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December 2

With rockfish and lingcod season over in my home state I figured my saltwater adventures were about to go on hiatus, but an opportunity came up... In Oregon!

My friend Yvonne and I had planned a road trip to the Oregon coast and while staying in Gleneden Beach the weather permitted us to enjoy a short fishing excursion with Newport Tradewinds in Newport, OR just to the south of us.

We boarded the vessel Sea Venture I with Captain Steve De Mauro and deckhand Bill Smith. A group of five guys from Idaho also headed out with us. After a hilarious safety speech from Bill we scooted out over the bar where the seas were rather impressive. I sat in wheelhouse with Steve and reminisced about the Winter I spent commercial fishing from Newport (and wished I had remembered to video crossing the bar.)

The ocean a little to the South of the Harbor settled into swells around 9-10 feet but at an interval that made for very fishable drifts. Yvonne and I took up spots on the bow while the rest of the guys fanned out along the starboard rail. Bill had set my friend up with a left hand reel so she didn't have to use the one she had brought just in case they weren't prepared for Southpaws. I on the other hand am set in my ways and produced my Penn 525 Mag which Bill secured to a nice little rod with great jigging action.

Yvonne caught the first fish, actually the first two fish, as she had a double hook up on nice black rockfish. I was focused on lingcod which were reluctant to bite at the beginning. When I did land the occasional black rockfish and one yellowtail rockfish they were all on a purple and black Harry Boos teaser fly and they were all big fish. Below my teaser I tried a couple of swimbaits and a large root beer Scampi tail. On the Scampi tail I had a very nice fish grab it but just a couple of lifts off the bottom I lost it. Lingcod were starting to hit the deck mostly do to the expertise of our crew who were baiting folks up with whole rockfish and netting quite a few lings that hitchhiked up on those. I decided to try a big white glow-in-the-dark grub and low and behold my lingcod action switched into high gear.

My first ling was just shy of being a keeper but every one I landed after that was destined to go to into the freezer whether it was mine, Yvonne's or someone else's. A few fish were right around the 20 pound mark and most were at least 12-15 pounds.

A couple of the guys succumbed briefly to seasickness which the crew referred to as, "our complementary weight loss program." Jokes were told, the sun came out and more fish hit the deck as we had a great time fishing. By the time we called it a day I think we had limits of rockfish and lings too.

Back at the dock Carolyn expertly filleted our fish. I had come prepared with my own vacuum packer but this service was offered through the landing had I not been prepared, which was nice to know for future trips... Yep, I hope to come back and fish with them again.


November 18

Warm Fall weather and calm seas made for a fabulous inshore day of fishing on the Queen of Hearts. Capt. Bob made a short run to the south while I alternately chatted with some of the 21 other anglers aboard and listened to tunes on my Ipod.

Stationed up on the bow I spent most of the morning working the "big guns" in my Albackore Altunative tackle bag. From time-to-time I pulled up a huge bolina, yellow and black or cabezone but finally I scored my first lingcod of the day. It was so blue everyone commented on how it matched my outfit. I had worn turquoise pants and my satin turquoise jacket. Add to that the fact that I had a pair of light blue shrimp fly earrings on and you get the picture... Even one of the cabezone I landed had a little aqua around it's gill plates and mouth. Holding both of them up made for a great picture to capture today's trip.

While I did go on to catch another slightly larger brown lingcod I missed winning the jackpot by just shy of a pound. I did happen to see a very large ling come unbuttoned after diving back down the moment he broke the surface and another one that followed up a hooked rockfish didn't stick around long enough to be free-gaffed. There were also a lot of huge seatrout landed and quite a number of starfish releases too.


October 29

Today was definitely not a slow Wednesday! I got an early morning call to head up to Half Moon Bay for a day of fishing. The Queen of Hearts's regulars were out in force... Bernie, Gene, Mike, Harry, etc.. Anyway we pulled out the stops and went slightly south of Pigeon Point to hunt bottom dwellers.

I enticed an eleven pound green lingcod with a golden-colored, super-soft, scampi tail. This bugger fought me all the way to the surface where James planted the gaff pronto. I added it to my sack along with nice gophers, and blues and released another ling just 3/4" shy of legal.

Somewhere towards the end of the day I flipped a "flylined" Storm anchovy down and got hit by a very respectable cabezone which added considerable weight to my already decent sack.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered I had the biggest fish yet again! Ok I'm now 3 for 3 for jackpot fish on the Queen of Hearts this year. I wonder if I'll get to push the envelope and do it again before the year's over.


October 21

Ah my favorite time of year, Indian Summer, and what better way to celebrate it than to go out shallow-water, light-tackle rockfishing. I scooted out on the Queen of Hearts this morning and Capt. Bob worked several spots down as far as San Gorgonio. Shallow-water from 40-60' was the game plan for most of the day. We did do a few drifts in 100'. Only 2 keeper lings for about a half dozen anglers but I managed to get one of them for the dinner table. Jeff will be happy... (and jackpot ling ALWAYS tastes good, lol!)

We did note some really unusual blues/blacks. They had gold colorations around their heads. Kinda looked like they were breeding with olives or something. Wish I'd had the camera.


September 30

Today I had the pleasure of hunting albacore with new friends on the Boston Whaler Innamorata. Regarding Captain Wendy (AKA LaSwamprat), first off I have to say I haven’t been as impressed by meeting a new angling buddy since I met Cheryl. She addressed safety issues at the ramp, discussed the plan and was ready to roll. It is not often I that feel comfortable enough to forgo shoulder-surfing on a long ride out in the dark and attempt to rest. Her boating skills are impeccable and as her fishing skills improve she’s going to be first class competition. I would be honored to deck her boat again!

Wendy’s husband, Ken, is an all around nice guy to roll with and also very knowledgeable on the water. I had to beg Wendy and him to give up the wheel a couple times.

Dave (AKA Ddawg) rounded out our crew. It was a pleasure sharing the deck responsibilities with him and allowed me run with some options. I feel everyone has something to bring to the table and I like learning new things as much as I like teaching stuff I know. It’s always nice to have someone aboard who can grab a rod out of the overhead rocket launchers without needing a ladder. He was quick on rigging gear too. I also liked his fish cutting techniques.

We left the launch ramp at Half Moon Bay at 3 am and with a flat ocean we were able to fairly race out to the Pioneer Seamount. Dave laid out the guns and picked the first spread. He mixed it up with some nice chrome jet-head cedar plugs, a few black & purple clones and various other color patterns. After finding a hard temperature break we trolled for about an hour, however the water stayed on the cold side never budging over 59 degrees so running to another location was suggested. We headed back in to the Guide Seamount and found 60 degree water. The water color and clarity looked a lot more promising here too. We couldn’t believe how beautiful the ocean and weather was!

We had nine rods working and a few swimbait rigs standing by. As we crossed into the center of the seamount we got our first takedown. I tried to get a fish going as Dave pulled in the first troll fish but I had no takers. Dave’s fish took down a black & purple cedar plug on the whisky line. We continued trolling and headed for the 601.

I examined the stomach contents of the fish and suggested the next spread choice; saury. The water started to heat up a couple of degrees. Conditions were perfect but where were the fish? About this time I was also becoming quite the chummer (tossing dry cat food) and at one point I looked up and right in front of me my Penn 15 KG was dumping line in “silent mode”. I first thought it was kelp but lo and behold the kelp fought back. Everyone rallied in perfect unison to contribute boxing this creature. Sure enough it hit a saury-colored jig and at the cutting station we found a 9-10” one in its belly.

I lost track of the number of dolphin schools we saw today. The show started with Pacific white-sides and shifted to common dolphins. Lots of jumping sauries, a few albatross, tuna birds and a couple of small shark sightings really made the day and you couldn’t ask for better weather. We capped off the sunset with the best green flash I’ve ever seen (and the first one Wendy’s ever seen.) It was a long one as they go. I only wish we’d have had those darn fish biting so I could’ve watched Wendy and Ken grind on some fish.


September 13

Since albacore have not invaded the local waters with a fervor a lot of my fishing buddies have been terrorizing the bays for halibut and fishing rockfish when the weather permits. Today was no exception. Harold (Seahare), Mike (Fishbelly) and I met up at Pillar Point Harbor to launch Harold's Grady White.

Just like last Saturday the ocean was calm so we picked up a scoop of live anchovies in the outer harbor before opening up the throttle and jamming south. Something caught our attention on the meter soon after and we decided to check it out. Harold promptly got slammed by a nice fish. He fought it to the surface but before Mike could gaff it the estimated 15 pound lingcod broke the leader. It left a bunch of partially eaten fish in its wake as it raced back to the bottom.

We dropped in next at Pescadero in 30 - 40 feet of water and Harold caught the first fish of the day (that made it into the boat); blue rockfish. I started off slow and only managed to foul hook a starfish on a B-2 squid. Mike started to out fish both of us. He put a decent black rockfish aboard and then followed it with a fat bolina. We all caught big fat black and yellows and gophers. There were definitely no "Jenny Craig's" in this part of the reef. Every fish was stuffed to the gills with krill.

About this time the Queen of Hearts was drifting just up swell of us and Mike gets a huge hit. He fought his whopper up and we all thought he had a lingcod. Turns out it was a gigantic black rockfish. Harold swung the gaff down and flipped it into the boat. It taped out at 22 3/4 inches. Mike was using 10 pound Power Pro so he might have a record fish. It dwarfed everything else in the fish box. He also bagged a large seatrout soon after.

We snacked and joked and fished our way to three limits by late afternoon and Mike and I even let two legal size cabezone go when we forgot the size limit. We also released a few small lings. I have to give Harold a lot of credit for boat skills. Every time I stuck my rig on the bottom he managed to maneuver the boat so I could free it. I only lost two rigs and by chance I snagged one on a subsequent drift and got that one back as well!

On the way back up we tried bounce-balling for halibut for about an hour. I got my second starfish and the other rig hooked a sand dollar. The water was pretty brown in the section we trolled. Maybe we'll try again next week. We did take pictures of the rock caves near Martin's Beach and we also saw thousands of birds working the area. Bait was everywhere!


September 6

There's nothing like a beautiful day at the Farallon Islands fishing with friends. Gary fired up "Panda Angler" and Richard and I met him at the Coyote Point Marina. For live bait we made a stop for sand dabs in 160 feet of water prior to heading to the South Island. In the span of an hour or two we filled the baitwell with several dozen.

Our starting point was at the south end of the south islands where the bite was slow but steady. We moved up to drift the southwest end of the island and found a thick swatch of rock sole. I put 3 in the boat and the guys caught another 3 between them. If we had been targeting them I'm sure we could've had a lot more. I had to kick back three undersized lingcod but I did land some nice big quillbacks, Chinas and gophers.Gary had an Olive around 4 pounds and Richard brought up a copper with a lot of red tones to it. A few blues rounded out our rockfish assortment.

We waited awhile before using our dabs but I was having instantaneous hook ups as soon as I pinned a dab on a chrome jig. All three lings and a cabezone I brought up were short so it was nice to nail three of those sole... It a new species for me too!

Jeff & I ate rock sole with a caper and sherry sauce. You bet they're good!


August 22

Let's just say I've been busy, but today I finally made it out on the Queen of Hearts to tickle the chins (as Captain Bob would say) of some rockfish.

Sportfishingreport.com chartered my favorite local vessel for a fun-filled Friday. The weather window looked imposing as I looked at the forecast, and the seas were up a bit, however the wind kept at bay allowing 22 anglers to entice many rockfish species to bite. Blacks and blues were prevalent with nice fat gophers and huge Chinas popping up. A smattering of Bolinas hit the deck and I noticed some tasty seatrout as fish were being cleaned by our deckhand, James. A few short lingcod were released and the trip yielded some very nice vermilions... One of those happened to be an 8 pounder that I nailed on a white B-2 squid managing to get the jackpot and another lucky lure from Capt. Bob.

I'd like to thank John of Sportfishingreport.com for setting up a great charter with some nice folks.


July 18 - 19

Dan Gomez and his wife Jen invited me to Santa Cruz to goof off on Friday along with Carol and three teenaged girls. (Team estrogen!) With a leisurely morning start we headed south to Capitola to make bait and we nearly had a grand slam with huge jacksmelt, shiner perch and anchovies. We tried to find some halibut but none felt like biting. The spiney dogfish did though. We released a lot of these sharks.

On the way in we paused to look at a capsized sailboat that was tethered to a buoy for recovery plans on Saturday. It happened right in front of the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.

On Saturday the team paired down to just us adults and we got an earlier start. Bait was for sale in the harbor so a quick stop soon had the aft tank ready for action.

We headed south again and soon were up to our eyeballs in sharks again. They were a lot of fun and all were released. We also had a small skate that got sent home after a picture. There were tons of birds working the bait in the area but again the halibut stayed quiet.

We decided to move north to the lighthouse where we caught a few rockfish. I had a very decent vermilion nail a small copper jig that I was casting. I hooked and handed a yellow and black rockfish followed by a copper so that Carol and Jen could crank on a couple.

Back at the launch ramp it was pretty busy and one boat had it's trailer break as it was being hauled out. Dan and Jen's Farallon boat performed very well and they have it close to the harbor waiting for the albacore to start hitting the coast. Come on tuna!


June 18 - 24

With just a couple of weeks to prepare and only three months post-op from a rotator cuff surgery, (I came off a horse while I was in Dominica... lucky for me it was my left one this time.), I headed back to San Diego for a 6 day trip on the Royal Polaris.

Since this was a Full Speed Fishing Club charter I shared my van with Fishbelly (Mike), MrCake (Brad) and Baitfinger (John L.) Upon arrival we all gathered at the Captain's Quarters followed by dinner at Miguel's. Prior to crashing for the night at the Dolphin I wandered down to Humphrey's Half Moon Inn & Suites on Shelter Island, where Highlandlassie (Dean) and PFD (Ross) were ensconced in a room with a balcony overlooking the stage of a Crosby, Stills & Nash concert. I hung out for an hour or so and got to hear the song Southern Cross before I left... Very cool way to start the trip!

The next morning 29 of us herded aboard the vessel and got settled in. I had planned on sharing a room with Marydc319 (Mary) however due to the limited load, I got my favorite room again; number 2 on the bow behind the galley. We have an all star crew on this voyage; captain Frank Lopreste, Roy Rose, Billy Santiago, Dharyl Shelbourne, Jesus Companioni, Rapheal Lam, and Jim Guyot and James Wager as our chefs.

In no time at all Alan Tani had his reel repair gear set up at table one ready to make sure everyone had tight smooth drags. He had a small plastic container with several types of grease including one that Jim from the galley thought was peanut butter. (I thought about offering him a cracker.) Bait was loaded and we started running to the tuna grounds South of San Diego. I slip over to Bloom's (John B.) cabin and tape a poster to the bottom of the bunk above him... I also short-sheet his bed.

Thursday, we trolled offshore and located some tuna and I put a 25 pound bluefin on the deck while a few others landed bluefin, yellowfin and some albacore. Ghetto Booty (Dan) handed Mary a nice albacore to fight and it turned out to be a very nice fish. I had hoped to catch some albies but I was very happy with my one bluefin for the day (I did have my lucky bluefin earrings on.) I believe 24 tuna were caught by the end of the day. Jeff will be in sushi heaven when I get home.

Friday we hit Cedros Island near Guerrero Negro which is about halfway down the Pacific side of Baja California. We are within casting range of some kelp beds so I break out a light rod and cast a Storm sardine out. I promptly nail 4 calico bass, keeping only one. Yellowtail are starting to hit the deck though so I grab a 40# outfit; Seeker 670 and a Shimano Torium 30. After pinning a live sardine on I lightly cast it towards a spot where I just saw a fish boil on the surface. My bait starts to panic and is soon picked up. After a 6 second count I engage the reel, pick up the slack and set the hook on my first yellowtail of the trip. It is a rod bending 36 pounds and I battle to hold it up by the gills for a photo.

After dinner I had a look at some really neat jigs from Japan that Noah (Roger) had brought along. We made bait before retiring for the night and Frank put us on the anchor at Chester Rocks.

Saturday was spent chasing yellowtail schools inshore and offshore. I hooked my first one in the morning on iron off the stern and caught two more later on bait. Back on the anchor again I found a hot spot off the starboard bow for trophy calico bass. Almost every cast hooked up on a 5 pound plus fish and I had Roy cracking up as I shouted out, "Lookout boys, I've got a license to kill." I released all fish below 5 pounds and Roy brought up a milk crate for me to use as a kill box. I also released a couple of barred sand bass.

Sunday morning found us right in front of the salt plant on Cedros and I managed two more yellowtail on the iron. After the morning bite we headed for San Benitos where the two skiffs were lowered over the side. Dan and John L. boarded the one Jesus was skippering and Graylight (Stuart) and Cortez 22 (Mark) went off with Roy. MoonMadness (Gary) wrote my name down to go out fishing with Mary and Roy. I quickly grabbed a couple of rods and a handful of swimbaits and iron.

We had the second skiff rotation and Roy was hot on the yellowtail. We had a blast running around near the Boiler Rock. Mary brought up a nice one and we all teamed up to get it away from a sea lion before too much damage was done. I put a fish in and then Mary got another. My second fish straightened the treble hook just short of gaff range.

On our final day we tried for more offshore tuna but none of them wanted to bite and the sea had come up a bit making things tougher. Naps were taken and movies were shown. I started to break down some of my gear in preparation for the ride back in.

As always the wonderful crew of the Royal Polaris made this a great adventure (my fourth on this awesome boat) and kept us well fed. The gang from Full Speed was a riot as usual... John L. almost covered his Italian lunch with my Benefiber thinking it was parmesan cheese... I have now seen Jackass the movie AND Jackass 2.5... I wonder if the mackerel I tagged with Mike's number got processed by 5 star?


June 14

Team Alibi II participated in the Grady White Invitational again this year. Glenn joined Cheryl, David and I as we tried to coax up some halibut just south of Santa Cruz, The flatties weren't biting but before the day was done we did release a couple of short lingcod, and caught sand dabs, bolinas, gophers, olives and a seatrout. The weather was a bit on the cool side but the ocean was beautiful!


February 6

While in Dominica looking at property, Jeff and I chartered the 37' sea ray "Proud Mary" from Island Style Fishing. Captain Jerry Daway has a beautiful and well appointed boat and top of the line tackle. His experience in the waters of Dominica are unparalleled; over 22 years of sportfishing, whale watching and diving.

We only fished for a half day but at one point we had three blue marlin on at once!


January 13

My first chance to get out on the water came sooner than expected, when Gary called me up to join him and Richard on the Panda Angler. I've always enjoyed going out Gary's boat which is a 29' Shamrock. Unfortunately for me I had not purchased my license for 2008 yet, but undeterred I still wanted to spend the day with Full Speed Fishing friends.

Between Gary and Richard they hooked and released six leopard sharks as we tried a spot or two near Berkeley Flats in San Francisco Bay. I did assist in a few releases, took some photos and soaked up the nice weather. Funny thing is... Today the guys were after sturgeon and they steered clear of us.

I bought my license a couple of days later, so I'm ready to roll.



Link to my 2007 Fishing Diary

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