Dean and I decided to scratch that bonito
itch one more time however the weather was
a tad snotty. We found the fish but I had
the only hook-up and it happened after I turned
off my clicker and was bringing in the other
rods. I thought I'd snagged something or had
a shark on until the classic tuna behavior
kicked in and the fish picked up the fight.
Dean gaffed it and I saw it was a pretty big
We came inside and tried for rockfish and
a few crab before calling it a day. Back at
Dean's the fish weighed in at 13 pounds, which
is a new personal best for me as far as a
bonito. It was a great way
to close out the year.
brigade needed volunteers for a trip to the
Farallon Islands to take some fish for research
purposes. Captain Tom took us over on the
Huli Cat for a very enjoyable day at the islands.
Tom Cala rounded up a few of us for crew
for a little rockfishing and crabbing. The
rockfish were slow but I
did get my limit of nice crab
which were made into a double batch of my
langostino and crab bisque. It freezes nice
and will become my Christmas dinner entree
in a few weeks.
Dean and I rolled out of Pillar Point Harbor
on a nice day with a plan to do a little offshore
hunting but first we dropped a few crab pots
on the inside to soak.
We'd had a tip that there might be something
worth investigating out off Deep Reef and
I'd brought a couple of Rapalas to troll...
We found some birds in a frenzy and dropped
in. All the rods went off and we started to
pull on some line-peeling tuna! Not albacore
or bluefin mind you, but some jumbo sized
bonito. We took turns gaffing
and fighting and soon had 4 in the box. We
did a rinse and repeat and decided 8 fish
averaging 10-12 pounds was plenty.
We headed in and grabbed up a limit of crab
knowing the next day would be best spent cleaning
and canning those delicious "poor man's
Jeff and I decided to travel to Costa Rica
where we had lined up three days of fishing
Zancudo Lodge. I knew it was the beginning
of the season so my expectations weren't high
as far as fishing which is why we decided
to pad the front of our vacation with a bit
of eco tourism. This venue also allowed us
to arrive at a more leisurely pace to start
fishing without jet lag.
Since I had chosen the fishing I let Jeff
have free rein to book the first half of our
adventure. He chose an Ocean Club deluxe suite
Makanda by the Sea and from the moment
we set foot on the beautiful jungle property
we enjoyed fantastic views in a luxurious
setting. While we could have been happy just
to stay at the resort admiring the scenery,
lounging by the pool, getting massages and
enjoying fine cuisine, we pried ourselves
away to dine one night at the El
Avión Restaurant and Bar and spent
two afternoons touring in and outside of Manuel
Antonio National Park.
On Friday the 17th we flew to our main destination
arriving rested and relaxed as planned. After
a brief taxi ride to the Golfito Marina you
are whisked away to the lodge via one of their
boats. We were welcomed by the staff and escorted
to our pleasantly appointed junior suite.
I thought our dining experience would pale
in experience to what we'd had so far in the
trip. I couldn't have been more wrong! It
went up a whole new level.
Saturday, Sunday and Monday were devoted
to full days of fishing with our captain,
Rafael, in a clean, well-designed 28ft center
console with twin Suzuki 140 HP outboards.
Each day Rafael worked admirably putting us
on roosterfish, jack crevalle, snapper, dorado
and tuna with stunning coastline views inshore
and wildlife offshore.
Co-owner's Gregg and Goldine have The Zancudo
Lodge dialed in to the Nth degree and Chalbert,
our main evening host around the bar and dining
lounge, exuded one of the warmest personalities
I've encountered anywhere.
I'm keeping this report short since I will
be writing an article later this year. Take
that as an indication of just how much we
enjoyed our trip!
Well nothing says Fall has arrived like a
dip in the temperature and a crab outing.
I joined Captain Tom and crew aboard Tea Sea
out of Pillar Point Harbor to pull crab pots.
I got to have the easy job today... Counting
Well I did manage to get out for salmon fishing
today but besides a couple of scratched baits
and one short takedown we goose-egged.
Speaking of birds... I am getting closer
to my West Coast bird slam. Last week I had
a shearwater and today it was a Muir. Jonathan
Roldan may still have the video footage (to
blackmail me one of these days LOL) of me
fighting a frigate. So I'm guessing a seagull
and a pelican will complete the list. Oh well
it was still a beautiful day out at sea.
It had been awhile since I had been on a
10 day and so I was very honored to be able
to join the Jim Hart/Grady White charter on
of Adventure. As we waited for our early
afternoon departure I rubbed elbows with Steve
Carson and Wayne Kotow and started to meet
some of my fellow passengers.
Captain Mike Keating and deck crew Scott,
Mark and Evan helped us aboard the 88' platform
which was clean, stocked and ready to go.
Dan and Dean had the galley under control
and as we pulled up to the bait tank the makings
for sandwiches were laid out.
We ran deep South intending to go to Guadalupe
Island and the rigging for our main target,
wahoo, commenced. Jeffrey gave me a hand with
rigging some lures I had brought and I found
a stash of wired bait leaders I had from previous
trips. This was great as I had had to ride
down to San Diego in my Hyundai Sonata after
my husband's van decided to have transmission
issues. So in short I left my rigging box
at home this trip.
On October 10th we started fishing, just
not at Guadalupe. There were reports of too
many white sharks winning the battle there.
Unlike most trips I didn't bounce up to the
wheelhouse to look at the Lat/Lon and figure
out where we were. I just rolled with it and
enjoyed the view. The view was including some
decent kelp paddies and I quickly lit into
two 20 pound grade yellowtail but both fish
were robbed from me by sea lions. I then released
a 5 pound bonito. George got the first yellowtail
of the day that hit the deck.
Shortly from there we hit a very lively kelp
paddy that had wide open action on dorado.
I whipped out a blue & white Salas jr.
and soon had a 25 pound dorado ready to gaff
at the stern but he shook off before we could
get a gaff into it. I traded rods out for
my Seeker 670 (20-50) armed with a Shimano
Torium 30 and rigged with a wired chrome Fire
3 jig. I break out the classics now and then!
I cast into the melee expecting a dorado but
stuck a wahoo which peeled up to the bow and
was confirmed by another angler who could
see it jumping out of the water. I kept a
constant crank on it and was rewarded with
a 39 pound toothy devil. Andrew was the only
other angler to get one landed that day and
it felt pretty good to know I had the biggest
hoo to start. I set the bar high on these
trips to make sure I'm worthy of hanging out
with other veteran fish slayers.
We took a shot at Alijos Rocks on October
11th but it was a bit quiet. Several of us
did pull up some trophy sized popeye catalufa
which literally had bodies the size of a large
dinner plate. We released them. I do think
a few yellowfin tuna got caught as well. From
there we trolled over a bank with so many
sharks it became apparent that we should move
The next fish to plague the trolled marauders
was billfish! I saw more striped marlin, sailfish
and blue marlin than an average day in a Bisbee
tournament. Snapping to action with my trusty
Nikon I got a nice one fully airborne and
a marlin spike erupting from a splash. The
one that I didn't have the camera ready for
was a huge blue that shouldered it's way over
the crest of a wave. Judging from what I could
see it was easily a 400+ pounder.
After that I watched bottlenose dolphins
bow-ride the Spirit for about 30 minutes before
pealing off and several jumped high in the
air in unison, almost as if they had rehearsed
at Sea World! At times we also had common
dolphin and sea turtle sightings were frequent.
By October 12th we had gotten word of the
fires devastating Napa and Sonoma counties
as we headed towards Potato Bank. A few wahoo
hit the troll later that morning and then
we went WFO on the dorado after lunch. I took
3 in quick succession and then released 3
before taking a 4th dorado on a colt sniper.
I really thought I had a huge one but I found
out I had foul hooked it in the side.
From there we wound up on Thetis Bank which
is just outside and up from Magdalena Bay.
We mostly had big bonito and skipjack going
but they were nice to catch and release. It
was super calm that night so I grabbed my
deck chair and UE Megaboom and listened to
music on the bow while stargazing and watching
frigates attempt to land on the upper deck
On the morning of the 13th with "spud"
bank now within 8 miles the water temperature
was above 82 degrees so we changed direction
to save the bait which was in danger of becoming
stressed. Great call by the captain! A marlin
smacked the troll just after sunrise and one
of the guys released a small thresher shark.
I butt-hooked a sardine on my Seeker Hercules
60H, (40-80) spiral wrapped rod, saddled with
a Shimano Talica 12 and finally had my own,
brief but fun, marlin battle. I switched to
my lightest outfit another spiral wrapped
custom Seeker with a Talica 10 to make bait
for awhile up on the bow. Two small mako sharks
Some of those dorado made their way to the
galley for a nice fresh fish dinner!
The next morning the barracuda were on the
chew at greylight. From there we started to
get the tuna to bite. Fly lining was key.
I had 40# Blackwater fluorocarbon and an Owner
American barbless SSW circle hook. Yeah,
you read that right, barbless! I had some
in the box mixed in with my other 4/0 circles
and I wanted a light wire. It wasn't until
Mark had flipped my third tuna in that he
commented on the lack of a barb. I like pinning
big sardines in the neck and this hook was
I took a break, grabbed a cold can of Brisk
ice tea and settled in to watch John pulling
on what we thought was a brute yellowtail.
He got a nice surprise with an 80 pound gulf
grouper! Break done, I grabbed another of
my Seekers rigged with an old Australian wahoo
bomb and cast out. I came tight on a nice
45-50 pound wahoo that charged the boat and
proceeded to head to the props which is not
good if you're on the bow. It was run or hope
to turn him. I bet on turning him but couldn't
crank for a couple of seconds and the fish
I paused to head to the galley for the famous
"wet burrito" lunch. It was very
hard to say, "I'll have a half portion
Tuna fishing picked up speed in the afternoon
and I released numerous small yellowfin, skipjack
and 5 firecracker yellowtail. I did take one
more yellowfin tuna before the day was out.
After dark I fired up the music again out
On October 15th it was flat as we watched
the sunrise... and the guy in the Robalo!
Some guy who likely launched from Magdalena
Bay was intent on circling us while we were
anchored. He finally gave up but tailed us
for awhile later in the morning.
I continued to catch and released 6 more
small yellowtail resisting the urge to take
2 that were probably 8 pounds. I couldn't
get a tuna to save my ass so I went back to
my original (however unintentional) game plan
from the other day and the 4/0 barbless plan
soon had 3 more on the deck in short order.
I took a break and retied and nailed some
more yellowfin and released some more small
yellowtail. At one point I could swear I heard
Roy Rose in the distance. I looked over and
saw the Royal Polaris riding on anchor off
our starboard! I wanted to give him a shout
out but I was too busy being one of the "hot
sticks" of the day.
Monday the 16th had yellowtail around us
as well as a few stray wahoo. I grabbed a
wired iron in shades of blue/green and pulled
up a huge bonito. A few of the guys comment
on how the lure matches my fingernails LOL!
I release the fish. I've also been getting
comments on my fishing apparel. I have some
Seeker Rods shirts fresh off the press and
I'm pairing them up with very colorful leggings.
At one point in the trip I actually had my
whole ensemble "ombre" designed;
the clothing and the rod! As the only female
on the boat I felt it was my duty to represent.
After giving countless yellowtail their freedom
I'm now in panic mode not being able to hook
one. I rotate through the dropper loop, live
bait and iron until after lunch. We make a
move North and I have my epiphany. I ask myself,
"What did you use day one on those 2
I dug out my blue/white Salas jr. and cast
out from my Seeker Hercules spiral wrapped
40-80# stick. I danced the jig within feet
of the bottom and BOOM I came tight on a very
decent fish! By guesstimates the yellowtail
went 28 pounds and I nailed another one, slighter
smaller, right behind it. Jim and John both
let me tag up a couple of nice whitefish and
I kept one small sheephead so Jeff could see
what they taste like.
Unfortunately we are now hearing about a
fire in the Santa Cruz Mountains where 3 of
us are from. It's gut-wrenching but there's
nothing we can do but hope for the best. I
made use of an offer to use a Satellite phone
and checked in with my stepdad. There is no
wind pushing the fire but our house in within
5 miles of Boulder Creek!
October 17th found us trying a few areas
on the final leg home. A few yellowtail and
misc. fish were caught but we called it wrap
at noon. The prime rib at dinner was so good
I not only had a full portion, I split one
more with another guy at my table.
After dinner we get more updates on the fires
and it's good news so I relax a bit.
After arrival on October 18th I meet up with
Rosie, who has kept my car for me, and give
her some dorado and tuna. I keep my wahoo,
both yellowtail and misc. fish to have filleted
and trade a couple more yellowfin for smoked
fish. I donate the remaining 10 yellowfin
and 3 dorado through Fisherman's
It was a great pleasure to fish with the
Jim Hart/Grady White charter. We ranged in
ages from 23 to 85 and there were 4 father/son
teams aboard. We helped each other, shared
gear, shared techniques and got through the
inevitable minor frustrations of fishing that
happens even with a limited load group. I
made some new friendships on what might possibly
have been my last LONG, long range trip. In
the future I'm likely going to limit my excursions
to 5 day trips. My plan is to bump my destination
fishing up a notch starting next year.
As a volunteer angler with the California
Collaborative Fisheries Research Program
I've had the occasion to jump aboard boats
with students from the Moss Landing Marine
Labs as they collect data from select fishing
This year the program expanded to include
the Bodega Bay Marine Labs so I had the opportunity
to go to Bodega Bay and meet up with the captain
and crew of the Huli
Cat. Captain Tom had brought the vessel
up from its home port of Half Moon Bay since
he and second captain, Mike, and deckhand
Donovan were well versed in the routine. Thankfully
we were blessed with decent weather all week!
The rockfish, lingcod and other bottomfish
encountered are carefully measured, tagged
and released and there is strict guidelines
regarding time fishing, methods of fishing
and handling of the fish caught.
We all learn something new and veteran anglers
often impart a bit of wisdom to the students.
These studies are very important and help
to regulate the fisheries and help our fishing
future. We always have fun and I got to meet
some new fishing buddies!
I put my 2016 Coastside Fishing Club dinner
auction certificate for Argo
Sportfishing to good use today with a
charter for friends and neighbors. We were
blessed with stellar weather so I opted for
a day of targeting rockfish. The main reason
I did that was to make it a very enjoyable
trip for two friends who are relatively new
to saltwater fishing and for my neighbor who
was bringing his two oldest children to start
them off. None of them had any fishing experience.
With two coming from the Hayward area the
rest of us carpooled from the Santa Cruz mountains.
It was a bit of a longer drive than I'd normally
book but the boat looked well designed for
a 6 pack charter for newbies and I liked having
the option to bring the group back into the
San Francisco Bay if the weather changed up.
I prefer to make introductions to fishing
enjoyable especially for kids. If you beat
them up or make them seasick on the first
outing they might not return.
Captain Craig and his deckhand Jimmy provided
us with a great day of hop scotching pinnacles
off Bolinas and they have a very nice operation
for folks. I won't delve into secrets but
they have a system that works! They were very
supportive and hands on which left me able
to fully enjoy fishing as well as teaching
some new techniques to my friend who has gone
on other trips with me and is really getting
into the sport.
We caught quite a few species including blues,
and lingcod. Vivann, the
youngest at 10 years old, was the hot stick
of the day with 3 lings including a double
hookup of a vermilion on top with a hitchhiker
ling fastened to his blue rockfish on the
If you're looking to fish from the city I'd
check them out. And I appreciate the support
from Captain Craig for Coastside
I got a call to crew from Captain Tom on
the slightly smaller version of Tea Sea today.
His 24' Albemarle in our "go-to"
vessel while the bigger boat is out for repairs.
We managed two salmon for
four of us just outside the jaws of Pillar
point Harbor and decided to call it a short
day since it was foggy out, and we didn't
want to chill Tom!
Our second annual "Sadie Hawkins"
trip on the Polaris
Supreme out of San Diego started off early
with a healthy number of returning anglers
and anglerettes including 6 of us ladies from
last year. Two new gals came out with their
husbands and we added a few new guys who were
thrilled to get into the mix.
Our crew consisted of Captain Tommy Rothery,
Captain Roman Lira, Captain Alec Robbie, Dustin
Pierce, Chris (Gringo) Morhardt, Jonathan
Lockwood (crewman-in-training) and chef "Supreme"
My sister Marilyn and I hit the ground running
on our first stop and she put a 16 pound bluefin
tuna on the deck to get the skunk off the
boat. I had a slightly larger model on but
a sea lion decided to keep everything below
the gills. A few yellowfin came in and we
started to hit yellowtail. No firecrackers
either. All of our yellows were a nice average
of around 20 pounds.
We proceeded further South into Mexican waters
to the area around Punta Colonet (I was sworn
to secrecy on the exact numbers but if the
Searcher, Red Rooster III, or Shogun report
the spot... well it's out of my hands lol.).
Mike served up a stellar prime rib dinner
and Alecia and I started to hand out raffle
Saturday morning we roamed around and saw
the Vagabond as we took turns trolling for
tuna. We had a slow pick through the day but
we returned to get set up for action on yellowtail
again and they didn't disappoint us! A couple
of small dorado waltzed into the firing line
and got snatched up. Leslie bagged one and
won the nice dorado patch I had from Spider
Stitches. Milton was getting to be quite
the hot stick as well as returning champ Greg.
Greg had so much fun last year he brought
his buddy Gordon. I tried bottom fishing and
low and behold I got a lingcod. They can hide
but I'll find them!
That night we dined on coconut crusted yellowtail
and doled out more goodies including some
items generously donated by Bob
Sands Fishing Tackle and brought down
On our last day we sidled up near the Searcher
which we noticed had quite a few ladies fishing
on it. The Red Rooster III rolled into the
action later and then I spied the Shogun and
their raucous passengers. Rumor was they had
a bunch of dairymen aboard. I guess they yell
at the cows as well as the fish. Nice yellowtail
kept coming over the rail and we suspected
we had limits by early afternoon.
We decided to take a chance at trolling up
some more tuna so we left to head North and
while the crew was busy taking care of a mechanical
issue I had an opportunity to field test my
new UE Megaboom music system. We rocked out
to Aerosmith, Pink Floyd, and Led Zeppelin.
We sang along to Build Me Up Buttercup and
during the Concrete Blond song, Mexican Moon,
I had a competition to guess how many beers
were consumed in the song.
Jackpot winners were all yellowtail.
1. Milton Cox - 23.4
2. Mike Edkardt - 21.4
3. Alecia Cornelius - 21.2
Honorable Mention - Sandy Fishell - 23.6
This trip is a Seeker sponsored event and
I was very happy to see about 2/3 of the boat
decked out with the best brand! Three of my
eight sticks were my spiral wrapped rods and
they garnered alot of attention and inquiries.
You don't need to be a pro to use one as Marilyn
will attest to.
Alecia Cornelius won the top raffle prize;
a custom made (for her) Seeker Rod which Jonathan
Vadney will get to work on this Fall.
The 3rd annual Sadie Hawkins 3 day charter
is already on the schedule for 2018. We had
a record number of returning folks and we
sold out by February. We had a waiting list
too, so I'm just saying, "If you want
to go next year you'd better call Susan and
get a little scratch to throw down, 'cause
we're going to whoop it up again!"
When do you get to see mola mola's, humpback
whales and a humongous Pacific leatherback
sea turtle? Why on a local fishing trip off
out of Pillar Point Harbor!
Yes, we had a wonderful charter aboard the
where we ran down to fish below Pigeon Point
for deep water rockfish with Captain Mike
I didn't get any lings today but I did bring
a halibut up from the depths which spit the
hook as we debated whether it was big enough
to gaff. We did get some nice rockfish! Lauren
got the only cabezon which was a nice treat
as we headed back uphill trying our luck at
San Gregorio towards the end of the outing.
Most of the catch was comprised of green
spotted rockfish, canaries,
olives and a smattering of
blues and blacks.
Cat took a group of us out to the Farallon
Islands for a tagging trip with the team from
Collaborative Fisheries Research Program.
We couldn't have had a much nicer day to
conduct studies out at the Southeast Islands.
Captain Tom rolled our group of anglers out
to help catch specimens for data.
I was stationed on the bow with 3 other savvy
anglers to target lingcod which I did. I also
got the only cabezon of the day. Olives were
the most prevalent but we had quillbacks,
rosies, starries, blues, blacks, Chinas, vermilions,
canaries, coppers bocaccios and one male kelp
My other highlight was catching what they
told me was the season's first juvenile yelloweye
rockfish. All fish were measured, some were
tagged and then released.
We were treated to a humpback show just outside
the harbor on our return.
After getting off the boat I saw the Bev
A at the dock. (She's the first boat I ever
commercially fished.) Looks like she's holding
up just fine.
No rest for the weary in my household! I
grabbed my Seeker/Avet combo and scurried
up to Pillar Point Harbor for a private charter
on the Queen
of Hearts. Ernie our charter master had
a stellar bunch of anglers out for a great
day of rockfish and lingcod
action. I got my jig on up at the bow and
produced a few lingcod in 260' to 280' feet
of water somewhere South of Pigeon Point offshore.
My second fish was a rock star weighing in
at 14 pounds (bled and with an empty stomach
too)! It was good enough to take first place
in the jackpot which was quite the honor considering
the amount of talent we had on the boat.
Dinner-plate sized rockfish consisting mostly
of olives, coppers,
vermilions and some canaries
filled our burlap sacks and deckhand Pete
and captain-in-training, Wally, spent most
of the ride home cleaning our beautiful bounty.
After doing a bit of research on places in
Alaska I might find trophy lingcod I stumbled
Charters on Chichagof Island. I'm not
one who gets sold on a fishing trip by just
a web site however, so I dropped Captain Norm
Carson an email and engaged him in a bit of
conversation. As it turned out Norm and his
wife Linda had the perfect scenario. Located
3 miles from the quaint town of Pelican, Alaska
nestled in a small cove, they have the perfect
set-up for fishing the "Big Four"
species in and around Yakobi Island and the
vicinity. The big four or Alaskan grand slam
series consist of yelloweye rockfish,
chinook salmon, Pacific
halibut and lingcod
(which was my target specie on this trip).
My husband, Jeff, and I had flown into Juneau
for a few days to check out the state capitol.
The view from our window at the Prospector
Hotel had a nice run of chum salmon spawning
right across the street which was easy to
access at low tide. We also enjoyed a therapy
session in the salt cave at Glacier
Salt Cave & Spa; a Godsend since I
was recovering from bronchitis! We capped
off our visit with a very delicious fine dining
experience at Salt
From Juneau we took a seaplane to Pelican,
stopping briefly in Elfin Cove to drop off
two passengers. The spectacular flight only
takes about 35-40 minutes and we cruised above
commercial boats setting seine nets for pink
salmon on our final approach.
Norm had his boat at the dock ready to load
our gear and we were at their home in minutes.
During our three wonderful days of fishing
in perfectly calm seas and cool, refreshing
weather Jeff and I fished our way completely
around Yokobi Island twice and found numerous
other places in the adjacent straits and bays.
Since I was targeting a trophy lingcod we
didn't spend a lot of time salmon fishing,
however when we did target salmon they were
fast and furious! Jeff and I both caught a
nice limit of chinooks as well as a few coho
salmon. We also released all but two of our
yelloweye rockfish. Norm had a wonderful adaptation
to lower the rockfish back down on one of
his down riggers to avoid decompression. We
took a few nice eating size halibut and released
scores of lingcod.
Linda had wonderful meals for us each night
and we enjoyed pleasant conversation while
overlooking the stunning view from their home
every evening. The harbor seals vie for rocks
to haul out on at low tide and are quite comical
Given the other places I have been to in
Alaska I would easily rate this as my favorite
new discovery and I hope to return again and
continue the search for that lunker ling!
Look for an article about Pelican Charters
in the Winter edition of Fish
Taco Chronicles where I'll report on more
June 30-July 6th
Valerie Hoperich owns and operates the best
Northwest fishing lodge I've ever been to
and the fact that this was my 6th trip there
just goes to show you I'm hooked! Of course
it was my husband's 5th time to Queen
Charlotte Safaris and he loves it as well.
We hadn't planned on going this year but when
Valerie called to tell me about the great
group of couples coming up it didn't take
much arm twisting to get us to go. She has
a wonderful knack for pairing people to boats,
both with the guests and the guides.
Since Jeff and I had flown in a couple of
days early we had the lodge to ourselves but
the staff catered to our needs and Chef Steven
outdid himself on a daily basis. After settling
in we took a short nap before dinner, followed
by a stroll to the harbor to see the sights
in Shingle Bay.
On Canada Day, July 1st, we took a tour to
Llnagaay (Skedans) to see the old Haida
village and totem poles. Our guide was Moonshadow
- William Shawn Cowpar, who we had fished
with at Queen Charlotte Safaris in 2011. I'd
really suggest seeing some of the island culture
and wildlife beyond what you will encounter
going there to fish. It is truly amazing!
The next day we went for a hike on the Dover
Trail which is about a 15 minute walk
from the lodge. We live in the Santa Cruz
Mountains at home where we have stunning redwood
forests but this place blew us away! The trail
had a soft cushion of tree debris from second-growth
and old growth forests comprised of cedar,
spruce and hemlock making it very comfortable
to walk. Soft moss and ferns abounded and
a spawning creek is woven down it with a log
crossing about halfway through. Haida Gwaii
has roughly 150 species of plants we enjoyed
the lush green environment.
I knew our guide Doug Leyden would be a hoot
when I saw some of his personal tackle on
the dash from Allure Tackle. I had brought
some tackle up as well and showed Doug a favorite
pearl plastic that has caught salmon locally
for me. He came up with the rigging style
and I caught the biggest salmon of my trip
on it on my last day of fishing.
We were teamed up with John and Sharon a Louisiana
couple who had also previously fished the
lodge. Normally fishing departure time through
the Skidegate Narrows depends on the tide
schedule but Valerie has a special fleet of
3 Thunder Jet boats (TJ Pilot model) that
only require a minimum of a foot or so of
water to get the job done. Once on the fishing
grounds Mercury ProKickers are utilized for
trolling. It's the best of both worlds and
we all know two motors are better than one!
We started each day off salmon fishing usually
alternating between two rods on down riggers
but occasionally a third rod went out the
back if the fish were not down deep. We had
double hook ups frequently and Doug was very
skilled in keeping us from tangling up. We
all released smaller Chinook salmon
in the hopes of getting bigger ones to take
and we all got limits of these fantastic table
fare species. All our salmon were in the 20
pound class and Jeff & I each got a Coho
as well. John caught and released a nice 150
pound halibut on day two!
Our third day on the water was the best.
We were rock stars with our entire boat getting
grand slams (yelloweye rockfish, lingcod,
halibut and salmon) out at nearby Marble Island
in flat calm seas with beautiful sunny skies.
I also bested my lodge record by a pound on
a lingcod; 35 pounds! We got a couple of small
halibut, more lings and rockfish and then
we drifted the kelp bed edge for fast and
furious black and dusky rockfish on light
tackle. I don't think we had any under 5 pounds
and they were thick! John also caught a nice
ling that hitchhiked up on one.
Excellent fishing, people and food! Eagles
galore! Stunning scenery! As usual we hated
Tuna Wars III was held again in San Diego
with 3 teams raising money for The
Friends of Rollo Foundation.
The Bali Hai on Shelter Island put on a wonderful
captain's reception to start things off.
The following afternoon the competition loaded
three local vessels to compete for 2 days.
Captain Dave Marciano (Hard Merchandise)
was aboard the Liberty.
Captain Paul Hebert (Wicked Pissah) was aboard
Captain Greg Mayer (Fishin' Frenzy) was aboard
I fished with the Tribute team this year
and we had an awesome time catching bluefin,
yellowfin and yellowtail.
The weather was beautiful and the crew of
the Tribute did their best to put us on fish.
Back at the dock we won the weigh in and our
team will be getting the custom jackets!
To quote Mike Lum, "Thanks to everyone
that made all of this possible. 1600 more
kids will get to experience the magic of being
on the ocean for the first time as a result
of the 2017 Captain's reception and Tuna Wars.
Really great to see so many support Capt.
Rollo's Kids at Sea program. Huge THANK YOU
Wicked Tuna Captains Paul Hebert, Dave Marciano
and Greg Mayer for making this happen, you
guys are awesome!"
I plan on returning for this great annual
event next year!
This morning I went to Vasona Lake to meet
up with the Bay
Area Sportfishers Club. Today it was all
about teaching kids to fish. Humberto brought
his son Giovanni over so we could get him
started. Seems like yesterday we were teaching
Humberto's son Monte, when he was this age,
but Monte is about to graduate from high school!
Beautiful park! Beautiful day!
Mike, Armando, Don and I had a hiccup starting
off the day on Hawaiian Hooker when we discovered
a thermostat leak. Rather than throw in the
towel at the ramp, Mike jumped in his truck
to get gasket material and the rest of us
popped the hoses and took the housing off
and cleaned the surfaces.
We were en route to the Alameda rock wall
by 8 am and had halibut in mind, however we
were open to other possibilities... "You
can quote me on that. I'm taking it to the
Over the course of the day Mike stuck a keeper
halibut and the rest of us
released double digits between us. We had
a bonus salmon that hit a
clear FBR or a WMA... I wasn't looking real
hard when the scramble for the net ensued.
The boys cleaned the boat while I cleaned
and filleted the fish (no small feat with
a cooler as a table and a knife that was about
3 inches short of what I needed for the salmon
Hella fun day with a great bunch!
Yes siree! Today was so awesome I didn't
even feel bad about not being able to get
out after the "other" target species
(salmon). I rolled up to the Queen
of Hearts and met up with some of the
other regulars that like to fish the boat
We had a long run down from Pillar Point
Harbor but it was well worth it. Due to the
changes in the rockfish regulations this year
Captain Bob was able to put us in some deeper
water and the results have been outstanding!
Today we had 16 anglers and most were catching
mega-sized copper rockfish,
canaries (yep you can now
keep one per day), green spotted rockfish
and huge olives. Lingcod
were on the chew too and most limited on them
as well. I used my Seeker Black Classic 270H,
7 foot stick, with an Avet Raptor MXL 6/4
MC 2 speed.The coppers were hitting my line
so savagely that half the time I thought I
had a ling on.
One copper had a live octopus in it's mouth
which I released as soon as I sacked the fish.
I was already using octopus as bait and I
was close to having my limit of fish anyway,
so I figured I'd rack up a good Karma point
for future use. Stellar weather was icing
on the cake.
For those of you that are going to get out
this year for rockfish here's a few tips:
1. Play by the rules. Enforcement of the
new zones will be closely monitored and if
folks blow it they could close the season
early on us.
2. Bring 2 outfits; one shallow and one for
over 150 feet and have sinkers or iron weighted
accordingly. (I was using 12-16 ounces yesterday
when I used a shrimp fly rig.)
I am so looking forward to fishing the areas
we've been missing out on! Get out there and
to my 2016 Fishing Diary
to my 2015 Fishing Diary
to my 2014 Fishing Diary
to my 2013 Fishing Diary
to my 2012 Fishing Diary
to my 2011 Fishing Diary
to my 2010 Fishing Diary
to my 2009 Fishing Diary
to my 2008 Fishing Diary
to my 2007 Fishing Diary