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Fishing Diary  


December 31

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.

December 20

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 day.

December 15

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 other day!

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 it.

Guess what we're doing tomorrow?

December 12

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 rockfish LOL!

December 3

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.

November 30

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!

November 26

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 the pic.

Happy Thanksgiving Annamarie!

November 25

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 bonanza.

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.

November 20

"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 call!

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 end.

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 movie.

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 neighbors.

October 29

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 day.

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 hooked.

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!

October 26

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, olives, bolinas, 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.

October 25

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!)

October 16

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 one.

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 stellar.

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 Sur!

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. Paradox 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 very soon!

October 13

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 water.

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 it.

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 one!

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.

October 10

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.

October 6

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.

October 5

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 12 pounds.

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!

September 28

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!

September 23

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 Queen 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 afternoon.

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!

September 21

I went out on a private charter today on the Queen 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.

September 17

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!

September 12

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 a go.

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 were goners.

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!

September 9

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 here!

September 1

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 surprise.

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.

August 30

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 rockfish, Bolinas, coppers, black and yellows, gophers 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!

August 18-23

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 deckhand.

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.

August 5

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 boots today!

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.)

August 3

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.

July 22

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 fish rockfish.

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 Fishin 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; 6 miles!

June 26

Discover 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.

June 10

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 Cat.

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 myself.

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.

May 29

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 yeah!

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 work.

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 forgotten!

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 for bait.

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 the boat.

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 minute battle.

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 for sure!

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.

April 6

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 a pro.

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 lines in.

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 for dinner.

February 7

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 my friends.”
6. Please pass the Grey Poupon… REALLY PLEASE!
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 side.
2. Toro. “The other red meat.”
1. I’ll pass on the toro crème brulee.

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.

January 19

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 old ones.

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.)

Link to my 2017 Fishing Diary

Link to my 2016 Fishing Diary

Link to my 2015 Fishing Diary

Link to my 2014 Fishing Diary

Link to my 2012 Fishing Diary

Link to my 2011 Fishing Diary

Link to my 2010 Fishing Diary

Link to my 2009 Fishing Diary

Link to my 2008 Fishing Diary

Link to my 2007 Fishing Diary

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