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Fishing Diary  

2014

December 4

Tom and the Tea Sea crew found a break in the weather to "turn N burn" the crabpot line. Fresh dungeness for dinner!


November 11

Today I had a wonderful experience on the Queen of Hearts as we pulled off a terrificFriends of Rollo charter for 24 kids and their chaperone/mentors. Rockfish were the quarry today and everyone had a blast!

I'll be sending an article in to Fish Taco Chronicles for their Spring 2015 publication. So stay tuned!


November 5

Dean! It's nice to have my Wednesday fishing buddy back!

Jerry met me up at the Summit on 17 where we found out that my car's truck would not hold both of our coolers so I parked and he drove us to Dean's.

Dean stopped for gas and we had our first oops of the day when I didn't stay at the pump long enough to enter my PIN number... I was inside getting my custom coffee when the guys alerted me to my situation lol.

We get up to the Mission Rock launch and have no issues until we've motored about 3 clicks out. Jerry can't find his phone. We turn around rather than watch him tweak all day. It's in Dean's ride!

The weather is beautiful and we roll up to the north and drop in hoping for some big, late season salmon. Dean had commented that I'd we'd be lucky to lose balls today. I rig a Yellow FBR that I have tied with 30 pound fluorocarbon. I'm trolling with my favorite stick. Things look promising. I ask Dean for a corkscrew and just as I pop the cork on a nice bottle of zinfandel I get whacked HARD. Jerry's yelling it's a pumper. I start the battle. It is a short battle though. The fish is off. What'd I do!

I can't figure it out UNTIL I go to re-bait and notice the hook is broken. Crap!

Back in troll mode we continue to enjoy the wine and some banter as we wait for the next bite. A sea lion pops up very close and hangs with us. He is in the area as my rod goes off again but this fish is gone soon too. The gear is fine so I must've lost this one. Dean loses a cast iron ball on that one. Sorry Dean. We pick an unsuspecting boat to do the perfect sea lion transfer and it works like a charm. I think they figured it out after it was too late. There was a little finger pointing lol!

Jerry breaks out the box wine so we can keep our glasses wet and also cooked up some killer sausages. He gets a sleeve shot of some really good mustard. The sauerkraut put them over the top.

My rod has gone off again and none of us saw it happen but hey we still have wine! Dean is out another ball though.

FINALLY someone's rod goes off and it is Dean this time. I am just getting my rod out of the water as Jerry nets the 30 pound beast. We are stoked as this helps to make up for the first pig and unknown other two losses.

It's time to pull some crab pots now that we have some pink in the boat. I start to marvel at the artwork (I believe I actually used the word "patina") to describe the beauty of Dean's crab pot floats. Wine, it makes people a little silly. I'm probably a little more than silly 'cause my hat flies off and we have to go back and gaff it. It made it back to Dean's house but I'm not sure if it's there or in the back of Jerry's ride. (I do know my small green cooler is with Jerry lol.)

The crabs are huge, clean and plentiful and we end the day on a high note.

Back at the ramp Dean gets a dunking putting the boat on the trailer and we notice a boat that has been hauled out and left. It's a fixer upper for sure if it's still there.

Dean cut up the fish and gave me the tail end (approx. 7 pounds of steaks and tail fillet) which we'll be enjoying soon!


November 3

Tea Sea once again had limits of crab for 8 on a much nicer ocean today.


November 1

After a 6 week adventure in Europe (where I did not fish) it was nice to get back out on the water. It was a rough day on the ocean off Half Moon Bay but we were prepared. Tom had 7 of us crewing for him on the dungeness crab opener and Tea Sea had limits of big tasty crustaceans after pulling only 4 pots.


September 11

Dwight, Tullio, Mike and I were Tom's crew today on Tea Sea as we ventured out of Half Moon Bay for a day of salmon fishing.

We had half limits pof salmon by the end of the morning and we picked up about 20 black, and a couple blue rockfish and called it a day by 4 pm.

All of the fish were caught on bait today.


September 4

My buddy Mike (Hawaiian Hooker) gave me a shout out for an afternoon of salmon fishing with Brenda and another Mike (I call him James lol).

We gave it our best but the salmon only scratched our baits. Once and awhile the fish win.


September 3

Due to a few cancellations in crew I was able to return today to fish with the researchers again. Our weather was up a bit and we were heading further down the coast so we had a couple of folks drop out rather then risk the dreaded mal de mer effects a big swell can conjure up.

We got to fish the Año Nuevo State Marine Conservation Area which was like being invited to a private party at Disneyland. Again I saw substantially larger fish especially some jumbo blue rockfish and at one point I brought up a brown rockfish (AKA Bolina) that likely weighed over 8 pounds.

It was another very successful day of fish data collection and the group effort was one of the best I've observed.


September 2

Back in 2003 I participated in several rockfish tagging trips out of Morro Bay for the Department of Fish and Game. It was a great way to see the science behind the scenes and actively help with research while having fun fishing. Today I was able to get an offer to reprise that role with the California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program.

The chosen vessel was the Huli Cat and Captain Tom Mattusch who I've known for years. We would be fishing in the protected zones (MPA's) to collect data on rockfish and other species.

I knew several of the other anglers going with us today and they were all talented. We used special rigs provided by the research team. Shrimp flys, shrimp fly and iron jig combos, some with bait some without, etc.. and Tom set us up on specific drifts to catch fish. We all had pinched down barbs on the hooks to minimize damage to the fish which were measured, some tagged, a few photographed, and then released.

Some fished the bow while the rest had stations around the stern. On the port side of the cabin we had a couple styles of desenders for sending rockfish back down that had partially inflated air bladders.

The fish brought up today represented the standard species usually found in the central coast area although I have to admit we did see a lot of larger fish than I usually see outside the protected fishing zones. We had a lot of lingcod and a large number of hitchhiker lings or lings that were merely following fish up.

The researchers had everything dialed in to expedite the time a fish was in the process of data collection. They were very efficient and we were able to get documentation on hundreds of fish!


August 27

I managed to get team Tea Sea to commit to meeting at the boat at 5 am to try for white seabass.

We were on the bite zone just before 6 am and it was fairly calm making for an easy drift. The squid were still around although they were primarily on the bottom. I started to jig some up and replace out fresh dead bait with live ones. We saw one white seabass fought and landed but otherwise it was pretty quiet.

When our lines did start to sing we were promptly sawed off by what were suspected thresher sharks. We did hear of an 8 footer being landed.

Late that morning we gave up and headed south of Pillar Point Harbor fro some rockfish and lingcod action. They did not disappoint us and we salvaged the day.


August 23

Dean and I were back out today on the white seabass bite. (Two days ago he went solo and landed a limit of WSB between 48 and 58 pounds!)

After getting set up on a drift the first fish hits the squid jig on the bait rod, which happened to Dean on his last trip out. He uses a lead head with a scampi tail instead of just a sinker. Obviously the fish aren't line shy! I gaff the fish in the throat and Dean pulls it in.

A little later another rod goes off, and I fight a nice fish that makes a couple of huge runs. Then it turns and saws off the leader!

The next takedown turns out to be a small thresher shark which launches out of the water just long enough to ID before chewing its way to freedom.

We jig up a few squid and snack out way through the morning and early afternoon before we see the final action for the day. While at the stern I glanced up and saw the bow rod dancing. Dean forgot the clicker but the fish hasn't been there long. I tell Dean to grab it but he says I still need redemption.

He doesn't need to tell me twice! I'm on it and after about 15 minutes I get the brute sidled up to the boat for Dean to plant the gaff. With nice ones in the kill bag we run back towards the harbor.

As we get near the green can our research and development tactics get the better of us. Dean puts this huge squid down on the reef, and it gets instantly inhaled by a huge lingcod that bites through the leader. I toss a swim bait down for a couple of token rockfish.

We called it a day. I now have a couple more otoliths (ear "stones") from the 49 pound seabass (a new personal best for me) and fresh fillets for the freezer.


August 20

Dean (Highlandlassie), we have to stop meeting like this! LOL! For the past month I've been crewing for Dean on Wednesday. So when he called me for today I figured why break the pattern... Let's roll.

Well ROLL we did in some snotty southerly conditions. We went looking for potluck and after coming in early afternoon I had one lingcod that I jigged up near the green can off Half Moon Bay.

My released "fish" included a seagull and a 25 pound bat ray.


August 17

Alecia and I hopped aboard Tom Cala's boat Tea Sea to try and repeat yesterday's salmon adventure but when the only salmon that hit turned out to be a tiny shaker our crew of 5 decided to switch tactics and species.

Tom took us down to San Gregorio where we picked up some rockfish and 9 nice lingcod to save the day!


August 16

My friend Alecia Cornelius (AKA The Reel Sister) found some time to come up and visit. I put the word out that I was looking to hitchhike a ride for two this time. Eric responded and we confirmed plans for a Saturday trip for salmon out of Half Moon Bay.

We totally "owned" the fleet today. Eric (Lockpro) let me have carte blanche on setting up the deck, which I found refreshing, and we ran gear every 15 minutes to make sure lines were clear and working well. I put the green croc on Alecia's rod on the port rigger while I ran a pink lady off the back with a sling blade and a Big Bait Skurt Fish. Eric's rod had a skirted lure but we eventually swapped it out for a rotary salmon killer/anchovey.

The 20 pounder hit the Skurt Fish with had a hard-tied, double-hook rigged leader. I let Alecia fight it and I grabbed the net. The fish bit through the first hook and was landed on the second. Once I saw the fish come up I was glad I'd let my guest take the rod. She had been long overdue to catch a king salmon.

We tried a new technique of "juicing" the downrigger balls with scent. At any rate we KILLED it today and I think we had the biggest salmon in the area. Limits was just icing on the cake!

Thanks Eric!


August 14

Tom (Tea Sea) had Fred, Art, Al and yours truly aboard. I think we had to motor a whole 15 minutes to drop lines outside of Pillar Point Harbor. Flat water. Tons of birds. WALLS OF BAIT!

I was tired after being out all day yesterday so I tossed on a watermelon apex to start and after nada I thought about the fact that were mackerel in the area... Green croc. I made the right call! I boxed 3 salmon in an hour. When I cleaned them they were stuffed with anchovies.

The rest of the crew swapped to green crocs and Fred put in a fish. Then my rod went off as I was attempting to get a break and eat lunch. I gave Art the ok to bag it and he did.

Then we had a little lull but we were entertained by the whale for about an hour. It literally breached at least 25-30 times. I had fun snapping pictures and taking a few video clips.

Al got the last fish before we called it an afternoon around 2:30. No big fish; all were between 23 & 26 inches. We did have 2 shakers and picked up a half dozen rockfish too.


August 13

Dean and I trailered his boat up to Mission Rock in San Francisco and picked up Glenn (AKA Tinfisherman) across the bay at another launch ramp with the boat.

We tried hard all day to get a salmon but aside from my rod getting bit early in the morning we just couldn't hang one.

We did rattle up a few lingcod on the way in and Dean got a huge cabezon.


August 10

May I have your order please? I'll have some sand dabs, a halibut, a salmon and a side of whales... Oh and can you super-size my dabs please!

I took Eric (Lockpro) up on his offer to try for halibut from Moss Landing. My friend Mike Ryan, whose boat is down at the moment, rolled with us and Eric had his son James.

We got an early start launching Eric's Skipjack and right outside the harbor it was a feast for birds and whales. We decided we didn't want to encounter the whales that close so we ran up a bit to the beach in front of Pajaro Dunes.

Mike and I set up the rods and had big herring and whole squid for starters. I had my Shimano Trevala and Talica 8 combo set up with a fluorocarbon leader that Mike put together with an Emperor hook and treble hook I gave him. Mike had his reading glasses with him today and I didn't lol!

James was feeling a little off so he kicked back and tried to get a nap in. Eric was letting Mike and I run the deck while he drove. We started to get into some sand dabs and the first one I brought up and not only dislodged the squid but it had perfectly pinned its self to the treble as it ate the top hook. I decided to act on some advice my friend Laz had told me yesterday. I dropped that sucker back down. Shazam! Halibut on!

I tried to pass it but had no takers. Mike netted it and we had one in the box. Then Mike bagged two nice sand dabs at the same time. One on the upper hook and one on the lower.

We missed a couple of short strikes and got robbed a few times. An octopus came up on a sand dab and we tossed him in a bucket of water in case we ran for lings later.

We moved back down to just in front of the harbor again as the whales had shifted south but were still there in great numbers. We saw at least 20 humpbacks.

About 1:00 we had to call it a day so we packed up to move in to the ramp. Throughout the morning we had heard of salmon being caught just outside. I spied some bait holding about 50' off the bottom (in 70' of water) and quickly re-rigged my Shimano with a small chrome bar and a barbless siwash hook. "Hey guys" I said, "This might sound crazy but I'd like to try something". I started telling them about my trip one time on the Velocity and how I jigged up salmon with a red croc. I dropped to the bottom and yo-yo jigged it a bit. Then I ripped it up. I got nailed about 20 feet under the boat. Salmon!

Mike and I had salmon at home still so we gave Eric the fish and I filleted the halibut into 4 pieces so everyone would have some for dinner.

Today was a huge learning experience and refresher on fishing for halibut. Eric will absolutely kill them next time out!

Thanks again for having Mike and I out today!


August 3

Tea Sea and crew (Joe, Mike, Paul and I) departed from Alameda a little after 7 am and hit the fleet off San Francisco to hunt up some salmon.

We tried a bunch of options but RSK's seemed to be the winners today. I had a vial of glitter that I was messing around with and as I sprinkled it on a lure the shaker top fell out of the bottle. By the end of the day the glitter was everywhere and on everyone.

Joe had the first fish on for the day and it was a beauty but due to a rather long leader combination the fish wasn't in range to net for the first two times to the boat and on the third run it spit the hook. BRUTAL!

Mike got the next one and it did make it to the box. In clearing other lines I found that the rod leash had wound around my Penn jigmaster. I literally ripped the side plate off to get the rod out of the way. I thought it was toast but Tom managed to put it back together. I will have to get it to Alan or one of his buddies to go through.

I got the last fish (on the Penn rig) we would see before leaving around 3 pm.

Hawaiian Hooker was the hot boat in our vicinity today! They got five fish boated for their crew.


July 30

Dean called to add me to the crew list for today's fishing adventure and this time we also had Mel going with us. We had discussed going after white seabass. Squid boats were still working the coastline hard and the moon phase was decent to consider them. On the other hand salmon were getting bigger and concentrating around areas just outside of San Francisco Bay. In the end salmon won out. The pressure was on to hope we'd made the right call for the species to hunt down. Our reputations were on the line! Over the past decade each of us had been bestowed the honor of being chosen A.O.Y. (angler of the year) at Full Speed Fishing Club.

Of course even A.O.Y.'s make mistakes now and then. As Dean and I towed his boat up to Mission Rock and started to consider where to pick Mel up he suddenly remembered he forgot to take the bait out of his freezer. This was not an immediate problem as Mel was bringing one tray of frozen anchovies and some squid however it concerned us enough that I put out a quick text to Tom (who had called me a mere 10 minutes after Dean to ask me to crew for him... for salmon) to see if I could get him to bring extra out on his boat. No response. We'd have to leave it to fate.

We were one of the first boats to hit the grounds and we started off near Rocky Point to the north. I dropped in with a sling blade and a blue dancer and had the first bite which turned out to be a trout-sized salmon that was released. Dean fought the first keeper fish which was over 20 pounds and Mel handled the net while I drove the boat. It's always a great feeling to know you have the skunk off the deck! Mel was between the down riggers with a pink lady (old deep six) and he got the next 20 pound class fish.

By now a lot more vessels had shown up and some party boats started to slip out of the area and run south. I heard Tom on the radio and after exchanging some news and stats we pulled up our gear and ran south to the channel buoys. Tom eventually crossed paths with us and proffered a tray of anchovies which was awesome since we were running low. I held out the net and Dwight tossed it in as they skillfully trolled by us. I was able to get some nice pictures of Tea Sea and her crew today too.

We continued on through the morning and by 12:30 had limits of salmon with about a 15 pound average. Mel was the hot stick and we only had two come off. One on Dean's rod and the other on Mel's. I got the "devil fish" to complete the salmon limits.

Well it was still early enough to consider some other possibilities so we tried drifting for halibut on the north bar but after nothing happened there we moved to Point Bonita to see if the rockfish were still in the mood. They were but it was not the red hot bite Dean and I had encountered last week. We stopped at 18 assorted rockfish comprised of blacks, a few blues and some very nice and hard-hitting bolinas.

We cruised back just before the Giants game let out and traffic was not a big issue. This week I had enough time to help clean up Dean's boat before heading to class and the teacher (and a couple of other students) got a rockfish to take home.


July 27

Tea Sea (Tom) and crew (Jim, Dwight, Fred and me) spent Sunday beating the heat by fishing San Gregorio and Pescadero.

We started off by putting a few sand dabs aboard for ling bait. I promptly nailed the first two with a live dab. Well actually it was alive for the first ling but I was able to get the second fish to hit it dead with no problems at all.

Black rockfish were the norm although Dwight got a nice copper and Fred got a spectacular China as our devil fish. Fred also managed what was first thought to be cabezon but I knew it was a very different beast. We photographed it before letting it go and sure enough it was a buffalo sculpin!

I don't know why we never took pics of the lings today. I got two more; one on a swim bait and the other on a Spro bucktail jig. I also had one short ling released. The boys thought we had limits of lings so I quit trying for them. Turns out we were one short of limits. I will count next time lol!

Today's heartbreaks were shared by Jim and Fred. I was ready to net what looked to be a thirty to thirty-five pound lingcod for Jim when it abruptly turned tail and busted off. Fred had a nice fish (possibly a halibut) come unpinned about 2/3 of the way up.


July 23

Rolled out of bed at 3:30 am to get to Dean's by 4:00. We towed his rig to Mission Rock in San Francisco to launch. What a cool find!

30 minutes later we're beyond the golden gate bridge and trolling for salmon off Muir Beach. Hardly anyone around at first. Flat water, lots of murres with new chicks and some small dolphins. Tons of bait!

Dean boxed a small salmon but that was it for the salmon making it into the boat. We had some hits and misses. We almost lost a downrigger but I held onto it for dear life until Dean could mount it back onto the starboard corner. Every time we wanted to fold it up and try another species a boat would whip out a net and we would keep trying. It was so nice for most of the morning that we ran on just the kicker and gave the main engine a break.

About 1:30 or 2:00 we did switch to the north bar for halibut. We had some short bites but the wind was picking up. I remembered I had French class that evening... So we ran in to Point Bonita and found the rockfish on the chew. BIG TIME! I think it took us 20-25 minutes to limit out and we both got nice bolina rockfish as well as blues and blacks.

We hit a little traffic on 280 but after getting to Dean's I was able to make it to Taco Bravo and on to class only arriving 10 minutes late. Courtney, Dean's girlfriend, even loaned me a clean T-shirt to wear!

I really enjoy fishing with Dean. We laughed all day!


July 21

Tea Sea rolled out of Pillar Point Harbor at 7 am with Tom, Paul, Joe, Ken and me. On our way up the coast we saw what looked like a research vessel.

We trolled the North bar and had two salmon hit anchovies between 25 and 35 feet down. I was the only one a downrigger and I had a drive by.

Joe got to fight a large and a small version. I was clearing rods when a shark jumped on Joe's outfit and I briefly had it on until it bit through the line. I think it was a soupfin but it was possibly a small thresher.

Both salmon came early in the day and then it went pretty quiet. We had one more salmon bite but it spit the hook after a minute into the fight. The boys made the call to quit around 1:00.

While we fueled up back at the harbor the squid boats were taking turns unloading and on my drive home down the coast I saw birds working the Half Moon Bay/Miramar beaches and saw about a dozen squid boats working flat water to just north of Pescadero.


July 18

Tea Sea and regular crew (Joe, Tuillo and me) went to Pescadero for some rockfish. I had Hugo meet us at Pillar Point Harbor and he's had Great Lakes fishing and boating experience. Since he's only been in CA for about a year this was his first opportunity to fish saltwater.

He took to it like a champ and boated a lot of our decent black rockfish today including a few nice doubles. We did get 2 coppers and a few olives and Hugo nailed one blue rockfish.

Joe caught the first lingcod which was about 23" and then we had a lull in the action. I saw Hugo on a nice fish but it came unpinned. I caught a 23" ling and boxed it.

Then I stuck a pig that ran a couple of times on me and Tom came out and netted it for me. The swimbait used on the ling had been "welded" back together from my last outing and performed once more before getting toasted.

The pressure was on for Tuillo and Hugo as we finished rockfish limits. Hugo managed to get a little help from Tom on baiting up a small rockfish and voila! He was cranking up to make a move and had a takedown. He wound up with today's second biggest ling!


July 12

The wind turned around and came out of the northwest today. Joe, Tom and I had a very calm ocean but the rockfish were still picky today. We did get limits of them, and just about the time we were ready to give up on lingcod Joe bagged a nice one and I followed it up with a smaller version.


July 10

Team Tea Sea went out for rockfish today and I had my neighbor's 14 year old nephew, Dhruv, along for the trip. Dhruv was visiting from India and took to the water like a champ.

We saw some risso dolphins, a sea lion, jellyfish and several species of birds. The wind was out of the south and the bite was slow. Dhruv caught a black rockfish, a blue rockfish and an olive rockfish.

The rest of us didn't do as well but we sent him home with 7 fish at the end of the day.


July 5

Capt. Tom managed to get Paddy to come out for a rockfish trip out of Half Moon Bay. Joining us was Dwight and Judy and I managed to get Jeff to go as well.

We headed South to San Gregorio and fished until about 2 pm. I only had one short ling but I did have a nicer one that came unbuttoned. We caught a lot of nice blue rockfish, a few blacks, a couple of coppers, a China and few yellowtails and some bolinas.

The jellyfish were really thick out there today!


June 27

After a nice crab dinner last night and a minimum of 5 1/2 hours of sleep I was ready to thump rockfish again.

Today it was with Capt. Tom. John and I were the crew.

We tried to take advantage of yesterday's shallow-water, mega-sized, black rockfish but they weren't biting as well to start off near the Ritz so we ambled down to San G. I got Tom to show us how it's done.

He tossed on a couple of small bass tube plastics and got into a rockfish. Then the rod really loaded up. He had a 28 inch green ling with its jaws locked on a black rockfish. This awesome hitchhiker refused to let go of the fish even after it was netted!

I stuck a smaller model to give us 2 for the day and we had mostly black rockfish limits.

I got to take the prized lings home and the big one had nice cheeks as well as fillets!

Stupid wind is coming back up so I guess I can rest my thumb for awhile lol.


June 26

Would anyone expect any less of us lol! Dean's new (to him) 18.5 Wellcraft Airslot fits nicely in his driveway and since he now lives a lot closer to me I rolled over to his (and Courtney's) place Thursday morning. Our mission was to get crab... Dean couldn't even think of going home without those bad boys!

At Half Moon Bay's launch ramp we were approached by a fisheries management dude who gave us a a disposable camera and a form to fill out for all released fish. (Oh boy! Bring on the canaries!)

We had flat water but limited vis due to fog and the electronics were finicky so we opted for a shallow soak on the pots while we used a combination of electronics and phone apps to find our way down to the Ritz. From there it was all about the fishfinder and reading the depth. (I had joked about stopping to buy a sack of potatoes to navigate with lol! Splash, splash, thud.)

When we went to rig Dean found he had left his tackle bag at home. I let him have carte blanche to my stuff. My "marlin" gear lol. We found the rockfish ready to rumble and soon we were both getting some nice fish. Dean got a vermilion and 2 lings. I got a vermilion and 2 lings. We got bolinas and gophers and a China too. We had a few canaries. Dean picked up an octopus and almost kept it as a pet but it got reported on the release paperwork. Then we got into chasing around a school of Alaska grade black rockfish that fought like hell on light gear! We nailed three of those monsters as we capped off our limits of rockies and lings.

Now the pressure was on. Would Dean have to go to Safeway for dungeness crab? Nope. We got limits of those too and as we finished up Dean whipped out a bottle of red to enjoy on the ride in.

Courtney was ecstatic to have crab so I gave them 2 of mine as well. Jeff was pretty happy to cook crab up for us and a couple of our friends.

I like Dean's new boat. Now we have to get Courtney out there!


June 22

My friend Tom and his wife Paddy own 4 boats and after fishing both the Albemarle's I had been looking forward to checking out their custom aluminum jet boat. Jeff also ditched his to-do list for the day to come along.

We had a leisurely start from Tom's home a little after 8:00 and towed the boat to the San Luis Reservoir. We tried several spots looking for striped bass but the day wound up being more of a picnic on the water. We did have some wind but it was very hot so the freshwater spray at times was quite refreshing!


June 21

Mike on the Hawaiian Hooker wanted a last chance to nab some dungeness crab before the season closes so I met Mike and the rest of the crew at Pillar Point to launch at 6:30 am. Armando brought his son, Eduardo. Mike's girlfriend Brenda was ready to check out the craziness and we had a second Mike aboard.

After futzing around with the pots that were stacked out of order on the deck we managed to bait them and start a short soak while we took off for the inside to fish. Just below the Ritz it was downright sloppy but everyone sucked it up.

We drifted several spots getting some nice bolinas, a whopper China and assorted blues, blacks and olives. Short lings were the only lings biting although I had a few nice hits that destroyed a few swim baits. Brenda got to release 3 lings to my zero! Canary rockfish were out in force and we had to release about a dozen.

Brenda was not deterred by the rough ocean much and I knew she had the right stuff when a crab picked on her back at the wash down. I heard a shriek and turned around to see she had her Corona foaming in her right hand... "Wow I can't believe you didn't drop your beer when the crab pinched you?" She responded with "I whacked the shit out of it with the beer"... Awesome job and minimal loss of suds in the process. Yeah I think she's worthy of some one-on-one training! Count me in Mike.


June 8

With the wind being an unfavorable factor off the coast outside of 10 miles it was decided that today we'd fish near shore waters. Capt. Tom and 5 of us as crew chose San Gregorio as our preference to tempt up tasty rockfish.

The bite was slow but we had fun under foggy conditions. During one drift we had a juvenile mola (about 30 pounds) swim by and check us out. By 3:30 we got the last rockfish needed to have limits for all and 4 lingcod to 12 pounds. I caught 2 of those lings and must have released 4 others.


June 5

Tom and I have been encouraging our spouses to fish and today my husband Jeff took a day off work to come out and play. Dwight and Fred were back to round out the crew.

The plan had been to fish for salmon but we had mixed feelings about recent reports and the dreaded jellyfish but we decided to head out towards the shipping lanes off San Francisco to take a look around. The water was a lot clearer and running more on the glacial blue side. Humpback whales and murres were here and there including one whale that made several breaches. When we did see a murkier green stretch it was short and sweet but after making a reconnaissance troll with nada to show for it, we pulled the plug and ran out to the Southeast side of the Farallon Islands.

Of course I neglected to bring my rockfish gear so I borrowed a few items from Tom's stash and set Jeff & I up with adequate bottom rigs; a scampi tail and teaser fly on mine and Jeff had the standard shrimp fly set up. We had to fish "old school" with monofilament so it was harder to feel the bottom structure and we had a lively drift but Tom kept us on the fish. He even came out to net my first ling when everyone else was hooked up.

We had started off the morning with a big rolly swell but we never had the wind to make it nasty and it dropped significantly by the afternoon. All day long we ripped into lingcod and large copper and bolinas rockfish. Jeff caught a monster olive rockfish and had some very nice fights with lings.

We packed it in around 3 with limits of lingcod and some very nice rockfish. Now I've got Jeff excited about catching his first albacore!


May 31

After a couple of jellyfish excursions (zero salmon) it was a refreshing break to hop out of Half Moon Bay and run down to Pescadero with Captain Tom, Ron, Fred, Dwight (AKA Canary Whisperer) and Tullio.

Fred brought out smoked kokanee (the landlocked version of the sockeye salmon) and served us up a fantastic smoked dip on crackers, and after that vanished he broke out a second fish to snack on.

As far as ocean conditions today there was a lump, the water was murky and we drifted north but we had quality fish including some very nice copper rockfish, a vermilion, and one China. Most of the rest were equally split between olives, blues and bolinas. Dwight and I caught most of the lings and we took home 5 keepers. We released about as many short ones.

Dwight was also having quite the day with canaries and Ron and Tuillo also managed to find a few. All but one swam down upon release.

Good fishing reports chimed in from the Hulicat and Queen of Hearts and we also had a few private boaters out with us doing very well.


May 23

Team Tea Sea (Tom Cala, Joe, Mike, Tullio and I) followed up on some advice on where the Huli Cat had been fishing salmon yesterday and got into a few fish. We put 3 in the box and had plenty of missed opportunities for more. The weather window was a great one but the wind will be up for awhile.


May 15

Tom had been prepping to have one of his boats ready to go to Bodega Bay for salmon but yesterday we made the decision to run out of Half Moon Bay.

I knew it would be a special day when I arrived at the harbor and noticed I had failed to put my boots in the car. Well sneakers it is! On further inspection I noted that I had two different shoes on. At least they were both in shades of gray. The last time I didn't pack my boots I caught a 45 pound white seabass and the photograph wound up in Pacific Coast Sportfishing. I was wearing blue tennis shoes that day.

I readied the boat and was just flipping the switches to the motors when Tom, Fred, Tony and Dwight showed up. Tips from a few friends who'd been on the water in the last couple of days gave us the inclination to run out towards the Farallon Islands. The water was reasonable and it was bright and sunny.

We stopped short of the targeted destination when we found so much bait marking that it obliterated the depth reading on the screen. We quickly set out but Dwight made the call that we were probably in a jellyfish factory and he was right, so we resumed course.

Off in the distance and closer to the islands we saw a mixed bag of commercial and private boats working the area. The water color was perfect for salmon; murky olive green and clear of those pesky jellyfish.

We deployed the bridled plastic tubs over the sides (to slow us down a bit) and Fred set up on the port down rigger while I grabbed the starboard one. Tony and Dwight snapped into action between us. Tony went lighter with a 2 pound salmon weight while Dwight stayed with the 2 1/2 pound model. We all had bait to start EXCEPT Tony and he found fish number one with a watermelon apex. Dwight netted the fairly decent beast to get the day started. According to Fred who was sporting a cool app with solunar calendar information it would be a peak (four fish) day with a fishing window of several hours.

Just about the time I had ditched my jacket and thought about putting on more sunscreen I saw the fog bearing down on us. Heralded by 15 knots of wind things progressed to fishable jackass conditions. But the fish LOVED it. My rod with a anchovy baited on it enticed a fish and after a nice fight Dwight netted a 20 pounder for me. Tom got to take the photo since the guys had started to clean Tony's fish and nobody else had clean hands at the moment.

Tony's stick got bit again and he boxed another salmon. Fred had started to do some post-mortem's to see what the fish were feeding on and we found a plethora of critters in the stomach contents. There was tiny fish we couldn't identify, squid, anchovies and plenty of krill. The guys flicked a salmon heart up towards me and I watched as the still beating organ crawled its way across the fiberglass surface of the cockpit.

Fred was working the fruit when he got the next fish. The beauty slid into the net with little effort.

We had joked earlier about having a "quad" takedown like we're used to when albacore fishing. Well be careful for what you wish for. Out of the blue lines went taunt from Tony to me and we stuck 3 fish solid. In real life it does help to have one person able to clear down riggers and have a net ready lol! We did the classic over-and-under and paced ourselves to get all three fish landed including a 17 pound salmon which I caught.

From there I went back to the helm for a bit and tried a few techniques to get the fish to bite. I explained that I would pop the boat out of gear for 10-12 seconds to let the lines drop and then throttle back up. On the first attempt at about the 7 second mark, Fred's eyes get wide and he say's "Bev your rod's pumping! I raced to it and saw the fish skyrocket out of the water. It was on crack or it was a silver. We never found out because it wound up spitting the hook. Grabbing the "goo" AKA John Beath's Super Scent I ran a smear on the topside of the apex. I had another fish hit just as I dropped to 27 feet and was in the process of parking the rod in the holder. It got off shortly after that. Dwight had a real nice one that we never got to see but it took line the whole time he fought it before it said adios.

By the end of the afternoon we'd been beat up enough to pack it in with 9 nice salmon. We missed 5 attempts at the devil fish but none of us could give the devil his due. No worries though. We had one of the best days ever!


May 14

With a forecast of unseasonably hot weather and beautiful flat ocean conditions it was a pleasure to hop aboard the Queen of Hearts for an angling adventure down by Pigeon Point.

On our first few drifts we had to coax the rockfish a bit. I released one ling at the boat after it fell for a Paradox Reef Raptor. We headed further south and the breeze picked up a tad to help the boat's drift. Black rockfish, gophers and bolinas started to bite and shrimp fly rigs were very popular in attracting them.

Tossing down my custom iron, from my friend Eric, I picked up a keeper lingcod in a gorgeous shade of green. I had one more but it was too small so I sent it darting back to it's underwater lair.

Later in the day we enjoyed a grey whale mother and calf pair as they swam uphill close to the shoreline and I spied a harbor seal observing us from a tide line. 15 happy folks wound up with rockfish limits and I noted a few vermilions, Chinas and blue rockfish at the filleting table as Willie cleaned fish.


May 8

Back at Moss Landing we hit a weather window to fish salmon. Joe was the rockstar today landing one around 13 pounds. It was another stellar day to watch and photograph whales for the rest of us.


May 5

We took the bigger boat (Tea Sea Sr.) out of Half Moon Bay today for salmon but aside from 2 brief hits on Joe's rod it was just a day to enjoy viewing tons of humpback whales. I kicked Tom out of the driver's seat for part of the day to log some time behind the wheel.


May 1

Today was the rockfish opener (south of Pigeon Point) so I fished with Tom and his crew. We left from Moss Landing about 7:30 am and the ocean was so nice we decided to start with salmon first. Dwight was our hero this morning when he caught a salmon about the size I had last trip out.

We ran up to a spot off Santa Cruz to try for rockfish but after kicking back a small lingcod and boating a huge sand dab and a few rockfish we opted to go back to salmon fishing.

One shaker salmon bit in the afternoon before we headed for the barn.


April 27

As nice as it was to go fly fishing last week the saltwater was beckoning me again and like a moth drawn to flame I couldn't pass it up. I joined Fred, Jim and Jim's son, Justin, as part of Tea Sea's crew.

Tom managed to get us out a little earlier this morning and reports of a few fish off Moss Landing started to get us pumped up on the back deck. We deployed both down riggers which Fred and I utilized while Jim and Justin set up with 2 1/2 pound release weights. We commenced to snap pictures of whales which were in abundance today. We were all trying for the classic tail fluke shot.

The fish were being a bit picky but finally Justin had his rod load up. Alas, just at the surface we saw it was a shaker. It made a leap up and dislodged the hook saving us the trouble. Jellyfish weren't a huge issue but we did pick up some grass and kelp here and there.

Having tried the watermelon apex (and a blue dancer briefly) I turned to Tom for suggestions. He whipped out a homemade bait rig and loaded an anchovy in it. I think it was in the water for less than 5 minutes before getting bit. I whipped up a fat and sassy 18 pound salmon and Fred did a skillful net job.

The fish left us alone again but we did see more whales and some sea otters. Jim whacked the tail off the fish for me and the guys took the rest of the fish back to Tom's to cut up so everyone could have some for dinner.


April 22

I combined a trip to visit my sister in Missoula, MT with a chance to also fish with my friend Shelly Ehmer in Craig, MT.

Shelly picked me up at the Greyhound station in Helena after a fun-filled day of touring Butte where I found a tackle shop and a chocolate store both closed for my lengthy stopover. I salvaged the afternoon in Butte by having lunch at a Taco John's and getting an incredible facial at a day spa conveniently located a block from the bus depot!

Tuesday morning Shelly and I made our way to The Trout Shop in Craig where I had a chance to look around and purchase my neon yellow fishing license. All of Shelly's drift boats were in other locations so we made use of another drift boat from Adipose Boatworks, where Shelly works by the way.

Local guide Mike Kuhnert opted to forgo being a "formal" guide today so that we could all relax and have fun. I know Shelly from fishing saltwater on the West Coast and she rolls like I do. So it was no big surprise when we popped by the bar to fortify ourselves for the river excursion.

After launching on the Missouri River, both of them insisted I take the bow position where I could stand up to cast against the stabilizer bar. Mike rowed and Shelly set up in the stern. Mike had me rigged up with a #6 Sage fly rod and with his tips and encouragement I was soon shaking the dust off my fly casting experience. As we gently moved down the beautiful waterway we noticed an abundance of waterfowl; stately Canadian geese, comical American white pelicans, glossy black male red-winged blackbirds and a species of swallow that I was unable to identify.

It was a challenge to handle both the rod and the camera and I missed numerous strikes from fish, however by the end of the day I had caught and released three very nice rainbow trout and had a few others come unhooked partway into the fight. I need to practice my hook set and get more familiar with fly fishing in general. I could even see buying a drift boat one day as they are very manageable and there is NO motor to maintain.

Shelly has offered to have me come back and maybe I'll take Jeff with me next time. At any rate, freshwater fishing was a great change of pace and scenery for me. Thanks Shelly!


April 16

It was one of those days were all the odds were stacked against you. Tom had John, Joe and Mark coming from Tom's house and on 101 they got held up by a truck on fire. I was at the boat at 6:30 and waiting on them as they rolled in around 7.

I plucked the ice bags from one of the coolers and tossed it in the back but the cooler hit the dock with the bait still inside. Whoops! We were about a mile out of the jaws when we noted it. Turn back? Nope let's just go to plan B.

I had one of Khanh's new blue dancers set up behind a small Sep's flasher and hitched it to the starboard downrigger; a downrigger we had just removed a cable fray from the bottom of it. It sailed down into the depths as I held my rod and then at about 130' the wire broke. So now I'm out-of-control attached to 12 pounds of weight. Somehow I got it stopped without grinding my thumbpads off or getting caught in the levelwind. (I cringe just imaging what THAT would feel like LOL!) Mark and I try to hand pump it up and then we get my line onto the rigger wheel, but our luck finally runs out when the line snaps around 40' down.

Shortly after that fire drill the other rigger had a similar experience. Just as we're thinking we're screwed we get a fish on a "manual" set-up. Balls work! Tom had a spare rigger which has Firewire and we tossed that out for Mark to clip into. Joe, John and I stayed with the classic dog whistle approach. Joe had numerous shakers but Joe managed to box a salmon and I wound up with two. I also had one shaker being chased by a sealion but we scooped him and set him free. That fish knew he was in trouble because he shot across the water at light speed the second he hit the water.

Fur bags were ripping off anglers today and I caught a photo of one with a tail sticking out of it's mouth.

We had quite the adventure today but we sucked it up and managed three decent fish. New wire is on the way. Oh and most of the fish hit the fruit today; watermelon apexes.


April 12

Tea Sea cruised out of the harbor this morning with Tom at the helm and Dwight and I as the crew. We had two veterans fishing with us today hoping to get a chance to enter a fish in the Monterey Bay Veteran's Salmon Derby. Vivian and Joe were our guests and we hoped to put them on some nice king salmon.

With very nice weather predicted it was no surprise to find hundreds of people plying the waters off Moss Landing. I suspected that the fish were a bit scattered after having been trolled and mooched through for the past week. A few boats were still getting limits but most were scratching out fish here and there.

We were able to get Joe onto a fish that after being cleaned weighed out at 10 lbs. 11 oz., however it was the only fish we had that wanted to bite today.


April 9

I showed up at Moss at the launch ramp this morning to fish salmon with Mike and crew (Bryon and Charles) for a few hours.

Ran 4 rods "stacked" on 2 down riggers. I got some love on the red croc with a nice 15 pound fish. Mike had the next one and Charles boxed the third keeper, which was a hatchery fish. Most fish hit between 180' and 130' and we had one double.

We hoped Bryon would get lucky but we had to call it quits by 11:00. I sawed the bigger fish in half so he could take some home too.

Tom (Tea Sea) and his wife stopped by us as we were washing the boat down. I'm fishing again with him on Saturday.

I came home intending to get in a nap but I found my list of things to get done lol!


April 8

I was back at Moss Landing this morning to fish with Tom again. David (Ponyboy) and Tony rounded out the crew.

We started trolling around 8:30 and fishing was slow. We proceeded to have gear issues, tangles and found several crab pots.

I kept hoping I was dreaming and I'd wake up and the crab pots would be gone. I did manage to wrestle up about 25' of line to get my red croc back from the rope with no buoy and now that ghost pot is trailing a shorter line. Snagged another pot with the croc and got it back too.

The risso dolphins were putting on quite the show and we saw a humpback way off in the distance.

It was nice hanging out with the guys but the salmon dinner I had envisioned ended when Tony had a 22" shaker just before we gave up and headed in.


April 7

I went out of Moss Landing this morning with Tom Cala on his slightly smaller version (the 28' Ablemarle) and was joined by John, Jim and Fred.

We had all the right conditions to get the game going including perfect weather but it took a couple of hours before my rod went off. I breathed through my nose and coaxed up salmon number one. And then we were off and running... well maybe not quite running but we did manage 6 before calling it a day.

The weirdest thing we saw on the water today was thousands of fresh dead anchovies floating around. We scooped up about 15 pounds of them. I never saw a whale and the water looked fine so it's a mystery.


March 3

Crab for dinner tonight! After being off the water for 61 days and being prodded by friends to get out there, I DID! I joined Tom's crew aboard Tea Sea to run the crab gear. We couldn't find pot number one but hopefully it'll show up before too long. The weather was a bit bumpy, and out of the south, but we avoided getting rained on this morning.

With most of the "house flipping" done on our old place my folks are eager to move in and I'm looking forward to putting down the hammer and paint brush. Bring on salmon season!

Link to my 2015 Fishing Diary

Link to my 2013 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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