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Fishing Diary  

2011

November 26th

On the Hawaiian Hooker today we had the All Star Sturgeon Band; I was on the camera shooting video, Mel handled the net, Mike had hot licks going on a 67" fish and the sturgeon he had hooked was playing a screaming reel.

The tide played a factor on our departure this morning and Mike had to stop by work, so we got launched at around 8:45 am. The sturgeon showed us no love for most of the day so we chowed down on smoked yellowtail and cream cheese dip, killer hot dogs and a chunk of marinated, foil-wrapped yellowtail. I split a big bottle of Grand Teton Lost Continent Double IPA with Mike.
After a nice little nap I rejoined the guys for the last hour of the outgoing tide. I cast my line slightly over Mikes so I traded the center slot for the starboard and just a minute or two later we both saw the double pump action hit his line!

All four of us wound up with a big group hug in the port corner after the net got burried under the stern cleat. I had to stop filming to assist lol! The fish was photographed and released.

Here's a link to the video if you want to check out the action. http://youtu.be/wvHxkMRe09Q


October 31 - November 10th

Royal Polaris 10 day, Red Cup Navy (Spider Tour)

With funding tight due to the economy I hadn’t planned on a long range trip this year, however with some coaxing I found myself splurging on a 10 day trip on the Royal Polaris (trip number 7 on this vessel I believe) and shared a ride down to San Diego with John (Baitfinger) Long. Once in town we met up with Chris Petersen who was primarily the one who twisted my arm to go on this Fall adventure. My birthday also fell in the middle of the trip so I credited the impulse purchase as a gift to myself.

While awaiting others and killing time we visited Charkbait and BevMo for last minute goodies. Later that night our ever expanding group headed to Miguel’s for dinner before retiring to the Dolphin Inn across from the landing where we waited with baited breath for the ship to arrive early in the morning.

Departure was fittingly on Halloween so I brought a pirate costume to wear… So did Capt. Roy Rose, so after leaving the bait barge we had a brief sword fight on the beach (upper deck) to the amusement of the other passengers. Then 27 anglers prepared for the unfolding of a great time by unpacking, assembling gear and breaking out cocktails in the famous Red Cups. I settled into room 10 and went off to begin prank number one... assault of the 72 black plastic spiders. I planted them in rooms with the doors opened, in beds, in door vents, amongst the condiments at the galley tables and even in the cookie jar.

Mark Hillard, Tim Whelan and John Long were our chartermasters and they handed out custom black and orange Salas jigs to everyone at he first night’s meeting as the game plan was discussed.

On day two we hit San Benito Island where the yellowtail were waiting to ambush us. As soon as the first wave of them hit Marcus offered up a fresh one and I grabbed it up. Of course it was on a 10 foot rod so it was a lot of fun to battle. Most of the fish were in the twenty pound class and it was a nice way to prep for the days ahead. I had one nice fish break me off on a chrome jig before I was done for the day.

On the third day I boxed two nice yellowtail, had one come off and had two more fish break me off. I foul hooked a small grouper which will go into the saltwater tank at Fisherman’s Landing if it survived the trip back in a bait well. I also managed to land quite a few white fish.

On day four I warmed up with 3 sheephead on the bottom before switching gears and flylining a sardine. BAM! I hit pay dirt with a 30 pound bluefin tuna. Bill Pargee managed too get one too. That would be it for bluefin for the trip so I felt really lucky to have one.

After that it went WFO on yellowfin tuna with a smattering of yellowtail in the fray. Chris and I tag teamed them and most were around 25 pounds. I lost count but I’m guessing I landed around 25 of them including 2 at once; one fish was hooked in the mouth and the other was tail-wrapped. I thought the drag on my reel was going out but when I saw them surface it made sense. Both fish made it aboard with some skillful gaffing. We quit for the day with 300 yellowfin tuna in the hold! I headed off for the shower thrashed and worn out, which are excellent indications I had a wonderful day.

Day 5 started with an early am venture onto the deck to try to make bait with a few other souls up at that hour. It was slow going and I think Chris played with my baitcatcher because the few fish that hit didn’t stick. I went back to bed and waited for the mother lode or dawn which ever came first.

As the first call for breakfast went out I reminded everyone that it was “Red Shirt” Friday and to dress accordingly. We were far enough South to be in wahoo country and the troll teams started to get bit. Chris had me take his spot on his turn and finish winding in a nice wahoo. We had 4 boated on that particular stop. I then helped to put some baits in the tank since they had finally shown up in greater numbers and I was using a different rig LOL!

As day 6 arrived we pulled up on Finger Bank where the Independence was already staked out on the hook. Two kites were deployed and anglers went up in pairs to try to get a big yellowfin to boil on their baits. Chuck Nowicki (Freshie) wasted no time in getting a yellowfin to bite and soon landed a nice fish in the 90 pound class. More fish of this caliber were plucked from the water as the day went on and some dorado and yellowtail strayed in from time to time. Chris handed me a dorado but it came off after a spectacular jump on the backside of a wave. Our reasonably calm ocean was beginning to kick up. I put in a 30 pound yellowfin and watched as a blue marlin was fought up to the boat for a release.

On day 7 Chris gave me a pink “Birthday Girl” ribbon and gave me a card from my husband he’d been holding for me. I had a nice bowl of Capt’ Crunch and hit the deck. Chuck was at the stern and flylined up a nice fish which he offered up. On his 80# rig set at 18 pounds of drag I fought the fish from the stern up the starboard rail to the bow. At some point I noticed that a cow bell had been added to the back of my rod belt. Well I gave them plenty of cow bell as I sashayed up and down the rail. I got past the anchor line with no trouble but we did encounter another angler coming up the port side so we had to put our lines together and do a little shuffling. My fish yellowfin was gaffed and bought aboard. I would have to wait until we got back to the landing to see if I had a 100 pounder. Several larger fish than mine were caught with some pushing the 150 pound plus mark. Another blue marlin was caught and released today as well.

We moved for day 8 and found an explosive WFO dorado bite. It was sheer chaos as schoolie dodos went into a frenzy. The stern was a bloodbath filled with thrashing bodies. I put about a dozen fish in and found that I was catching slightly larger adversaries near the bow. I’d flip a sardine out far up on the starboard side and then usually work the fish down the port side to the gaff zone.

A few new spiders showed up in my room, so they are either migrating or Chris planted them while I wasn’t looking. I also got officially inducted into the Red Cup Navy by being presented with one of my rods “decorated” with a bird’s nest and cow bell zip-tied to it. I am now “Bev Angler”.

On day 9 we ran uphill and it was pretty bouncy. Most of the guys started to break down their gear. Towards the end of the day we made a few attempts to jig up a few yellowtail but we found no takers. We watched some Clint Eastwood movies and satellite TV.

I was still stuffed from a mid afternoon snack of enchilada pie so I skipped dinner. Later as I tried to go to sleep I heard a knocking sound as the boat pitched in the waves. SOMEONE had put a one pound sinker off a reel handle strategically placed near the small window near the ceiling in my room. LOL, Chris strikes again! Kenny was nice enough to go cut it down.

Day 10 was spent breaking down more gear and packing as we continued north. In the afternoon I watched the movie Avatar and then wrote for awhile. This was the first time I brought my computer as well as my camera and it was very handy to download pictures every day or two.

I always look forward to the last night’s dinner which is usually prime rib. I was not to be disappointed! After the feast I enjoyed a vanilla Tatiana courtesy of Walter who I had helped to tie top shots.

Back at the dock I had Fisherman’s Processing handle my fish and later found the weight of my biggest yellowfin tuna to be 94 pounds. No new personal best or 100 patch for me this time, so I may have to keep trying! In the meantime I'll enjoy a tasty new supply of frozen fish fillets, smoked yellowtail and yellowfin tuna, and yellowfin tuna jerky.


October 16

After fishing out of Bodega Saturday and getting home to get just enough sleep to recharge, I headed up to Half Moon Bay to meet Mike and the rest of the crew fishing off Hawaiian Hooker. Mel, Teng, Rod and I shoved off and headed South to drift for white seabass but the fish must have sighted more verdant pastures elsewhere. I got in an amazing power nap after I boxed an unexpected starry flounder that remained motionless for the ride up, LOL. We had dolphins around us several times.

After awhile I tied on a red croc and got a huge response in the way of a big vermilion. We decided to head further South and try rockies in a spot I go to quite often. We hit them hard for the rest of the late afternoon getting some quality gophers and a China. I hooked a nice hard-fighting cabezone that snatched up a robo worm. Rod scored a halibut and a lingcod. Teng and Mike weren't having as much luck and Mike had his lamiglas explode after an encounter with a fish that wrapped him in the rocks and it was a long give-and-take battle prior to the explosion.

It was super flat and we got back just as the sun was setting. Thankfully the Half Moon Bay pumpkin festival was over with and we could all get out with minimal traffic.

Great day on the water with some nice anglers!


October 15

Met up at Manny's home and drove up to Bodega Bay to launch the Diabla. We ran out about 40 miles or so. Never hit the real deep pretty blue but it did clear up and the color was a little more of a gray blue.

We saw a few common dolphins and some whales. Weather just kept getting better and better although we only had 2 albacore for the day; one on the troll and the other on a swimbait stop. Both fish were in the 20 pound class. Great bunch of guys (Bob (Spooled), Gary (SSFGizmo), William (Reel_Life) and Manny's son Manny jr.) We had lots of fun as is always the case when you're on The Diabla. Thanks Manny!


October 10

Last year I briefly worked for Fisherman's Warehouse before my old job called out-of-the-blue to rehire me... Today's trip all started due to an invitation to attend an annual Coastside Fishing club dinner as a guest of Fisherman's Warehouse. I wound up bidding on a charter trip on a boat I've seen over the years at Half Moon Bay but never fished; New Gravy. The vessel is very nice, clean and has a heated cabin which I found very comforting especially after fishing in today's damp environment.

My friends Pat (FlyinHawaiian) and Yvonne rode up with me to Pillar Point Harbor and we ambled down in the list mist of the early morning to join Humberto, Hugo and Monte from Blvd Coffee, Ben Romano and Jonathan Han from Fisherman's Warehouse, my friends Gene and Heather and a few other folks rounding out our charter.

Capt. Guy Anthony pleasantly informed us we would be getting to run down to fish below Pigeon Point. Lee Gualtieri, our deckhand, was already busy getting rods set up and cutting squid pieces for bait. Jonathan enhanced this mixture with some scents and glow juice. They looked a little nuclear in the bottom of a bright orange bucket.

I had Pat, Gene, Yvonne and me up on the bow as we set up on our first drift on a relatively calm ocean. Yvonne brought up a nice gopher to start things off. I had some trouble getting warmed up so I made some gear adjustments and started to get a few fish. My first one was a chunky China. Gene was fishing a colorful combination of a Harry Boo's squid jig and teaser fly above it. He pulled up a very desirable Bolina as did Humberto.

Our weather switched from a drizzle to light rain on and off but nobody seemed to care as long as the fish cooperated and they were! I saw a large vermilion whipped up to the boat and another stellar Bolina. We had a very nice grade of gophers hitting the deck and a few blues and yellowtail rockfish mixed in.

I felt a nice hit on my rod and went bendo. Guy had Lee on alert that I might need a gaff but the first lingcod of the day was just a bit to short so I showed him off for a couple of folks and released it. Just about the time I was saying we might have a weigh-off for biggest fish between some nice big Bolinas the lings decided to make a showing again.

Jim Nomura who had been taking up residence in the stern portside corner suddenly was up at the bow and fighting something big. After a nice battle he finessed a huge ling to the gaff. At 25 pounds we no longer had a rockfish contender for the jackpot! Jim went on to take another nice 14 pound ling and then let me use an octopus it coughed up as bait.

Within a few minutes I had a decent fish strike and it was game on! With a little rock wrestling I managed to get the ling off the bottom and when it came into view at the surface I estimated the fish to be about 15 pounds. Sadly he was attached to the bar below my teaser fly and he made a final run for it and broke off. What a beauty though!

A few more lings made it into sacks and a few more found freedom by being just a tad too short to take. We finished off a nice long day with limits for everyone.

As the fish were filleted on the ride back to port I raffled off a nice Daiwa combo which Les Cundall won. Everyone had a terrific time and I have already had several requests to host a trip again next year. I think I can make that happen!


October 1

Today I helped pay a debt of gratitude to a few of our disabled veterans by deckhanding aboard the vessel Sur Randy out of Monterey, CA. Back in May I had volunteered for the Monterey Bay Veterans, Inc. for a salmon derby, however today we were going in search of rockfish.

With plenty of other folks along to help out it was a great chance to really cater to the vets we were lucky enough to have with us today. Capt. John Klusmire started off by putting the boat in the middle of a huge school of risso dolphins just outside the harbor. Photos and videos were taken as these large gray cetaceans leaped all around. We had beautiful weather and calm seas too!

Once offshore and drifting, assorted rockfish began to hit the deck. I saw some nice coppers, blues, gophers, and a few vermilions. Rosy and starry rockfish also bit today and most of the smaller ones were released. I did see one treefish landed too.

Lingcod were playing hard to get but I hooked and handed a couple of small ones off. About a half dozen had to get returned to the briny depths but a few made it into sacks. I brought one up and gave it away to a vet who was very happy at the prospect of having fresh ling for dinner.

On our way back in we were treated to another fantastic show by the risso's again. This time they were joined by sea lions and lots of seagulls and pelicans.

American Legion post 41 in Monterey hosted the banquet for the sponsors, participants and the volunteers to thank everyone for all their hard work. I urge anyone who can help with future events to check out the web site in the link above. A day on the water with our men and women who have served in the military is a very rewarding experience.


September 4

"Hawaiian Hooker" Mike and I had been talking for awhile about a serious overnight tuna run with a chance to try and raise a swordfish at night. We both agreed that the water behind Davidson Seamount looked interesting. We rounded out the crew with Max and Mary.

We launched from Monterey at 1 am due to a delay with a buddy boat so the swordfish attempt was not a serious one since we didn't have much time before daylight. While we soaked a couple of rigs I readied the trolling rods I had brought and picked out 4 purple & black tuna clones to toss out at first light.

There wasn't much sea life on the relatively calm water today; a few birds, a couple of molas and those pesky sea lions. The fish were down and it was up to us to get them interested in biting.

After about an hour and some grumbling we added 3 more rods to the pattern including a whisky line in the rocket launcher overhead. I had a favorite MyLure on it and BANG! It got the first albacore of the day which we let Mary fight. It was in the mid to upper 20's pound class. I pulled one in about the same size on my first rotation. Everyone took turns and we each boated two albacore.

It was a slow steady pick for most of the day and we pulled the plug to run back in at around 4 pm. I kept a constant watch on the temperature and noticed a lot of 1 degree spikes within a mile. It was as if we were going though a ribbon of 61 then 62, 61, 62, 61... over and over and twice today we hit 63 and even 64.

Back in Monterey Mike decided to give me his two fish to smoke along with mine. I iced them down and called home only to find out we had no water due to a storage tank and well project my husband decided to finish today. So I made a minor detour into Santa Cruz and cleaned the four fish at a harbor cleaning station. A neighbor let me come over and cut the loins into chunks for smoking and also let me use the shower. I just love all my neighbors!

All the fish we landed today were typical of what I've seen on hard, cold edges of 59 to 60 degree water. If I was gambling I'd put money on Morro Bay albacore this year in late September or October and they're going to be huge!


August 31

It was a classic case of "You should've been here yesterday." I rolled down to the Queen of Hearts today to join a light load of anglers for rockfish. The wind out of the South shut the bite way down. I released a female seatrout that was just a tad to short and took 2 blues and a vermilion. I gave those to a friend who had nothing lined up for dinner. And yes, a day on the water still beats going to work! I'll try going out with Bob next month if I get a chance.


August 18 - 23

Jeff & I returned late last night from another spectacular visit to Queen Charlotte Safaris in British Columbia. On some of the web sites I post fishing reports, my posting title will read: Almost needed a shoehorn to get the last piece of salmon in the freezer! Jeff & I flew up to Queen Charlotte Safaris for 5 days and joined my friend Sandy, from Southern CA and another angler, Dan from Oakland, to fish 3 days. Jeff & I stayed an extra day just to chill after fishing.

We had a great trip even though it was blowing gale force on the outside on our wedding anniversary. However in the inlet and strait between Graham Island and Moresby Island anglers are protected by the winds that would elsewhere leave boats tied to the dock. I'm mentioning this right up front because I travel to lots of great destinations but let's face it, "weather happens" and I had serious doubts when I saw the initial gusts of wind. No worries! A little bump to the engines here and there to counter a wind gust, but it was very fishable and we had a tiny swell only at the extreme West edge of the salmon grounds.

Day one was the weather window to go OUTSIDE but we acquiesced because one person and our captain, Shawn Cowpar, wanted to start on salmon... I knew where this would go and I wasn't happy about it but I played nice. This is after all the lodge where in 2006 I scored my first IGFA world record and it's still standing; a 20 pound yelloweye rockfish (and if that wasn't enough the next fish behind it was a 34 pound lingcod.) An outfit rigged with 30-50 pound test will let you battle the fish on equal ground in most cases here... unless you hook a decent halibut! Don't get me wrong, I love salmon but I get a major kick out of jigging bottomfish!

Since Sandy was a salmon virgin we unanimously voted to let her grab the first rod to go off. She had a nice long fight with her first king salmon (AKA Chinook or Spring) and it was millpond flat so we got it captured on video. Jeff went next, followed by Dan and then me. All of us put either a nice king or coho into the boat. Shampoo, rinse and repeat... Several times LOL! I wound up with a pair of kings inc. the largest on the boat for the day; 21 pounds. I also took 2 cohos (AKA silvers.)

The next day it blew up big time but as advertised we were able to fish the salmon grounds on amazingly fishable water. We all scored very well and I only needed one more king the following day to round out my personal possession limit. The others were close behind. I was getting a lot of behind-the-wheel and net action too which was cool. It rained all day but it wasn't that cold and the salmon LOVED it!

On day three we all had limits except Dan who was short one silver... but I just had to throw down a little bounce-bottom action so we cut across the channel and I hammered a 4.5# quillback right off the bat, on noodle-rod style gear too! Sandy got her first yelloweye and a sole (rock or Dover pending some sole-searching I'm doing to confirm the species.) The boys? Well they were pretty passive and we didn't stay too long so they hit nada with the exception of a couple of bocaccio rockfish. Water on the inside was off in a few places... Deep root beer brown like I've seen off the coast here at home from time-to-time. We tossed a small rockfish out and had an eagle swoop down and grab it. Sandy got the killer pic and is sending it to me. We took a lot of videos as well. Today Jeff landed a 24 pound king and knocked me down a peg on having the largest king of the trip on our boat. I think he even did a little victory dance.

On our last day "free" day Jeff & I headed over to Queen Charlotte City to fart around. I spied a pair of baby swallows at the entrance to the tackle shop and snapped a pic of mom coming in to feed them. Back at the lodge the next day I also got a visitor right outside our room's window. It was a beautiful young black-tailed deer buck. He was not camera shy and I snapped several pictures of him.

Of course our time off the boat at the lodge was wonderful too. Amazing soups awaited us after a long day of world-class fishing action, to take the chill off our well worn bodies. Chef Kyle and Pam had all the delicious food we could eat between breakfast, custom ordered and prepared lunches, and stellar dinners. My friend Valerie owns this fine lodge and is dedicated to making everyone's trip feel special. It's no wonder that she has so many repeat customers. She really goes the extra mile to provide folks with the "adventure of a lifetime."

We got home late and tucked our flawlessly prepared and frozen 8 kings, 8 cohos and quillback into the freezer. Next year I'm helping the lodge put on a ladies tournament!

And I made a few new friends while I was there this trip including Don who even tossed me the keys to his boat which is a very nice Sea Ox!


July 30

I'm starting to log some serious time on Hawaiian Hooker these days and that's just fine with me! Mike and I met up with Mary and Carlos at the Berkeley marina for an afternoon run for salmon. We launched at 12:30 and jostled our way through the wind chop. Mike had an extra pair of foul weather overalls so only my hair caught the spray now and then. The waves subsided after we headed north from the golden gate to Duxbury.

Mike had picked me up a new Lamiglas rod to add to my arsenal (I was sorely lacking in rods over 8') that would be great for sturgeon, halibut or salmon. I tossed a Pro Gear reel on it and let it down on a downrigger. Mary and Carlos used deep divers and Mike clipped into the other downrigger. I guess that's about the time I took over the helm and let Mike get to enjoy his boat from the fishy end... after his quick nap in the cuddy!

Mary was the first to hook up a nice salmon that was in the 20 pound class by our consensus. Unfortunately it was lost before being netted. It was caught on film... Mike recently added a new deck cam. The loss of this nice fish was short lived as Mary redeemed herself with another hog and this one made it into the boat.

Then we had a double with Mary and Mike playing both fish to the net to score two more fish in the box. Carlos had a short fish, just barely, and I helped release it. Mary got us one more salmon before we decided to run back in.

I let Mike take the wheel again and we punched past the potato patch as a huge outgoing tide churned up the entrance to the Bay. We had a lovely fog-shrouded view of the hills and gate as we motored in. I cleaned the 4 salmon while the others cleaned the boat. I wound up with a salmon, as did everyone thanks to Mary and Mike and I had my friend Harry smoke it. YUM!


July 23

Years ago in an airport parking lot I shared a few minutes of fish talk with Paul Nagata who liked the tuna decals my car sported in the back windows. Well today I got to join Paul's private potluck charter aboard the New Huck Finn out of Emeryville. The 56' vessel had Captain Jay Yokomizo at the helm and Dave on deck. Due to some last minute dropouts we had a light, limited load of 17 anglers which gave everyone some elbow room and helped reduce tangles. We departed at 6 am after loading the galley/salon with tons of food and beverages. I grabbed a bagel with raisins and applied some Philadelphia cream cheese to it for my morning breakfast.

On the way to Angel Island Jay and Dave filled the bait tank with live anchovies from a co-op receiver just outside the landing. We had fairly calm water and low clouds as we got set up for our first drift. I took up my usual preference, just to the port side of the bow where the conditions were favorable, the view was nice and I could talk to Jay while checking out his method of operation.

The first halibut hit the deck in the port corner of the stern and shortly after that I had a 10 pound flattie "in the box" and the pressure was off to get something for dinner. My cat, Puma, was going to be a happy camper too! I was using a Seeker Black Steel Graphite rod and a new 525 Mag Penn reel with 50# Spectra. I rigged a 3-way swivel with an 8 oz. sinker (tied with 12 # test to break away) and 30# fluorocarbon leader tied to an Emperor Tackle 1/0 live bait hook. I had a few more scratched baits and missed opportunities but other folks were starting to get halibut and striped bass were making there way into the mix too.

As we shifted over to Alcatraz Island to try a new spot I checked out the rest of the food Paul had brought. Homemade chili, chicken, salads, pulled pork for sandwiches, an array of snack items from chips to pretzels and some great ginger cookies. I had a couple of pale ales out of the large cooler filled with beer, soda, water and a bottle of 360 vodka. These people know how to throw a proper party. It was no wonder that I found the entire port side rail fishing with invisible anglers as they were all sampling the food.

At some point I had a nice fish load up and I got 3 or 4 cranks in and the line broke above the swivel. I scratched my head over that one for awhile but soon I was I back at it with another fish that ate the bait and then the hook spun in the bait fish and I pulled it out of the fish's mouth without getting a solid hook set. I started to notice a few people with long drawn out battles being waged which usually means one thing... MUD MARLIN! Yep the bat rays came out to play.

On another spot Jay put us near a green buoy for multiple drifts and cautioned us to gauge the bottom which had a mix of rocks with the sand so we wouldn't get hung up. Just as he was calling for us to pick up our lines for another pass I hooked up and brought in a dandy 5 to 6 pound striped bass. What a treat!

Towards the middle of the afternoon we headed back towards Angel Island where I got another halibut but this one was a little to short to take so Jay released him for me. Dave was always right there if I needed him and he often had my rod rebaited and ready for action if I stepped away to get something to eat or walk back and check out the action in the stern.

Well I had a little voice in my head telling me to bust out a swimbait or toss some iron so I finally caved and figured I'd do like Luke and "Use the force." The sun had broken through and I had a shiny new 2 oz. silver with white bucktail Kastmaster that would probably blind pets and small children when the sun hit it just right. (We had a black lab, chocolate lab and yellow lab on the boat today so I was careful.) I sailed that sucker out about 75-80' and proceeded to bounce-retrieve it back. On the third cast I hit pay dirt. I love getting fish on the iron! The skill of the presentation, the strike and the gratification of a solid hook set all combine to give you an incredible rush. I felt like God reached down, patted me on the back and said "This one's for you, you've earned it." I yelled. I screamed. After the fish was on the deck I looked around and saw 2 other party boats and a 6 pack vessel flanking us. For a moment it was quiet enough to hear a pin drop. Then everyone was hootin' and hollerin' and breaking out cameras. I finally had to hold the fish up with both hands.

On the way in after a long day of fishing I got to talk to a few more people and found out that Paul hadn't caught a halibut and Theresa who had been fishing on the starboard bow hadn't caught a fish. Well I decided I had plenty of fish already so I let them divide my first halibut to take home. My big halibut weighed in at 17 pounds gaining me the jackpot as well as lots of future table fare. A few of us got to talking about recipes and soon we figured we had as many ways to cook halibut as there are ways to cook Bubba Gump shrimp.


July 19

Someone called my husband Sunday with an offer for me to go fishing Monday. He told them it was safe to say no since I was flying in late from Loreto, however Mike texted me to say he was going after halibut in the Bay Tuesday morning. Well of course I could go by then LOL!

I met Hawaiian Hooker, along with Mary and another "Mike" at 5:30 am at San Leandro. We trolled our butts off between the Oakland and San Francisco airports all morning but we had no halibut who wanted to bite. Just another day of paying our dues but we had fun.


July 14 - 16

The Fishing for the Mission tournament was held again this year and since we had so much fun last year, we kept the same team; Sandy, Maria, Steve and me. I flew in a couple of days ahead of the event followed by my teammates. Sandy even decided to room with me at Cocos Cabanas this year and we had fun running around town when we weren't fishing.

Steve and Maria had acquired a boat since last year, a nice 21' Cabo, which is very well designed for fishing in Baja. We pre-fished the tournament on Thursday to do a shake down trip. With sardines plentiful this year we headed just off the beach and dropped in on a sargasso patch. Steve needed blood on the deck to christen the vessel and I obliged with a dorado. Maria was bendo on the bow and Sandy hooked up next to me on the stern. Steve had captain duties but he managed to get in a few fish too. We had limits of dorado in no time!

For the first day of the tournament we had Francisco as our captain and we fished towards the North. The bite was a little tougher but at the days end we did have two dorado to weigh in as well as eat. Sandy and I cooked some up back at Cocos Cabanas. She managed the BBQ poolside while I sauteed some in the room. We also had some chocolate clams given to us by the manager there (also named Steve) which got the BBQ treatment as well.

Day two of the event we got our main man Pedro back as captain. We went South and paddy hopped all day with continuous action on dorado, skipjack and bonito. We released the smaller dorado and tunas.

I had the hook pull from one dorado close to the boat after a longer than usual fight. We had a couple of fish working and another boat got between me and my fish. The captain on their boat ran up to the bow and held my line clear of the anchor until they could clear their fish and back down. I was fishing spectra so I thumbed the line while he was holding my fish so I wouldn't cut him. It was the only fish I had the whole trip come unpinned so I didn't feel too bad.

On our way back in we tried to troll up some roosterfish at Isla Carmen but only saw a few needlefish there. We wound up with limits again on dorado!

Our team cleaned up and met at the tournament dinner next to the Mission for a great evening to cap off our trip.

Thanks to Jim Duggins who let us clean up the boat, enjoy a few beers and borrow freezer space at his home. The stories from this year's benefit golf game were hilarious! I was also able to raise $410 from a fishing pool amongst my friends, neighbors and folks from Christ Child Church to give to Jim as a donation. Next year I hope to double that!


July 6

Mike towed Hawaiian Hooker down to Santa Cruz where, Lou, Sean and I saddled up for a day of fishing with him. Flat water and fog greeted us as we headed out to the Soquel Hole.

The guys rigged up to mooch for salmon but I wanted a shot at jigging one up first. I made a few casts with my old school Newell G220F and then after sailing the jig way out some line jammed in the side of the spool. I tried to resuscitate it but unfortunately it will have to go see Alan Tani to come back to life. (I had just spooled fresh 12 pound Ande line on it too.)

While Mike brought the first fish up of the day Sean lent me his back-up rig with a sweet Shimano TLD so I wouldn't just have to play net bitch all day LOL! Mike's fish had my hopes up but as it surfaced it was not the desired salmon we were hunting. For a moment I hoped it was a sablefish AKA black cod, however it was a hake. We really were to shallow to get a sablefish under normal circumstances anyway.

Mike's next fish was a juvenile salmon grouper or boccacio as they're widely known. This one was cute enough to almost want to take home and put in an aquarium... They're not so cute when they get bigger though. Over the radio we heard a few folks we knew and we made a little move to a spot known as the phone booth. I know what you're thinking, but when you see it you get it.

Sean and Lou both hook up but the salmon gave them the slip after a short fight. I tie on a silver Kastmaster with a white bucktail and manage to get a bump but no takers after that so I switched back to mooching. I get my bait hit a couple of times, but Mike is the man again as he brings in our first (and only) keeper salmon. I went around to check lines while the guys were "resting' and found a short salmon the the bow rod which I released. We tried some more as the wind gently blew the fog in and out around us for most of the day but finally the wind picked up enough to consider a major move.

We shifted gears for a few drifts for halibut near the one mile buoy off Santa Cruz Harbor. I staked out the bow and got a couple of hours of casting practice. We had a lot of birds drifting out there and I came close to hitting a few with my longer casts. I had a swimbait that had a short strike and the guys didn't get much. Mike let a short ling go and Lou got a gopher rockfish.

Back at the harbor I let the guys cut the salmon in thirds since I had just recently driven up to Fort Bragg to get some salmon from a commercial friend and had some in the freezer. We had fun and that's what it's really all about anyway!


May 26

Mike, Aram, Henry and I managed to put ourselves in the hands of the master today. We met up in Richmond at Captain John Badger's slip for a departure slightly after 6:30 am. The Barbarian is a diesel-powered 24' Skagit ORCA with plenty of rail room for 5 anglers. This vessel rides smooth and stable and can power into choppy water with minimal discomfort, which is something I've come to appreciate at my age LOL!

We started off on nice flat water in an area known as the "pipeline" and our deckhand Cody soon had us set up with Shimano rods equipped with Avet reels loaded with braided line. We put a smorgasbord out of anchovies, herring and sardines as bait. Our trolling commenced and in short order Mike's first time at the stern turned into a terrific battle with a big striped bass. All of us took a turn each time a rod got bit. Henry nailed the first halibut of the day.

Throughout the morning we had a steady pick of nice halibut. By the sounds over the radio and a few calls from other friends in boats we knew we were the highliners so far.

We shifted gears and ran down to Coyote Point where we added another nice couple of fish and lost a couple more. Around 2:30 or 3 pm the wind started to pick up so we made a few more tacks and called it a day with 8 halibut and 2 striped bass! We figured we had about a 12 pound average. Not bad for four anglers!

Our fish were expertly filleted and after sharing some fish with a few neighbors and my boss, I plugged in my twin Lil Chief smokers and got busy putting up a nice batch of smoked halibut. Thanks to Mike I was also able to try my first piece of striped bass for dinner that night. Delicious!

It was definitely worth the wait to finally hook up and fish with Capt. John on the Barbarian and I look forward to fishing with him again.


May 14

This morning I participated as a deckhand in the Monterey Bay Veterans Inc.'s 24th Annual Wheelchair Salmon Derby. Assigned to the vessel Star of Monterey, skippered by Nick Lemon, I started off helping deckhand Joey by rigging up the rods with mooching gear.

We had three veterans in wheelchairs across the stern and other more ambulatory servicemen and women around the rest of the vessel. With plenty of volunteers to assist we headed off into the bay to start fishing for salmon.

Almost right away we had the gentleman in the starboard corner bringing in a nice fish that got everyone else's hope up. Fishing was slow and the rest of the other boats competing were not have a lot of luck either but the guys and gals were having fun anyway. I tried to jig up a fish for a hook-and-handoff for a vet or a volunteer but all I got was a huge sand dab when I checked to see how far down the bottom was on one drift.

Towards the beginning of the afternoon our "Rock Star" vet in the corner landed another salmon earning him fourth place overall and a LIMIT of salmon!

This event really does make a difference in the lives of these great veterans by showing them our respect in their commitment to serve and protect our country. If you feel the same way I do please consider donating, sponsoring or volunteering in future events. I will be helping again with the rockfish tournament scheduled for October 1st.


May 8

This morning I met up with Steve (Mistress) and Harry in Santa Cruz with the intention of "plan A" fishing for salmon, however the weather was iffy on the outside so we voted for" plan B"; rockfish.

While they weren't taking numbers to jump on our lines we did get 3 vermilions and a smattering of olives, gophers, bolinas, a China and my first fish of the day was a sand dab. My first hook-up was a potential IGFA record but after a quick photo I released the "rock", LOL!

Steve and Harry both got to catch and release some lingcod that were not legal size.


May 1

Normally on the rockfish opener I'd be on the Queen of Hearts but the weather and other logistics forced me to rethink my options. My friend Manny had me on the list of back-up crew in case someone folded, however as it turned out a spot was available to fish with another friend I'd met through Full Speed Fishing; Joey AKA Grammar Police. Joey has been a prominent crew member of Capt. Randy's 28' Pro-Line for awhile and he had the killer tow rig required to haul this beamy, well-appointed and fast fishing platform to Monterey.

When we met up at 5am Joey also had a greenhorn in tow by the name of Chris who hadn't fished saltwater in a long time. Chris looked promising as a newbie and it didn't hurt that he was packing some nice beer. Besides the various brands of beer we had a plethora of sandwiches and snacks. We didn't know then that our biggest mission would be finding the time to eat!

With the weather just coming down after a big blow, and Randy not as familiar with the fishing grounds they'd chosen to pillage, we buddied up to run with Manny (DiablasMaster) and Bennie (FishnRN) meeting their vessels and crew at the launch ramp for a 7am departure to Point Sur. I had fished with Manny at Point Sur the day before the close of rockfish season on November 14, 2009 and remembered how awesome that trip had been... And Point Sur was about to ratchet my experience from "epic" to "stellar"... and then some!

After a bumpy ride down in confused seas we attempted to use the chart plotter which was showing us great fishing spots, IF you happened to be in Virginia. Well we gave up playing with that and shadowed Manny's drift once before our group started hunting around. I rigged up with a Harry Boos teaser above a octopus-shaped leadhead and nailed two big olive rockfish right off the bat. Chris landed his first fish of the day, a nice vermilion, and we promptly took photos. Joey and Randy were putting nice fish in the box as well. We had the radio on with everything from oldies to Abba (well not Abba but close) playing in the background.

Lingcod started to appear on a regular basis and the red rockfish count began to rise as more vermilions were subdued. Then Joey hooks into a massive copper rockfish which shakes it's head all the way up fighting. A few blue rockfish are deemed worthy and retained as well as a couple of huge starry rockfish and a China that pops up on my line.

Towards noon we made the decision to stay as the other two boats worked their way north. Plans to fish for salmon were abandoned as the rockfish really went on the chew! We stumbled across an amazing drift that kept us in constant action. Casting and jigging from the bow was rewarding me with lots of lingcod however everyone I caught was to short to keep. I dropped back four times on one lingcod to finally hook it and a couple of other fish hit again after missed strikes on the first approach. The guys were having a better time getting legal lings. I know I released at least eight lingcod by the end of the day!

My focus has been channeled into a constant pattern of cast, bounce, retrieve only to be disrupted by shouts of stellar catches in the stern of the boat, which in some cases require me to play photographer. I detect motion out of the corner of my eye and the bow hatch slowly opens and just like "Thing" on the Adams Family a hand produces a cold can of Guinness. Somehow I am in the midst of fighting a fish and I knock the unopened beer into the water. It floats! All is not lost as I yell for the net and hope I don't get handed a gaff instead. I scoop it and get back to business. I decide to give them free-rein to use my camera. It was fast and furious and so many fish were camera worthy. Somehow we never got a picture of Randy!

Double hook-ups (two fish per line) were increasing as we made our way into the late afternoon. After exerting myself for hours on the bow the guys coaxed me into trying their angling tactic. It was time to crack open another cold one so why not? I have to admit it was working very well and nobody had lost gear to the rocks. Sometimes you just have to go with the K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid) method. Plaster a whole or half squid onto the back of a swimbait. Drop it straight off the back of the boat until it hits the bottom. Park the rod in a rodholder. Ignore it and wait for a buddy to say "Hey your rod's going off!" At one point I turned around to see all of us engaged at the same time... Yes a quadruple hook up on doubles! Our drifts were long but once and awhile we'd reset and one time we were to the outside of the zone and we stumbled across some rock sole and sand dabs which we let go. Chris scored the most amazing double play of the day with a pair of lingcod; one brown, one green. He held them both up for a quick picture but one fish had to go back over the side. Our tally at the end was 6 legal lingcod (with over 20 released), 2 gopher rockfish, 3 olives, a grass rockfish, 1 China, 5 blues, 1 bocaccio, 2 starrys, 7 coppers and 15 vermilions.

By the time we packed it in the ocean had laid down significantly and we were tired. But it was a good kind of tired. We used our keen hunting abilities to find the launch ramp, towed back to Randy's and broke camp. Since Joey had to be on a plane at 8am and were were whacked I volunteered to come over and clean the boat in the morning... It's neat as a pin and ready to get some blood on the deck again!


April 27

Well I couldn't stand it much longer sitting on the beach reading the salmon reports.

I made a few calls and found out that Gerry Brooks had a spot open on the Doble today. I shared the charter with a group visiting from New Jersey and Dave Hansen was our deckhand.

We had a steady pick of salmon biting all morning while our weather was favorable. I released 2 slightly undersized fish (for a total of 4 this season.) Both fish hit a white spoon I was using on my rod.

The wind blew up out of the north around noon and we headed in a couple hours after that. Our tally today was 9 shakers successfully released.Most fish hit between 110' to 180'. I had a blast just being on the water.


April 17

Well it was about time for me to get my salmon gear wet and with an invitation to fish with Steve AKA "Mistress" and his friends Mark and Afroz, how could I refuse.

We boarded Steve's Shamrock in the harbor, which was still bearing fresh scars from the recent tsunami (the harbor not the boat).

We headed out towards the Soquel hole amid the other weekend warriors in the thick, but not all encompassing fog. I like fog to a certain degree. When the fog leaves it is sometimes because the wind has chased it away. Such was the case for us today but not before we all had a chance to hook up and play salmon.

I hopefully paid my dues with 2 almost-legal shakers being released, including one that hit a pearl spoon as I was reeling in to do a line check. The red croc showed me no love today but the watermelon apexs took up the slack. Bait was working too... well kinda... It was getting hit but nothing was sticking.

Good food and company prevailed for most of the morning and early afternoon as the fog lifted and the winds grew. We finally pulled the plug and whipped back to port through a saltwater shower. (I like folks who fish tough!)

Afroz wound up getting the only keeper; tens pounds or better with a gullet full of tiny larval crab. It was a "Gummer" catch too, with the hook barely holding onto a thin strip inside the fish's mouth! We carved it up so everyone had something for dinner. It's nice to share!

I got "dibs" to clean the hull (lol Steve has a slip... no trailering this time!)

OH, and the reason for the late report... I got a call from my friend to go horseback riding so we loaded up her two mares (yes I did have to trailer this time LOL) and rode in Henry Cowell park for a couple of hours.

Came home at dusk to a beautiful full moon that I watched climb higher for a few minutes in the hot tub while the salmon soaked in my favorite marinade.


March 26

Over the years I have primarily fished Baja California, however that could be changing soon. I finally made my first trip to Nuevo Puerto, Puerto Vallarta and Barra de Navidad.

Although I spent 8 days in mainland Mexico I only had the opportunity to fish one day out of beautiful Barra de Navidad. We had planned to try and fish with Jeff Klassen but he was unable to free up his schedule so he set us up with a super panga with captain Carlos at the helm. Jeff operates Reel1in Sportfishing in the Costalegre area.

We loaded up right from the canal behind my friend Larry's home and spent about a half day checking out the area offshore of Barra and found tons of skipjack tuna which are loads of fun on light tackle. I did some research for fishing spots to check out on my next trip down when I'll try some serious offshore or bottom fishing.

Needless to say by the end of the trip Jeff (my husband) & I decided to purchase into some vacation property for future adventures.


March 12

Today the 7th Annual Sand Crab Classic Perch Tournament was held. After watching Santa Cruz's harbor get ripped to shreds in the tsunami resulting from Japan's 9.0 earthquake which hit the day before, I was hesitant about fishing on the coastline.

So instead of risking being listed in the 2011 Darwin awards I played it safe, slept in and then moseyed up to Pillar Point harbor hoping I might find a rubber lip perch out under the commercial docks. The water was still churned up a bit but I did get one fish to bite my offering of fresh mussel... A small gopher rockfish.

After a quick photo I released it and decided I'd head back to Santa Cruz to join the festivities at the Portuguese Hall where Mike Baxter and Alan Bushnell were serving up food, announcing winners and raffling off prizes. I did very well in the raffle this year winning 2 rod/reel combos and a few other goodies. Over 250 people entered chose to use caution and fish today and there were plenty of nice perch caught with winners in all divisions including a new division for species other than perch. A leopard shark won that.

All proceeds from this event beyond expenses for the event itself are donated to the Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project! Next year the event will be held March 10, 2012, and entries will be limited to the first 300 sign-ups.


March 5

Mike, Bryon, Justin and I fished Hawaiian Hooker out of Alviso today but the sturgeon wouldn't show us any love... I caught and released a bullhead. Great day for the BBQ though!


February 19

As I left the house this morning at 5 am it was 33 degrees outside and lightly raining. Mel, Rod and I joined Mike to represent team Hawaiian Hooker in the 20th annual Nor.Cal Skippers Club Sturgeon Derby. All of us had our bright orange rain gear on as we took off from the ramp in San Leandro.

It was a privilege to surround myself with stone cold killers of this magnitude even if we had an off day. Anybody can fish in balmy FAC conditions but it takes a dedicated angler to push the envelope and try as hard as we did. It rained all day long and the temperature never went above the mid 30's. Towards the end of the day it would take me 10 to 15 minutes to rig baits on my hooks since my hands were so cold. I even let Mike cast for me after I slapped him upside the face with a liberally gooed herring. IT WAS COLD! We still had fun, good food and some rock N roll playing while we kept at it.

We all caught bat rays and leopard sharks, but only three sturgeon were brought in by the 3:30 derby deadline, so most of the guys didn't get the target species.


February 13

Mike, Bryon and I fished San Francisco Bay again and the first thing I hooked into looked very promising as it drug me around the boat. It turned out to be a about a 40 pound bat ray which was released. We all went on the catch other bat rays and a few leopard sharks and Mike had a trophy bullhead and Tom croaker before setting the hook on a feisty 63" sturgeon.

As he fought the fish to the boat I prepared to net it. One of the hooks caught the net right away and I had to hold the net and hope it didn't take off with the fish. Bryon leaned back over the transom and grabbed the fish by the gills so we could dump it in the boat.

Back at the ramp we all had Mike's tutorial on how to clean a sturgeon and he doled out the fish in thirds so we could all enjoy fresh fish that night.


January 28

Mike and I went out for sturgeon but they wouldn't play today.


January 23

Mike, Charles, Aram and I launched Mike's boat Hawaiian Hooker from San Leandro this morning and tried for sturgeon, but all we caught were bat rays and leopard sharks. We did enjoy unusually nice weather for this time of year. You have to pay your dues to get those dinos!

Link to my 2015 Fishing Diary

Link to my 2014 Fishing Diary

Link to my 2013 Fishing Diary

Link to my 2012 Fishing Diary

Link to my 2010 Fishing Diary

Link to my 2009 Fishing Diary

Link to my 2008 Fishing Diary

Link to my 2007 Fishing Diary

 
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