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Fishing Diary  


December 14

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 one.

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.

December 5

The CCFRP 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.

December 2

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.

November 28

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... Yep 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 tuna".

November 13-23

Jeff and I decided to travel to Costa Rica where we had lined up three days of fishing with The 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 at Hotel 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!

November 11

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 crab!

October 25

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.

October 8-18

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 the Spirit 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 on.

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 rigging.

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 were released.

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 perfect.

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 came unbuttoned.

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 please."

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 deck.

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 yellowtail?"

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 Processing.

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.

September 27-29

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 zones.

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!

September 24

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, blacks, Chinas, gophers, Bolinas, canaries, vermilions, coppers, cabezon 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 bottom hook!

If you're looking to fish from the city I'd check them out. And I appreciate the support from Captain Craig for Coastside Fishing Club!

August 31

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!

August 24-27

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" Mike Kouris.

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 prizes.

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 by Alecia.

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!"

August 19

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 Huli Cat where we ran down to fish below Pigeon Point for deep water rockfish with Captain Mike Cabanas.

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, vermilions, coppers, olives and a smattering of blues and blacks.

August 8

The Huli Cat took a group of us out to the Farallon Islands for a tagging trip with the team from the California 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 greenling.

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.

July 30

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.

July 24-26

After doing a bit of research on places in Alaska I might find trophy lingcod I stumbled upon Pelican 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 Restaurant.

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 to watch.

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 details.

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 K'uuna 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 to leave!.

June 20-23

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 the Tribute.

Captain Greg Mayer (Fishin' Frenzy) was aboard the Cortez.

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!

May 27

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!

May 23

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 grave lol".

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 anyway lol.)

Hella fun day with a great bunch!

April 5

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 on Wednesdays.

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 get some!

Link to my 2016 Fishing Diary

Link to my 2015 Fishing Diary

Link to my 2014 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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