Cheryl, David and I got a leisurely start
to dropping crab pots this morning on pond-like
conditions out of Santa Cruz. We set six, documenting
each on the GPS.
With the weather so nice we meandered up to
Ano Nuevo, stopping here and there to fish.
We kept four nice fat blue rockfish, three
blacks and I released a couple of short lingcod.
We also released a lot of blues and a gopher.
On the way back down we pulled the pots for
a grand total of seven crabs... Not to shabby
for a short soak! We found a big sand
one of the pots too.
Last night the gang from Full Speed Fishing
got together for pizza and beer to celebrate
a few member's birthdays, and Mike Velasquez
offered to run me out for some crab on opening
day as a gift. He has the vessel Pacific
Hooker which he operates for sportfishing
A few of us met up at the fuel dock in Pillar
Point Harbor and Mike ran us out to a pot that
yielded about three limits of nice big dungeness
After giving away one crab to a friend at
the dock I took the remaining nine home where
I was warmly received by my neighbors. We stuffed
ourselves on boiled crab and wine.
Team Alibi II reunited today to launch from
Monterey for a morning of rockfishing. We worked
the area in front of Cypress Point had quick
limits of blue, olive, vermilion and
gopher rockfish. I pinned
a small blue on and dropped it down for a lingcod that
was just 3/4 of an inch short, so back it went.
Cheryl and David are busy preparing some crab
pots so we can start some combo trips next
Today was Fall fishing at it's finest! Bright
sunny skies, calm wind and just enough swell
to comfortably drift, combined for perfect
conditions to hunt for rockfish just above
Back in the stern of the Queen of Hearts, I
met a father whose one son was a very exuberant
young angler. In the spirit of father/son fishing,
dad had handed off a freshly hooked, major-league
tugger to his son who reeled in a monstrous
cabezon. The excitement was
contagious as set my rod down to snap a couple
Returning to my spot, I hoped to soon add
something big to my sack. A guy in the corner
already had two keeper lings and I had zero.
In the recesses of my Albackore Altunative
I found a brown-backed, pearl swimbait and
soon had cast it out.
Bam! My rod tip when
bendo on a huge fish. We played give-and-take
for a couple of minutes close to the bottom,
however just when I thought I might get rocked,
the fish gave up and submitted to my reeling.
Heather swung the gaff down and planted it
firmly in a 15 pound lingcod.
This brute joined my assortment of gophers,
a decent vermilion and my
As luck would have it I won the jackpot and
another "lucky lure" from Capt. Bob.
A friend called me Friday night and twisted
my arm to go fishing the next morning, on a
charter aboard the New Salmon Queen. Jeff gave
me the thumbs up to bail, so I picked up a
couple 12-packs of Guinness and threw together
a deviled ham sandwich before hitting the hay.
Brian offered me a ride from Dan's house,
and Kevin joined us as well. We hit Starbuck's
and made a "burrito" stop for Dan, before getting
on the boat in Emeryville.
It was rough outside the gate so we never
got past Bonito Cove, however I popped up a
couple of striped bass (kept
one for dinner). I also released a small halibut,
a sandshark and a seagull.
While we were in Bonito Cove two white
Towards the end of the day we hit the tide
change near Angel Island, and as halibut were
being caught, we were treated to an air show
by the Blue Angels as part of the Fleet Week
I joined Ronnie Kovach and a couple of other Owner
Hooks fishing school instructors at 22nd
Street Landing in San Pedro. Captains Mike
Frank and Tom Lee had piloted the vessel Freedom out to San Clemente island the night before
and had our limited load of anglers ready to
fish well before dawn broke.
Anchored in calm seas, just off the kelp beds,
the calico bass proceeded
to go on the chew. Even with a beautiful load
of live bait, I
opted to start off with a Berkley mackerel
PowerBait. On my first cast I was rewarded
with a nice three pound calico.
After a short move, one yellowtail was landed
on iron. Anglers using dropper loop rigs on
the bottom were getting whitefish, sheephead and calicos.
Fishing was interrupted briefly when the gentleman
to my right suddenly collapsed back towards
me in the stern. I caught him as he fell and
held him as he experienced a seizure. As
luck would have it we happened to have a fireman
out with us and several of the crew were trained
for medical emergencies.
Later that morning
after clearing the deck, a Coast Guard helicopter
lowered a basket and picked up the unfortunate
angler and headed off to a southern California
hospital. The rest of us were left to continue
fishing in a bit of a somber mood. (Our spirits
rallied when we received goods news later from
the hospital on the patient.)
Once again we encountered hungry calicos and
soon blue perch were joining
them. A huge 7 pound calico was landed and
since Ronnie had put a minimum weight bounty
on several species of fish, the lucky guy was
100 dollar bill.
Brian Shabata and John Sutherland kept us
happy on the deck by attending to everyone's
needs while fishing, and in the spacious galley,
Johnny "McEnroe" Dewitt cooked up a storm.
Full Speed Fishing, in conjunction with several
other sponsors, held a trip for the Friends
of Rollo Foundation benefiting some of the
program (fresh lifelines for youth).
Salmon Queen out of Emeryville was
our donated vessel, with Capt. Craig Shimokusu
at the helm. He started our morning off at
Bonito Cove where one of the first fish landed
was a blue rockfish.
the wind picking up a bit we moved back inside
the bay in search of some bottom fish. The
kids were thrilled to catch and release numerous
sand sharks. Capt. "Shim" even had one about
three feet long! Five leopard sharks and
two striped bass were kept and a 45 pound bat
ray (AKA mud marlin), baby seven
and small halibut were released as well.
At six o clock sharp I was loading my tackle,
a cooler and some food unto Dan's boat Ghetto
Booty. Along for the Full Speed Fishing ride
was Lee, Mike, Mr. Ling, and Ben, who
With nice low southerly swells we ran up to
San Francisco to get bait from Dyno.
We got a healthy tankful of anchovies with
a few sardines mixed in.
Ran up around Bonito Cove to try for white
seabass. Lee wasted no time putting a 12
pound halibut on the with a coffee grinder.
A few drifts later Mike landed a 13 pound
Without the bass cooperating we hustled
down to Seal Rocks but the game wasn't on
so we returned to Bonito.
Dan had what we all are pretty sure was a toad
white seabass. It ran like
it was possessed. Just as we
thought we'd get spooled, the fish was turned,
and then the hook pulled! Not much else followed
it except for a couple of blue rockfish.
I sat for at least 5-10 minutes trying to get
a backlash out of my spectra and I must have
dropped at least 6 'chovies on the deck. (It's
a good idea to get some sleep the night before...
Geez was I tired!)
Tracking further down the coast we headed in
towards Mussel Rock and picked up a few more
From there we tried to find better water.
It was starting to show up chocolate brown.
Cove Ben caught his first butt, a 16 pounder.
Shortly afterwards I nailed a very pretty sand
I'm glad I dressed in layers, with the sun
and the fog trading off I could keep warm or
I put a pretty big dent
in the 'lil chocolate donuts and my bathroom
scale still likes me... At least tonight.
The Bay Area Tuna Club's Bat Batsford Memorial
Tuna Challenge was rescheduled from last weekend,
due to weather, and entrants were given the
9th & 10th to fish.
Cheryl & David and I launched their 28'
Grady White "Alibi II" out of Monterey
to compete early Friday morning. Our research
suggested that an area just slightly Southwest
of the harbor, over the Monterey canyon, looked
like an excellent place to start. With the prospect
of hooking the elusive bluefin tuna, a whisky
line was dumped about a 100 yards back to run
behind our standard spread.
Five minutes into the troll we hit pay dirt
with albacore numero uno.
Dave fought the fish and I swung the gaff
nailing it just below
the dorsal fin. At first we thought the fish
had snagged some seaweed, however upon closer
inspection we saw that it was infested by two
species of nasty looking worms (copepod parasites)...
yuck! Above the lateral line the worms (6-8)
were transparent yellow and about an eighth
inch thick and about 4 inches long.
An inch below the lateral line they were black,
about the same length, and looked like something
you'd use for bass bait. I grabbed
the pliers and quickly "plucked" this
A couple hours later we mapped out
a nice pocket of 63 degree water with a hard
temperature break. I hauled in another fish,
and soon Cheryl went to war with the first
contender we would catch that day. Next, a
double hook-up had David and Cheryl both in
as I was ready with the gaff. Both fish turned
out to be large peanuts that were easily swung
into the boat.
The whisky line started to scream
and I jumped on to slug it out with our second
ranking fish. Furiously cranking, I had him
to color when he decided to apply the brakes
and we engaged in a Mexican stand-off for
the next 10 minutes. I started to lightly thumb
the line as well as use the boat and swell
to my advantage. Finally, Dave planted the
gaff. Following this catch was a double knockdown
which failed to produce. The boat
handled sweetly and we popped most fish between
6.2 & 6.5 knots.
At around 3 pm, with 6 albies in the cooler,
we decided to run in, intending to get to the
in Santa Cruz before they closed. Halfway back
to the harbor I noticed the water was a consistent
60 degrees. There
everywhere, and these birds were working
too! My excitement soon caught on and we dumped
lines back out. We gave it about 15 minutes.
Not getting a hit, we reluctantly resumed our
At the scale we were pleased to have our two
top fish weigh in at 30.8 and 27.1 pounds. Allowed
one fish per boat we secured third place at
the end of the first day. Hearing that the weather
was coming up, we decided not to fish again
the second day, and we didn't expect too many
others to do well. But, alas, the next morning
another fish that had been captured the first
day was weighed in and bumped ours to fourth.
I'm pretty sure we were the highliners with
six in the box.
The third annual Bajabev Potluck, held on
the Queen of Hearts, was a double success this
Not only did we
for the Alisa Ann Ruch
Burn Foundation, but
we also got to put some of the foundation's
child survivors on the boat to fish.
Although the weather was a little bumpy and
chilly, everyone had a great day. Tables were
covered with donuts, coffee cake, potato chips...
and outside we had a cooler full of deli sandwiches
The kids couldn't believe their eyes
when they saw lingcod, cabezon and big exotic-colored rockfish for the first time up close and personal. Capt.
Bob put us onto several spots including one
we dubbed root beer reef due to the color of
the water. Fat Baits produced most of the big
fish including Russell Thompson's huge 30 pound
Tilia Gamesaver donated by Alecia Cornelius & the
Reel Sisters - Mike Velasquez
Custom rod by Rich Coulson - John Bloom
Albackore Reel Transport - Gene Coombs
Albackore T-shirt - Paul Marshall
Chuck Byron T-shirt - Dr. Rosanne Mayhew
Chuck Byron T-shirt - Mike Johnson
Chuck Byron T-shirt - Gary Edwards
Chuck Byron T-shirt - Mike Long
Print by Guy Harvey - Gary Edwards
Haircut by Lene Fried - Dan Waddell
Dressed to chill beverage cover - Renzo Segovia
Dressed to chill beverage cover - Dan Waddell
Copy of The Lady and the Lingcod - Randy Pridham
Copy of The Lady and the Lingcod - Gary Edwards
Copy of The Lady and the Lingcod - Rob Morandi
Special thanks to:
John Van Pelt for picking up and delivering
most of the kids who came to fish from the
burn foundation... And to Dan Waddell for
springing for the gas to do so.
Randy Pridham & his great boss for donating
the sandwiches & sodas from Old County
Queen of Hearts deckhand, Heather Shirley,
for donating $100 to AARBF.
Bob & Sherry Ingles for waiving a
$75 gas surcharge and supplying free rental
rods to the kids.
Reed's Sport Shop, in San Jose, for donating
a box of leadheads and some terminal tackle
kids and anglers
on the trip.
And last but not least the wonderful members
of Full Speed Fishing.com who bought lots of
raffle tickets and were always there to give
YES! I WANT TO DO THIS AGAIN NEXT YEAR!
Gene Coombs chartered the Queen of Hearts
for a day of rummaging for rowdy rockfish,
and I was not about to forfeit my invitation
be a part of this trip, so I jumped aboard.
The waters around Pigeon Point treated us
very well and I caught 3 nice vermilions as
well as a decent lingcod. The vermilions were
so dark they actually looked more like the
color crimson. I rounded off my sack with gophers,
a China and a blue
After lounging for a couple of days in Cabo
San Lucas assembling tackle, Larry Lowman and
I drove up to the East Cape to compete in the
Bisbee East Cape
John Rygiol joined us there to top off team
Broker" and we all got comfortable
at the host facility; Hotel Buena Vista Beach
Aboard Lee Brooks' boat, the Oso Negro, with
captain Carlos, we raced off across flat seas
at the shotgun start Wednesday
other vessels.With 300 pound minimum marlin on
our minds, only the big guns were deployed
in our spread. Two striped marlin and
two sailfish showed
serious interest but couldn't inhale the huge
lures intended for their larger
A dorado came to the party,
but it too failed to stay hooked. When the
order to retrieve
lines from the water came at four o'clock,
black marlin had been caught.
As it only weighed in the 200 pound class,
rolled over to the next day.
Back at the hotel after a quick swim in the
pool, we discussed the next days strategy
over a fabulous
dinner... something about drawing straws for
the human sacrifice if we didn't hook up by
Another flat calm day awaited us on day two,
and those pesky stripers and sails were back
to annoy us again. We were able to shake off
all of these smaller fish quickly so
fish. But, alas, they eluded us and everyone
else that day. Dolphins working a school of
in the area gave us some brief hope of a tuna,
but we struck out on them too... So
That night, I pursued a game of Texas Hold'em
in the bar with some other entrants to kill
before trying to go to sleep.
The third and last day started off promising
with our team finally hooking up a blue
about a minute into the fight the fish jumped
we estimated it to be only a 225-pounder,
around 75 pounds short of what we were targeting,
and let it go. We were equipped to tag
any fish caught and released, but in the interest
of expediency, we didn't bring this one to
A short time later, I caught and kept a nice wahoo (about
We promptly dropped the same tattered
off the stern to see if it would produce again.
Sure enough, it was hit
moments later and Larry got to boat a wahoo
mine (about 40#). At this point I would normally
give a description of this most effective lure.
It was originally a yellow/orange skirted marlin
lure, but there really wasn't much left of
the thing after 2 hoos.
As the day progressed we listened intently
to radio reports of fish coming to the weigh
station. Once while watching the lines, I saw
a striper all lit up and hovering beneath a
lure, then taking one swipe at the trolled
plastic before departing.
By the end of the day, only one blue marlin
qualified, weighing 344 pounds and taking the
huge bankroll. There were
also jackpots claimed for the biggest tuna
(a yellowfin tuna) and
With the bigger of the two wahoo earmarked
for dinner at Tio Pablo's, our team headed
off for a night of blowing off steam. We gave
it our best shot. But good sized marlin were
hard-earned in this tournament.
There was talk of halibut starting to show
up in the jaws at Pillar Point Harbor, so I
tossed a rod in the car and headed over. One
thing lead to another and I only got a few
casts in before I noticed the Queen of Hearts
returning to her slip from a day on the water
with a rockfish charter.
After pitching in to help clean the vessel
up I decided to hop aboard and go out for the
afternoon run to target salmon.
Randy put us onto the fish just off the Pacifica
Pier and although we only had half limits
for the boat, it was a fun trip and the weather
was awesome. We passed through schools of
so thick that the rods looked like they were
getting bit. In reality the trolled lines
were hitting the anchovies. Murres and cormorants
were working the bait balls from above and
spotted several with humongous 'chovies in
A kid up on the bow got the big fish of the
day, and I parted with one of my two keepers
so that a fishless guy could bring home some
It was another fine day of shallow-water,
light-tackle fishing for rockfish on the Queen
of Hearts. With nice semi-flat seas we headed
South of Half Moon Bay to rip lips on some
huge bolinas and China
Gene Coombs was fishing
just to my left and he hoisted up a trophy vermilion (a
few others boated some nice ones too.) I
topped off my
limit with some gophers and
a blue rockfish. Lingcod and cabezon eluded
me today, however some of the other anglers
went home with these species. I did get to
fight a gigantic starfish that
must have weighed at least 5 pounds and had
16-20 arms. It just couldn't pass up a nice
chrome jig tipped with a purple worm!
A ling and a cabezon that had been given to
Gene, wound up in the deep fryer at Princeton
Seafood, and we gorged like
bass in a minnow tank back at his house.
Rockfish season opened with a bang on the
Queen of Hearts and I wouldn't have missed
it for anything!
Under the expertise of Capt.
Bob and with the assistance of deckhands Heather
and Andrea, thirty four anglers had limits
of tasty fish with
nice chunky Chinas, Bolinas, blues, olives, blacks,
and a few huge vermilions.
(At the cleaning table, I also happened
to also see a black-and-yellow rockfish,
which possess the same body marking patterns
as gophers, and are closely related.) Thirty
cabezon up to 7 pounds
further augmented sacks, as did twenty nine lingcod,
including the big fish of the day, a hefty
deep blue-green ling.
There’s a new vessel in Santa Cruz named
Velocity, and I didn’t waste any time
checking her out. Here’s the description
posted on Stagnaros Sportfishing’s website:
“ The Velocity is a NEW
2005 60ft twin engine sport fisher built by
Yank Marine, designed to get you to the fish
with speed and comfort. She is powered by twin
550 HP Caterpillar Diesels, cruises at a speedy
but comfortable 18 knots (topping out at 25
knots!), and features a hot galley for your
Capt. Ken Stagnaro departed
the harbor for some salmon fishing
with a handful of crew
and 19 anglers comfortably aboard. Although
the boat was set up to mooch, I resisted
this wanting to try the “doink” method
I had learned from pro Ronnie Kovach. After
setting up camp in the port corner, my first
choice was a small iron lure that failed
to produce so I whipped out the chrome/red
Krocodile that had been meeting my standards
on recent salmon trolling trips. Two fish
had barely hit the deck at this point, when
line stopped abruptly on the retrieve. “Fish
on” I screamed. Minutes later I had
my first King writhing on the deck too.
Well that was fun, but could I do it again?
Casting out I noticed that the lure was being
bumped as I approached the zone about 60’ under
the boat. Cranking up, I was solidly whacked
about 20’ under the stern. I spent
the next 2½ hours repeating this scene
over and over. I rested briefly to grab a
of photos and get a quick snack, but for
the most part I was in constant action.
To add some more excitement, my 5th fish
wrapped my line around the prop and took
the bow. The two deckies pulled off a nice
save by snagging my line. They offered
to splice my line back together so I could
battle, but I opted to let them hand line
the fish. When it came aboard, I had them
gill plate to disqualify it from the jackpot.
By the time it was over, I had pulled 8 fish
from the water between 16-24 pounds. This
turned out to be one of the best salmon days
had. I had declined several offers to buy
my Kroc. I’ll also give due credit
to my new Penn 525 Mag, mounted on a favorite
rod. The fish were not line shy this day.
My lucky lure was direct tied with an improved
clinch using 30# Izorline. With most of the
fish making two, occasionally three, nice
I was very impressed with the performance
of the Penn reel.
Deckhands Mike Margrave and DJ Zack (galley
cook) performed admirably. My salmon were
expertly netted time after time, and they
the other 18 anglers like pros.
As it turned out the only fish larger than
mine was a 26 pounder landed by one of the
crewmembers, so most of my jackpot winnings
deservingly found its way into the crew tips.
It shouldn’t be long before I try out
Velocity again for rockfishing and albacore
trips. I think the future looks bright for
this fine vessel and her crew!
You only live once, so I seized the opportunity
to park my trusty custom Calstar/ Penn 525
Mag combo up on the starboard-side bow of the
Queen of Hearts for some salmon action.
Capt. Bob had a full boat including a few other
and a family of four that were real troopers
when it came to fishing.
With the weather making a few anglers turn
green, it wasn't long before a spot on the
port rail opened up and I was able to fish
closer to my friend, Gene. He was having an
amazing day catching some nice fish.
I tossed down
my red Krocodile which was hammered by a
15 pound Chinook within a couple of minutes.
Andrea skillfully escorted my silver fattie
into the net after an exhilarating battle!
getting my second fish from Gene at the end
of the day. He had put 7 fish in the box allowing
me to pair up my first fish with one of equal
size. While he didn't catch the biggest one
of the day (22 pounds), he did come close with
at least two of his fish.
Back at the dock Heather and Andrea took care
of my limit. They were filleted and steaked
ASAP so I could go home and get ready to give
a seminar that evening. This crew ALWAYS rocks!
I spent a full day on freshwater for a change.
Lake Fork Reservoir in eastern Texas is renowned
Professional guide and bass pro Barbara Stevenson
showed me some of her techniques as we cruised
lots of spots in her Nitro bass boat. Topwater
action was sporadic, however we did catch and
release 9 bass and a bluegill.
For a change of pace, I introduced Barbara
to some of Emperor Tackle’s new gold-plated
stainless steel worm hooks and she rigged them
up with some plastic worms. The glint of gold
from the hook paired up nicely with the gold
sheen in the worm pattern we had chosen. There
were soon bends in our rods as the bass dived
on the new presentation.
I must have had over a dozen strikes but I
only managed to bring 1 bass to the boat, so
Barbara really "spanked" me. We did
have a great time and I look forward to going
and fishing with her again.
As an Owner Hooks fishing school instructor,
I was surrounded by a great bunch of eager
anglers on the Premier. I had long been anticipating
fishing on this vessel... no I think a better
way to say it is fishing platform. I haven't
been on anything this nice since my last long
range trip, and at 75' with a 22' beam, perhaps
reference should be mini-long ranger. Bunks
were the only thing sacrificed in the design
on this bad boy!
The spacious galley was under
Bill Takahuwa's command. Better known as
"Benihana Bill", he churned out quality chow
while our captain, Danny Strunk, ran us from
Long Beach up to the bite off Marina
Del Rey. With calm seas and the sun peeking
out through the fog, I reminded everybody to
put on some sunscreen.
Barracuda was the name of the game we first
dropped in on. Those who had listened to Ronnie
Kovach on the way out were quickly rewarded
with "stove pipe" 'cudas. I popped one up quickly
on the bow by casting and slowing retrieving
a large Krocodile with a green mackerel pattern.
After putting quite a few of these toothy
critters aboard we switched to deeper water
and rounded up some bocaccio, greenstriped
rockfish, vermilions and
a few other assorted species including a sanddab.
At the end of the day, deckhands Joe Christina
and Bryan Salcedo got busy filleting fish as
the rest of us weighed the jackpot winners
and watched videos of hot action at Salmon
Safaris in British Columbia as well as California's
Making the best of a short weather break,
I grabbed my gear and jumped aboard the Queen
of Hearts to go after salmon. Bob had decided
to try new territory so we ran straight for
With the Northwest swell dropping
fast it soon became almost flat. I caught
sight of an airborne humpback whale as we slowed
to drop in for the troll. Murres, gulls
and cormorants darted about in thick clusters.
There was life all around and it looked very
Five minutes in up on the bow, POW!... I get
my first salmon attack. Bucking the usual straight
bait system I have the red/chrome Krocodile
working for me today. I had seen 4- 5 other
guys with crocs and Apexes ready to go at the
stern so I wanted to try it too. After fighting
this estimated 15# plus fish for about 15 minutes
it rolled under another line and freed itself.
Oh well there goes my jackpot contender!
We made a move North and now a few others
on the boat started to hook-up. I put numero
uno on the deck and kept going. Now the boat
smelled fishy! (You gotta love that distinctive
salmon scent.) They wouldn't leave my rod alone.
a few shakers
but wound up putting four nice fish in the
boat. All my fish hit between 33 -35' under
the boat. With limits of salmon by 10:20 am,
even Bob and
The atmosphere on the Tracer was festive
as I swung my gear aboard Saturday night. Back
again for the Diane Laufer fundraiser benefiting
the Breast Cancer Angels, it was more like
a reunion than a pre-board session. Alecia
had a whole table piled high with raffle items
and give-away goodies.
This year we camped out at San Clemente
Island for the night. As usual we were in
chocolate heaven in the galley. Tall Glen was
back and looking FINE with his new haircut.
We almost had a drawing to see who would get
him as their bunk buddy!
In the pre-dawn a nice halibut was landed.
Whipping out some iron I tried to jig for yellowtail
but they decided not to show up. The wind did
though, so we made a couple of moves and finished
the day by catching rockfish, calicos, and
some sheephead. Celeste was kind enough to
give me a sheephead to take home.
Once again I'd like to thank Alecia Cornelius
and the crew of the Tracer for another great
A few days rest was all I needed to
bounce back from the Oregon trip, so today
I jumped onto the Queen of Hearts to go salmon fishing.
Gene, James, Crow, Doug and a couple of others
I recognized all opted to fish from the
bow to the starboard stern. The ocean was very reasonable and it wasn’t
long before we had bites.
A few were landed and it went fast and furious,
causing Heather to hustle with the net. She
pulled it off like a pro as usual. Andrea
was with us today too,
but this was her day off and she was fishing for fun with the rest of us.
bait was the ticket and the fish had been feeding
on krill, so they fought really well. Gene
doled out some cognac and, between us, we had
beers from all over the world. Most of us
only got to down one since we had early limits
were close to the barn.
April 22 - 24
Friday morning, a van carrying some of the
of Full Speed Fishing and I set out for Brookings,
Oregon for what can best be described as
on the rear window was this warning: Caution!
This van is full of jackass, stir-crazy,
Zebco-wielding fishing addicts (yes, including
the blonde broad.) The troop consisted
of Chili B (Brian), Sully, Ghetto Booty (Dan)
We arrived at the home of Bloom (John)
around 7pm and were joined by the rest of
Fishbelly (Mike), The Lemming AKA Reraise (Warn),
Papa John, Mr. Cake (Brad), Eric Husman,
Albacore Shuffle (Greg) and his 5 year old
son Hunter. Bloom was out dining with his
wife, June, so we followed the instructions
on the door to come in and kick back. Dan and
I staked out the two guest rooms and the others
trotted off to a local motel. It was no accident
that my room happened to have access to a fantastic
hot tub, of which I partook of for almost an
hour before conking out.
Everybody rose at 0-dark-thirty
on Saturday and headed to the harbor just a
few miles away.
Papa John had made the arrangements with Tide
Wind Sportfishing for two days on
the vessel Super Star, a 43’ Delta. The
possibility of rain had been forecasted, but
it never did more than sprinkle once
the whole weekend. With a reasonable swell
and light wind from the south, the decision
was made to run north. Large rock formations
scattered throughout the coastal waters
along this beautiful stretch gave us lots
of photo opportunities.
The action was hot
for big rockfish, which were
mostly blues and blacks.
I did see a couple of huge coppers and
we released some canaries.
I brought up a deep green lingcod around
15 pounds, and fought another later that day
was around 20 pounds. Unfortunately that fish
was mishandled at the gaff and was lost. It
had hitchhiked up on a nice sized blue, but
once it felt its stomach being ripped through
it let go of the rockfish before the gaff could
Albacore Shuffle won the day's rockfish
pot with a 6½ pound copper, and Mr.
Cake took top honors in the ling division by
tossing aboard an 18 pounder. I took the smallest
rockfish of the day, a three incher, that netted
me the coveted pink T-shirt.
Everybody had a great time and scored limits
of fish. My fish count included five decent
and very tasty seatrout.
Back at the dock, June came to my aid and
took me to see Bob
a wonderful massage therapist in Brookings.
That's just what I needed, as the long van
ride had taken its toll on my neck. Later that
night after a BBQ back at Bloom’s,
I won the poker game. Mr. Cake was the first
to bite the dust and Chili B was the last to
On Sunday we returned to the scene of the
crime, or should I say carnage, up north again.
The weather was positively gorgeous! The rockfish
bite wasn’t as red hot, but the grade
of lings was super-sized. Kyle Aubin, one of
our deckhands, was very attentive to everyone’s
needs including mine. He would occasionally
address me as “pink
how I was doing. Up next to me on the bow,
Nolan Lenderman landed a 26 pound ling. Since
he was not entered in our Full Speed jackpot,
the large ling prize went to Sully with an
18 pound fish. Fishbelly stepped up to claim
rockfish pot with a 5 pound black.
Food was on everyone's mind while the crew
cleaned our catch. The group photo shot back
dock before parting ways was classic
jackassery. I made a point of sending June
some flowers to thank her and John for putting
up with us clowns.
April 13 - 18
La Paz, it’s not your average sleepy
little Baja fishing village by a long shot!
Jeff and I flew in on the night of the 13th
and were greeted by our host, Jonathan Roldan,
who is one smooth operator when it comes to
fishing in this town. Icy cold beer quenched
our thirst upon arrival while loading the rest
of the “early birds” for the annual
Cabin Fever Classic. Soon we were off to Hotel
With Thursday being the check-in date for
most of the group, Jeff and I had arranged
with Jonathan to go diving out of the Cortez
Club a short hop down the coast. We paired
AKA “Sumo”, another early guest,
to descend into the depths for the day. While
diving was fantastic, this is a fishing diary
so I’ll move along, except to say that
we got a chance to preview some of the fish
species we'd be catching the next day!
Friday found our group assembled in the lobby
at 5am sharp. With streamlined precision gear
was loaded, ice blocks distributed, breakfasts
and lunches doled out, and shaking off our
anglers trooped off in a caravan (of vans)
to the awaiting pangas.
With the island of Ceralvo beckoning us,
our Capt., Victor, promptly skimmed across
the channel to collect a nice score of sardines
for bait. Jeff put the first fish of the day
in the box; a seven pound sierra.
Other species were soon to follow, a couple
of cabrilla, a half dozen skipjack,
a pargo, acrobatic needlefish,
a trumpet fish, beautiful
yellow and black triggerfish,
and even a puffer fish. Then
came the fight of the day for me, an estimated
pound jack crevalle.
I fought this worthy adversary on 12 # test
for about 20 minutes, breaking the line just
mere feet from the boat. What a rush!
Day two again started at Ceralvo with one
of my slow-trolled poppers getting inhaled,
however I was quickly cut off when the fish
escaped into the rocks. We decided to try a
little offshore trolling to test the waters
for wahoo and marlin, but none presented themselves.
We then made a few attempts at jigging
for yellowtail amongst some locals who had
been hand-lining for them, before heading inshore
again. Slightly south of the island we found
the pargo honey hole at Perico Point. I had
practice sight fishing for these surface-crashing,
brick red bruisers, but they proved to be very
line shy. At one point I thought I had hooked
a decent pargo. After a long fight I found
a skipjack around 15 – 18 pounds at the
end of my line. In addition to the varieties
of fish we had caught the day before, I added
a Panama graysby to my list
On our final day on the water, Jonathan joined
us for a very informative and enjoyable day.
Popping up yet another type of pargo, commonly
called a yellowtail snapper,
was a treat, as well as getting an exotic giant
hawksfish, otherwise referred to as a clown
hawksfish or Chino Mero. The
pattern and colors on the fish reminded me
of a mandarin goby. Victor and Jonathan also
showed us the techniques of catching delicious surgeonfish.
Towards the end of our day Jeff hauled up a ladyfish and
I dealt with a “kite” release.
I had managed to hook a frigate bird, which
was filmed in detail to the amusement of everyone.
As were most of our fish, our winged guest
was safely released.
A lot of people missed the boat by not going salmon fishing
today. The swell that was encountered by the
Queen of Hearts quickly died down and turned
almost as flat as last Wednesday. While the
water was cooler due to recent weather, it
got balmy enough for me to shed a couple of
layers, so I could fish with just my new Queen
of Hearts t-shirt and a pair of jeans.
My favorite salmon trolling stick, a Calstar,
had a new Penn 525 mag spooled up with fresh
20# line. After releasing the first salmon
hooked up, a shaker, I soon had a nice one
which was the third fish to hit the box. With
tonight’s dinner now a reality, I kicked
back, grabbed a snack and visited around the
boat for awhile.
Other fish were netted as the morning progressed,
with a total of seven fish landed, however
I saw at least 4 fish lost just short of victory.
I observed one angler tighten his drag at the
last moment hoping to pull the fish closer
to the net. He wound up pulling the hook instead. “Buck
fever” happens on the water too!
The bite cooled after about 11 am and we
tried to get them biting but they wouldn’t
listen to our pleas. I finished the day not
only with a limit ( 9 & 12 pounds), but
my biggest fish took the jackpot. I gave the
cash to our deckhand Andrea and gave my smaller
fish to a guy who didn’t get one that
day. I hope to be heading out with Capt. Bob
I finally couldn't wait any longer so I went
down to Pillar Point today to fish for salmon.
I also wanted to shoot some photo stock of
rockfish gear, so I loaded everything into
the car and left early in the morning.
When I arrived I pulled to the end of the
pier to unload, as I usually do. I hit the
unlock door button, got out and went to the
rear hatch to open it. You guessed it - LOCKED...
back to the door - LOCKED... keys?... Fell
out of my sweatshirt pocket and were IN THE
My buddy Randy, from the harbormaster's office,
grabbed a slim Jim and both he and Capt. Bob
Ingles took a shot at opening the door. So
what's a girl to do now. Everything, (except
my license), is locked up and AAA is not going
to arrive before the Queen of Hearts leaves.
This is when another friend of mine came to
my aid. Doug Gober was packing an extra rod & reel
and sandwiches. He twisted my arm, so with
Randy set to meet AAA, I went "What the
hell! Let's go!
As it turned out I would not have needed my
boots or raingear, as it was one of the most
beautiful days on the water I can remember.
We headed out for the islands and the only
kid on board popped up the first fish. His
mom followed with the second one. Two more
were landed, but Doug would have had the fish-of-the-day,
a toad around 18-20#, however it came un-pinned
just before swimming into reach of the net.
I was really enjoying a day at sea more than
concentrating on fishing, so I wasn't too disappointed
to only have a few scratched baits. I think
the real reason I didn't get a fish was due
to my victory Guinness being locked in the
We saw sardines jumping a few times and I
looked at the meter now and then to see the
depth of the bait. The first ball was down
around 120 feet and most hook-ups were happening
in the range of 25-45'. One hit just under
the boat as an angler was reeling up.
Overall it was a fun day at sea and I'll try
again soon. For now I'm 0 for 1 on the salmon
So how do you start off the New Year when
it’s cold, wet and soggy? Well I don’t
know about you, but I went in search of perch.
The Santa Cruz Sand Crab Classic Perch Tournament
was held today and, despite the threat of worsening
weather, many fishermen turned out to support
The morning started by gathering outside Bayside
Marine to check-in, pick up a T-shirt and listen
to Mike Baxter give instructions and suggestions
on fishing spots. Jumping in the car, I headed
up north, stopping at several beaches on the
way to check surf fishing opportunities. If
I had waders or a wetsuit with me, this plan
might have worked!
I decided to bail on the beach, opting instead
to try out my old honey hole in Pillar Point
Harbor. Back when I was a commercial salmon
fisherman in this port, I learned where to find
some whopper rubber lip perch
around the docks.
It was raining lightly when I arrived, so I
ducked into the Harbor Bar for a nice “fortified”
coffee drink. Close to 11:00 I finally donned
my pink boots (my other pairs are in the middle
of a year-end cleaning cycle) and gave it the
old college try. Waves, current and wind made
it difficult, but I did manage to get the tail
of one grub bitten off before I threw in the
Before leaving, I stopped by the Queen of Hearts
to admire her newly installed stainless steel
railing and fresh coat of paint. After one more
cup of coffee, this time on the F/V Verona,
I returned to the festivities in Santa Cruz.
Mike was cooking up a storm while guys brought
their perch in to be measured. Despite the cold
and rain everybody was having a great time.
I didn’t see any rubber lip perch, but
there were a variety of others, including barred
and walleye. Proceeds from
the day went to the Monterey Bay salmon and
to my 2017 Fishing Diary
to my 2016 Fishing Diary
to my 2015 Fishing Diary
to my 2014 Fishing Diary
to my 2013 Fishing Diary
to my 2012 Fishing Diary
to my 2011 Fishing Diary
to my 2010 Fishing Diary
to my 2009 Fishing Diary
to my 2008 Fishing Diary
to my 2007 Fishing Diary
to my 2006 Fishing Diary