Bud, Mike and Bernie are just
a few of the regulars who I normally see on
the Queen of Hearts on a Wednesday trip. These
guys chartered the vessel for today's private
trip to the Farallone Islands. Gene, Tony, Cindy,
Harry, Doug and I were just part of the "A"
list of about 13 anglers with Heather on deck
and Bob at the wheel.
We had plenty of food, libations
and elbow room when we started to pick off nice
size rockfish. Big blues were
voracious hitting every jig as it sailed past
them to the bottom. Those who made it past these
were rewarded with large coppers,
bolinas and lingcod.
I had my first ling fairly soon and added it
to the four healthy blues I already had in the
The weather and ocean conditions
were beautiful as drift after drift produced
beautiful fish. I saw a couple of nice seatrout
landed and some huge cabezon.
Chinas and quillbacks
made appearances around the boat as well.
Tony was the hotstick when it
came to lings although Harry went on to claim
the biggest at the end of the day. My second
ling came up on a whole blue rockfish pinned
to a 4 oz. chrome bar. Three times in a row
I'd have a huge hit and crank halfway to the
surface only to have the fish let go.... Classic
hitchhiker behavior. I kept immediately dropping
back down and promptly getting slammed again.
The fourth time worked like a charm and a 8
1/2 pound ling topped off my limit.
Today was the annual United Angler's
"Feed the Hungry" trip which was on
the Queen of Hearts. It was a rare opportunity
to have both Bob and Sherry Ingles on their
vessel, donating it for the day.
Bob Strickland from UA was out
with us along with a few folks from the Salvation
Army. Goodies were donated and raffled off from
Reed's Sport Shop, Boater's World, the gang
from "Who's Your Daddy" fishing, Queen
of Hearts and more. Nobody went hungry on this
trip with tons of fried chicken, spud salad,
pastries, and sodas.
Gene and I took our usual spots
near the bow, and in the stern we had Ben Romano
and Sy Hoff. I saw a few other regulars among
the group too. We headed to the South and prepared
The fish were on the chew with
quality blues and blacks,
and Gene landed a hog China.
I had a bomber black and yellow
jump off the hook at the surface, but it was
soon replaced with a nice lingcod.
My limit was rounded out with a cabezone
and some gophers, and one lucky
kid scored a halibut around
Heather filleted most of the fish
with Sherry lending a hand and back at the dock
more prizes were given away including a couple
of new rods. A dock cart was completely filled
with bags of fillets to go to special programs
to help feed the hungry.
Today we had everything in our
favor to make one last run for albacore;
outriggers, enough rods to build a picket fence,
plenty of ice and live bait. The only drawback
was no sonar due to repairs.
We launched from Santa Cruz around
5am and just short of daylight we had good water
temp so we set out five trollers. A few hours
later we had a hit and a miss on the port short.
Lines kept coming up with eel grass that was
widespread from the last major offshore winds.
Later that afternoon we had one
fish hit the whiskey line and first thought
it was a ball of kelp. Jeff, Cheryl and David's
neighbor, fought the "kelp" to the
boat where I had the gaff ready. Just a few
feet from the boat we realized it was a fish
and I sank the gaff into a nice 22 pounder.
Speaking of kelp, we saw so many
paddies that I thought I had died and gone to
Southern California! We stopped on one and found
a mola (there were molas everywhere today) but
live bait produced nada.
The Velocity out of Stagnaro's,
in Santa Cruz is a nice, clean, fast vessel
that I had tried out for salmon fishing last
year. I was so impressed with my first trip
that today I decided to jump aboard for a rockfish
Capt. Ken and deckhand DJ ran
about a dozen of us to points North of the harbor
and I had a chance to fish the area in front
of Davenport, which I hadn't been to in awhile.
Although the lings and cabezon had lockjaw,
we did bag limits of blues,
and I saw a couple of Chinas
and seatrout landed as well.
If you book a fishing adventure
with these guys leave your coolers in your car...
You won't need to bring your lunch after you
see the galley's menu. Treat yourself to a hot
burger and a cold one for a change of pace.
About 20 of us, mostly the wednesday
regulars, ventured out of the Queen of Hearts
for some rockfish action. We hopscotched our
way down to Pigeon Point and picked away at
nice blues, gophers,
Chinas (including a nice little
toad I picked up late in the day), big bolinas,
and some nice vermilions. Only
3 lingcod were boated and 1
cabezon. I'd chalk up the slightly
off bite to weather.
October 10 - 12
Just when I thought I'd be able
to break down my tuna trollers I had one last
chance to score some albacore. Capt. Shim on
Salmon Queen called out for some volunteers
to assemble for an overnight, long-range, tuna
recon mission. I emailed Cheryl and the two
of us made the final cut along with a bunch
of other Full
Speed Fishing fanatics. Tony and Chris
rounded out the crew.
We left Emeryville early in the
evning after eating some great take-out hamburgers
from Trader Vic's, and as the guys listedned
to the A's game Cheryl french
my hair. Then we packed it early for the long
ride to the Davidson seamount.
At daybreak I had the outside
rail troll position next to Dean for most of
Shim had also rigged a couple of outriggers
with daisy chains and one produced. Dean's
troll rod was the hotstick for most of the
morning and even I had a chance to bring in
a fish on his rod because everyone, including
to fish with live bait.
I managed to toss the troll fish in and hook-up
a minute later on my bait rig using a Berkley
3" mackerel pattern pogy. Fish inhaled
it on the drop. All morning it was troll, stop,
one or two and repeat...
A small rain squall drifted in for an hour
or so and then the sun returned and the ocean
started to flatten out. We popped open a few
beers and Moe brought a nice bottle of wine
to enjoy. Later that day the fish went nuts
for one quick stop
fly lining a 'chovie on an Emperor hook. While
fighting this nice albie I played under and
over with "backlash" Cheryl on the
bow. We both got our fish in and I celebrated
by putting an albacore head with the longfins
still attached on my fishing cap for a jackass
photo shot. The weather was getting nicer as
the day went on
packed it in we saw a school of Risso's dolphins.
It was around 3:30 am Thursday when we returned
tired but happy. Everybody had a chance to
fight a fish and take one or two home. I sent
most of mine off to be smoked as did Cheryl.
Thanks again Shim for a great trip!
new 29' Shamrock, Panda Angler, was my fishing
platform today. His beautiful boat transported
me, Richard Kent, and Rich from Coyote Point
Marina to the Farallone Islands for an epic
day of rockfishing and beyond.
First we topped off the live
well with about 20 sand dabs to use as lingcod
bait. We had so much fun just fishing for dabs
on the flat calm water that we could've spent
the whole day there.
We high-tailed it to the southeast
island and I looked over the charts to see where
we'd drop in. I remembered some nice spots from
my commercial days and we had rockfish eating
our offerings ASAP. I had a standard rig with
20# topshot and my new Emmrod as well. The guys
started to use the dabs pinned to halibut rigs.
I opted to pitch artificials and iron. I released
seven lings and kept a limit of nice big rockfish
covering numerous species. Rich landed a nice
keeper ling and so did Richard. Gary shook off
a short ling caught on the Emmrod and then Richard
got into the action with assorted rockfish hitting
the Emmrod. The fishing was so good I barely
had time to hit the galley for snacks. By mid-afternoon
we called it quits with four limits of blues,
two male and one female seatrout,
a pair of cabezon, quillbacks,
a copper, a China,
and 3 legal lingcod.
On the way in we hit perfect water conditions
for salmon so we put out four rods on the downriggers.
As luck would have it I was up on the bow when
a fish hit Richard's line. The salmon made
it's initial run which was decent to say the
least. I grabbed the net knowing full well
that this was going to be MY mission. I guess
the fish got spooked or finally realized he
was hooked because all of
a sudden the line stared to peel off rapidly...
Just like the way it does when a sea
lion grabs it. 200 yards
spun off the reel before he could turn it,
but after about a 20 minute fight I scooped
35 pound hog and we dragged it over the rail.
It was Richard's biggest and best salmon
of the year. It also christened the deck of
Gary's new vessel.
We all filleted the catch on the way in as
Gary piloted the boat back to the harbor where
we arrived tried but happy around 9pm. I look
forward to fishing with these guys again.
While I don't get seasick, I
will suffer the consequences of eating fowl
gone bad. In this case it was the turkey and
chicken chipotle meatballs that I'd had for
lunch yesterday. As much as I just wanted to
head back to bed after hurling I just couldn't
let a couple of special people down today,
so I jumped in the car and motored over to
Cheryl and Dave's home.
While Cheryl and Dave are special
it was actually Humberto and his seven year
old son, Monte, that were the two I didn't
want to cancel on this morning. We all piled
the tow rig and hauled the Alibi II to Monterey.
Back in August I had caught a huge olive rockfish
that I should have submitted
as an I.G.F.A. all-tackle record, but I missed
it and we filleted the fish before checking
the stats. Today we planned to revisit the
area hoping to find another one.
The ride out was smooth and our
guests enjoyed viewing sea otters, various
birds and sealions. Monte hooked up with two
blue rockfish on his first
drop and was ecstatic prompting me to whip
out the camera and get
his kodak moment. Dave was his instructor and
I gave some tips to Humberto throughout the
morning. Cheryl took the bow position and I
joined her every once and awhile.
Monte scored a 4 pound boccacio on
our deepest drift and then we all started to
get some really nice olive rockfish.
I had a lingcod but it was
short of the legal size so after showing it
to Monte and his dad
we released the fish. We probably released
around 15 -20 fish wanting to give Monte a
lesson on good fishing ethics for the future.
I released a small copper rockfish and
only kept a couple of gophers and
a few decent olives, blues and a China.
Monte had a grin from ear-to-ear and was our
"highliner" for the day. I'm sure he is now
hooked on fishing.
Well it turns out that returning
to the spot paid off. Dave landed a big olive
and after we got back, cleaned the boat and
all of the other fish, Dave, Cheryl and I took
the olive to a local supermarket to weigh on
a certified scale. It came in at just shy of
4 pounds beating the current weight of 3.9!
So I guess if I couldn't get the record I'm
glad a friend has a shot at it.
What a difference a week makes.
Back to flat calm fishing conditions today and
the fishing was anything but calm on the Queen
of Hearts. My first fish was a huge 5 3/4 pound
vermilion rockfish and I caught
it on my new Emmrod.
This was followed shortly by a lingcod,
then a black and yellow, a
big gopher a couple of blues
and finally the monster bolinas.
The sun came out halfway through the day and
added to the enjoyment.
Well today's weather conditions
weren't pretty for the Queen of Hearts, but
those looking to push past the elements and
Mike, Bernie, Gene and I worked
the bow, while Bud and Harry took the stern.
About a dozen other hardy souls braved the wind
to catch limits of blues, gophers,
bolinas, and a few cabezon
and lingcod. While I only had
one ling that just fell short of legal length,
Bernie took top honors with one around 16 pounds.
Capt. Bob is back at the helm
of the Queen of Hearts, and although there
was a bit of a lumpy sea we managed to get
job done today as far as bagging limits of
nice rockfish. I had blue rockfish,
a huge bolina and a pair of lingcod...
No halibut today, so I'll try again tomorrow
Well I'm on a mission to catch
another halibut since after my last trip I
found I had butchered another I.G.F.A. record
fish! So this morning I went fishing with a
group on the Queen of Hearts. Capt. Bob is
away on business this week so "Hootch" stepped
up as our temporary replacement.
I parked next to my friend Harry
Boos at the starboard corner and immediately
hooked a 16 pound lingcod.
Sweet! I went back to browsing the ocean floor
for a flattie,
losing a brand new jig in the process.
Next I rocked a swimbait and busted
it off. Things were starting to slow down although
the blue and black
rockfish were still being very aggressive.
After awhile I decided to just put on a small
white spoon and play with them. A few nice gophers,
and a copper were landed...
All around me as a matter of fact. Harry even
flipped me a cabezon when he
boated a second one.
While I did have a great day
(and just missed the jackpot), I wasn't one
of the two anglers who did get halibut. Maybe
Sure, I could've sat home all
day watching the newly released, second season
of Desperate Housewives, but I decided to go
fishing on my favorite ride out of Pillar Point
Harbor; the Queen
of Hearts. And wouldn't you know it, Gene
showed up too.
Capt. Bob pointed the bow south
as a few of stared to engage in some lively
discussion. Mike was visiting from Florida
and we talked about redfish as well as our
Under the cover of light fog we
slipped into the zone above Ano Nuevo and started
our first south-to-north drift. My first hook-up
was on a B2 squid and the fish took off running.
I brought it halfway up before I was bitten
off. Dang! It felt like a good one too. Gene
whipped up a lingcod to my immediate left on
the bow, as I rummaged through my Albacore Altunative
Having chosen an 8" Storm Wildeye
swimbait in the sardine pattern I cast it out
and started to bounce it across the bottom
towards me. WHAM! I cranked down and used the
swell action of the boat to bring a hefty lingcod into gaff range for Heather. She swung on it
like a pro and plopped it down so I could get
a couple of photos before putting it in my
sack. We whipped out the scale as well and
it weighed in at 19 pounds. The Storm has been
sliced but it was still very fishable and in
short order I had another ling about half as
big. A blue rockfish put the
final kiss-of-death to the lure.
Gene was into gophers as
I browsed my arsenal for my next victim. This
time I chose a 6 1/2 " Kalin scampi tail in
root beer flake, pinned to a homemade, powder-coated,
glow leadhead. I made a couple of pitches before
setting the hook into a brute. I thought I'd
have another hog ling until halfway up the
fish turned and ran... towards the back of
the boat. I yelled for Heather to have the
gaff ready as I prayed that I was now fighting
a halibut. I turned the fish and as it came
into view it was indeed a nice California
halibut. The flattie danced around
on the bow before he was subdued and tossed
into the box behind me. (He just fit!)
After a beer and a look through
the other sacks aboard, I tossed the Kalin back
out and had yet another fine fish come up. This
time it was a cabezon around
6 pounds. Gene had bagged his second ling and
was working on some blues. I rounded up a few
more and called it a day. A GREAT day!
On the way in we put the halibut
on the scale and it hit 28 pounds. While there
was no jackpot today I did get another "Lucky
Lure" and I joked to Bob that I now have enough
to make a charm bracelet.
August 21 - 25
Paradise, Shangri-La or Heaven — whatever
you want to call it, the real name is Queen
Charlotte Safaris, a fishing lodge located
in Sandspit, British Columbia. Situated on
northeast end of Moresby Island the quaint
town of Sandspit is home to 350 residents.
A modern and sturdy harbor is just a stone's
the lodge. From there, boats simply
round the corner to the west through Skidegate
Inlet and Channel, and wind up at the Pacific
Flying from San Francisco airport
to Vancouver and then on to Sandspit was
a breeze. I arrived early Monday afternoon
and was excited to check out the new lodge
and Valerie Hoperich
had just built. I found the location and
layout to be perfect, everything a serious
fishermen would look for. And with beautiful
landscapes and a myriad of birds and other
wildlife, the lodge is
a pleasant stay for fishermen and their companions
as well. Now top that off with the
culinary talents of chef Joe Harben. That
first night I enjoyed a truly spectacular
Fishing departure time depends on the tide
schedule, so I had a leisurely breakfast
Tuesday morning before Captain Richard Aiken
and the vessel Anthony Isle had us heading
The spacious 27' Boston Whaler carried
our team of three, including my
Lowman. Larry's the one who had originally
introduced me to Ron and Valerie,
and he frequents the lodge often.
Just ten minutes from the harbor, we came
into an area where you could hardly shake
a stick without seeing a pink
humpback) jump out of the water. So it was
pulled into a small cove to cast to
some. I hooked my first one in the dorsal
fin and it put up a great fight. We played
with these fish for about 45 minutes.
The sun came out prompting me to shed
my bright yellow rain gear as we navigated
our way to the salmon grounds. Running time
is approximately an hour over
the glass flat water of the channel. The
time passes quickly though because of the
I put the camera to good use.
With the downriggers deployed we soon had
king salmon ready to combat.
To the various tunes from the boat's Sirius
radio we took turns pumping decent-sized
fish boatside. We easily released as many
taking. Most were between 17-22 pounds and
were fat and sassy. Bob, our third teammate,
also pulled in a
coho salmon. I fought one
fish on a knuckle-buster, which earned its
a spring broke inside the reel. But that
didn't cause me to lose the fish! Rich trolled
through spots named "the wall", "meat
and "moose tooth", keeping us busy
all day. (Almost sounds like a whitewater
rafting trip!) I barely found the time to
dip below and raid the cooler for lunch;
sandwich and a bunch of Joe's assorted fresh
That night we decided to give Joe a night
off rather than make him cook for just a
few of us. (The lodge was between scheduled
fishing sessions.) Six of us headed into
town to the Sandspit Airport Inn to eat
and knock back a few cocktails. Rich and
a couple of other locals showed up to join
us. I also had a chance to meet Ray Lorenzo
who would be taking me fishing later in the
Wednesday we took the day off. After sleeping
in a bit, Larry, Bob and I jumped into the
ferry to Queen Charlotte City. After a short
20 minute ride we had lunch and ran a couple
of errands. People were both friendly and
informative. The visitor's center is a must
Back at the lodge new folks had gathered
and in no time at all four of us hit the
beach to toss lures at the pinks. I snagged
another nice fighter... In the dorsal fin
again! At dusk we walked back, stopping briefly
at the harbor.
Thursday morning, after fortifying myself
with a big bowl of Capt. Crunch that I scored
at the local
grocery store, I walked
down to Ray's boat; another
named Predator 3. Today I was fishing with
Bernie Whitney-Griffiths and David Pree,
and we decided to run out and try our luck
Within minutes, and sometimes mere seconds,
I had big lingcod, yelloweye
rockfish, and quillback
my lures. I jigged up a 34 pound ling on
a River2Sea sea rock in the spotted mackerel
rigged with an Owner dancing stinger hook.
I put another pair of 20 pounders in the
box to take home as well. The next fish to
hit freight-trained me and kept my lure.
It felt like a halibut but I'll never know
for sure. I re-rigged with another sea rock
this time with a red head/lumo color with
a pair of their support hooks. It was instantly
inhaled and I was rewarded with a huge yelloweye.
I tossed the lure down again and got bit
by a feisty quillback. When this fish hit
the deck I decided to look at the big yelloweye
again. Something in the back of my mind told
me this might be a record catch. I retired
the outfit just in case.
The guys were ready to salmon fish so we
picked up and ran back inside. I let Bernie
and David take the first wave of fish while
taking a break to have a cold Guinness. Word
had gotten out to Rich's boat that I had
a few beers aboard... and they were without!
Well I was in a sporting mood so a little
while later they trolled close enough for
me to toss my last one to Rich who netted
I jumped in to catch a few fish as well
and had a blast using Bernie's spinning outfit
on a couple of kings. I retained one more
king to fill my possession limit and the
guys took a few since it was their first
day fishing. It was a pleasure fishing with
all of them and all-in-all we had a terrific
On the way in we stopped by Albion
Fisheries to unload our catch and I had
the big yelloweye weighed. It tipped the scale
at 20 pounds so I took a photo of it on the
scale and figured we would measure it later
if it was indeed a potential record. As it
turns out, a 20-pounder tops the current women's
30# line class record, as well as the 50#,
so I'm submitting the catch to IGFA.
This was my
first time sportfishing in the very scenic
I already want to go back... NOW!
Team Alibi II consisted of Gene,
Dave and Cheryl and me. We launched at around
3am out of Santa Cruz to compete in the Blue
Water Open; an albacore tournament. With a scoop
of nice anchovies, rods rigged for the slide
and just about every known color patter of troll
feathers, we thought we'd have a nice shot at
At the Monterey
buoy we found water hitting 60 degrees but
after a quick look around we went further
out and found a patch of 61.8 water. The sea
not a great color however and we trolled
through a lot of green water never really finding
clarity. While we did have nice weather and
a lot of fun we just couldn't find any albies
Most of the entrants had trouble
finding fish, but there were a few boats near
the guide that managed to rustle up enough
to weigh in.
Dave and Cheryl towed their Grady
White, Alibi II, to Monterey this morning for
some shallow-water rockfish action. I joined
them as well as their East Coast visitor Jimmy.
By a little after 8am we had started
our first drift in 180' of water off of Carmel
Beach. Six foot swells and a light breeze combined
for just the right speed to work jigs and cover
ground. Rigged with a large swimbait, and a
smaller one as a teaser, I soon had a humongous
olive rockfish in the ice chest.
We estimated the weight between 5 1/2 and 6
pounds. Soon after this catch I had both tails
on the swimbaits nipped off so I re-rigged the
bottom swimbait and above it I threaded on a
Berkley Gulp 4" shrimp. For the remainder
of the day this one bait was responsible for
80% of my fish. It worked on the drop and the
retrieve as well as bouncing bottom and despite
the pounding it took it could've kept fishing
had I wanted to! I probably released over a
dozen blue rockfish, a few
gophers, a salmon grouper
and 6 lingcod (all just a couple
of inches short of legal.) I brought home enough
big olives, blues, and gophers to keep my neighbors
Cheryl had a ling rock her when
it chomped down on a medium-sized blue. We
ran the boat around to get her line free and
when we pulled it up we not only found the
chewed blue on her teaser hook, but a treefish on the iron below it. We let the treefish go
as well as a sand dab that Cheryl and I decided
not to use for bait.
At 12:30 Dave, Cheryl, Jimmy
and I decided to pack it in even though the
bite was still great. Everybody had caught
a bunch of nice fish and released others. Nobody
wound up with a legal ling but they sure kept
us busy jumping on the Gulp! (I later found
out my biggest olive could have beat the IGFA
all-tackle record! Oh well, I know where to
go back and look for more.)
August 6 - 7
With just a few hours notice,
I packed my Albackore waist pack full of gear
for albacore tuna. Capt. "Shim" was heading
out on a special recon mission to search for
longfins. About a dozen diehard anglers (mostly
from Full Speed Fishing) showed up to board
Salmon Queen for a late night departure
from Emeryville. I found
spot below deck to try to get a little
rest as we made the long run south to the grounds.
The first jig stop just shortly
after sunrise, produced a fish for one of our
senior anglers. I tossed a bait off the stern
and had a very slow pick up, but I set the
hook and the game was on. Line started to peel
and for a moment I thought I either had a big
albie or possibly a bluefin, however I soon
realized there was another possibility..
A shark! I fought the fish for about 10 minutes,
bringing it close enough for a good look before
it parted the leader. I suspect it was a soupfin
shark around 4 feet in length. It was a nice
warm up to what would hopefully come later.
The troll lines went out again and we had
a pair of meatlines in the water too. We'd
stop for a few minutes to try and get the school
to hit our live bait, swimbaits or iron jigs.
Once we had fish boiling on the anchovies at
the stern and I saw a few fish get hooked up.
They took off shortly and for the remainder
of the day we would see jumpers but they remained
I caught my first albacore on a Owner ringed
flyliner 1/0 hook and eased it up with my Pro
Gear Albacore Special mounted on my favorite
Calstar rod. It weighed around 20 pounds and
Shim planted the gaff in it. Later in the day
I was standing behind a meatline when it went
off. My reflexes were instantaneous as I grabbed
the tuna cord and hand lined the fish in. Shim
was there again to assist in bringing it over
The final count tallied to 20 fish in the
box with about 6 or 8 fish lost prior to boating.
Most of the albacore were in the mid 20's with
highlights during the day included a school
of white-sided porpoise that followed the boat
for awhile, a pair of small sunfish that checked
us out on a bait stop, and numerous sightings
of whales and swordfish. We also had perfect
weather and a flat ocean.
Thanks to the crew of the New Salmon Queen
we had a great day fishing and horsing around.
These guys are dedicated to fishing for their
customers and they made it evident by constantly
changing trolling lures, adjusting the spread,
chumming live bait and changing tactics to
produce fish. They definitely get two thumbs
up from me!
After four days of weather in
the triple digits, and being confined to the
only room in the house with A/C, it was a no-brainer
to bail out and go fishing. Lucky for me there
was one spot left to grab on the Queen
Besides, we had so much fun last Wednesday
I couldn't resist going again.
While chatting with Capt. Bob
in the wheelhouse on the ride south, we saw
a couple of humpback whales.
Outside, a comfortable layer of light fog and
small swells combined to make perfect rockfish
A gopher started
off my day, however he looked like he still
had some growing to do, so I let him go. Next
I had a small lingcod who was
returned to the ocean as well. My next ling
was a deep green one and looked as though he
might be legal. It wound up being a lucky fish
today falling a mere quarter inch below the
minimum size required to take him (or her).
After that I was rewarded with a decent cabezon,
a China, and another cabezone
(but I traded this one for one of Bernie's lings).
By the end of the day I had released another
ling and snatched up some tasty blues
to top off my sack.
Highlights of the day included
a 10 pound vermilion, a halibut which bit the
and a handful of big lings including the
biggest one caught
during a kid's first fishing trip!
Heather's back on the Queen
of Hearts and so were a bunch of the
regulars that fish on Wednesday when it's
trip. Even Gene showed up. There's nothing
better than a day of fishing to escape the
Trekking south we played hopscotch
starting off around Pescadero. In depths ranging
from 40' to 60' of reasonably calm ocean conditions,
I had my first yellow and black rockfish on
a small chartreuse B-2 squid. I gave it to
Bernie fishing to my left at the bow. I popped
another on a motor oil B-2 squid.
Changing to swimbaits produced
most of my bag limit for me, with purple and
black colors taking some fine Chinas,
more yellow and blacks and a cabezon.
When the fog burned off I tried some iron but
the fish seemed to like plastics, so I tied
on a Fat Bait and moments later had a huge gopher.
(I seriously contemplated calling IGFA about
While the lings laid low for
most, a few did get them to bite. While I was
not one of them, I did get another cabezone
that I was able to give Gene. Blacks and blues rounded out sacks for just about everybody
and even I traded a gopher for one. All in
all it was just another day in paradise!
While visiting friends and family
down in Orange County during a heat wave, I
had a chance to hit the water. On the golf
course in Cypress, my friend Larry had seen
me eyeing the bass in
and decided he'd join me on a twilight trip
for some bass fishing... Barred sand bass that
To escape the heat we drove down
to Long Beach Marina and boarded the Enterprise
for a 6:30 pm departure. We had been issued
a pair of spots at the rail in the starboard
corner, where we parked our rods and went to
the galley for cold sodas.
The anchor was set off Huntington
Flats, and my first barred sand bass hit
a brown B-2 squid shortly thereafter. These
fish prefer squid at times, but since their
diet also includes crab, I tried out a Berkley
Gulp peeler crab. After slipping on a 2 ounce
egg sinker I tied my spectra to an Owner ghost
leader rig with a 1/0 Mutu light circle hook.
Around me I noticed other anglers
getting bit on natural squid, but the pinhead
sardine and anchovies in the bait tank were
so small, that larry tried pinning several
to his hook to give the fish a "mini meatball"
presentation. He got a couple of fish with
Later that night the fog rolled
in and really cooled us off. I wound up releasing
about 7 sandies and gave two away. Larry matched
my fish count and only had one mortality. A
6 to 7 pound bass took the jackpot although
we had seen a halibut hooked at the port stern
that would've beat it. (The angler made the
fatal mistake of trying to "bounce" the fish
in. Halibut need to be gaffed or netted.)
Laurie had the vessel at dockside just
before midnight and I was happy to have quenched
my saltwater thirst.
The Grady-White Invitational
out of Santa Cruz was held today, with Bev
joining Team Alibi II in this prestigious event.
With salmon and halibut both eligible for the
contest our team tried first trolling for Chinooks,
followed by searching for flatties. Although
fishing was tough all over, it was a beautiful
Back at the dock we all enjoyed
a great BBQ with the other contestants and
saw the halibut that won the event.
Day two of Gary's charter had
us running back up North, only this time the
weather was a little bumpy. Fourteen folks
were aboard today with many repeats from day
one, including Jeff and his son Vince, who
took up positions next to me at the rail.
the silvers started to show up again, Capt.
Bob got a hot tip to run even further North.
Just when I thought we'd hit Bodega we dropped
in and started to spank the Kings. They hit
in flurries causing pandemonium all over the
stern. I thought I'd seen it all, until I witnessed
Jim scoop three fish before bringing the net
up and over!
Gary had one of the hot sticks
again today and he put a lot of fish into the
box. Jeff and Vince were having trouble getting
started due to some twisted leaders, but towards
the end of the day Vince hammered a hog around
23 pounds. Several nice salmon were
landed with the biggest topping out at 27 pounds.
We finished the day with limits for all anglers.
As a member of Albackore
Sportfishing Gear's pro staff, I was excited to FINALLY
get a chance to fish with Jeff Jost, their
head honcho. Gary Gillingham had chartered
of Hearts back-to-back for a couple
days of salmon fishing and Jeff had tossed
my name out to add to the group.
We left the dock around 5:30am
with twelve anglers and a new deckhand. Jim
Phillips joined the Queen of Hearts a couple
of months ago when Heather broke her leg, and
he proved to be an excellent addition. After
a quick consensus the decision to charge up
to Point Reyes was made.
Under sunny skies and a flat
ocean, Capt. Bob put us onto the fish right
away, and although
20 silvers and a couple of shakers, we had
limits for the boat in a little over two hours.
Biggest fish went to 17 pounds and I brought
home a pair for some great table fare.
May 19 - 26
One day at home after my Sitka trip was all
I needed to exchange my cold weather gear for
a hot time in Panama! Changing planes in Houston
I hooked up with Danny Jackson, renowned videographer,
and Tim Snyder for our flight into Panama City.
After a short night at the brand new five-star
Veneto Hotel and Casino, we caught our final
flight to David (dah-VEED). Then a short cab
ride to the Pesca Panama floating lodge docked
at the marina.
After stashing our luggage, we tossed our
gear onto one of the 27 ft Ocean Master center
console boats. With Tatim, our captain, at
the helm and deckhand, Thomas, we were soon
blazing down the Chiriquí River towards
the fishing grounds.
As soon as we dropped in, Danny and Tim had
a bonito and an undetermined
specie of small tuna, locally referred to as
an albacore, hooked
up. During this time a Golden Poison frog (white-colored
in our case) was discovered on the T-top canvas
and was nudged off into the water with a gaff.
Before it could swim back we motored away and
soon spotted the first of many colorful sea
Off the Ladrones area, I popped up my first
yellowfin, weighing around
50 pounds, on a Stella reel. Several more yellowfin
were caught on River2Sea Dumbbells, which seemed
to work very well on the tuna. Trolling produced
a wahoo for Tim on my favorite
old beat-to-hell orange/black Marauder that
was already missing one eye.
Back at the barge, which had worked its way
down the river to our first anchorage, we showered,
enjoyed a snack and a few cocktails before
dinner. The blackened tuna was delicious, as
was every meal served that trip. We even had
fresh peach ice cream for dessert one night!
The second day we ran to the area around Isla
Parida and Isla Secas. I hooked up on a monstrous
needlefish that might have rivaled the all
tackle record. A short time later, while on
a slow troll with live baits, Tim spotted a
fish behind the boat. I dropped back and hooked
up on a nice jack crevalle, which inhaled my
bait bridled to an Emperor Tackle 7/0 hook
and proceeded to put up a nice fight. Although
released, we estimated the fish weighed 16
We found more tuna and soon Tim was in prayer
mode with a serious yellowfin which looked
to be about 120 pounds when he brought it to
the boat. I threw on the Smitty belt my friend
Cheryl had loaned me, and popped the cherry
on my new Penn 70VS to pull up a 60 pounder.
With Danny adding to the body count we were
running out of space to stack the tuna. So
when we happened to see a commercial “green
stick” boat nearby, we swapped them some
beer for a 50 pound bag of ice.
A little while later, it was Danny’s
turn to nail another trophy needlefish. A rain
shower didn’t appear to hamper the migration
of hundreds of beautiful sunset moths as we
finished the day trying without luck to raise
That night after dinner, I went to the stern
of the barge and baited an Owner 4/0 pre-rigged
50# leader onto an Accurate 665H. In short
order I had tug-of-war going with what we thought
was a shark and turned out to be a 70-80 pound
stingray, a.k.a. “Panamanian mud marlin.” Tim
hoisted him out of the water enough to break
the leader for the release.
Day 3, Tim once again hammered the tuna with
Danny and me getting a few. I had a hook straightened
on one tuna and, after re-rigging a new hook,
the next fish decided to eat the whole popper
and bust off. I used bait on the next fish
and the Accurate reel to put a 50 pound yellowfin
in the boat. We coasted up to a floating barrel
where I had seen huge surface crashers and
Tim returned to prayer mode on another 100
pound class fish. I spanked another 50 pounder
before ending the action.
On the way in to our next anchorage I dropped
live bait down and was promptly busted off,
very likely by a cubera snapper wrapping the
rocks. 200 pound leader and 100 pound line
on a 2-speed meant NOTHING to this brute! Danny
and Tim connected to several yellowtail
snapper and a large red
The next day I opted to stay on the barge
rather than double up on a boat, as one was
down for repairs. Retreating to my cabin room
with a copy of Tred Barta’s book, The
Best and Worst of Tred Barta, I had a very
enjoyable read and a wonderful cantaloupe drink
made by the crew.
Jay Gustin, Pesca Panama’s owner, came
out during my lunch to see if I’d like
to jump aboard the barge’s 10 foot mini
panga-style tender. Jaime, a young crewmember
who likes to fish when he gets a chance, took
me out for a few hours to see what we could
find. Having already been in a battle with
a needlefish and flashed at boat side by a
roosterfish, we hit a small cove that looked
promising. Jaime hooked up with something and
handed the rod to me. I brought a beautiful
blue trevally to the boat for some photos before
sending it on its way.
On the final full day of fishing, another
angler on the trip, Keith, join our group.
I pulled in a small dorado to start things
off. We found yellowfin yet again and caught
some on iron and poppers. I lost another fish
to a soft hook, but I caught one on a River2Sea
Aji jig soon after. Keith lost a nice fish
estimated at over 80 pounds when it was cresting
a wave behind the boat, but he quickly had
We spent our last night aboard the barge,
which was now parked part way back up the river.
Before ending our excursion, we set off one
last time for a half-day of fishing under sunny
skies. Before long we encountered numerous
schools of salemas baitfish boiling all around
us. We saw they were being chased by needlefish,
so we tried trolling for wahoo that we suspected
would be in the area. We jigged over a high
spot and I pulled up a big yellowtail snapper
on a River2Sea “Sea Rock” jig.
The ride in was flat and we stopped for a
lunch break, at which time I grabbed a mask
and snorkel and swam up to a little beach to
shoot some pictures. Before leaving this scenic
paradise, we quaffed a couple of drinks on
the barge, now docked back at the marina, while
waiting for our rides to the airport.
Thanks to Jay and the crew of Pesca Panama
for making this a wonderful trip. I’d
recommend this lodge for any who wish to explore
the best of Panama fishing. Kudos also to Rugged
Shark, whose women’s Sandshark sandals
made my trip a whole lot more comfortable,
on and off the boat, under a variety of conditions.
And last, but not least by a long shot, Danny
you’re the man! I’m looking forward
to some fabulous photos from this adventure.
Larry Lowman and Cheryl joined me as I returned
to Kingfisher Lodge for the 6th annual Alaska
Grand Slam tournament in Sitka, Alaska, this
year sponsored by Fenwick Rods. As I often prefer,
I flew in a day early. That gave me a chance
to show Larry and Cheryl around the picturesque
town of Sitka. We enjoyed a nice dinner at the
Sea Mountain Restaurant & Lounge, and then
slept soundly at Helga’s B & B.
On arrival at Kingfisher on Saturday afternoon,
we rounded out our team with Dick Peterson.
Gear was assembled, luggage unpacked and the
fridge stocked with, of course, Alaskan Amber
beer. Over dinner, tournament organizers Steve
Carson and Ronnie Kovach passed out mounds
of goodies from Berkley while welcoming everyone
and explaining the rules of the event to the
Sunday morning started us off fishing with
Captain Keith Shuler on the vessel Striker.
A few salmon were put onto the boat, but the
action was slow. So rather than spending a
lot more time for mine, I opted to set off
for the halibut grounds.
Cheryl, quickly spanked all of us when she
wrestled up a halibut weighing
109 pounds on one of her acid-wrapped rods.
In harsh contrast, mine weighed a mere 13 pounds,
but I did catch it using a great new rod Cheryl
recently designed for me. Larry released a 47”
lingcod and a couple more fish
were landed before we decided to head back in
Just offshore, over a rocky ledge, I whipped
up a nice 37” lingcod on a Fat Bait.
Several more were caught and released on that
spot. A yelloweye rockfish made its way into
the hold too. On the way in, I tried for a
few remaining minutes to hook up my salmon,
but to no avail.
Day 2 started off by trolling Sitka Point
aboard the Keeper with Captain Jeff Williams.
and Dick fought the first two salmon at around
15-18 pounds at a depth of 120 feet. Cheryl
and I followed suit with a pair, and then Dick
and I each took a second fish. My pair weighed
in at 16 and 24 pounds after cleaning.
As we set up on the anchor for halibut, I
perused Jeff’s fine and quite compatible
CD collection. The first halibut crept up on
line as the lead-in to Deep Purple’s
Smoke On the Water played. A couple more flatties
slapped the deck and we made the call to move,
since it was a little bumpy out there. Jeff
impressed me with his boating skills as he
ran down the anchor like a pro in a less than
Switching to a protected cove on the inside
allowed me to get out onto the bow and pitch
iron, as I so love to do. A “Sea Rock” from
River2Sea, tipped with a small white Gulp grub,
quickly produced a big yelloweye rockfish.
I followed that with a few quillback
rockfish and a huge China full of roe. While I released
a few more quillbacks, Cheryl got a nice ling
on a Fat Bait.
Our final day found us with Brian Oberreuter
on the boat North Cape. Dick led off with a
qualifying rockfish that jumped onto the salmon
gear. The salmon were hit or miss, though,
for most of the boats. So, after about an hour
we sprinted for the outside, stopping briefly
on Edgecombe reef to wail on a few bucket mouths.
Dick nabbed a chicken halibut and I brought
up back-to-back 43” and 47” lings.
I had hoped to take one for the dinner table,
but mine were all over the legal slot limit
size and were therefore released… not
such a terrible problem to have.
With the ocean growing bouncier, we hit the
halibut hole and soon Larry was fighting a
brute. He’s a tough fisherman as he stands
in wet shoes (Larry decided to go “bootless” today)
grinding on what turns out to be a halibut
just short of 100 pounds. I turned around and
battled a nice 95 pounder. Cheryl popped up
a big yelloweye as did everyone in the boat
by the end of the day. Cheryl also bested me
in the ling category with a 50” hog.
Dick finishes our stop with the release of
an unexpected large skate.
A light rain started to fall around 1pm and
by the time we left the halibut grounds, the
ocean had come down considerably. Our captain
was in the running for most slams so we went
back to fishing for salmon. By the time we
had to call it quits we had three grand slams
on the boat, which tied him in the competition.
I am content at this point to have my first
grand slam of this tournament.
A temporary power outage back at the lodge
found us gathered in the ambient light of dusk,
assisted by a few flashlights, as Steve and
Ronnie presented awards to the top anglers.
For overall points in the tournament, the top
Erick Dunnick: 625 points
Terry Lakely: 529
Orlando Olivarez: 539
Tim Medina: 534
My personal highlight at this event was tying
for biggest salmon; 24 pounds dressed.
Thanks to the staff of Kingfisher who once
again performed flawlessly. Also a special
thanks to Doug of Hank’s Cabs and Tours
who rescued my jacket, which took an unplanned
extra flight to Juneau and back.
I tried for salmon out of Santa
Cruz today. We rigged with hootchies, krocs,
anchovies and apexes and tried trolling at all
depths. A half dozen commercial boats in the
area weren't getting bit either. We gave up
around 2pm when we'd had only one knockdown
for the day.
Cheryl, David, John and I, took
advantage of a beautiful Friday to try again
for salmon. John's son
Scott, who had been with us back on April
the only one who went home with a salmon that
day. Today it was John's turn!
We got the scoop from Todd at
Marine and following his suggestions we
ran out about 9 miles slightly South of Santa
Cruz harbor, where water conditions looked
good. Four rods were hooked up to the downriggers
deployed with a couple of hootchies, an apex
and a red Kroc.
Shortly after settling in the
first salmon struck, and John
brought a 14 pounder to the boat, where I was
the net. One down, seven to go! I gladly fought
the next fish which also turned out to be a
14 pound King.
Cheryl followed suit by putting yet another
one in the box and this continued at a nice
pace over the next hour or so.
David and I decided
that one small salmon should be released
even though it would have been of legal size.
This good karma was rewarded when John went
to battle for the second time. The fish ran
and kept running as David and I cleared the
other lines and Cheryl took the helm. I thought
there was a possibility that John had a shark
hooked up when I noticed he was close to getting
spooled. Just as David got the other side of
the boat cleared, I told Cheryl to put the
the hammer down to chase this fish. John retrieved
most of his line and we waited to see what
Just then a sea lion popped up
behind the stern. They don't usually like to
hang around when there's a shark in the area,
so it was no big surprise when John's fish
broke the surface and was indeed a huge salmon!
David netted the beast before the fur bag could
get a grip on it. We did note parallel marks
near the tail where the salmon had almost been
Although we tried to put number
eight in the boat it just wasn't happening,
so as the wind picked up around 2:00 we pulled
the gear and ran in. John's fish weighed in
at about 25 pounds and we had a couple of small
fish that rounded out to a nice average overall.
For a lot of folks it was "Tax Day", but for
a few of us we got lucky and were invited to
go sturgeon fishing with Mike Jones on his
20' Bayliner Trophy, Hawaiian Hooker!
Greg, Joey Richard, Mike and I all happen to
in the Full
Speed Fishing Club. And the jackassery
was just beginning...
After putting the boat in at Redwood City,
we anchored up in the super-secret, double-password
protected spot near Dumbarton bridge in San
Francisco bay. Since Greg, Joey and Mike are
the veterans aboard, Greg helped set me up.
We paired up our double hook rigs with herring
and ghost shrimp and dropped into a nice current.
Joey took the bow position, with the rest of
staring at rod tips in the stern.
After a few missed hits all around, Greg slams
the hook-set home in a beast. This sturgeon
runs and engaged in a Mexican stand-off more
than once, before finally allowing itself to
be netted. It was a male sturgeon that
taped out to 62". After photos the fish was
(There is a slot limit, so little ones and
big ones go back.) Radio chatter kept us informed
that some other fish were being caught, but
the word was starting to spread that we were
Joey's rod was the next in action, unfortunately
it was lost when the line became entangled
and broke off. It's always a bummer when this
Soon after Richard, who had caught his first
"dino" with Mike recently, started going bendo.
We thought he was working a nice fish, until
it broke the surface and turned out to be a
bat ray, or as we like to call'em, mud marlin.
Richard's ray got released too. Between shooting
photos, watching rods, detangling the net,
getting rained on and drinking Guinness, I
noticed we were hardly alone anymore. The boat
was on the rise. AND there were a lot more
Full Speeders around! Luty Boy cruised up and
almost lost a net during a bait transfer. I
also spotted Gary Edward's new ride Panda
Angler. Highland Lassie was also in attendance.
My eyes were working good today and I noticed
Greg's rod getting tapped again. He jumped
over and soon had another nice fish making
a really long run. Everybody else coaxed him
into handing the fish off to me so I wouldn't
be a sturgeon virgin anymore. After that first
explosive run, she came to boat a lot easier
than the first fish Gary had hooked. She also
taped out to 62" but this fish was fat! I'm
betting she was loaded with roe. We took a
couple of photos and back in she went.
Mike finished the trip off by fighting a keeper
fish to the boat. It fell into the slot limit
at 48". I'm glad I was able to spend a day
on the water with a great group, and I learned
a lot from Mike the master!
This morning we launched out of Santa Cruz
harbor to try out luck at salmon. Since the
regulations stated that we had to stay inside
the 3-mile limit of California state waters
there wasn't much we could do except give it
We metered a few decent baitballs and saw
the kind of topwater bird action that puts
your heart in your throat... however the fish
were deep and before long the wind started
to make trouble for us.
With the downriggers
both working at maximum depth we were still
coming up short of "The Zone". After a couple
of hours trolling, one of the cables broke,
but before the other one was lost due to a
fatigue fracture Scott Rollins hooked up on
a Chinook and played the 12
pound fish to the boat where I netted it.
For the remainder of the morning we tried
to troll using sinker releases on the rods,
before the weather finally made us retreat.
Feeling good enough after recuperating from
surgery last month, I participated in the second
annual Sand Crab Classic. The
proceeds from this event go to
the non-profit Monterey Bay Salmon and
After checking in and receiving our T-shirts,
royal blue fish rags from West Marine and
complimentary bags of Berkley Gulp sand crabs
or sandworms, we milled about drinking coffee
and tasty biscotti supplied by Zizzo's Coffee.
Steve Carson was on hand to help out Mike Baxter
and Alan Bushnell whose fishing chatter we
hear on the local Let's
Go Fishing radio program.
The weather was fantastic as I hit the beach
at Manresa and soon had a small barred
surfperch on my line. I let the little guy go and had
a few more bites before getting soaked from
the waist down. My surf retreat is still a
little slow at this time! The water wasn't
too cold and since it was very warm and sunny,
I dried out quickly.
Later everyone met at the Santa Cruz Yacht
Club for a taco feast, awards, some great raffle
prizes and a silent auction. It was a great
way to start off a new year.
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