures into the clear blue wake behind the stern.
Within a few short minutes we were shouting
the chorus “FISH ON!” It was albacore.
On the first assault, my first fish got cut
off, so I quickly rerigged. I tied on a green/black
plastic lure with a chrome head that I hadn’t
used in years. The albies wouldn’t leave
it alone; it came up with a fish just about
every time we had a strike. We often hooked
up doubles… sometimes triples. Gene and
I also made attempts to raise a fish with swim
baits and dead baits, but to no avail.
Later that day when the sun came out, we swapped
darker colors for the zucchinis and the hook-ups
continued. After about 5 hours of this kind
of action, we tallied 18 nice albacore to 30
pounds, with our average running about 23#.
The sea was actually starting to lie down by
the time we decided we’ve had enough and
headed for the barn around 2pm.
Back at the dock, we started to process our
catch. Our deckhand Joe filleted and I cut out
the bloodlines at the cleaning table. From there,
the fillets went up to the small kitchenette
in our room where Robin bagged them using the
vacuum packer we brought from home. After a
couple hours of this, Robin hit the shower,
and we still had about 80# of fillets left in
2 huge plastic bags. Our room had a full sized
refrigerator and we plugged it! We had also
sent some of our smaller cuttings to the Thai
restaurant directly behind us, where we planned
to have dinner that night. Gene and Ray returned
from their tequila run just in time to tote
all the carcasses over to the designated dump
Off we went to the Pah Tong Thai Café.
We towed Joe along with us, promising to drop
him off at Captain Oba’s place later.
When Joe isn’t decking for Richard, he’s
a California Fish and Game warden. He kept us
entertained with lots of amazing stories while
we enjoyed some great Thai cuisine.
On Friday, we once again opted to forgo salmon
fishing and instead headed out to Richard's
halibut “honey hole.” I grabbed
a bunk while Rich and Joe fueled and iced the
boat. Even though the ocean was still quite
rough, the ride out was smoother than the previous
day, and slightly shorter. Rich and Joe broke
out the boat rods, which were loaded with Spectra,
and started to rig our gear. We fished rather
deep and used the bounce-ball method (but I
won’t give away too many of Rich’s
secrets). When bounce-balling in rough weather,
the boat occasionally needs to back up to keep
the line straight. For those of you who have
ever got drenched backing down on a marlin…
well this wasn’t that bad, but still enough
to douse Gene and Ray, who weren’t wearing
Gene started the morning by kicking a short
lingcod off his line. After a few missed strikes,
I set into something decent. Carefully, using
the action of the boat, I reeled in my largest
Pacific halibut to date, 45
pounds. Ray had some bad luck as a couple of
nice fish came un-pinned on the way up. Richard
pointed out a huge mola mola (about 400#) that
paused to check us out. Gene started to fight
a fish that we were surprised to discover, as
Joe went to net it, was not a halibut, but a
black cod. Gene went on to
catch another, each weighing around 15#.
Then Robin hooked up and began to crank for
all she was worth… and crank… and
crank! When I saw the fish coming to the surface,
I flashed on the line from the movie Jaws and
yelled up to Richard in the fly bridge, “We’re
going to need a bigger boat!” I grabbed
the harpoon and offered it to Joe, who was eager
to trade me for the notably undersized net.
“Don’t wait for me!” I shouted
at Joe, continuing from my Jaws repertoire,
as I slid along the stern looking to lash the
harpoon line to a cleat. With a precision shot
just behind its massive head, we soon had the
beast up to the boat and subdued it with numerous
blows to its tail. Robin’s halibut weighed
in just over 75 pounds, making mine look like
a sand dab in comparison!
Gene hooked a blue shark and
brought it into the boat tied in a knot like
a pretzel, to be untangled and released. Some
more of the blue dogs attacked Ray’s fish
just below the vessel and shredded it. There
were huge chunks of halibut churning up everywhere.
That must have kept the sharks busy, allowing
us to finally limit out (including Richard and
Joe). The normal-sized butts fell in the 30#
Once tethered to the dock again, everyone
wanted to see the huge halibut. Richard’s
wife Sydney brought her camera, as she had the
day before, to take a series of trophy shots.
We then carted all our fish to the local cannery
for cleaning. People were still arriving wanting
to see what turned out to be one of the largest
halibut brought into that harbor for the season.
It became evident by all the comments that we
had fished with the best boat and captain in
the area (as if they needed to tell us). I mentioned
that we’d better get moving before the
local news team shows up… “lady
angler has big butt, film at 11.”
After sleeping in Saturday morning, we ambled
over to the Sportsmen’s Cannery &
Smokehouse to watch as James Caven expertly
finished filleting our halibut. He saved Robin
the “pearls” (ear bones) from her
fish to make into earrings. Bill & Mikayle
Karcher, the cannery owners, supplied us with
ample ice for our coolers and gave us a sample
of their tasty smoked salmon for the return
road trip. I like the slogan on their business
card, “Catch what you can, we can what
you catch.” As tired as we were, none
of us wanted to finish vacuum packing our albacore,
so we traded half of it (about 40#) for canned
tuna. The remaining bag of fillets went to Ray
and Robin to can them at home later.
Robin and I caught up with Joe for one last
round of drinks (coffee) at Kitty’s Kitchen.
Reluctantly I had the group “kennel up”
in the van, where we relived our trip in stories
on the way home.
Thanks Richard and Joe for a great two days!
August 24 — Wild Wave albacore
trip. Mike Baxter and the crew of the Wild Wave
chalked up the second best trip of the season
with a final count of 176 albacore between 24
anglers. It was one of the best charters I’ve
had the pleasure to fish, and I’ve seen
numerous responses today that feel the same
Although the chickens never went completely
“stupid,” the action was fast and
furious at times. I managed to land 10 fish
and lost another three. (If I hadn’t taken
a short and well deserved break to enjoy one
of Salty’s great cheeseburgers, I’d
have probably nailed one or two more.) I know
I owe at least a couple of hook-ups to Bait-Tank-Bobby’s
excellent service. Mike and the rest of the
crew stuck a noodle rod in my hands a couple
of times just to keep me working hard.
Beth Smith and her brother Don had fished with
me the day before. But despite severe sleep
deprivation, they managed to be hotsticks as
well! One small mako shark was hooked and released.
As the day progressed, the blue sharks showed
up, including one that was around 7'. I only
saw one shark-bit tuna; for the most part they
left us alone.
Thanks to Alan Matsuno for sharing a couple
of Sierra Nevadas with me. He remembered from
a previous charter that I like good bottled
Jeff Liu took the jackpot with a nice albacore
(approx. 34 lb).
See my Photo
Album page for images.
August 23 —
The first annual Lady and the Lingcod
shallow-water, light-tackle rockfish tournament.
A nice, calm, slightly overcast morning turned
into a beautiful sunny day of tournament action.
Tom Southern was a last minute substitution
for angler Chris Kenny. Other than that, the
original entrants remained the same.
Ken Stone came along for the day to catch
all the action on video tape. Send an email
to request your copy. I’m glad he was
there to record a truly great day of fishing.
Nick Dennis scored the first halibut
of the day and went on to take 1st and 3rd place
with two halibut weighing 26 and 24 pounds,
respectively. Scott Breidenbach won 2nd place
with a 25 pounder. Don Smith (Beth’s brother)
came close to being in-the-money with a nice
halibut. A total of 18 butts hit the deck of
the Queen of Hearts by the end of the day! Some
very nice lingcod were boated,
but none were big enough to give the halibut
any real competition.
We also had nice rockfish
assortment, consisting of vermilions,
Chinas and gophers.
Other species included rock sole,
starry flounder, cabezon
and greenling. Fun was had
by all. We're looking forward to next year’s
trip, which is now scheduled for August 21,
2004, back aboard the Queen of Hearts. Ken has
once again agreed to video our action.
See my Photo
Album page for images.
August 8 — Ken Bertelsen invited me along
for a day on his 38' Bertram, the Lisa Anne.
Fellow coastsiders George, Barry and Darhyl
were already at the boat catching sardines (and
a mackerel) while waiting in the slip. We left
the harbor of Half Moon Bay at 5:30am and ran
to just behind the Farallon Islands.
The humpback whales were everywhere as we came
up on the area that we had decided to start
trolling from. In the morning, we picked up
eight albacore while enjoying
the sunny weather and calm ocean. We hit water
temps as high as 64°.
The bite died and we decided to run south
to reports of a few more fish, where we picked
up another seven to finish the afternoon.
July 31 — Ray, Robin and I went fishing
with Ken on the Tide Runner out of Half Moon
Bay. We ran southwest for a couple of hours
and started to troll for Albacore.
The action started off with one here and a couple
there, and progressed to triple and quadruple
hook-ups. Only one fish was taken on a swimbait;
the majority of albies preferred zucchinis.
Only two fish would be considered peanuts; one
weighed in at 31 pounds.
We had to quit early in the afternoon as there
was no place left to put any fish! The weather
was overcast and calm when we started the day,
but we rode home on the heels of a southerly.
July 20 — After a proper Allcoast pre-boarding
party at Coaster's the night before, twelve
of us descended upon Islandia Sportfishing in
San Diego and loaded our gear onto the Blue
Horizon. We ran all night on a flat ocean, rigging
gear, sipping port and getting a little shuteye.
When dawn approached, the trolling rods adorned
the stern. Let the Pro Gear Tuna Challenge begin!
Although there were many eligible species, this
contest would be decided by Albacore
alone. Since the competition was predominately
Allcoast members (and six of those were Darksiders),
I could not have asked for a better group to
fish with. We all tried our best that day, but
try as we may, our final tally was ten fish.
Most of those were troll caught, and therefore
did not count. There were four fish that qualified
towards deciding the top three tournament winners.
Alas, I was not among them. I did wind up with
two nice troll fish and the memories of another
great time with friends who share my passion
for the sport.
July 8 & 9 — I went out with Ed Miller
again on a 2-day rockfish tagging
trip (see May 20). We fished on the Princess
from Virg's Landing out of Morro Bay. Six of
us fished (including the crew) while Ed measured,
recorded and tagged vermilions, gophers, blues,
coppers, lings and other species. The overall
size and quality of the fish were amazing. I've
never seen coppers that were 16-18 inches before,
and we tagged at least three that size!
Weather conditions on Tuesday cut our fishing
time short, so we proceeded to the anchorage
earlier than we had hoped. The next day was
fishable, and we enjoyed a full day before returning
to the dock at 5pm. This was my second central
coast trip this year. I can't wait to round
up a couple of friends and go fish there again
(and bring home some huge fillets).
July 1 — Today was the rockfish
opener and I fished from the deck of the Queen
of Hearts. We had nice weather for our boatload
of diehard shallow-water, light-tackle rockfish
fans. Purple jigs seemed to work the best, but
a variety of fish were landed on all kinds of
combos. Among the critters in my sack, I managed
to get my bag limit of cabezon
and a jackpot contender green lingcod.
There were a lot of gopher rockfish
(quite a few were released) and some whopper
China cod, vermilions,
and golden greenling. A halibut
was also caught! I brought my camera and let
captain Bob take some shots. Look for new pictures
on the Queen of Hearts web site.
June 28 — I got to crew with Marc Gorelnik
on the Tunapalooza. Thinh Nguyen, a fellow Coastside
hitchhiker, also joined us. In search of albacore,
we left Santa Cruz harbor early and pushed through
the fog bank on the outside.
Five rods were set out, and we commenced trolling.
First to hit the deck was a nice surprise, a
20 pound bluefin tuna, landed
by Thinh. We proceeded to pluck chickens throughout
the day — one here, a pair there. The
sun never really made it out, but enough got
through the overcast sky to redden my cheeks
by the end of the afternoon.
We packed it in around 2pm and hit the ramp
by 5. Final score was 1 bluefin and 9 albacore.
I'd say we had about an 18-20 pound average
on the albies, which is plenty for me to start
my smoker up!
June 26 — Hitchhiking again, same boat,
same harbor (see June 13). Engines were still
finicky, so we kept it close. We headed to Capitola,
where boats were already landing halibut.
I managed to hook a nice 10-12 pounder. But
as soon as it saw the net it said, "Adios".
Due to mechanical failure, we returned to the
harbor around 10:30am. I did manage to put a
smile on my face when I discovered that my new
Pro Gear 540 Albacore Special reel had arrived
while I was out fishing. They even threw a shirt
in for me too. Thanks guys!
June 13 — Got a call to hitchhike on
a boat out of Santa Cruz for halibut.
We ran up to San Gregorio and trolled around.
No butts picked up our baits. However, on the
edges where the sandy bottom changed to rock,
we did pick up the occasional lingcod, which
were promptly released. We began having trouble
re-starting the engines, and the weather got
a little snotty around Davenport on the way
back, so we packed it in early.
June 3 — Yet another day aboard the Queen
of Hearts fishing for salmon.
We had a southerly kicking it up. The fish were
feeding on krill, which made them pretty squirrelly.
We also had a lot of drive-by-maulings on our
bait. I came away with one nice one; the high-liner
was a 30-pounder.
June 1 — I just spent 3 hours in the
garage assembling my new rockfish
arsenal... just one more month 'til the season
May 20 — I tagged along with
about a dozen others on the vessel Mallard out
of Port San Luis, CA, for a Department of Fish
& Game rockfish tagging
trip. It started off with a little breeze and
wound up blowing 25-30 knots, but due to the
persistence of both the fishermen and the biologists
we had a great day.
When the rockfish season opens later this year,
I want to return to fish with Patriot
Sportfishing, home of the Mallard. While
the quality of rockfish and
lingcod are comparable to what
I find in my local waters, I enjoy a chance
to visit some less traveled coastal towns like
May 5 — While at Clear Lake, CA, for
the Outdoor Writer's Association of CA annual
conference, I took the (rare for me) opportunity
to accompany a talented bass
fishing guide, Steve Seals, on a day that was
not yet quite warm enough to find a lot of them
spawning. We scratched up 3 bass — strictly
catch-and-release for this event. It was fun
and gave me a chance to pick up some pointers
on a totally different fishing style than what
I'm accustomed to.
April 24 — My new Demon jigs arrived
and they sent me a hat too! One of these days
I'm going to have to fish with them "down
April 23 — Today I fished with Ken Stone
on his private boat Tiderunner. We had limits
on salmon in less than an hour
with the largest fish weighing 22#. We used
sardines on red RSKs and got one fish on a pearl
Apex. I used the Shimano/Seeker outfit from
April 20 — In a "washing machine"
ocean on the vessel Queen
of Hearts out of Pillar Point Harbor, CA,
I broke in a new Seeker
Black Steel rod. I used a TLD10 with 20# Izorline.
We trolled anchovies for salmon
and the new rod performed beautifully! My largest
fish was around 15#.
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to my 2004 Fishing Diary