I knew it would be a long day but I got up
at 5 am to head off to Pillar Point Harbor
and join 24 other anglers to fish on the Huli
Cat with Tom Mattusch. Mike, formerly with
the Queen of Hearts, is decking for Tom so
it was nice to see him again.
He parked my rods for me right outside the
wheelhouse door so I could chat with Tom.
We rolled south with stellar weather for December;
flat seas were icing on the cake!
Blue rockfish and a few
olives were biting and I
landed a fat China but I
wanted a shot at a lingcod,
so I rotated through swimbaits and iron until
I finally nailed a healthy 12 pound fish.
After we limited out Tom ran through some
crab pots to get everyone a pair of dungeness
to take home as well.
Tea Sea scored crab
today and Dean and I were both on deck to
work the pots. We wound up with just 2 crab
short of limits for 4.
Big moon, radical tides, weird wind, etc..
Take your pick of today's excuses but it was
not the wide open action we had hoped for.
Tom had three of us aboard Tea Sea
and it was a little snotty out front where
I nailed the lings yesterday. We got a shout
out after a bit from Tom on the Hulicat.
"Come on down south the water's fine."
The wind was down but the swell was up and
the fish were around but we only found about
10 that were stupid enough to bite. I got
a ling but had to release it 'cause it was
just a dink. I also popped up a batch of eggs
(squid) and one blue rockfish.
We had a sea lion jump all around us for about
5 minutes like he was on crack or something.
I almost though it was going to launch into
the boat lol. No signs of a white shark around
either... Go figure.
Anthony was the star today with a big copper
rockfish! As always we had a fun
Team Tea Sea rolled out for crab
today with Tom at the helm, Joe coiling, Jerry
on the block and me tending buoys, helping
re-bait and toss pots. About 2/3 of the way
through the string we found a rope fouled
on one of the pots we were pulling up. There
was no buoy on it but it did have a weighted
line and one of the weights got wedged under
the bridle on Tom's pot. After securing Tom's
pot we pulled the other one up. It was in
very nice condition and it had owner ID. We
grabbed the two legals in it and I dumped
the black, reeking contents from the custom
PVC bait tube, then we stowed it and made
a phone call. The owner had just lost it the
We scratched out our crab and on the way
in I kept my eyes glued to the electronics.
I had my lightweight Shimano rig in the quiver
and Tom took pity on me and pulled up when
we saw sings of life on the bottom between
the PP buoy and the green can. I flipped a
swimbait down and a couple of minutes later
shazam! I haul up a nice green lingcod.
I drop again, get bit and hand it off to Jerry.
He brings it to the surface but it's not going
to be a keeper and it comes off just before
we have to make a grab for it. I ask if Joe
wants a shot at one and he declines so I drop
in again and hook a bigger ling that turns
into a really fun fight. Joe gaffs it and
we head for the barn. I think it took all
of 15 minutes. Lings were on the chew!
I sat around and cooked/cleaned crab at Tom's
and the owner of the pot drove over and claimed
Guess what we're doing tomorrow?
Limits of crab for five
today aboard Tea Sea and thanks to
High Tide who peeled seven from his
string for us so we could make our limits.
I almost jumped ship to go with them to fish
Mike (Hawaiian Hooker) had already had recent
success in San Francisco Bay for sturgeon
so when he put out a call for crew for an
afternoon run I chimed in. Teng also took
him up on the offer and we met in Alviso for
a 12:30 launch.
After anchoring up it took a little while
to settle in to a nice pattern. It was cold
out today and as the sun moved out from behind
the clouds I joked about assuming the "cormorant"
stance to soak up the sun.
I had my rod in free spool with the clicker
on intending to engage the reel after I saw
the classic pump of a prospective sturgeon.
Well Teng happened to be closer and Mike and
I both told him to set the hook. Needless
to say we had quite the bird's nest after
that! Then the guys crossed lines and had
to untangle. The fish were around. We just
kept missing a good hook-up. Teng had one
for a millisecond but it didn't stick.
As the sun set we headed back to the ramp
and had a little drama when the boat wouldn't
engage in reverse. We managed to avert disaster
but it did wake us up a bit. Hawaiian Hooker
is headed in for some well deserved boat maintenance
before slamming some more sturgeon.
I ran out today with Tom on Tea Sea
to make a crab run. He had
Milo and Denise along who were visiting. Milo
ran the block and I coiled as we picked up
the first 6 pots which Tom had moved away
from the rest of the string. there wasn't
a lot of crab to be had today in any of the
pots. We reset the first 6 further out. After
all was said and done we had 7 each.
Back at Tom's home I told them I only needed
a couple for dinner... So they grabbed three
nice ones for me. We also tried to get some
rockfish today but only had a few biting and
Denise had one short lingcod that we tossed
back. It was a nice day on the water!
Annamarie, AKA Fishingbrat, has done wonders
for Full Speed Fishing Club and she is one
of the people I consider the "glue"
in keeping the place together and running
smooth. Today I had a chance to let her know
how much I appreciate all she's done.
Dean, Charlie, Joe and I ran out to crab
with Tom on Tea Sea. Dean ran the
block, Charlie was the buoy/bait man and Joe
and I traded off coiling. We found most of
the pots had been raided and after working
the entire string we wound up with 9 each.
There was a funny moment when a rock crab
came up with a death grip on the rope. He
let go but not before I filmed him. We did
get one super-sized rock crab in the mix that
we did keep.
On the way back to the slip we passed the
first commercial boat I'd ever worked on;
the Bev A. Her decks were filled with crab
pots. Wow that brought back some memories!
In the parking lot I loaded up my 9 crab
and Tom told me to take an extra one so I'd
have 10 for Brat. We met up at the Banta Inn
in Tracy and hung out for awhile. I asked
if we could bring a crab in and the gal at
the bar proceeded to tell us they couldn't
cook our crab... I said we just wanted a photo
with it. I told her it was a service animal
LOL! Once everyone stopped laughing we got
Happy Thanksgiving Annamarie!
Today I rolled with Manny, some of his family
and a few of his friends, but I almost missed
the boat (Diabla)... There was a
big red truck launching at the ramp in Pillar
Point Harbor which from a distance caused
me to second guess where to meet up. Then
I couldn't get in though the gate on the dock.
Manny flipped a U-turn and picked me up at
the end of the dock. WHEW!
Mel was the main man on deck and then there
were the rest of the motley crew hard at work
pulling beer can tops off. LOL!
A couple of pots were dicey but all-in-all
we got really nice crab for
everyone. Manny has a beautiful and efficent
system down pat. The sunset ride home along
the beach was money too!
I'm dropping a couple of nice 2 pound plus
cooked crab off for Bob and Sherry tomorrow
on the way to crab with Tom... YEP again!
November 23 -24
I did a back-to-back trip on Tea Sea
over the weekend for nice limits of crab.
The weather was wonderful and I saw a lot
of friends from Full Speed Fishing out enjoying
our annual dungeness crab
On Sunday I cut Tom and his crew loose at
the dock and gave the Albemarle a little extra
cleaning TCL and had a chance to hang out
on the docks for awhile and take in the serenity
of Pillar Point Harbor.
"Hump Day" Wednesday crabbing
was decent today and Tea Sea was
headed out to run the string so I told Tom
I'd meet his crew at the boat. I took the
scenic coastal route today because I figured
the crazies would be out in full force with
the first real rain expected. I made the right
We left Half Moon Bay at 8:15 am and we were
back to the dock by 11:00 am with limits for
9. I was the official counter today and Mark
ran the block, Joe coiled, and Dwight handled
buoys and reset pots. One pot was likely raided
(only 2 crab in it) but the rest had about
a 10 per average. We had one hang-up with
another person's gear but all was fine in
The sky opened up and poured about 10 minutes
after we were all done and on the road home.
I was extra careful on highway 1 and came
across an overturn between Scotts Valley and
the Summit and then shortly after that I had
to wait 20 more minutes to exit at the Summit
due to a crash (and vehicle over the side)
at "valley surprise".
Glad to be home safe and sound. One neighbor
brought me treats for a couple of crab. I
curled up with a nice cup of coffee and a
November 10 - 13
After missing out on the dungeness
crab opener I was ready to get out
and get some. The weather was perfect and
little did I know that Tom would keep asking
me to return the next day to crew... Thus
began a four day odyssey. Sure I could've
declined the offers but installing shelf paper,
recycling bottles and cardboard or getting
my nails done could wait.
I am one sleep-deprived puppy right now but
I have a fresh (double) batch of bisque in
the freezer and a lot of happy friends and
I used my last TravelZoo voucher to visit
Randy's Fishing Trips on the wharf in Monterey
this morning. On my drive down it poured rain
between Aptos and Watsonville but then it
dried up and turned into a nice partly cloudy
Brian Cutting was at the helm of the Chubasco
and Tommy stepped in to deck since Josh was
out with a busted finger. We pushed out into
the outer edge of the bay and found the fish
biting. I had a slow start but after a couple
of rockfish and lingcod had
hit the deck I got my mojo working and hung
a nice 12 pound lingcod.
With "ling" pressure greatly reduced
I checked on Fernando; a kid on the back deck
who was trying this out for the first time.
He had a standard shrimpfly rig so I gave
him a strip of Berkley Gulp anchovy cut bait
to enhance the bottom hook. I was rooting
for him to get a ling.
Back up at the bow I released a short ling
that went for my reef raptor and then started
to pump in a few olives.
Lings were around but most folks were not
targeting them so I whipped out Eric G's magic
and BAM! This ling turned and burned trying
to get away. Score! A 10 pound ling met it's
fate at the gaff.
After popping the top on a well deserved
beer and eating some Snyder's pretzels I dove
back into action with the light rig and bounced
a nice copper up on the raptor.
I quickly rotated back to Eric's lure on my
heavier stick to produce 2 more lings and
gave them away. (One guy felt compelled to
give me a nice 5 pound vermilion
for a ling. Cool!) I was prepared to let Fernando
reel in a ling but he was always on a fish.
He didn't get a ling so I gave him one. He
really lit up with a big smile!
I kicked 2 more short lings back and had
a decent hitchhiker let go of an olive I had
Around 1:00 we had the job done and headed
in to be greeted by a pod of Risso's dolphins.
The hilarious antics of the sea lions at the
dock had everyone laughing and I saw 5 harbor
seals taking turns feasting on carcasses that
Tommy tossed back as he finished filleting.
All in all a fine way to spend a Tuesday!
I was out with Tom today again. Short and
sweet... We had to work the rockfish a bit
today off San Gregorio and Paul got two lingcod
while I managed one by dragging a large blue
swim bait with a strip of Berkely's Gulp anchovy.
The guys landed some nice vermilions
and the rest were blues,
and a few widows. Saw a few
familiar faces out there and saw the big wooden
tall ship Lady Washington loom out of the
fog as we were going in. The Hulicat
was also around us.
I spent two hours cleaning the boat jamming
to tunes on my Ipod shuffle and traded a couple
of my fish for a couple of Newcastle beers.
So I'm helping ready crab pots yesterday
and naturally Tom flips out the sentence that
we all live for, "Want to go fishing
tomorrow?" Well you know I had been hoping
to go in for a root canal or clean and wax
the garage floor but those epic plans would
have to take a back seat...
Tom rounded up Tony, Paul, Richard and I
to embark on a rockfish trek. We passed the
Queen of Hearts on our way out and
I gave Bob my best "Queen's wave"
as we went a tad further south and hammered
out big olives, blues
and a smattering of incidentals inc. a sand
dab I caught. Lings were no where
to be found today.
Oh yeah, I'm mental toast because I was out
until midnight shooting darts with my team
last night. (We won!)
So I'm browsing my way through Full Speed
Fishing's site when I see a PM pop up. "Would
love to have you join us tomorrow Bev. Short
notice but the weather/water is too nice right
now! Do you still have vouchers left? Sean"
Well as a matter of fact I did still have
2 vouchers left on my fridge for Randy's
Fishing Trips. They're good until the
end of this month. Yep I'd better use another
I met Sean and a couple of his sidekicks
at the 60' Chubasco in Monterey and
found out Brian Cutting was our skipper and
Josh had deck duty. I've fished other vessels
with Brian before and he's always been a great
captain. Today he bumped it up a notch to
While I didn't get an actual head count I'm
guessing there were at least 18 anglers aboard.
I set up camp on the starboard side of the
bow and rigged both sticks (the same two I'd
brought out last trip). The ocean was flat
so I got excited when we took the road less
traveled and headed all the way down to Point
Humpback whales were favoring that choice
today too as I spied a few cavorting outside
of our first drift. It was a deeper drift
a little over 200'. A few fish were landed
but it wasn't quite what we were looking for
so we moved in a bit. I had a white 3 oz.
Customs Reef Raptor with a small pink
bucktail as a teaser about a foot above it
on my Trevala rod and the lingcod
started to smash it... Every one I fought
up came on the Reef Raptor. A few were small
had to be released but the action was nonstop!
My second or third ling to the boat was of
legal size so I bagged it and went to see
how others were faring. The rockfish that
were being caught were a very nice grade of
large olives, a few yellowtails
and decent blues.
On my way back up to the bow I joked about
trading a lingcod for a beer and was taken
up on the offer. Well it wasn't quite noon
but it was sunny and warm, a cold one was
just the inspiration I needed. I started to
get bit like clockwork. I horsed a few and
had some come unpinned halfway through the
battle but they just kept biting. I was able
to drop back and re-hook a couple that came
unbuttoned. I started trading off to my other
rod which had a friend's custom poured iron
swimbait that I rigged with a single siwash
hook. I put a layer of Pro-Cure Super Gel
UV Flash on the jig. In short order I had
not only boxed my second ling but I'd walked
back and handed out 5 lings to guys with none
in their sacks. Brian and Josh kept the gaffs
flying constantly! I also must have released
at least 6 smaller lings.
Sean was doing well and had caught some fish
on a Reef Raptor I gave him to use. I also
noticed some really big starry rockfish
and one angler with both a big vermilion
and huge China.
We reluctantly left them biting as we approached
limits of rockfish and full limits of lingcod
for everyone. Josh was kept busy filleting
the whole way back and he did an awesome job.
Sean and company had some extra beers to go
around and we goofed off on the ride back.
I'm looking forward to another trip with Randy's
Tom asked me to crew Sunday on Tea Sea
and I was able to bring my friend Patricia
who was long overdue to be on the water. We
also had Anthony aboard and he is a proven
fish killer. Tom had a gift for me wrapped
in a paper towel; A couple of his hand poured
leadheads that he skirted. I'm not sure if
they're going to get tried out on lings or
get tied to meat lines for albacore first.
We left Pillar Point around 8:30 and headed
towards San Gregorio but stopped briefly in
some shallow water (35'-45') because the screen
lit up and it looked very promising. We could
feel the school bouncing off our lines but
they had lockjaw so we continued out to deeper
Trish is all excited to be out and we have
her rigged with one of Tom's rods. Anthony
and I are using our own rigs and I'm alternating
between my favorite Calstar with a Talica
10 and my Shimano Trevala with a Talica 8.
After a few blues hit the
deck Anthony gets a nice takedown and we think
it might be a lingcod. Nope
it's a nice copper rockfish
that put up a killer fight! Soon after he
did get a ling and I went after the net which
was still stored below, yelling "milk
it" so I'd have time to be ready to scoop
I'm using the bigger outfit when I hook into
what I thought was a huge beast of a ling.
I pump the fish up to find I've skewered an
8-10 pound ling through the side and part
of it's pectoral fin. I had to cut the jig
out of the fish. Thank God it was a legal
I switch to the lighter stick and thump a
few olives with a purple
reef raptor and tie a B2 squid on for Trish
who's afraid to farm any gear on the rocks...
I later had her fishing with iron and a treble
hook. I was having so much fun with the lighter
stick that I did a couple of hook and handoff's
to both of them. Trish landed a ling and Anthony
got a nice rockfish on it.
We almost coaxed Tom out but it was a bit
rolly so he kept enjoying putting us on the
fish. We had two other vessels (both in the
30'-40' size range) out with us but we were
the ones really laying the wood to the lings.
The water was still pretty murky but we were
getting good drifts with Tom's excellent skills
at the helm.
We had almost gotten our limits of rockfish
when I decided to throw down my shrimp fly
teaser with a Storm anchovy (brown pattern)
to try for a ling with a swim bait. SLAM!
And I'm using the Shimano stick. It's on like
Donkey Kong and I'm finesse pumping what feels
like a big ling... or a crab pot. She comes
up willingly for a few feet then turns and
gets gnarly. I keep breathing through my nose
and check to make sure Anthony is ready for
her. As the fish comes to the surface I'm
giddy as a schoolgirl. We weighed her in the
boat and thought it was a bit light at 11
pounds. I later found 12 pounds to be more
accurate at home.
After that battle I pulled a rookie move
and sent a cast up into the outrigger. Anthony
was nice enough to go up and clear my line.
A check of the fish count showed 7 lings in
the box and a few rockfish short of limits.
We let the little ones go today. As we were
ready to pull the plug we heard noise coming
up from the south. A formation of 8 helicopters
did a drive by.
We cut Tom and Anthony loose and said we'd
clean the boat. It's a little cleaner every
time I crew lol.
I dropped Trish off on the way home and snapped
a picture of her with her lingcod. It was
nice to see a big smile on her face. But the
smiles didn't stop there. On my way out of
Pescadero I dropped in on the Pescadero Cal
Fire station and asked if they wanted my rockfish
and a lingcod. I showed them the beast which
was going home with me. We swapped some stories
and talked about some recipes before I noticed
the sun had gone down. Another day of epic
fishing and time with friends duly noted.
Yep I went fishing AGAIN today LOL! I think
I finally found someone who likes to fish
as much as I do. It was a little bouncy in
the southerly stuff today but Captain Tom
Cala, Jim, Joe, Dwight and I broke out the
heavier gear so this time I was able to use
the new 8 oz. Reef Raptor by Paradox Customs.
We had a nice grade of Bolinas,
blues and olives
down off of San Gregorio. I saw one copper
rockfish in the mix. I released one
short ling and all of us managed to eke out
3/4 limits of rockfish and a lingcod
each before calling it a day.
I showed up at 8:00 am for a second day of
rockfish and ling adventures on Tea Sea.
We had a cast of 5 characters today; Captain
Tom, Anthony, Paul, Dylan and me.
With flat calm water and a slow drift we
had to coax the rockfish a bit more today
and we only boxed 2 legal lings but you couldn't
ask for better weather while getting the job
done. It was almost like a day of fishing
in Baja! Dylan also caught a huge sand
dab which made me wish I'd brought
my dab catcher. We also released a few canaries.
I got an invite to stay for dinner from Tom
and his wife Paddy and we had fresh rockfish,
crab cakes, shrimp, corn and awesome smoked
salmon to start things off. Tom has a ton
of talent and is a class act! I'm looking
forward to turning and burning crab pots with
his crew next month.
I answered the shout out for crew on my new
friend's boat Tea Sea. Tom had five
of us join him at Half Moon Bay for an 8 am
departure. I was introduced to Mark, Fran
and Fran's son, Dylan. Joe was back aboard
today and we'd met fishing last month with
Tom on an albacore trip. After loading up
the beautiful Albemarle we quickly shed the
dock lines and headed out to see what could
be found to the south of the harbor.
We didn't have to go far to find rockfish
on the chew and low and behold the lingcod
turned on the heat. My second lingcod today
hog-tied itself but both of my fish made powerful
runs which was hella fun on a Talica 8 and
a Trevala rod! I really like the whole Shimano
Talica line. We boated ten lings to around
With full limits of predominately nice blue,
olive and widow rockfish
we had the job done by 1:30 and breezed in.
I followed Tom and the crew back to his place
where we filleted the catch. I was out in
time to go to church... Which is a good thing
since I'M FISHING AGAIN TOMORROW!
I gave fish away at church, gave some more
to a neighbor and Jeff & I are eating
fresh ling tonight. He looked at me like I
was crazy (we have frozen ling from AK in
the freezer) and then I told him I'm going
back out tomorrow... I guess I'll be certifiable
by then LOL!
Warning. Non-residents may suck the juju
out of your boat. It's the only reasonable
excuse I can think of for a group of five
experienced anglers who went out Saturday
and got snubbed by the albacore.
Harold (Seahunter2), a recent addition to
our Full Speed Fishing club, threw down the
invitation for crew and three of us made the
2:30 am roll call at the dock in Pillar Point
Harbor. Mel, Robert Young and I showed up
with plenty of coolers and ice. Harold also
had a friend, who decks his boat a lot, named
Kashmir but I didn't find out that was his
real name until the end of the day because
Harold called him "cash"... Well
at least that's what I thought it was until
I asked "Kash" the spelling at the
end of the day and whether he had any siblings
at home named Tango or Stocks. (He laughed
and said he saw the movie; Tango & Cash.)
So at any rate we found warm water starting
well behind the Farallon Islands. We had 7
rods and 2 meat lines in the water and ran
several colors up the flag but none were saluted.
We plowed all over the place and heard a couple
of other boats get a few but there were guys
who struck out like we did as well. One boat
got excited over a kelp hit. We're seasoned
pros and don't need that kind of training
run. We did get some practice dodging it.
The weather was a bit snotty but it did come
down. I'm glad I wore my Guy Cottons and my
Mojo weather buster jacket. The salt spray
was pretty constant. Harold's 29' 6"
Pro Sports Cat powered by twin Yamaha 225's
is a great platform and there was plenty of
room to maneuver if the fish had gone crazy.
The trolling gear was adequate including a
couple of sexy beasts; Fin Nor reels. I could
see the reflection of the boat's wake in the
side of one reel.
I think we surprised Harold and Kash back
at the dock. Besides ponying up the cash for
the fuel bill we stuck around to help tidy
up and clean the boat. We told them plain
and simple that's the Full Speed way.
Harold has the makings to get my stamp of
approval as a bad ass, dusk-to-dark, avid
angler. He's more than willing to put in the
hours. We just didn't have a glimmer of hope
when we got into the wrong water at the end
of the day. Harold had out of state visitors
a week ago (including five tuna virgins) and
they caught 21 fish!
We will get them next time! I don't care
if it's sand dabs. Something's gonna die!
Rockfish and an air show? It just goes to
show you never know what you'll see when you
go fishing. Today we had nine really nice
folks (and 5 of us were ladies) fishing the
of Hearts and targeting rockfish.
Hopscotching south from Pillar Point Harbor
we dropped in on an area with a lot of moon
jellyfish and found hungry black rockfish
under them. Up near the near the bow I got
my first bite on a small, green, soft plastic,
squid I had as a teaser hook. Up came an olive
rockfish. I followed it with a couple
more. Anglers Jim and Amanda posed for a quick
photo both holding Bolina rockfish.
Ronald Moreno up visiting the Bay Area with
his wife Deborah, caught a lingcod
with a distinctive green tint.
Off Pescadero we also were treated to three
planes practicing barrel rolls and formation
moves with smoke trails. With clear sunny
skies this was a special treat and they went
on for quite awhile.
Reese, a nice gentleman to my left, fought
up a huge China rockfish
and was more than happy to pose with the beautiful
conquest. I put the camera back down and went
back to fighting fish myself. I had a series
of vicious taps and brought up two blue
rockfish. I cast out, bounced the
bottom and was rewarded with another double!
I saw Wally break out the net towards the
stern and a cabezon flopped
onto the deck. It belonged to Jim and now
Ronald's fish had competition for the jackpot.
The wind went from non existent to about 15
knots by the time we were done in the early
Wally conducted the weigh-off and the cabezon
won. Everyone enjoyed some friendly banter
as we headed back as Wally expertly filleted
fish. Thanks Captain Bob for another great
day on the water!
I went out on a private charter today on
of Hearts. We had a light southerly
squall and it rained enough to bust out the
rain ponchos for awhile, but it didn't keep
us from getting nice limits of black
rockfish all around and a handful
of other rockfish species.
The ocean was pretty rough today but it didn't
stop twenty anglers from having a shot at
some rockfish on the Queen of Hearts.
Regulars Bernie and his daughter Jeanette
fished with me on the bow for some nice grade,
and tasty, blue rockfish. A gentleman on the
opposite end of the boat managed the only
keeper lingcod and took the jackpot with it.
I did get one vermilion and
one Bolina to add some color
to my sack of fish.
We managed to vamoose back up the coastline
as the wind picked up and reached the harbor
before the big sheep moved into the pasture!
Has your camera ever smelled like albacore?
Well mine did by the end of today. Wednesday
while finishing up painting our new wine cellar
I received a phone call from my friend Dean.
Like me he was waiting for an opportunity
to go out after local tuna. His friend, Tom
Cala, was putting together crew to fish on
his 32' Albemarle, Tea Sea, berthed
in Pillar Point Harbor. Could I go? You betcha!
With current reports of fish 30- 40 miles
out there was no need to blaze a trail too
early to get on them, so we met at 6 am. Joining
Dean and I were Joe, B. J. and Teri Jo. Teri
Jo was looking to get her first albie and
I always like to meet other gals who love
to fish. We toted ice chests, rods, tackle
and misc. gear to the boat and were soon underway.
On the run out, just a bit south of the Farallon
Islands, I had a chance to look over the vessel.
Tom had outfitted her with top of the line
electronics and state-of-the-art stainless
outriggers that would make most guys jealous.
A couple of us hopped up top to deploy them.
The weather was overcast but we had good
visibility and calm seas. As reports of fish
from other boats filtered in over the radio
I paced the deck anxious to hear the first
rod go off. Dean and I had key roles on the
back deck with 5 - 6 rods out. Joe and B.
J. also put out a pair of meat lines. In the
stern on the starboard side there was a door
to the transom/swim step and the guys talked
about bringing the fish through it. This was
a new concept but I was willing to give it
Some jumpers came into view and shortly after
we had our first strike; a single which Joe
fought. I leadered the fish as they opened
the door. I took a couple tablespoons of water
down my right boot but I did get the fish
in. Dean and I had a short conference and
decided we'd prefer to gaff them. That's just
the way we roll! I'll admit I'm a bit rusty
(it's been a year since I was albacore fishing)
but I'm old school and I've swung a gaff on
more fish than most people will see in a lifetime.
I dispatched most fish with a kill shot to
the top of the brain by using a pair of pliers
and then ripped out a section of gill raker
to make sure they bled out. We stashed them
in the stern box until they were ready to
get gutted and iced in a cooler.
Pretty soon we had Teri Jo in action on her
first longfin. She's fished a lot and she
knew what she was doing as she pumped the
fish up. Dean got to pluck her fish out of
the water while I covered the event with my
camera. While she didn't eat the heart she
did get covered in blood! Dean had a fish
come up fairly quick and I grazed it on the
first gaff attempt. It shot back out and put
up a good fight. I think I actually did him
a favor lol! I planted the pointy end in the
cheek of his fish and then went for my camera.
The fish bled like a stuck pig and blood arched
towards me as I clicked away. I felt a light
spatter across my face and neck and a few
drops hit the camera. My Nikon captured the
full onslaught. Most of my gaff plants were
head shots with one coming in just behind
the head about and inch into the back fillet.
Belly shots were discouraged since Dean wanted
to smoke them.
Dean and I tried to jig up a few fish but
I couldn't woo them with a Storm swim bait
or Eric G.'s iron. We finally got the guys
to give up on the meat lines too. They never
got bit (except one lure lost to a missed
strike or possible a shark) and neither did
the whisky line which we set quite a ways
back in hopes of a bluefin. Both of the fish
I battled were on Dean's stick and he probably
had the only one without a gimbal on the butt
cap so Teri stepped in the take the pin out
of my rod belt so I could fight the fish properly.
With the exception of Tom, who was happy
to run the boat and let the rest of us fish,
most of us got to fish two tuna by the end
of the day. B. J. and Joe cleaned most of
the fish but they inspired Dean enough to
clean the last few and I helped him. Teri
was at the ready with Ziplocs for fillets
and large body bags for the leftover carnage
which is saved for future crab trips as bait.
As we finished up I got Teri to grab my camera
and get a few pictures of the inky, tuna-infused
look of my recently manicured and freshly
lacquered French nails holding a fin out of
the way as Dean cut into a fish. I also wore
my Mojo shirts today and even though they
were liberally splattered with tuna gore they
came out clean in the wash! I thought they
Well that's a wrap for now. It was fun and
I hope to fish with Tom's crew again. Pardon
me but the scent of my smokers is starting
to permeate the room. In 6 hours I'll have
a fresh batch of smoked albacore!
Mike had Hawaiian Hooker set up
for a 1 pm departure from Half Moon Bay and
the primary target was swordfish. Mel and
another "Mike" rounded out our crew.
Out towards Pioneer Seamount we trolled a
short while for albacore but soon we swapped
out the surface gear for deep water invasion.
Mike had an electric reel set up for deep
trolling and as soon as night set in we switched
once more to four trolling rigs with special
lures. Unfortunately all we caught was a strange
looking eel. With plenty
of recent swordfish sightings it's just a
matter of time before someone hooks one up
I've always wanted to try kayak fishing and
today was the day. Pat Kuhl who is renown
for his kayak abilities when it comes to fishing
had a loaner kayak for me to try out today.
Our mutual friend Pat Pickerell joined us
on the beach at Stillwater Cove in Pebble
Beach, California and the three of us pushed
off at 8 am headed for the kelp beds. We shared
the calm waters with a couple of other kayaks
and a pair of dive boats. To the south we
observed a frenzy of pelicans, gulls and cormorants
working over a bait ball.
The morning bite started off with blue
rockfish and by working the edges
of the kelp we also found coppers and gophers.
Pat K. got a decent vermilion
and I had a grass rockfish
aka "sugar bass", which was a nice
Pat P. paddled in early but we stayed out
until about 2 pm and were justly rewarded;
Pat caught a nice cabezon
and I released a small lingcod.
I skipped on over to Half Moon Bay this morning
because I haven't fished with Bob on the Queen
of Hearts all year so I was WAY overdue.
Anyway Bob's wife Sherry was in the Half Moon
Bay Sportfishing shop when I checked in and
we chewed the fat for awhile. You'll be seeing
more of her in the shop since she finally
quit her other job.
Twenty or so anglers headed south from Pillar
Point Harbor and commenced to drop in on hungry
schools of blue rockfish.
I was poised at the bow with a blue and white
teaser hook trailing a marabou deceiver/glider
head jig that I had custom made by Haggerty
Lures in blue and white. The combination
was deadly! We were really putting the "shallow"
in shallow-water, light-tackle today and heavy
gear was not required. I even whipped out
a 10# rig for awhile.
It was my 30" outfit that nailed my
best fish today; a 4.5 pound vermilion
rockfish. With lings not really making
a showing in the area I wound up taking the
jackpot with that fish too. Other species
that got snapped up included black
coppers, black and
and a few seatrout. Deckhand
Mike Cabanas and captain Bob have also been
breaking in a new (and very promising) deckhand
named Wally Klughers. Wally is an East Coast
transplant and is adapting very well. I'll
be getting out on the Queen of Hearts more
this Fall to rip some more rockfish lips!
Jeff and I flew into Homer from Anchorage
for part two of our trip. LeAnne, Captain
Steve's wife, picked us up and too us to the
lodge in Ninilchik. We had most of the day
to settle in and meet other guests as they
arrived later that day. I located my rod tube
which I'd shipped with Fed-Ex ahead of time.
We would be with Steve all four days and Terry
and Tracy were the two gentlemen they paired
us up with for those days as well. We had
others join us for a day here and there so
with the exception of day three we ran as
a 6 pack. Steve's daughter Kaylee was our
Day one was ugly, I mean UGLY conditions
as we launched from the beach and attempted
to head south... Into a southerly with confused
seas and a current/tide combination that barely
left us an option to plant an anchor in 60-70
feet of water and grind it out for halibut.
We did get halibut but by the time we packed
it in you couldn't keep 4 pounds of weight
on the bottom. I released my one halibut due
to small size. Everyone else boxed them to
25 pounds. Note: Do NOT use the word "chicken
halibut" up there lol!
Pat had a nice dinner of lingcod that evening
and we hoped for better weather in the morning.
What a difference a day makes! We made the
long trek down to the area around Ushagat
Island where we quickly found big schools
of hungry super-sized black rockfish.
After everyone had limits of those we set
down to finding lings.
It was our 13th wedding anniversary and wouldn't
you know Jeff would get lucky. He swung on
a nice lingcod and it weighed
45 pounds! It was a new personal best for
him since his trip to Sitka with me. I popped
up a halibut around 30 pounds and Jeff photographed
the fish. Jeff later got his first China
rockfish. I snapped a pic of Kaylee
by the very full fish box. It would look like
this every day! I don't think we had any lings
under 35 pounds (they do have a minimum size
and we did throw a few shorts back).
On day three we ran back down with just the
four of us anglers and banged up some more
big lings and halibut. The tide would make
us have to jump around when currents made
it hard to stay vertical. Captain Steve was
great at casting us in a rotational pattern
and he let me toss my own rig when he saw
I had the know how. It worked very well for
the most part and we had very few lines get
crossed up. I've never lost more gear and
Steve lost a lot of boat jigs. For the most
part we used 16 oz. leadheads with white Kalin
grubs. Halibut went nuts over these but I
caught one on a 4 oz. leadhead with a motor
oil scampi tail. Jeff also bagged a 16 pound
yelloweye rockfish and I
caught a juvenile of the same species.
On the way back we found out we'd have to
divert into Homer to meet the boat trailer
since it was too rough to get "picked"
out of the surf in front of Anchor Bay. As
we made our way back to the ramp I passed
a tug where two of the guys were fishing off
the side. The coast guard was representing
with a big ship tied to the dock. We got to
see the site where the Time Bandit
parks but they weren't there. Everyone enjoyed
a trip to Safeway to grab some goodies as
long as we were in Homer. (Jeff even found
Chobani black cherry yogurt.) We returned
to have some of the best tri-tip I've ever
had for dinner.
On our last day of fishing I was getting
a bit edgy. I wanted a record lingcod and
I was shooting for at least 55.0 to tie in
the 50# line class. I had seen a few specimens
that would qualify. I started off nicely by
getting a large black rockfish and then slammed
into my first (and not too common up there)
tiger rockfish! I had a nice
takedown on a big swimbait I'd brought but
it got bit off. I opted for a boat jig since
I was running low on big grubs, scampis and
other jigs that would get to the bottom. I
finally engaged a nice critter that I pumped
up and he went 46 pounds. So I wound up about
9 pounds and change short of a record... BUT
I was using 30 pound Power Pro while every
one else was using up to 130 pound. I'll just
have to keep trying!
I do have one more rockfish in my sights
since I've caught a treefish, tiger, and flag,
I now need the red banded rockfish to complete
the "striped" series.
Overall given the fishing conditions we did
very well however I was a bit surprised that
the crew would fish too now and then. Also
be prepared to add a fuel charge of $75.00
per person each time you run to the ling grounds.
Mike Jones with Hawaiian Hooker left
me a voice message in the morning as I was
busy packing my rod tube to ship to Alaska.
Once I had that chore done and my rods checked
in with FedEx I called Mike up and got an
invite to try for late afternoon salmon out
of Half Moon Bay.
I arrived in HMB to find Dean & Bobby
at the wash station. (I fished with these
two last year on Bobby's Triumph in April
for salmon.) They had a plethora of rockfish,
salmon and a halibut. A short conference was
held as Mike rolled in as Bobby was leaving.
Teng and Mel showed up to complete the crew.
Mel was the only one who remembered to wear
We killed quite a number of jellies and all
short lings were freed even
though the one I had a photo opp with was
right at 22" (he could stand to get bigger
and we didn't have any room for shrinkage
error). Teng brought up a sand dab
and sent it back down where a small ling attacked
it. He also had a canary rockfish
which we had to release. We also boxed a couple
of black rockfish that hit
the trolled salmon gear in between jellyfish.
Lots of birds around where the squid boats
were scouting around on the inside. Pretty
sure they were going to haul jelly too lol!
Great weather but a bit on the chilly side.
We were all cash poor at the end of the day
so we scrounged our cars and pockets when
it came time to do accounting!
Mike and I missed a chance at Burger King
on the way out by about 10 minutes (No life
in HMB after 10pm I guess.)
The past week had been very somber with
the loss of our beloved cat so I spent a day
on a special charter with Paul Nagata as I've
done the past few years. Fishing can be very
therapeutic and Paul is the best chartermaster!
Captain Jay Yokomizo and deckhands Dave and
Adam gave us a fantastic potluck adventure
today aboard the New
Huck Finn starting at greylight from
the Emeryville berth which hosts a few of
my favorite vessels.
20 anglers started off the morning on nice
seas with an overcast sky searching diligently
for salmon. We trolled with anchovies and
started to put some nice 20 pound class fish
in the boat.
I was using an old favorite rod but I had
neglected to bring a reel loaded with just
monofilament so I had a Shimano Torium with
power pro rigged up; not a lot of room for
error here on several levels! With only my
leader comprised of mono I had zero stretch
so one false move and I'm lose a fish. Secondly,
and more importantly, I stood to saw off anyone
else in my path and considering that I was
right outside Jay's wheelhouse door on the
starboard side I had about 4 other folks between
me and the stern.
Well how I got that first fish was a miracle
in itself. With all the great food Paul, his
wife and friends bring out it's easy to get
tempted to go inside for a quick bite. My
mind was on a bowl of chili so I reeled up,
nested my trolling weight and hung up my 'chovey
to get a bowl. I was almost done with it when
people started to yell that I had a fish on...
And then I see Adam making his way down the
side to hand off my rod to me. (He had made
his way around the boat checking everyone's
bait and decided I should be in the water.
LOL!) At any rate the fish complied and was
soon in the net.
Having avoided disaster I hovered over my
rod for the next king salmon
which dogged his head the whole time but I
had the drag backed off and with another skillful
net job I had a limit. Cool! I tried for another
but while I was texting a photo out to Facebook
I had a tremendous drive-by that probably
wouldn't have stayed hooked even with the
shock absorber of a mono-packed reel.
The bite slowed down after we caught about
14 fish, (including one close to 40 pounds)
so we rolled north to fish for bottomfish.
I traded spots with Paul to fish near the
stern however we had the breeze coming from
the south and to stay on the spot Jay had
to do some maneuvering. I farmed a few pieces
of gear to the rocks since I couldn't cast
up swell like I normally do. I did switch
to floating down a small Storm anchovy and
got a few nice black rockfish.
My last Predator Reef Raptor was also lost
to a rock so I used a Shimano Centervortex
to catch a copper rockfish
and later a nice bolina.
I had a Hogy flatfish rigged to get lings
but my first was a small one that I released.
My keeper ling came on a chartreuse grub.
Everyone was catching rockfish and a few
lings here and there. We lost a few really
nice hitchhiker lings that came up on rockfish
and seatrout. From what I
saw coming over the rail we had pretty nice
limits of bottomfish.
Jay tried to troll up some more salmon on
the way in but we had no takers. Great weather,
great people, great time! Hopefully I'll get
to fish with these nice folks again next year.
I used one of my TravelZoo vouchers for Randy's
Fishing Trips. ( I bought 3 earlier this
year at a great rate.)
Well let's start with the obvious... NO I
didn't use it to go salmon fishing. Had I
know about the recent salmon bite, well maybe,
but at any rate I've been long overdue to
I opened the garage door to see my ride had
a front flat. Bummer but I'm not deterred
that easily. I stole the van (yep, the big-ass
van) and rolled off towards Monterey.
At Randy's I picked up a little breakfast
nosh and a burlap sack before boarding the
Sur Randy. Captain John Klusmire
and deckhand Rudy J. Divin welcomed me and
about a dozen others out. The ladies were
representing today; 5!
It was flat and the whales were out in force.
There was just enough overcast to keep everyone
comfortable and we started some lazy drifts.
The rockfish needed a bit
of coaxing to get started but they were all
quality species. I field-tested a jig I got
a Mel Cotton's and got hit hard by lingcod
number one. I also wanted to play with my
plastics so I rigged a small flatfish by Hogy
and got slammed by three (just barely) shorts
which were all released. My green ling hit
a swimbait to finish off my limit. A couple
of big lings hitchhiked up on some rockfish
but were lost at the surface. It's still nice
to see 20-30 pound class fish within a couple
miles of the harbor.
I got to help a couple of kids and their
mom today.... They mistook me for a deckhand
to start off, lol! I had them rigged and ready
to roll. I really enjoy passing the info.
along to the next generation.
July 10 - 14
At 7:30 am I boarded a bus bound for La Paz
where I waited a whole 5 minutes to transfer
to another one to Loreto. I was checking into
my room at the Cocos
Cabanas Hotel by 3:30 pm and having a
great massage by Jossy by 5:00!
Sandy and her husband Tracey dropped by so
we could get ready to pre-fish the annual
for the Mission Tournament. Sadly two
of our key teammates (Maria and Steve) could
not come this year so Jim Duggins let us use
the Faithful Fisher as our team boat.
Thursday morning the three of us joined our
captain Pedro at the marina where we launched,
got bait and headed south on the flat Sea
of Cortez. We found some sargasso weed paddies
and I put my first dorado
in the box. Tracey soon landed his first dorado
as did Sandy. We saw some marlin jumping but
we stuck to catching dorado. With 7 dorado
in the box we gave one to Pedro to take home.
We did bounce inside to check for signs of
yellowtail and I jigged up a huachinango
to cap off my day.
On Friday, day one of the tournament, Sandy
and I managed to get mackerel and sardines
for bait. A stunning sunrise kept my camera
busy as one nice pelican posed in silhouette
on the rocky marina entrance against the sun
on the horizon.
Most boats headed due East on the second
day but we decided to go look for yellowtail
first. Sandy had a dropper loop working the
bottom and got bit by what was likely a yellow
but it got away. I had a drive-by but then
it slowed down so we went in search of the
previous day's paddies to look there. They
were a little more busted up and further east
behind the south side of Isla El Carmen, but
they were still "holding" so we
thumped some more dorado. We released a couple
of small ones.
Further south we found a shallow reef marked
with a buoy that we drifted several times.
I gave Sandy a green Shimano Center vortex
jig to use and I opted for a blue one. Minutes
later I scored a new personal best
cabrilla that weighed 7.14 pounds
and then Sandy hooked into a nice barred
pargo that went 11.1 back at the
scales. The dorado we weighed (our 2 biggest)
came to 30.13. Looking over the tournament
scoreboard we saw some boats with bigger dorado
but not a lot of boats had alternate species
to weigh and we had almost 18 pounds in that
category. Quite a few boats didn't even get
a dorado to weigh in.
Sandy had plans to have some of her pargo
served up for dinner at a restaurant in Loreto
so I headed to Augie's
Bar & Bait Shop to see some friends...
As luck would have it, it was pizza night
during happy hour!
My back was acting up a bit so I didn't fish
the last day of the event. Tracey went out
with Sandy and I met them at the marina when
they got in with their 2 biggest dorado to
weigh in; 19.5 pounds.
At the awards dinner that night we had a
nice surprise when a donor offered to match
funds. A total of $22,750 was raised this
year! I believe we placed 6th out of a little
over 40 teams entered.
July 5 - 10
Congratulations! You have won a hotel package
for two at Hotel Buena Vista Beach Resort.
Well actually I had the winning bid in this
year's IGFA auction fundraiser. I decided
to bookend my annual trip to Loreto with this
stay in the East Cape so I flew into Los Cabos.
My friend Alecia joined me at the airport
45 minutes later and we jumped in a van to
transport us the resort in Buena Vista.
The weather was beautiful and the pool was
inviting. Unfortunately our two days of fishing,
one in a super panga and the other in a super
cruiser yielded only one triggerfish
that I released. The tail end of Hurricane
Erick may have affected the fishing. Alecia
and I made the best of it by visiting Los
Barriles and making some new friends. We even
made a beach walk up and back to Rancho Leonero;
Angling hit the water again today! Our
wonderful bunch of kids and their assorted
staff folks got treated to a nice day of rockfish
and a little bonus salmon time.
Mel Kon, Dave Doubledee, Bill Doo, William
Odum, Swiss Joe, Richard Corazon de Leon and
I crewed with Captain Tom Mattusch and deckhand
Jake Carrier. I have to admit this was the
all star mentoring gang!
We had kids from the Sunnyvale PAL group
out on the Huli
Cat for a shallow-water rockfish/salmon
trip. While it wasn't a wide open bite the
kids caught 147 rockfish
and 3 lings to about 10 pounds.
My first hook-and-hand was a lingcod that
slammed a new Paradox
Reef Raptor. This was a 3 oz. but they're
working on a larger model. (nice price too
for made in USA, $7.99) Linda was the little
gal who got to reel that feisty ling up.
On the way in we trolled 4 rods over deep
reef for salmon. We had to
clean the jellies off the lines constantly
but we were rewarded with 2 silvers (both
released) and a nice king that we kept.
I've come to a part in my life where it's
all about passing the knowledge and the experience
on, so today my colleagues and cohorts in
Discover Angling took on the privilege of
endearing our passion to 20 teens in the F.L.Y.
program (Fresh Lifelines for Youth) as we
took them on an adventure aboard the Huli
Well if I'm writing about this on my diary
there are two things that are evident; one
I'm involved and two it has to do with fishing.
Captain Tom Mattusch owner/skipper of the
prominent blue-hulled sportfishing vessel
Huli Cat was ready for our group this morning
in the wee hour of 7 a.m... well if you're
a teenager accustomed to sleeping in, 7 a.m.
is a bit of a challenge for some. I have rather
fond memories of this custom of sleeping in
Once assembled as a group of ambitious teens,
youth counselors, mentors and crew, we shoved
off to pursue our quarry of rockfish
and lingcod. With reasonable
weather conditions (3 or 4 who turned a bit
green perhaps would not agree) we proceeded
to coax enough rockfish and lingcod into the
boat to keep everyone entertained while we
instilled as much fishing 101 as we could.
Everyone had the opportunity to go home with
fresh fish skillfully filleted on our way
in. I hope in small way I was able to have
a positive impact on a young person's future.
They really enjoyed being out with us today.
Hawaiian Hooker's crew had a hall pass from
their boss to go fishing for a few hours in
the morning so Mike called to see if I'd like
to go out for salmon. Heck
The wind had kept a lot of us off the water
for awhile but today it was beautiful. From
the looks of it at the launch ramp in Half
Moon Bay I'd guess a few people had called
in sick to work. We headed west and found
most of the party boats there as well.
I spent time at the helm finding the spot
and we started to get some action. We had
equal hits and misses on the downriggers and
deep divers but we ran straight bait on everything.
Bryon had a fish that busted off during the
netting that likely would have gone to 30
pounds. Mike and Charles both nailed smaller
versions followed by my turn with a major
league jumper (probably a silver salmon) that
freed itself towards the end of the fight.
Mike managed one more decent fish before we
had to run back in so the guys could go to
I'm ready to get out again soon and catch
up on the salmon fishing I missed out on while
I was on the long range trip.
April 19 - May 4
I received an email from a friend telling
me I should consider going on a 15 day long
range trip on the Shogun
– A boat I had never fished. There was
just one thing; it was leaving in three days!
I looked at my schedule and the only conflict
was a dental checkup. The dentist could wait.
We jammed out of port on time on April 19th
with 19 anglers and one anglerette. Just as
soon as we pull up to the bait receiver I
found I had forgotten to pack toothpaste.
If I am lucky it is the only thing I have
I only knew Gary Gillingham from Accurate
(who is sponsoring the trip) and Chris Petersen
when I boarded but by the time we were being
served our roasted pork loin with mustard
sauce on a bed of mashed potatoes with asparagus
I well on the way to making new friends. Our
captains on this trip were Aaron Barnhill
and Cole Byron. Brett Wilkinson and Josh Peavey
had control of the galley. “JJ”
Joseph Jamous, Charlie Morito and Brian Wynn
rounded out our crew as the deckhands.
The 92 foot Shogun had had a recent facelift.
4000 pounds had been chipped off the deck
and with the layers of old paint off they
put a rubberized deck on the stern making
it easier on the fish and your feet. She has
a reverse layout of the Royal Polaris so it
took me a day to adjust. I settled into room
number 12 in the aft starboard side. Bunks
are lower so I stashed some gear on the bottom
one and spread out items over the ample shelf
space. One shelf turned one into a mini wine
cellar and another into a snack bar.
While we ran we made leaders and checked
gear. In addition to what I had brought along
I borrowed an Accurate Boss Xtreme 600 with
a sweet power handle, mounted up on an Accurate
BX series rod that I planned on using for
tossing wahoo bombs or on bottom fish. Chris
and I show Nick how to do a top shot and Nick
rewards me with a travel size tube of Colgate.
Crest is my go-to choice but beggars can’t
be choosers and at least I won’t have
to raid the galley for baking soda.
April 20th was a travel day and we only made
one stop when the boat metered a large school
(possibly bluefin) but we couldn’t raise
them. We made two attempts to find squid that
night but hey didn’t want to bite much
either. The moon is large and full which may
account for our difficulty in getting bait.
It’s April 21st and already I have
forgotten what day of the week it is. I’M
ON VACATION! Reports from other boats down
at Hurricane were not stellar so we decided
to change course for Clarion Island. Reels
were installed on rods, wahoo jigs were wired
and top shots got cranked out on several tables.
Again we attempted to get squid. A total of
eight made it to the bait well. I caught one
around 8 inches. The weather is wonderful
and getting warmer. The ocean is flat calm!
That evening the crew changed their minds
again to go to Hurricane Bank.
Lazy flat water greeted me again the next
morning too. We saw some dolphins but we found
zip under them. I rigged my big guns. One
Shimano Talica 50 got saddled onto a custom
Calstar XXH6460. This would be my kite rig
and it was topped off with fresh 130# Jerry
Brown backing. I had wound up fortuitous this
trip when the kite rotation was drawn starting
on #17. I was #20. My next rig had a matching
Talica 50 but I paired it with a Fenwick HST567RB
as my live bait setup. Next in the line up
was a Talica 20 with 100# backing mounted
on a Seeker Black Steel Graphite 6455XXH.
I spent part of the afternoon exercising
on deck and Chris turned the deck hose on
me as I cooled down at the rail in the stern.
The pranking has started! There are side bets
on where we are headed now as Clarion has
been announced as the destination again. Either
one will be fine with me and I settle in to
eat my baby back rib dinner. Josh and Brett
are really turning out the best cuisine I’ve
ever had on a boat!
Clarion Island is just a couple hours away
as the sun comes up on the 23rd. The water
is beautiful with the clear powder blue churning
up in the prop wash. The boat slows a tad
to let the first troll team drop in and Mike
promptly gets the first wahoo of the trip.
It’s a nice one around 50 pounds. On
our way to check in at Clarion we see some
humpback whales breaching and a couple of
cow/calf pairs. A big manta ray busts the
surface as we get closer to the island. Gary
shreds a few sardines to chum up some local
fish as we go through formalities at the island.
A bluefin trevally hits the chum line and
a few needlefish show up for the free buffet.
I’m on the second troll team but I
planned it that way. Chris is on team one
and he leaves his rig out for me. I don’t
even bother to bring troll jigs for hoos when
I’m on a trip with Chris because he
makes the best wahoo trollers. They get bit!
He also makes wahoo bombs and in classic form
he has a new batch of some hilarious custom
pours inc. "Lil Frank" and the "Alien."
I nail my first wahoo on the troll and then
follow that with my first ever wired, live
bait wahoo which ate a shoulder pinned sardine.
There was some commotion up ahead so I grabbed
my camera and shot some footage of a bait
ball being hammered by yellowfin tuna and
sharks from below and several species of birds
from above. The bait turned out to be “cocineros”
and the crew raced to scoop some up in nets
On our first stop after that I caught a 30
pound yellowfin tuna on my wired hoo live
bait hook and I gave the fish to the galley.
My good deed backfired as the next creature
I hooked up with was a large shark. I railed
the fish and my Fenwick rod butt folded like
a cheap suit. To add insult to injury I bombed
out on my next kite rotation. (So much for
good fortune in the kite draw.)
That night I watched the bottlenose dolphins
that stayed around the boat as we attempted
to make bait. They were very curious and put
on quite a show in the glow of the light off
I did the math. It’s Wednesday. I added
to my species list this morning with a blackfin
trevally. They look similar to a bluefin trevally
but have olive overtones. It’s still
pretty dark out so I tied on a homemade jig
made by my friend Eric Geller. It’s
a nice mackerel/sardine pattern and it gets
bit… unfortunately by a wahoo. Well
I have more of those at home.
A little later that day I’m up on the
kite and I land my first kite fish; a 50 pound
yellowfin tuna on a “double
trouble” sardine leader. There was a
small hiccup when it got a little busy in
the port corner when a few of us met with
fish on. My reel got bumped into free spool
and with lightening quick reflexes Captain
Aaron had me back in action with the tuna
still on and disaster was avoided. The Shimano
Talica handles smoothly and I can’t
wait to stick a big fish on it. But before
I went after another tuna I decided to check
out the depths. I stuck a few spotted
threadfin sculpins and a couple of
tan grouper to 15 pounds
on the Accurate rig. Nothing really huge but
VERY tasty! Back to tuna mode I stuck a 60
pound fish on live bait. We had a lot of Galapagos
sharks working us over and I stopped to get
some photos. JJ and Charlie tossed out a few
blackfin trevallys to try and keep them off
hooked fish. It helped a lot.
Chris yelled to me to take his kite fish
which turned out to be a 50 pound wahoo! Chris
is my hero.
That night after a stellar dinner of top
sirloin Jason, Ed, Nalie and I enjoyed cigars
on the back deck, under a big moon, as we
steamed downhill to our furthest waypoint
of the trip.
We arrived at Hurricane Bank on April 26th
early in the morning and our weather started
to turn rougher. I caught a 5 pound rainbow
runner, my first of this species,
and then assumed my spot on the kite. I had
a nice squid for bait that endured two drive
by maulings before being stolen. Oh well.
It was a slow pick but the fish that got landed
were quite impressive! Two were over 250 pounds!
When Mother Nature is in a foul mood she
stirs the ocean up. Yesterday’s seas
had gotten snotty and it lingered into the
cloudy morning. By our morning snack call
we had two tuna under 100 pounds in the boat.
I had found a 3 inch flying fish on the deck
and baited up the Accurate rod. Two minutes
later I had a blackfin trevally
snap it up. Chris tried a gangion for the
threadfins but he came up with a big goose
egg. The wind drove hard at the boat and after
a few episodes of “as the anchor drags”
we moved to reset the hook. I took advantage
to drop below to my stateroom to correct a
wardrobe malfunction concerning my choice
of socks. Going below I felt like I was in
a giant pinball machine bouncing my way though
the corridors. You can’t have good weather
all the time!
Back up top on my kite rotation I got excited
watching my big flying fish go out. It was
short-lived as a wahoo boiled on it. I got
back the front half still gasping and wriggling.
Rebounding quickly I snapped up the bottom
rig and soon had a “rattlesnake”
as they’re called on the long range
vessels. It was a bright orange scorpionfish.
I caught two on this trip but I’ve caught
them before in southern California. They all
got released. Chris and I went on to boat
a ton of threadfins which are very delicious.
Every drop to the bottom produced a big hit
within seconds. They were THICK!
My next turn on the kite I ran a squid up
the flagpole and a wahoo saluted it. Running
and cranking my way up to the bow I saw it
flash and then a brown form engulfed it. Now
I had a shark on. The shark gave me a good
fight all the way around the boat. I glance
back and see that the vessel Independence
has joined us about ¾ of a mile off
our port stern.
Sunday the 28th and the weather is slightly
better. I have a good feeling this morning
and I don my vintage look Mojo shirt and slip
into my Zaggora Capri length hot pants. My
ponytail is threaded through my light grey
Mojo cap and I step into my tall black deck
boots. Before heading out to the deck I toss
down a big bowl of cereal.
Chris is just going onto the kite so I dash
down to brush my teeth with my miniature tube
of toothpaste. In two minutes I’m back
on deck to watch Chris reel up the slack from
a kite hit. The fish, still in the kite's
clip, is charging the boat as he hands the
rod to me!
I wind down, pop the clip, and get solid
on the yellowfin in the starboard corner.
The fish turns it on pulling line from Chris’s
Penn reel and loads up the rod. Chris shadows
me with my camera as Cole flanks me to my
right. The gaffs come out and JJ joins us
but the fish decides to take off again so
we book it up to the bow. Well almost. The
fish gets coaxed back to the stern and I continue
to grind on it. I now have Cole to my right
as my personal guru and Aaron, Charlie and
Bryan have gaffs at the ready. JJ is at the
ready with the pickle fork in case we get
to close to the prop. With JJ on my right
and Bryan on my left we finesse the sucker
closer. I watch the tailbeats sweeping the
line. I can’t see it yet but I know
it’s a good one. Finally my fish circles
up and the guys plant gaffs in it and tow
it to the back. Once hoisted aboard and subdued
it tapes out to 180 pounds which is a new
personal best for me. Charlie and Cole stand
it up for me to pose with and in a few photos
you can barely see me as I stand behind it
holding onto the tail which is above my head.
I am stoked! I review the photos and see the
time stamps to determine that it was a 16-18
After lunch I live bait a 35-40 pound yellowfin
which is just enough fish to warm up my Talica
50. Chris runs over and sticks a 20 pound
wahoo and then gives it to me. (He only takes
tuna home with him.) The bite has picked up
and I go to bat again on the kite with my
rig and this time out I’ve got “double
trouble” going with two sardines swimming
side-by-side. My outfit gets nailed and I’m
headed for the bow. After clearing the anchor
I start pumping and winding on the port side.
Tom comes around from the starboard side on
a nice fish too. We dance around as he goes
over me and down to the stern. I pop a 100
pound fish up to the gaff. This one has also
taken me just 15 minutes to land. The day
winds down with 15 tuna landed and 3 of them
are mine. I’m feeling like a highliner
Early on the morning of April 29th Chris
gets a 125 pound tuna on the kite and promptly
has it tagged for me. Thank you Chris! My
rotation comes up and the crew says “nothing
under 200 pounds for the kite rig”.
So I borrow Chris’s. They pin two cocineros
to my double trouble leader and after a brief
soak I watched them get smashed on! 15 minutes
later I box another 95-100 fish just in time
to go to lunch and snag a few delicious slices
of pizza. I’m whooped but I’m
not crying “uncle’ yet!
I’ve been getting some great gaff shots
of the crew on big tuna. I grabbed my camera
and got a nice rail shot of a wahoo Ken White
had just landed on the stern. I review pictures
to find Chris has been busy with his pen and
small pieces of cardboard. I see “help”,
“screw PETA” and “Where’s
my big girl panties” held up behind
me and a couple of the guys.
We wrap it up at Hurricane Bank and start
home with plans to raid Alijos Rocks. There
will be time to unwind, edit photos, write
and watch videos… and pop the corks
on a few bottle of wine. I have yet to see
anyone play poker but the cribbage has been
going hot and heavy.
May 1st. In high hopes of going on the warpath
with yellowtail I rigged a Talica 50 and 20
with dropper loops and set up 3 other rods
for tossing iron and live bait. I’ve
told the guys that I’m part Cherokee
and that my Indian name is “Wrestles
with Fish” lol!
A few nap but most of us stay up following
dinner as we approach the outer banks below
Alijos Rocks where we make bait; approx. 300
Spanish mackerel. Before midnight under a
half moon we don jackets and sweatshirts to
fish dropper loops for yellowtail.
We have some wind and it’s bumpy. My
first take down is exciting but I know it’s
not the target species, so I’m not surprised
when I haul up a 2 ½ foot shark.
I follow it with a whitefish.
Not giving up I finally hook into a yellowtail
and get a nice 28 pounder. Later I went on
to bag a second one slightly smaller. Jeff
will be happy to have a new supply of hamachi
when I get home.
I film Jason on his first one of the night…
possibly his first ever yellowtail. After
taking some quick pictures I find Lance engaged
in a tug of war with a very nice beast on
the port rail. I photograph the 70 pound class
yellow as it comes to gaff and hits the deck.
Lance is ecstatic and he should be. This is
one of the biggest yellowtails I’ve
ever seen on my long range adventures.
When morning dawns we can see the famed cluster
of rocks poking up from behind the stern.
Try as I might I can’t get bit on the
iron but a few hot sticks have counts of four
to six fish each and some are nailed by fly
lining sardines. By 8 am we have to pull the
plug and resume course for the landing. We
are tried but happy.
While running on May 3rd a few of us put
out trolling feathers. One yellowtail bit
but no albacore or bluefin hit the gear.
After unloading the morning of May 4th we
weighed fish and found that the estimates
on the boat were very low. Ken White’s
biggest tuna went 295 for first place. Jack
Thrush took second with a 286. I missed seeing
who got third but I’m pretty sure it
was Bob Peugh. Ted Demond and Garrett Simonds
also had fish over 200 and I got my first
official “cow” which weighed 212
and is a new personal best for me. My wahoo
went 48 pounds at Fisherman’s Processing.
Lance Milanez’s huge yellowtail weighed
in at 74.6 pounds!
We had a wonderful bunch of anglers and crew
and I'd like to thank everyone at Shogun Sportfishing
and Accurate Reels for putting together a
great trip! I hope to fish the Shogun again.
Justin Westervelt had brought his 15' Triumph
down to my house where Jeff and I had dinner
waiting for him the night before. He had skillfully
backed down close to a 10th of a mile and
navigated my driveway (in the dark!) like
Launching from Moss Landing 2 hours before
sunrise gave up the luxury of avoiding the
crowds that would be swarming the ramps. Justin
and I sat in the harbor near some boat slips
to kill time and about an hour later we tailed
a couple of larger boats out. We made it to
the north end of Soquel Hole before gray light
and searched for signs of life. There were
pockets of krill around so we dropped the
The weather cooperated for the opener that
day but the salmon didn't. Out amongst roughly
200 other boats the reports of fish were few
and far between. We never saw a net scoop
a fish. The water was clear in most places...
bottle green color, but we found the murky
stuff later in the day.
I've got to admit we tried trolling, jigging
and even a bit of mooching but aside from
seeing a few risso and pacific whiteside dolphins,
some baitfish feeding on krill and some murres
on the inside, it was pretty quiet.
As one of the last boats to give up we did
enjoy a nice run in "jet ski style"
as Justin called it. With the spray kicking
up I had a chance to properly field test the
new weather buster soft shell jacket by Mojo
Sportswear. I love it!
Don't feel too bad for us. We had wahoo
Jeff and I returned to Nuevo Vallarta for
a week to shake off the Northern California
chill and on one day we chartered a super
panga for 8 hours of fishing.
We met up with Capt. Yiyo at the marina in
Puerto Vallarta. The weather was decent and
we headed out of the bay and to the north
where we trolled for about 4 hours but only
had a couple of strikes. We saw lots of humpback
whales and turtles but we were after fish
so I suggested switching tactics. The water
was on the green side and the backside of
the Marieta's had reports of roosterfish so
off we went.
After playing around with a few schools of
skipjacks that we released,
except for a few that were made into ceviche
on the boat, we got down to business. We had
live "goggle eyes" that our deckhand
Antonio bridled to the hooks and we slow trolled.
After a few missed strikes the starboard corner
rod exploded into action!
I coached Jeff and took pictures and some
video (which I need to edit) and he bagged
a huge pacific jack crevalle!
It was around 30 pounds and fought like a
bad ass! No wonder they call them Toros in
Mexico. We were told they were good to eat
which is NOT what I expected since they have
very dark red meat but I was game since Jeff
really wanted to try it.
That night we brought it to the Gong restaurant
where the manager, Juan Jose made it into
sashimi and sushi rolls. While we waited I
made out a potential top ten list of post
titles in case things went badly LOL!
10.Toro… Not just for breakfast anymore!
9. Is that a toro in your sack or are you
just happy to see me?
8. Betty Crocker announces “Toro Helper.”
7. After eating toro the Dos Equi’s
guy coins a new phrase, “Stay hungry
6. Please pass the Grey Poupon… REALLY
5. What wine pairs best with toro?
4. It’s true! Enough soy and wasabi
will make ANYTHING palatable. Even toro.
3. And I’ll have some skipjack on the
2. Toro. “The other red meat.”
1. I’ll pass on the toro crème
Well the jack crevalle was good as sushi
but I passed on having some seared as an entree.
Next time we'll probably release this species.
There's nothing like starting off a new year
by rolling out for some fresh dungeness
crab and since Manny was looking
for crab crew for the weekend I grabbed an
open slot aboard his King Cat Baha Cruiser;
Diabla. She was ready at the dock in Pillar
Point Harbor for an 8 am departure.
I'm not sure if the "age" or "beauty"
rules came into play today but the guys let
me have the shotgun seat. With a total of
seven of us I got off lucky, I just had to
wield an orange magic marker and keep tally
(sort of like being a secretary lol.) I met
some new peeps and got to hang out with some
While turning a couple strings of pots we
observed some big breakers on the beach and
saw some of the hoopla surrounding the Maverick's
surf competition slated for the following
day. We had to work the pots hard but we all
wound up with limits and a couple of bonus
"lobsters" that I brought Manny
to take home for his kids. (They're plastic
squeak toy models.)
to my 2017 Fishing Diary
to my 2016 Fishing Diary
to my 2015 Fishing Diary
to my 2014 Fishing Diary
to my 2012 Fishing Diary
to my 2011 Fishing Diary
to my 2010 Fishing Diary
to my 2009 Fishing Diary
to my 2008 Fishing Diary
to my 2007 Fishing Diary