Pete Huber (Crunchtime) and his son Alex
invited me to come along for a last stab at
rockfish for the year so I met them at Santa
Cruz Harbor at 7am. My car noted the temperature
from my garage in the mountains to the dock..
Alex scraped the ice off the windshield of
the 24' Starcraft while Pete dialed in the
electronics and we scooted out as the sun
made it's entrance; thawing us in the process.
After a run to the north we had almost instant
action as Alex brought up a pair of nice black
rockfish. We boxed these in went
in search of some more colorful specimens.
Pete got the first lingcod
but he was so close to the legal size we decided
to let it go. I followed with another one
that we made the same call on. Alex got the
first gopher of the day and
the first photo op.
The ocean was nice but the drift was slow
and in some cases nonexistent so we kept trying
new tactics. We were in it for quality not
quantity and the day presented us with nice
views of birds and at least a dozen playful
sea otters keeping us entertained.
The lings started to kick it up a notch.
Pete nailed a beautiful blue ling for his
moment of fame. I also caught and released
a cute little cabezon that
inhaled a Storm anchovy.. The same swimbait
produced a hefty lingcod shortly thereafter.
Back at the dock we cleaned up the fish and
I got a parting shot of a black backed night
heron that kept us company while we filleted.
Thanks so much for asking me along today
Pete! Alex is going to make an excellent angler
and boat captain when he gets a little older.
Dave (Doubledee) took me out for a dungeness
crab run out of Pillar Point Harbor. We worked
his pots for a limit for each of us and I
was able to make a nice crab bisque for dinner.
Today's forecast was just too nice not to
go fishing and with the rockfish season still
open I made a trip out of the Queen of Hearts.
They were biting pretty good so it didn't
take long for limits around the boat. We had
a very nice grade of big black rockfish
with a few jumbo blues mixed
in. There were a few gophers,
a couple huge bolina and
a very enviablevermilion
by one lucky angler (nope not me today.) 8
lingcod, 2 cabezon
and some seatrout made up
the balance in the sacks.
I'm going to try and eak out a few more trips
for rockfish before the end of the year.
After torrential rains recently I figured
it was a no-brainer to give it a try for sturgeon
with Mike (Hawaiian Hooker), Gary (SSFgizmo)
We tried out of Alviso and had a really nice
outgoing tide but it turned into a day where
only the bullheads wanted
October 29-November 8
This year's long range adventure on the Royal
Polaris almost didn't happen for me. My
mom was diagnosed with a brain tumor in September
and as a two time cancer survivor we all hoped
this was not going to be a third occurrence.
While it was not malignant they did choose
to treat it with radiation and oral chemo.
I flew to Texas to be with her and by the
time the trip was coming up everyone was doing
well enough to cut me loose for a 10-day fishing
We boarded Monday morning October 29th and
I wound up in room 18 with the only other
female passenger, Dianne. After stowing my
stuff I jumped right into prepping topshot
leaders with my friend Chris Petersen. I also
put a few rods and reels together in case
captain Roy Rose saw an early opportunity
to toss lines in or cast at a floating kelp
paddy. Tim and John were our chartermasters
and about 2/3 of the 32 anglers were part
of the Red Cup Navy group... inc. me! Shirts
and goodies got handed out. Thanks to some
last minute shipping I had some Mojo
Sportsfishing Gear items to hand out too.
We set our sights southbound and started to
relax and pull a few pranks. Brad was the
first target who got photographed while sleeping
off a few beers. I'll just say that a red
permanent marker and a red solo cup were involved!
Tuesday was a running day as well but the
weather was beautiful. Things would continue
to heat up above and below the water soon.
Wednesday was halloween and Roy donned a
black wig, some temporary arm art and a little
make-up to look a little like Slash from Guns
N' Roses. Around noon we rolled up on some
hotspots on the Ridge to find a smattering
of small yellowfin tuna, a few yellowtail,
a few wahoo and some dorado. I flylined up
4 nice yellowfin and a yellowtail all in the
25 pound class. My one fight with a bigger
fish resulted in a bust off scenario when
a few of us all got tangled. I also released
6 smaller yellowfin tuna. For dinner that
night I dressed up as Chris's sister, replete
with old woman face mask, gray wig, black
fishnet stockings, wild orange shorts and
a red shirt. However I wasn't the only one
dressing up... Chris Garcia (a crew member)
looked a bit like Robin Williams and so it
was no surprise to find him wearing a costume
from Mork & Mindy as he served us dinner
November 1st found us among the
"tuna pens" offshore. I boxed
another 3 yellowfin and 3 dorado as they action
stayed steady throughout the day.
Friday morning we were anchored up on Potato
Bank. Chris had the number 1 kite rotation
and he got bit! Once he determined the fish
was not going to be over 200 pounds he handed
the fish off to me to fight. About 20 minutes
later I had my first official 100 pound patch.
The yellowfin weighed in at 106. Chris decided
to have some fun and while I was posing with
the fish he pinned a 100 pound "marlin"
patch to my shirt. I took a break and filmed
Ken Perry and John Long on big tuna battles.
My kite rotation at number 14 produced zilch
and after about a dozen nice fish including
a couple of cows (over 200 pounds) we had
a big lull in the action. Breaking out one
of my new Shimano Talica's I tried to fish
for grouper but I couldn't hook one. I did
pick up a very nice dorado later in the day.
During dinner Roy shifted us to another location
and that night a few of us ventured out to
fish a shallow bank. A couple of yellowtail
had hit the deck so I tossed a dropper loop
down and was rewarded with my largest yellowtail
of the trip, and a new personal best; 36.9
pounds! Before retiring for the night I also
took a nice picture of a happy angler with
a snowy grouper.
On Saturday we tried again for jumbo-sized
tuna but for most of us the bite was slow
and the fish were smaller. In the afternoon
I did get to fight a hammerhead shark which
was fun. I ended the kite rotation on the
starboard kite at dusk baited up with a squid,
locked and loaded waiting for a big fish to
boil on it... I struck out again.
On November 4th we trolled over the ridge
and surrounding area for wahoo and Dianne
picked up her first wahoo on the troll. It's
always nice to see an angler get a new species.
I figured we were done with chances at big
tuna so I broke down my larger outfits inc.
my kite rig. I noticed Chris still had his
kite rig ziploc bags taped to the mirror in
his room. They were marked sardine and squid
for the appropriate bait. I grabbed a dead
sardine and slipped it into the "sardine"
bag. A short while later he found it and returned
it by slipping it into my left boot... while
I was wearing it LOL!
To finish off the day I jigged up a few starry
rockfish and boxed 3 small tuna. A few big
bonita started to show up and a few more wahoo
Monday turned into a wahoo blitz with all
four of us on the troll at the stern hooking
up. I bagged a 44 pounder out of the three
fish that were landed. The fish attacked one
of Chris's homemade lures and he stood next
to me with a hand on the rod to make sure
it wasn't going over the side. Tight drags
and constant reeling are needed to land wahoo.
With lots of iron flying to target more wahoo
I grabbed my custom Forecast rod with a new
Shimano Tranx 500HG and yoyo'd a nice yellowtail
on blue & white iron. I'm really liking
that rig and I might target big lingcod with
it next year. More giant-sized bonita got
into the mix and we also found some large
Tuesday was a bit windy and we had jogged
north quite a ways. Bolina rockfish, vermilions,
some large barred sand bass and whitefish
were landed. We were still hoping to find
more yellowtail though. I played some poker
that afternoon and won and I had a fabulous
birthday dinner including some chocolate mousse
Wednesday we made a few passes around an
island and found a few yellowtail. I had a
huge takedown on a dropper rig off the stern
that could have been a big halibut or white
seabass. Whatever it was it made a clean getaway.
A bunch of nice vermilions were caught and
we headed for home.
Thursday morning in light rain we disembarked
at 5:30 am and sleepily said our goodbyes.
I watched the weigh in of the biggest fish
of the trip. The top yellowfin, caught by
Mike Marx, weighed in at 257 pounds!
The Royal Polaris crew was wonderful as usual
and I thoroughly enjoyed watching Dharyl give
Chris a dunking in the Pacific as part of
the new crew hazing.
After at least a year and a half of missed
opportunities I finally connected with Harry
Lee for a day on his 20' Shamrock pilothouse,
Little Toot. We met Thursday morning at 7am
at Pillar Point Harbor where I also met Wayne,
our other crew member.
The weather was so nice we headed straight
for Ano Nuevo where the fish were slow to
get going but I finally enticed a nice
yellow and black rockfish up. It
was a fun fight on my new set up; Shimano
Trevala rod and a Shimano Talica 8 reel with
Power Pro Super Slick. I also brought a Whopper
Stopper rod with my Penn 525 Mag that Wayne
took an interest in.
Harry was soon bendo on the target species
and put a nice lingcod in
the boat. Then Wayne started to add to the
collection. We coaxed up a nice grade of blues,
blacks and a China before
we decided to try a few more spots back to
the North as the breeze dropped from the West
Off Pescadero we hit a great place with red
tide conditions that the fish seemed to like.
The super-sized yellow and blacks,
Chinas, and a gopher
tore into our jigs and swimbaits. I kicked
back 2 small lings and Harry had a just legal
cabezon that we decided to
let go too. Between Wayne and Harry we wound
up with 4 keeper lings and two of them were
green. We also had a couple of female seatrout.
Just as the day was ending the weather started
to shift to a light South breeze so we were
able to have a smooth and fast ride in. The
timing was perfect as we were all on the road
home as light rain showers hit the coastline.
I stopped to take a picture of the sunset
at Pescadero on the way home.
Thanks for a great day Harry! I hope to fish
with you again soon. And Wayne has one of
my favorite boats, an old Wahoo, so I gave
him my contact info. as well.
I'm planning on visiting my mom soon and
I like to bring her fish so I went out on
of Hearts to round some rockfish up. I
joined nineteen other anglers who wanted to
enjoy a beautiful ocean off the California
coastline on a weekday.
Up on the bow later that morning, I had a
brutal tug of war with an unknown assailant
(It felt like a 20 pound class lingcod) but
when Mike the deckhand went to subdue the
subject we found a 12 pound cabezon
was the culprit. The sucker had a 3 1/2 inch
fully intact stone crab in her gullet. This
fish had ovaries... BIG ONES! She dragged
me around the bow and pumped line off my reel.
Other critters that made it into the jail
cell today were a pair of seatrout,
a big fat bolina, a lingcod
and a half dozen bad ass black rockfish.
I took a nice jackpot with the cab too!
After fishing albacore full tilt yesterday
I got at least a 5 hour nap in before heading
out at 5 am this morning to pick up my friend
Yvonne and drive up to Pillar point Harbor
for my charter on the Queen of Hearts. She
couldn't find her left-handed reel so I told
her she could rent something. Half Moon Bay
Sportfishing had a small left-handed Avet
reel on sale so I had Yvonne snap it up. We
saddled up and walked to the dock.
Breezing through the cabin to set out a batch
of M&M's I'd brought, I noticed the coffee
pot was gone and it it's place was a spanking
new Keurig machine. Whoa! Gene and my friends
Dan and Paul were up on the bow so I grabbed
a spot near them and had Yvonne to my right
on the starboard side. This particular area
also lets me shoot the breeze with captain
Bob and get the first indication of when he's
ready to let us drop lines in on each drift.
Towards the stern Ed, Bryan, the Ingram father
& son combo and Ben had their stations
set up. Paul #2 (Yvonne's boss) had brought
his young son Justin and the other guys were
friends of friends. We had a light load so
everyone could spread out.
When we left the harbor we made a couple
of attempts to scoop some fresh squid but
they dove out of reach before Mike could get
the net on them. The birds were working the
bait over pretty good.
Dan gets my attention with a black
rockfish that hit his iron and missed
the hook... with his mouth anyway. He snagged
it dead center in the fish's dorsal area on
the back. I fish with seasoned pros so it
was no great surprise when Gene pops up an
orange starfish with a white shrimpfly. I
think put a black rockfish in my sack first
and then Yvonne gets a nice bolina.
A few people started to get really nice bolinas
and they made up a decent part of the fish
count today. Dan puts the hurt a dark brown
cabezon and somewhere in
the back I hear about a big vermilion.
I toss a small lingcod back
and then get a bolina.
Paul and I have a lot in common when it comes
to shallow-water, light-tackle trips like
this. We bring a ton of gear and change it
constantly! I had some real nice bites including
one that felt like a halibut strike but none
hooked up. A hitchhiker ling followed Yvonne's
fish up and I almost got it to take my rig
but he swam back down. Then I nailed a double!
Starfish that is. I had two starfish on one
treble hook. I have trained for years to do
I finally got a keeper cabezon but not before
Dan had a pair of them. He was really putting
the wood to some nice fish. I kicked it up
a notch and started to get a few more rockfish
before we had to pack it in. Justin was checking
out the filleting of the fish as Mike cleaned
them on the run in. I'm glad we had a beautiful
calm day on the water. All 15 anglers had
limits and a lot of fun.
With the weekend weather looking fine for
offshore tuna I decided to hunt down an opportunity
to get out. After scouting out the hitchhiker
board at Full Speed fishing I threw a message
out to Steve Brookshire (Reel Deal Too) who
owns a 28' Grady White Gulfstream. Shortly
after the phone was ringing. I told him I
could round up a pair to fill the remaining
crew slots... Mel and pending new member Aquila
(Aquilank) joined the party. Steve had 4 brand
new outfits to break in and it turns out Aquila
had never boxed an albacore.
We had high hopes of changing that!
We met at Moss landing at 4 am and launched
about 45 minutes later and motored out to
our first set of numbers. The water never
got above 58.8 but we had located one of the
hardest and most defined edges I'd seen in
a long time. Big fish LOVE this stuff. Purple
and black tuna clones were chosen for the
spread. Steve had brand new meat lines but
after getting our first strike as the third
rod was being set we decided to opt for just
5 rods on the troll. Steve fought the first
fish and Mel gaffed it. Aquila bagged the
next fish which I gaffed and after we bled
it Mel helped Aquila do a post-mortem to dig
out the heart. He ate it and I gave him a
few potato chips as a chaser. Another tuna
virgin bites the dust! I took on the next
chicken of the sea and boxed it. Mel followed
me in short order. We iced the first round
of fish. Thankfully we had all brought ice
We bloodied the deck and then cleaned it.
We talked and joked and ate. Taking turns
at the wheel we waited for the next assault.
We had a single which I turned into a double
by throttling down for a second and then nudging
it back up. Then a triple struck. I gaffed
about half of those fish and took a few photos.
And then just like that, the morning bite
We changed up the spread a little. Aquila
snoozed a little and the boys almost pulled
a prank on him with some mayonnaise and an
"interesting" camera shot. We shot
off in some different spots and listened to
the chatter on the radio.
We kept coming back to the zone where we
started and in the late afternoon we had a
single and a double before calling it a day.
And what a day it was... 12 nice grade albacore
to 30 pounds. Every fish that hit STUCK and
made it to the kill box... ZERO shark encounters.
I had only fished with Mel before but we jelled
as a crew. I stretched my back out on the
deck and listed to the serious radio for the
first part of the ride in and then I traded
for the shotgun seat. The Grady flew in over
the surface like we were riding on tall cotton.
After a photo shoot with the kill on the
back deck we split up the bounty. I'm glad
I had brought the "big coffin" with
me and I went to retrieve it from my car.
When I got back Aquila had his cooler waiting.
We all looked over and laughed. It only held
about 1/3 of one albacore! I had some extra
large bags I keep just for times like this
so I fetched them and helped Aquila out. We
headed off as happy campers vowing to do it
again sometime. You bet!
Rockfish galore on the Queen of Hearts again!
13 lings to 12 pounds. I had a lingcod that
was too small so I released it and then later
got a keeper around 8 pounds. Seatrout,
and a few blues were today's mainstay.
One guy just a couple spots down the rail
from me on the starboard side fought a nice
18-20 pound halibut up but it bolted at the
surface and broke off before Mike could gaff
it. I also snagged a lost line and got a nice
seatrout and a double shrimpfly rig with a
torpedo sinker. Of course I also lost 2 jigs
We started off south of Franklin and went
halfway to New Years. I'm whooped!
After years of trying to make yet-another-rockfish-report
sound epic I find myself wondering why do
I try... I'm living the dream - Whatever the
dream may be at this given time. Weather happens.
Opportunities happen. LIFE happens. It all
boils down to choices. And every time I get
a choice involving fish or do something else,
the something else rarely wins. This has been
a lifelong choice; an addiction I choose not
to seek treatment for. When the elements no
longer challenge me and saltwater no longer
flows in my veins I can only hope that my
time on this earth is done.
With that said, today I went out on a private
charter on the Queen of Hearts. Ernie was
our chartermaster and captain Bob and deckhand
Mike made our day as usual. My friend Gene
was the one who tipped me off about the chance
to come out today. I love fishing with Gene.
He "gets" me. We share a passion.
Both Gene and Capt. Bob were sporting jackets
from my favorite long range boat, however
nobody informed me it was "Royal Polaris"
attire day so my apologies. We ran south and
started to fish in deeper water but with nothing
impressive except big jellyfish showing, we
trotted further south.
Ernie had a classic rod & reel up for
grabs as an award. This combo was hilarious!
The blank was adorned with Chiquita banana
labels, cute little plastic fish hung from
several of the guides and the old, gold spray-painted
reel even sported a perfect bird's nest complete
with a nesting pair of birds. Alas, it was
not to be for me. Of course Gene didn't get
So we're plucking nice rockfish here and
there and Gene gets a nice takedown which
turns out to be a chunky cabezon.
I photo the fish. I get a dink lingcod which
I then stick a keeper lingcod.
"Hey Gene", I ask, "Can you
return the favor?" I proffer my camera
and of course Gene gets the picture... after
photographing my butt and shooting a self-portrait,
The wind had picked up by this time but hey,
the coldest Winter is a Summer in San Francisco
so forget that I'm sorta freezing by now,
I have the proof that I've spent another day
on the water. I'm smiling even though I'm
not happy with my hair at the moment. I went
on to fill my sack with assorted rockfish
and picked up a second ling to boot.
Weary and bleary-eyed I sit here typing and
as I gaze at the keypad I see the small nicks
and scratches on my hands. I can feel the
roughness of my abraded thumb pads and the
gentle soreness of just about every muscle
in my body. A small packet of frozen salmon
cuttings for the cat (once thawed) is nestled
in the small of my back helping me numb my
lower back pain. I know I will sleep good
tonight but before I can rest I want to share
my special day on the water.
My friends at Discover
Angling had me join them today as a fishing
mentor aboard the Hulicat
out of Pillar Point Harbor. We had a kids
trip with the Sunnyvale Police Athletic league.
Captain Tom Mattusch and deckhand Jake Carrier
took our group of kids, counselors and fellow
mentors out for a rockfish charter.
The ocean was a bit roly poly however most
of the kids fared well and the few who did
get a little seasick were real troopers. Richard,
Gary, Alan, Dan, Mel, Bryan, and I set up
rods and tackle, coached, fed, instructed,
and even helped fillet the catch. (This would
account for the little nicks.)
To have been blessed with so many great fishing
experiences over my lifetime it just feels
so good to pass that along and see new anglers
getting excited. We had a lot of blue rockfish
today but when they hit the kid's lines one
or two at a time they LOVED it! This is the
best ticket to refresh a jaded fisherman.
The group also landed gophers, yellow and
blacks, seatrout, vermilions, Chinas, olives
and a few lingcod.
For those of you who enjoy fishing or just
live the adventure vicariously though reports
consider donating some time or money to the
many worthy organizations that help support
fishing opportunities; whether it's kids,
the handicapped, or our military.
The weather has continued to be nice and
with even better conditions than Tuesday.
I couldn't pass up another opportunity to
go out on the Queen of Hearts for a shallow-water
trip, especially after releasing eight lings.
Capt. Joe was in the driver's seat today
and we had Mike and Zack as out water waiters.
While we ran out I rigged up and chatted a
bit with a father and his young son. The little
guy was on his first ocean trip and told me
about his recent rainbow trout catch. Digging
through my Albackore backpack I found a Sep's
worm in bright magenta and stuck it on his
lower shrimp fly for good luck.
I started off on the starboard side and on
the very first drop I put a nice blue
rockfish in my burlap sack. He was
followed by a chunky gopher. The gopher rockfish
were all huge like Tuesday and we were close
to the area we had been on that day; Pescadero.
I heard some hooting and hollering behind
me and I found the kid had reeled up a nice
big female seatrout. It hit the "enhanced"
shrimp fly. I took their photo.
A few nice vermilions, bolinas
and Chinas were making there
way onto the deck so I switched to the port
side to cast out. I scored a few more nice
blues and donated a few to folks who weren't
feeling that hot. I started to bounce a few
small lings back when I put on a Shimano Lucanus
jig. They love those things! I also had a
big yellow and black rockfish
attack. A seatrout found my offering tasty
and I then had my rockfish limit.
Zack's girlfriend was out with him and she
had never caught a lingcod. Well she got two
nice ones and a cabezon
to boot. A few more guys landed legal lings
as the morning progressed.
Finally as we approached limits of rockfish
I tied a small teaser I had that resembled
a small sand dab above a larger swimbait and
started to aggressively work it. Pow! It loaded
up as lingcod number five struck the teaser
and then went back to inhale the swimbait.
Mad as a hatter the fish peeled line off as
I fought to get it into a safe zone. I had
to follow it to the right a bit so I could
keep it in front of me and gain some line.
After turning the beast up I finesse-pumped
it to gaff range and felt the sweet taste
of victory as it thumped onto the back deck.
FINALLY I was vindicated! She went 15 pounds
getting me the jackpot as well.
Bob & Sherry own the Queen of Hearts
and they take off every year to fish on the
Royal Polaris. Well somebody has to step up
and take the wheel while they're out playing
so today I jumped aboard with Capt. Randy
Bankcord and deckhands Mike and Greg in search
of rockfish and associated bottom dwellers.
The weather had been downgraded so we had
very little wind but a bit of lump. The bow
was loaded with KILLERS... Bernie and his
daughter, Jeanette... Royal Polaris veteran
Steve and yours truly.
I slipped out of the port side bow position
to stake a claim next to Randy's starboard
access from the wheelhouse. I also changed
up to big chrome, and could do no wrong!
Lingcod were the main quarry
but we fell into an epic bite on TOAD-size
gopher rockfish and we must
have boated at least 30 seatrout.
You could've walked on the seatrout at one
I released 8 small lingcod
and had one really nice one come off near
the surface. Another 20 pound class ling followed
a smaller ling up and it took great restraint
on my part not to use it as bait to engage
the potential "hitchhiker" into
nailing it so I could get the bigger fish
into gaff range.
Randy worked the heck out of the reefs between
Pescadero and Bean Hollow as we continued
to target keeper lings as our rockfish quotas
were being met.
I wound up with 6 stellar gophers,
2 nice seatrout, 2 black rockfish
and the memory of a fantastic day at sea.
I was out fishing today with the wonderful
charter that Paul Nagata puts together every
year on the New Huck Finn.
We left Emeryville and headed out to sea
to fish rockfish and lingcod to start off
the day. I managed to boat an 8 1/2 pound
Back inside the bay we concentrated on halibut.
About 5 nice halibut to 14.5 pounds were landed
and a stingray and small shark released before
we called it a day.
I was still tired from albacore fishing and
I'd had some bad news regarding family that
was pretty draining so I'm sorry for the short
report but I'm not going to curtail my on-the-water
fun until necessity deems it.
My friend Brad, who's boat I haven't fished
in a long time, tossed out a last minute plea
for crew to go offshore in the quest for albacore.
So there I was in the garage assembling gear
when my husband rolled home after a late night
at the office. Like a deer caught in the headlights
I stood behind my rack of trolling rods with
a silly grin. "Yeah, I'm going fishing
in the morning." Jeff took it in stride
and fixed himself something to eat as I raced
in and out of the house loading the car.
Breezing out onto Highway 17 a little after
4 am I honked the horn as I passed Reelemup
who was headed down to Monterey with the same
game plan. My cohorts Brad and Dean showed
up about an hour late towing Lutyfish behind
them. I loaded 6 fully rigged trollers, a
spare rod in case Brad brought another reel,
a tackle bag with trolling spreads and a bait
stick onto the boat. We had tons of ice too.
Expectations were high that we'd have to
run about 60 miles out but the warmer water
had brought them in a little closer. Brad
dropped a 9" purple cedar plug of the
whiskey line and it got bit by a 20 pound
class longfin that he brought up and I tried
to gaff. After two quick tries Brad gaffed
his own fish as Dean and I laughed. I like
to stick the fish in the head which is harder
to do when the guys start to lift them out
of the water.
We continued on for the better part of the
morning enjoying one of the flattest calm
ocean conditions I've seen for years when
it comes to offshore albacore water. Dean
snapped up the next fish to assault the lures
and I did manage to gaff his fish. I also
saw a free swimmer about 50 feet down but
as they had preferred all day, the fish stayed
There were not a lot of people out fishing
but the few who were shared information freely
over the radio. While we waited through a
long afternoon we ate, tipped a couple and
saw lots of albatross, dolphins and whales.
A little after 4 pm I had just set out a
line when I saw a boil. I remarked to the
guys about it and in the next second I saw
the fish attack the Mexican flag clone and
peel out. I had the rod in my hands as we
continued forward hoping to add more fish
before stopping to boat this one. We dumped
half the line on the spool but with no other
takers I reeled the bugger in while Brad practiced
filming with his GoPro.
We made a last ditch attempt to box a lingcod
before rounding the corner to the harbor but
daylight was fading fast and the cloud cover
had stayed with us all day. By nightfall we
were all headed home with a fresh albacore
to eat and the satisfaction that we had been
one of the first anglers to start the season
With 12 hours between landing at San Francisco
and departing for Loreto, Mexico I barely
had to time to drop off Jeff and the salmon,
grab my pre-packed cooler and catch my flight
at San Jose. (I haven't been this crazy since
booking Alaska and Panama back-to-back in
2006!) After checking into the Coco
Cabanas I shot by Augie's
Bar and had Edelia whip me up something
cold to get in the Baja groove. They were
tearing up the malecon to make improvements
but that didn't slow the locals down from
getting to this favorite watering hole for
happy hour. I popped down the street and found
the Bass Pro Shop guys ready to pose for a
picture with me while I ribbed my girlfriend
for not being there by holding up a cardboard
sign with her name on it.
My team consisted of the same great group
as last year, Steve and Maria with their Cabo
and Sandy and I. Sandy's husband flew down
too but he didn't fish with us. We pre-fished
the tournament a day ahead with Capt. Tito
helping us and released all of our small dorado
and a sailfish that Maria
fought. Later that day at the sign in my team
all sported charcoal colored Mojo T-shirts
and we were looking good from all angles.
I wandered over to Stroker's
Reef and entered a friendly soft tip dart
tournament to cap off my evening.
On day one of the
Fishin' For The Mission Tournament, which
is a huge benefit event I go to every year,
we all met up at the marina. Steve had to
run back to Loreto Shores to grab the rods
so I had Capt. Pedro head out to grab bait
while we waited. We loaded up on some nice
mackerel. With everyone aboard we ran north
sighting birds along the way. A stiff breeze
and small swell from the south made for an
easy run. A couple of mako sharks leaped high
above the waterline several times and a third
shark looked to be a thresher.
Halfway to Pulpito Point we tried to drop
in on some yellowtail but we got nada so off
we continued trolling for dorado. With the
wind on the rise I headed to my tackle to
grab a couple of pink and teal tuna clones.
It worked! A small female dorado grabbed it
and I boxed it. We bucked into a bit of weather
running downhill but in the lee of Isla Coronado
we got a reprieve. We sighted birds working
and dorado jumping and gave chase. Finally
Sandy got one which turned out to be a a tad
bigger. We had a combined weight of 15.4 at
the weigh in at the end of day one. Steve
had donated a rod and reel that he gave away
at the captain's meeting that night.
Day two found us scooting out to the east
under a pink and orange sunrise with another
fine load of mackerel. Right off the bat on
the north side of Ilsa Carmen we nailed two
skipjack with Steve and Maria
doing a tango with them. We had discovered
"Marine World" with several species
of whales and dolphins, frigate birds and
boobies working and even a few pelicans as
Out of nowhere we spotted a dorado breezing
and when it inhaled the mackerel we tossed
out Steve went to work on him. We saw the
fish jump and I shot video as the fight ensued.
After passing close to the vessel a couple
of times we determined it was a large bull
probably over 45 pounds. We were up on the
bow when this worthy adversary leaped once
more plunged down and chewed through the line.
It was heartbreaking!
Shortly thereafter we had another decent
bull dorado hooked up and I again swung the
camera onto Maria as she went head-to-head
with a colorful fish with powerful runs and
explosive runs. She followed it around the
boat and pumped the fish to gaff range for
Pedro who put the upper 20 pound class beast
in the boat. I then found out this was her
We got into a slick with a temp break and
saw a turtle nearby. The turtle was "holding"
and suddenly I found myself up to bat and
I swung into action on a very worthy bull
dorado. I danced with this big fish for awhile
but it eventually tired and thumped it's way
into the cockpit of the boat where Pedro and
Maria tossed a towel over it's eyes to calm
it down until we could thump it into submission.
Sandy was next but she got a big female that
she fought as we attempted to bait the bigger
male traveling with her into eating a mackerel.
Finally her fish crossed behind the stern
and shook her head spitting the hook as we
watched in despair.
With three nice ones on ice in the kill bag
secured to the bow we tried once more for
some yellowtasil. No dice again. As we turned
towards the marina we found a ton of birds
working and pitched our last two live macks
out and came up empty.
At the weigh in we had a 22.3 pound fish
and my second personal best dorado to date;
40.2 pounds. That evening at the awards dinner
next to the mission we found that we had placed
5th overall. Our table fared well in the raffle
too and both of my tickets scored me new fishing
rods. I donated a Shimano Torsa reel with
extra cams that was auctioned off and Sandy
and her husband Tracy outbid me for the Canada
trip in the auction.
I hung out for a couple of extra days and
enjoyed a snorkel trip one afternoon followed
by a fabulous massage by Jossy back at the
Cabanas. The weather was decent this year
and never got into the triple digits. I hope
to find some more folks to go next year and
enjoy a wonderful time for a great cause.
Jeff, Sandy and I returned to Queen
Charlotte Safaris to team up for some
great fishing and a little friendly competition
in the Haida Gwaii Open which I was hosting.
Since we had had a smaller turnout than expected
we decided to add a pool for a jackpot. Over
our cedar plank salmon dinner I opted to disqualify
myself but that got voted down, so I told
everyone I'd donate any winnings to my next
charity event in Mexico. Valerie, the lodge
owner, brought out some wines for us to try
and I gave a fishing seminar after dinner.
After getting assigned to boat #2 a Thunder
Jet custom built for the lodge with nice big
windows for great views. Our captain Kyle
Cabott soon had us skimming over the scenic
waters of the Skidegate
Narrows as we discussed our game plan
to try for halibut. Unfortunately enough wind
from the south made it a bit sloppy on the
outside and with a bit of popcorn progressing
to big sheep as far as the whitecaps go. Sandy
and I gave it a go for about an hour before
returning to the calm of the main inlet. Jeff
doesn't do well in rough seas anyway and he
was starting to feel the effects.
Switching to salmon gear (Penn level winds
on Shimano sticks) we soon had three nice
Chinook salmon with Sandy
boxing the first one. The fish were hitting
anchovies trolled behind a pink flasher on
one side and a green one on the other. We
also had a knuckle buster deployed off the
starboard stern with a herring running shallower
than the average 40 foot depth the other two
were set at on down riggers. A double hook
up commenced after that and Sandy's fish won
it's way to freedom but I worked a sweet 28
pound Chinook to the net for Kyle to scoop.
Out by Moose Tooth we had a vermilion rockfish
drive by which we released and a nice chunky
yellowtail rockfish which Sandy kept. A
silver (Coho) salmon showed up next
and then another King (Chinook) which Jeff
fought to the boat.
We skipped across to the other side to try
for some bottomfish. Sandy got a huge takedown
but we never got to determine what it was
because it wrapped her in the rocks and broke
off. We called it day and headed to Albion
in Queen Charlotte City to offload our catch
so we could return to the lodge for dinner
and some wine pairing. Candy, another guest
at the lodge had scored a 40 pound "Tyee"
Jeff took day two off so Sandy and I started
our day with a double hook up on Chinooks.
They were only about 18 pounds so we set them
free. Back up at Moose Tooth I decided to
box a bigger 25 pound Chinook after a great
fight. Sandy then went bendo with a perfect
hook set on what turned out to be a 24 pound
Chinook. Next Sandy lost a Coho near the boat
while I had a Chinook come unpinned. We fought
and released a couple more Chinook including
a white one I admired before letting it swim
Trolling out by the point in the afternoon
we noticed the weather on the outside was
getting nice so we entertained thoughts of
hunting halibut on our final fishing day.
Kyle had some AC/DC to listen to and I asked
his permission to clean our fish as we headed
in. I like to stay in practice! As I finished
up we sighted a black bear and her cub in
a grassy field by the waterline. The local
bald eagles were plentiful this year too.
On our last day of fishing Jeff rejoined
us and Valerie's dad Dave also asked to accompany
us. We had a touch of fog since the weather
had shifted and it was very calm running out.
About three quarters of our way to the outside
though we stalled out with some kelp in the
engine intake. Kyle handled that after firing
up the kicker motor so we could troll for
salmon while we waited for the main engine
to cool down.
Jeff started off by fighting an 18 pound
Chinook and while I was helping to clear the
other lines a smaller salmon jumped onto the
rod I was reeling in which I released. A flurry
of Coho salmon hit after that and we took
most of them. I released one more Chinook
before we headed off to Marble Island to hunt
halibut and other big toothy bottom dwellers
with big shoulders.
After a few swings and misses as we drifted
Sandy engaged a hard hitting beast which we
hoped was our target species... And it was!
Her nice (and very thick) 60 pound Pacific
Halibut swam up alongside the boat
and remained placid until Kyle skillfully
sank a harpoon in it. After one more explosive
dash it was hauled aboard where we were ready
for a big Kodak moment.
We all rounded up a few yelloweye
rockfish up to 14 pounds and Dave
also had a quillback. I managed
a yelloweye, a China and
a canary. No lingcod were
to be found and with the weather starting
to come back up we returned to the inside
to get some more salmon action going.
Back again at Moose Tooth Jeff boxed his
second Chinook to complete his daily limit.
Sandy fought a big piece of kelp up and we
joked about the size and bag limits on kelp.
Instead of reaching for the gaff she chose
for a clean release.
On our way in we had to shutdown again so
we relayed to another boat that we'd be late
getting back. We arrived in time for the awards
and Candy Danhausen won first place with her
two biggest salmon weighing a total of 61
As usual we had a wonderful time with no
heavy rain the entire trip. Chef Kyle and
Brenda provided us with great food and made
sure we had plenty of it. I particularly enjoyed
the lingcod on our third night! Larry was
up at the lodge to get ready for an event
and he delighted the guests by tossing some
salmon heads out on the beach in the evenings
so we could watch the eagles feed on them.
Valerie still runs a very nice lodge and if
you're looking for a salmon adventure I wouldn't
hesitate to give her a call.
A few of us are considered to be "Old
School" in Full Speed Fishing Club fame
and so it was time to get the band together.
John Bloom had been keeping me apprised of
the weather off of Brookings, Oregon and low
and behold we had a window of opportunity
for a variety of species. Mike Nolan AKA"
Hiouchi Mike" would run up from Crescent
City to complete the trio.
I loaded up my car with a tuna troll rod,
about 20 pounds of rockfish gear, a smattering
of halibut tackle and the requisite salmon
outfit and hit the road.
On Thursday the plan had been to jump aboard
another vessel and shoot out for albacore
tuna but we couldn't leave until late morning
so that was aborted. John wound up hitching
up his 19 ' Honda powered Arima; Meal Ticket
and we scooted out for salmon.
With relatively reasonable ocean conditions
John and I set up our rods on the two downriggers
and Mike used a Deep Diver to get out between
us. John scored a big fat and sassy King salmon
on the first hook up and it peeled off at
a blistering pace. After several nice runs
I netted it. Then Mike's rod got bit and he
had me take it. Mike scooped up my fish. My
rod had been getting a lot of drive by's but
they weren't sticking. Finally one did stick
and I had Mike bring it in. I netted his too.
We spent the morning and a couple of hours
into the afternoon trying to fill out our
limits, while pondering obscure facts like
the meaning of the word whippersnapper. We
snacked on a variety of goodies and kept up
the banter but the bite slowed down so we
called it a day.
Friday morning Mike headed out on another
boat so John and I launched Meal Ticket and
struck out for the salmon grounds just a couple
miles off the beach. Right away we had a nice
one hit my rod. I played it close to the boat
but on the final attempt to net it the fish
dove and came up at us vertically and the
hook came out about 5 feet below the net.
Great battle but the fish won!
Things got quiet and fish were not jumping
into people's boats so we opted to try for
rockfish a few miles up and inshore. With
a bit of a Southerly hinting and a lot of
current the fishing wasn't so hot. John managed
a small lingcod which we released and a canary
rockfish which had to go back. He did get
a decent black rockfish which we kept.
We had both been snagging the bottom and
unfortunately John got caught in a pickle
when he couldn't break free. His Lamiglas
snapped under the load and I could feel for
his loss, so we decided to bail.
I noticed a commercial boat making tight
tacks downhill from us and we looked at the
screen and saw the mother lode of all bait
balls. We had current breaks to either side
and I said we should give it a try. Of course
John's rod was out of action but I still had
2 others aboard. I'd have to be desperate
to use a spiral wrapped jigging outfit but
I did have another one which was better suited.
My 7' 6" Sabre pro series gx197oc rod,
rated at (10-25) was saddled with my cherished
Newell G220F reel. I had planned for light
tackle rockfish with it (heck maybe even a
tuna), but it had NEVER seen a salmon. I still
had an old top shot used on my last long range
trip tied to old white spectra backing. We
put a small flasher and a rotary clad anchovy
out and prayed we wouldn't get spooled if
it got bit.
Well it got bit alright and we didn't see
it pop out of the downrigger. Once we noticed
it John started reeling and the rod loaded
up. Fish on! He coaxed the fish in slowly
and after several passes I had the optimal
shot and it was nothing but net! As suspected
the fish was full of krill.
While making another pass we hung a crab
pot on the port downrigger and John cut the
cable. Lady Luck was dealing us a pretty bad
hand. I put out a deep diver on that side
later but we packed it in shortly after that.
We had one more surprise waiting for us at
the dock. John glided up to the dock and I
stepped out to pull the boat up and tie off,
only instead of slipping into neutral the
boat started backing out. Just before I contemplated
going for a swim or letting go of the line
John cut the motor and we pulled her to the
dock. The shift cable to the main motor had
broke. Well we had one nice salmon out of
a day of disasters so that helped take away
some of the pain.
The doctors kept making him put a cast on
his foot and just when we thought he'd get
the green light we'd have to take a step back,
however Eric AKA Lock Pro made good today
on a long overdue foray out on the salt pond.
Eric's son, James, was with him and guess
what... SALMON VIRGIN! Well we made him crank
on half the fish today and after a cruel and
brutal loss of fish number one at the downrigger
he managed a beauty of 25 pounds. Personally
I think it was more like 28 but since I went
home with the tail we'll never really know
for sure. (BTW, the tail yielded 2, 1 1/2
Our first hook up was a double and with father
and son both battling 25 pound king
salmon. It was one heartbreak after
another as Eric's fish came off while I was
trying to stay on James's fish... also another
25 pounder. I had a fish hit the Les Davis
deep diver rig I was holding and it got close
to the net without pulling the "pin"
on the diver. Go figure! It was a toad too.
The weather was nice and we managed to pull
an olive rockfish off a shallow drive by.
It was a privilege to finally get to fish
with Eric and I know we can do better next
While it is largely a fact that I have saltwater
in my veins the winds have stirred up the
salt pond for most of the last month, so I
made a phone call to a special friend who
knows all about freshwater fishing and said,
"Next time you have an opportunity to
squeeze me in, let me know." Sidney Silberberg
is the special friend and today was my lucky
Lake Berryessa is a couple hours from me
and yet I've never fished it but not to worry,
Sid knows the place like the back of his hand.
I met him at one of the launch ramps on the
south end of the lake where he already had
his fully loaded Lund in the water. I was
prepared to see the freshwater version of
a "Tred Barta porcupine" when he
told me the number of rods he was bringing.
Let's just say he's got everything covered!
I was allowed to bring up to three sticks
myself but I chose the two staples I own...
A Fenwick trout rod/Penn 420 SS (coffee grinder)
and a Penn Pursuit/Abu Garcia Ambassador 4600
C3 (level wind), both sporting fresh line.
It promised to get hot today so I planned
ahead and donned my Mojo
shirts and a pair of shorts over a swimsuit
and wore a pair of water shoes from Lands
End. My Mojo cap and Kaenon soft cores completed
my ensemble. Polarized glasses are a MUST
HAVE if you plan on fishing.
Sid started us off by trolling and I took
notes of the various lures, depths and water
conditions. It wasn't long before we had a
bass attack and I cranked the feisty golden-hued
fish to the boat. A very respectable 2 to
3 pound smallmouth bass got
deposited into one of the forward live well.
He was soon joined by a 2 pound rainbow
trout. Another bass followed before
we decided to run a short ways to another
A nice breeze picked up just as I had discarded
my T-shirt, bringing enough relief from the
heat to get by with my performance shirt.
Since I had caught a few fish on Sidney's
gear I decided the put my trout rod out and
troll with it a bit. It was promptly bit and
whatever hit it started to take line. "It"
turned out to be a great fight and I landed
my first ever squawfish which
was around 4 1/2 pounds. I followed it up
with another trout.
With a light chop on the lake we headed for
the opposite side to get some protection and
take a break to hang out with Sid's family
on a patio pontoon boat. We snapped a few
pictures of some of the catch so far and tossed
a couple of lines out to check for catfish.
After a quick hamburger and beer we cooled
off with a dunk in the lake and then I got
schooled in the fine art of using a senko
from the shoreline. I practiced for a few
minutes before we headed back out.
We found a nice area to drift using the senko
technique and I also tried casting a couple
of topwater lures. The next time we hooked
up I told Sidney to bring one in since I had
lost a bass earlier. He let me net the fish
which was a nice largemouth bass
around 4 pounds. Throughout the rest of the
afternoon we scoped out areas hiding bass
and I learned a lot about the structure that
they prefer at different times; During the
day-to-day and over their lifecycle.
In one small cove I had a huge takedown and
fought the biggest bass I'd encountered, so
far, to within five feet of the net before
it leaped and spit the hook. Sid figured it
was a 6 pound class fish. I was really starting
to enjoy fighting bass and I wanted another
shot at a big one. We paused to dunk ourselves
again before moving on.
Well when you're fishing with a pro lightning
can strike more than once! A short while later
I got to fight an even bigger bass around
8 pounds, but alas it too found freedom before
the net. Sidney took it in stride but I know
we both would have loved a photo op with both
of those largemouths!
It was a pleasure not only fishing but getting
to experience a fantastic lake with plenty
of wildlife. Sidney pointed out several osprey
and bald eagle nests, grebes, Canadian geese
and we saw plenty of deer as well.
If you want to hire Sidney (who is also a
very talented angler on saltwater too) then
contact him at his web
site here or call him at (650) 583-3333.
I'll be adding Sidney to my endorsements page.
After yesterday's news of the passing of
Dan Waddell I wasn't sure I still wanted to
go out on the Queen of Hearts, but Dan wouldn't
want any of us to sit on the beach if we had
a chance to fish, so I went.
I didn't feel much like talking to anyone
so I went into the fo'c'sle where I could
ride down to Pigeon Point and shed a few tears
while reflecting on Dan.
The bite was a bit scratchy to start but
it soon opened up and people caught big, quality
fish. And then there were the lings. I nailed
5 keepers and let 2 smaller ones go. I think
the final tally was 11 for the boat. Another
passenger got the 2 biggest lings today...
I didn't care. I had a limit of lings. I kept
walking back with the surplus fish and finding
someone who had none or very little and saying,
"Hi, Merry Christmas. Here's a lingcod."
It's the kind of thing Dan would've done.
It felt GOOD! I didn't catch my quota of rockfish...
Again I didn't care. What I did have were
all toads; a vermilion, a
Bolina, a gopher,
a blue and a sand sole.
To really drive the point home today, Jack,
a kid I've shared the bow with before who
is an amazing and talented angler did something
remarkable today. Capt. Bob came out to shoot
the pictures of Jack's "TRIPLE"
on blue rockfish caught on
2 hooks and a sinker. Yes, a sinker through
the gill plate.
Yep, there's no doubt in my mind that someone
special was looking down and sharing the love
I had a special day today out with Mike Jones
on Hawaiian Hooker. His daughter
Shelbie was going after her first salmon!
"Your daughter's a virgin at 19? Dude
no way!" I asked Mike how this could
happen. His first response was "She plays
a lot of video games." But seriously
I couldn't believe that a guy with a reputation
for putting people on their first sturgeon,
halibut, salmon, etc.. had neglected his own
flesh and blood.
Well after hopping aboard at Moss Landing
with some bait I'd bought at Phil's I quickly
concurred that Shelby was going to get her
first salmon... TODAY! The
three of us set off for the Soquel Hole. (Carlos
had vehicle issues and couldn't make it. Hope
your ride is running cool again.)
While we didn't have Carlos with us we did
have "Bob"; The Bob FM format features
a mix of classic 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s
and 1990s hits with some current hot adult
contemporary singles. This was a nice change
of pace from what Mike usually tunes into
which is generally the every-other-song is-Katy
Perry radio station. And if I ever get Mike
set up with a Keurig machine we'll be truly
We put out one down rigger and ran two rods
with deep divers. I had been wanting to try
mine for awhile. We had Mike's noodle rod
on the starboard side. The first two fish
that hit the gear were lost when Mike tried
to coax Shelbie into taking them but she didn't
want to attempt to land the first one.
Steve on Mistress drifted over the
radio waves to us and mentioned we should
make a move north. I have to trust a guy who's
last name is North LOL! So we did.
I took up job of putting us on the fish while
Mike took a siesta. That was just the ticket
as his rod started pumping. This time Shelbie
went for it! Mike quickly roused and I traded
the helm for the net. Both of us coached Shelbie
and thankfully the noodle rod helped to buffer
a couple of hook set motions. I soon saw I
was going to have a challenging net job when
I figured out I'd have to net the fish between
the other two lines and on the side with the
down rigger still deployed fifty feet. To
add to the chaos I could hear another boat
voicing concerns about us getting in their
way. I finally had the moment that would make
or break everyone's heart. In the net and
in the boat!
The hook was lodged firmly in the upper jaw
protruding fully through the left side of
the salmon's nose. Her first fish was a very
respectable catch of around 14 pounds which
I cleaned and saved her the heart. I took
photos of her with the fish and then got Mike
in for a couple of father/daughter shots too.
We settled back into trolling but with the
wind picking up a little we ran back to our
original grounds where a few boats lingered.
I had just passed an Osprey where two guys
were pulling up their gear to run in, when
once again Mike's rod went off as he was asleep.
With a mutual request for me to go to bat,
I fought and landed another salmon. This one
turned out to be the same size but it was
a hatchery fish. I picked up the knife and
set about cleaning it after a few poses with
We faired pretty well it turned out. Most
fish were loaded with krill and probably were
not interested in feeding. It was another
fine day on Hawaiian Hooker!
Mini tarpon on the American River! Ok they're
really shad but wow do they
fight like little tarpon.
I suppose I could've sat home a cried about
finally selling my '68 Dodge Charger but the
main reason I sold it was to be able to fish
more, so after making a call to the Royal
Polaris to book a 10-day I made another call
to Justin to hit the delta shad bite.
Justin met me with his Triumph (3rd one I've
fished this year and I really like them!)
at the Discovery Park launch. His friends
Josh and Liz helped us drop the boat in and
joined us in their Lundy with the "fleet"
for some balmy weather, late afternoon action.
We dropped in on the anchor and although
I had brought 2 rods I decided to make it
a worthy and fun battle to catch my first
shad on the ultra light rig. I planted my
Fenwick Eagle II rod saddled with a Penn 420ss
in the port rod holder. All the boats had
a steady pick of fish going and sometimes
you'd see double hook-ups.
Justin was the hot stick and I landed my
first shad on one of his rods but I still
held out for the supreme fight. We hoisted
a few brews and set up a zip line with Josh
& Liz so we could share some smoked yellowtail
And then it happened! I went to check my
line and as I was holding my rod I had a strike.
I played the fish for about five minutes and
finessed it to the boat for Justin to land.
It was a pig!
We moved around a bit and quit around 9:00.
Thanks for such a fun day on the fresh stuff
Justin. I had a blast!
What a difference a few days makes when it
concerns the weather! The ocean laid down
and Mike asked if I wanted a shot at redemption
and of course I told him YES! With rockfish
season now open we decided to hedge our bets
by bringing tackle to cover salmon
I met Mike and the rest of the crew; Brad
(MrCake) and his friend Mark O'Neill at the
Monterey launch ramp near the coast guard
station for a 6:30 am start.
Point Pinos had been producing so we plied
the waters for a couple of hours with some
other boats but it was pretty quiet. By the
time we started to hear of fish being caught
we whipped out cell phones and made a few
calls. Turns out we drove right past the bite.
It was game on in front of Moss Landing!
We arrived just as the bite shut down. Ouch.
Oh well, we decided to stick it out since
the only other option was to run back south
to Point Sur where I had some rockfish numbers
but it would take more time and gas than we
figured it was worth. And a hint of wind from
the south wasn't doing much to make me want
to push the issue. We were treated to plenty
of extra visuals today... Humpback whales,
risso dolphins and Mike saw a white shark
leap out of the water.
Everyone took a turn at the wheel and Brad,
Mike and I also took turns getting a little
nap time in. Low and behold late in the afternoon
we got the fish to start biting after putting
out 4 watermelon apexes. We had several takedowns
and I released a shaker that Mike brought
in on my Calstar and Shimano rig. Finally
we get a solid hit and it's on Mark's rod.
He fought the salmon to the portside for Brad
to net, which took him a couple of attempts
and kept us on the edge.
I cleaned a nice 15 pound fish loaded with
krill a few minutes later and only after I
threw the guts over the side did I find out
that this was Mark's first salmon! I would
have made him eat the heart if I'd known.
When we all parted at the end of the day
I didn't have the heart to take part of the
salmon. I have a feeling Brad and Mike probably
didn't either. There's nothing like showing
off your first fish whole to your friends
and family and I just yanked some frozen yellowfin
tuna out of the freezer for dinner.
Yesterday was physically and emotionally
filled with highs and lows. I felt elated
and defeated. We had tried to get the salmon
to bite out in front of Santa Cruz even with
Mother Nature throwing us a very rolling ocean...
And She was just getting started!
Already feeling a bit pummeled (and regretting
that last rum white Russian concoction back
at the American Legion after fishing), I got
up at 4:15 to drive up to Half Moon Bay and
fish with Mike on Hawaiian Hooker.
I wore my rain gear. I knew fully what conditions
we were about to charge off into. Gary (AKA
SSFGIZMO) and Mike number 2 (AKA Dangerous
Trebles) completed our Full Speed Fishing
group of stalwarts.
We ran downhill to Deep Reef and I slapped
my Calstar/Shimano combo into the starboard
down rigger. Proffering a plain chrome krocodile
I had high hopes of a quick takedown and a
wide open bite with early limits. We settled
in trolling and the guys ran Apex's and bait.
We figured we'd match-the-hatch and run the
same thing on all four lines as soon as we
noted the fish's preference. In the meantime
I had a preference for the powdered and chocolate
donuts that our captain had brought along.
We hit jelly and it wasn't donuts. Yesterday
I had had to clear lines of small clear jellyfish
and today we had the big red monsters. They
were popping lines out of the riggers so much
we decided to make a move to the inside of
It worked! My line sprang tight and dipped
a few times. Jellyfish do not pump. Game on!
Game on until the fish broke the surface
made a leap and I dipped the rod and the salmon
The wind moved up a notch and about the time
we started getting the anchor wet on uphill
tacks we decided to scrap salmon and go to
plan B - Halibut outside of Pillar Point Harbor.
After a very wet but skillful run back, Gary
boated and released the first fish which was
not the target specie however it was a very
nice gopher rockfish. I had
a nice head shaker but it turned out to be
a small lingcod and two days
before the rockfish season opener it too had
to go back.
I like rolling with people who don't fold
when the going gets tough and today's crew
There are very few times I'm rendered speechless
but after reading Dave Doubledee's accounting
of today I'm opting to repost (with permission)
his story. Make sure you have some Kleenex
nearby. You're going to need it.
Annual MBV Wheelchair Salmon Derby
Wow! Such an overwhelming weekend it’s
It is 5 am Sunday April 29 2012, the day
after the Monterey Bay Veterans Wheelchair
Salmon Derby. Here I am sitting in my 5th
wheel in the parking lot at the Coast Guard
ramp in Monterey where the event went from.
I just climbed out of bed to start writing.
I couldn't lay there anymore, because my tears
kept running into my ears.
I cried a lot yesterday, and there is no
shame in it. The emotions I feel from this
event often do that to me.
Why is an interesting word, It doesn't have
any power on its own, it's just simply a question...
Why do you do this? When I am asked by friends
& the private boat captains that I try
to get involved with this event, I can smile
and feel pride as I tell them why.
It is because these are our Veterans.
These are the folks that cared enough about
our country to serve it.
It is because they believe in us as a whole.
That the United States of America is the greatest
country on earth and that the Constitution
and people here are worth serving.
It is because these folks all served for their
own reasons, but ultimately they did it for
us, for me, for you, and for our families.
They did it to preserve our way of life!
Taking them fishing & sharing a day on
the water is such a small thing to do to let
them know we care!
That is why!
Now, "WHY" when asked by a veteran
or one of their family members carries a power
I just can't fathom. It overwhelms me! I can't
stand their with my chest puffed out and proudly
espouse my reasons. My lips tremble, my knees
get weak, the tears well, and for a rare moment
I can't talk.
I was brought to that point a few times yesterday,
by a couple of women and a Korean war Veteran
who's name I didn't catch.
Wendy McAndrews, I apologize that I couldn't
get the words out and say all that should
be said about this organization that your
husband founded. That anyone in the hall would
ask why I volunteer and try to get more private
boats involved every year, took me by surprise.
Jeanie "G.I. Jean" (Jeanie took
an IED hit in Afghanistan), and the Korean
war vet that asked just before I left last
night got the best answer I could muster.
I went to hug Jean, and the gentleman asked
me what branch of service I was? I told him
that I didn't serve, and he asked "Then
why do you volunteer for this?"
For the second time in just a couple of hours
I couldn’t talk.
I fell to my knees in front of Jean's wheelchair
crying, I grabbed her braced knee and said
"This is why. Because she cared enough
about me to do this. Because you cared enough
about people you didn't know, to go to Korea.
Because everyone here was willing to make
the ultimate sacrifice so that I could live
and raise my family here. Because I love you,
and this is such a small repayment to let
you know it."
Jean grabbed me and said something that will
stay with me forever: "This is huge to
us. You guys gave me a new lease on life!"
That is WHY!
For the first time in the 2+ years that I
have known her, I got to watch Jean stand
from her wheelchair to hug me on Friday.
I saw a Korean war vet cry at my reasons
for doing this event. I hugged him, he hugged
me back and said "Thank you" when
in my heart I knew I was the one that should
be giving thanks.
That is WHY!"
P.S. I had the honor of fishing as part of
the crew on Mistress owned by my
friend Steve North and we had Jeanie aboard.
She is one tough lady and one incredible human
I guess one good Triumph leads to another.
Yesterday I was on a Triumph 21 and had a
short shot a salmon but it just wasn't one
of those days and I drove home with the skunk
on my heels.
Well Dean and Bobby thought I should give
it another go, so I met them at the Moss Landing
ramp at 5:30 this morning as they queued up
in line to drop in and low and behold Bobby
has a Triumph 21! I really enjoyed fishing
CR's boat and I hoped it would be even better
today fishing the twin of his vessel
It was a mob scene out in front but we found
a bit of space to claim and started trolling.
Dean scored the first salmon
and I swung on it with the net. We thought
it would bust out into a nice bite. It didn't
but we kept hearing a lot of chatter on the
radio. We changed up gear and started to consider
options. You know how it gets... "Should
we move? Wanna try bait? Troll deeper? Open
a beer?" Dean whipped out some chicken
and chips while we pondered.
Bobby pulled in the next victim and once
again I was at the ready with the net. Uh
oh pressure's on! I had a fish on my watermelon
apex for a nice fight until it got about 30
feet from the stern and spit the hook. CRAP!
Things slowed down and the breeze picked up
Finally the radio fish got the better of
us and we hauled in the lines and ran about
15 minutes Northwest. The nets were flying
more frequently so we dropped in again and
started to hook up. I had another take down
on the apex and this time I got the bugger
to the boat for Bobby to net.
As the morning progressed we had a steady
pick of fish including a handful of shakers.
Bobby soon had another nice fish played up
to the port side where I was waiting with
the net but for some reason it was just out
of range. There was confusion, commotion and
chaos and then I heard a loud snap! No matter,
I do what I was born to do and swing the net
on the fish. I own the next few moments and
it feels great! Turns out that his line had
gotten wrapped in a rocket launcher overhead
and not only pulled the hook on the fish but
busted the line between the launcher and the
I am humbled soon after when Bobby decides
to hand off a fish with big shoulders and
I lose the fish. At this point we are trying
hard for the "go home" fish and
Dean is the one who gets the job done.
It's roughly noon, we have limits, I didn't
have to clean any fish for a change.
We return to the beach to find both of the
boat wash downs out of service so the guys
cut me some slack and I got excused from clean-up
as well. I'm tired but it's a very happy kind
of tired. Thanks Dean and Bobby!
Thursday night I played phone tag and after
a couple of maybes didn't pan out with spots
open to hitchhike for salmon with friends
I thought screw it I'm going to Moss and stick
my thumb out.
The place was packed and lots of guys said
they had bailed on the zoo at Santa Cruz.
I had prime parking. (I am loving my handicapped
parking placard and I intend to milk it until
I can jog.) I helped a few people launch and
was real close on snapping up a late arrival's
seat, but by 8:00 it looked like I might have
to concede and accept defeat.
Towards the top launch area I spied a red
pick-up backing up to splash a T-top... And
he was alone! I asked if he needed any crew,
citing safety in numbers, and he said "yes!"
CR has a nice Honda powered 21' Triumph and
by 8:30 we were under way with my gear stowed.
The fish were scattered throughout the water
column but most were landed in the upper 100
feet. We gave it a go for about 4 hours but
we only had one knockdown on a watermelon.
Most of the fish were caught early and then
it was a steady pick here and there for most
of the guys. Some like us had nada. The day
was not a total loss though. I now have another
new fishing buddy!
Sometimes you're the bride and sometimes
you're the bridesmaid and I was the latter
today. As a favor to a friend with limited
space on his boat, I acquiesced to forego
fishing the salmon opener
on Saturday for Sunday instead. Still recovering
from recent foot surgery I had been green-lighted
by my doctor to go even though my status quo
is semi-handicapped. I was able to get my
boots on which was my goal. I have a reputation
for fishing tough and I'm not about to pansy
We converged at Moss Landing to launch amongst
the throng of other anglers who had come to
fish on Easter Sunday. Mike eased Hawaiian
Hooker off the trailer while Rod, Mel, Charles
and I threw our gear in. I had brought a Lamiglas
rod and one of my few reels that has only
monofilament on it; a Newell G220F. (I actually
have a pair of these reels but one has a modified
handle and is loaded with spectra.) Off we
went with the wind at our backs but not for
It wasn't pretty out but it was fishable
however it was COLD but we would have sun
eventually. I prefer to troll but Mike has
a penchant for mooching so I tried to work
a red krocodile for awhile. This is where
things started to go downhill for me... With
fairly light line on my reel I made a really
nice power cast and proceeded to have a loop
get sucked into the crack between the spool
and the side plate. I peeled about 75 feet
off and decided to try mooching. Our weather
was getting nicer and reports of fish kept
crackling over the radio. I headed up to the
bow and started to thaw out in the sun. The
salmon were at depths anywhere from 30 to
180 feet and most of ours hit has lines were
being deployed or retrieved. Rod and Charles
took turns getting fish but the rest of us
struck out. I had two missed opportunities
that savaged my herring.
By early afternoon the wind crept back up
shifting to the South and progressing to Northwest.
When the sheep started rolling into the pasture
I traded for an aft rod holder citing my inability
to maintain proper footing. The guys were
very sympathetic and catered to me hand and
foot. Rod's last battle of the day was a good
one and I really wanted to participate so
I netted his last fish.
We roughed out the weather and were one of
the last boats to head back in. Mike made
sure we all had fresh salmon to go home with
and Jeff had a cedar plank soaking when I
arrived home. I have a feeling this is going
to be the great year of salmon fishing that
we have been patiently waiting for!
Before I even had a chance to fish this year
I had to navigate the channels of construction.
Jeff & I are finally in finish mode on
a home we started to build in the Summer of
2000. Picking drywall textures, tile, faucet
finishes and more was exciting but I longed
to clear my head and inhale some salt air.
Mike (Hawaiian Hooker) came to my rescue with
an invitation to sturgeon
fish on a Saturday morning.
We launched in the South Bay with a stellar
cast of original Full Speed Fishing members...
Mr Cake (Brad), Fishbelly (our 2nd Mike) and
Bayou Boogie (Aram) rounded out our "old
guys" crew. With Hawaii Five O's soundtrack
playing we zipped off through the slough to
find a promising spot to hunt dinos.
Under beautiful skies the Dumbarton Bridge
was beckoning to us so Brad dropped the anchor
down and we baited up with herring and grass
shrimp. We also liberally sprayed our offerings
with Bang Shrimp and Aram brought a bottle
of Berkely Gulp Alive that I hadn't had the
chance to try yet. We hit the fish highway
as the rods started going off with skates,
bat rays, a sculpin
and lots of leopard sharks.
Brad had a nice leopard he lost at the boat.
He took a lot of ribbing from the rest of
us for the remainder of the day!
Mike (Hawaiian Hooker) was planning to get
a little nap in but his rod got bit and it
looked to be the "right kind". AND
IT WAS! He played a nice 61" sturgeon
up and I offered to burn one of my tags to
take the fish. After we had the fish secured
we lit up the BBQ and plotted a change of
venue for the afternoon bite.
The wind picked up so we turned back to the
shallows to the South. Aram cast out an offering
freshly goobered up with the Gulp spray and
soon had a slough slug on. His beast was one
inch shorter but it had a huge head and girth
and fought very well.
Special kudos to the guys for letting me
take a fish home. I've either paid my dues
or nobody wanted to clean fish LOL!
From the ramp I called home and Jeff said,
"The water's off for a few hours"
so I drove down to Pat & Claudette's and
we made short work of Mike's sturgeon. I then
spent Sunday running most of it through my
to my 2015 Fishing Diary
to my 2014 Fishing Diary
to my 2013 Fishing Diary
to my 2011 Fishing Diary
to my 2010 Fishing Diary
to my 2009 Fishing Diary
to my 2008 Fishing Diary
to my 2007 Fishing Diary