Today I participated in a CCFRP
research trip on the Huli
Cat out of Half Moon Bay, CA. We sampled
the Año Nuevo MPA and with the perfect
weather and water conditions the fish were
aggressively on the bite!
Stationed up on the bow I caught 6 lingcod
and numerous species of rockfish including,
and a China. One of the black
rockfish had a tag from a previous year and
they collected the tag and released the fish.
It will be interesting to know the history
on that guy!
Jeff and I are fortunate to be able to go
to some of the world's top fishing spots and
I like to try new places however sometimes
you come across a place that's just so special
that you just keep going back. Queen
Charlotte Safaris off the coast of British
Columbia is hands down my favorite cold water
species destination. Why? Well let me break
it down to my top five reasons.
First. I have friends and family that occasionally
join me and not all of them can fish "big
water" without getting seasick or getting
knocked about in rough seas. In 7 trips (I/we
go in July or August) I have never had a day
of fishing lost or even severely compromised
due to weather. If you look at a map of Haida
Gwaii (formerly Queen Charlotte Islands) you
will see the reason for this is the superb
protection that the islands offer between
Graham and Moresby Islands. The predominant
northwest wind is deflected by the sheltering,
heavily forested mountain peaks throughout
the Skidegate Channel leading to the Cartwright
Sound. If you do not want to gamble on bad
weather this is the place to go!
Second. I have been to the Galapagos Islands
to dive and have fished off the Farallon Islands.
What does this have to do with Haida Gwaii?
They are similar zones in the Pacific Ocean
that have the perfect environment to create
an ideal and rich habitat for fish. With the
right structure, upwellings and forage fish
the Cartwright Sound is set for feeding the
longest run of migratory salmon anywhere.
(I have had trips where I've caught 4 species
of salmon!) Most of the fish come through
in waves to feed and then move on to Alaska
or the lower 48. There are also halibut, lingcod
and numerous rockfish that can be caught here
Third. lodge owner Valerie Hoperich and her
staff have the EVERYTHING completely dialed
in. She provides outstanding service, impeccable
hospitality and the extra nuances I would
expect from a 4 or 5 star resort; scheduling,
flights, accommodations, well-designed fishing
boats, cuisine, etc.. Pack some clothes and
just let her handle the rest.
Fourth. Unlike other places I have gone in
the Pacific Northwest there is very little
fishing pressure (both sport and commercial)
around Haida Gwaii. Combine that with the
generous fish possession limits and I find
it hard to even consider booking a trip anywhere
else, especially Alaska.
Five. Although the predominant reason I go
to Haida Gwaii is to fish there are plenty
of other options to tour, and every time I
visit I discover a quaint town, explore a
new beach or hit a hiking trail. There are
lots of things to do and see and I highly
recommend staying an extra day or two to see
one of the most pristine and serene places
on the map! On this particular trip Jeff and
I toured Naikoon-Agate Beach via Masset with
some stops to eat and shop along the way.
This year we had the pleasure of pairing
up with Wayne Ridley as our guide and teaming
up with us to fish, and also hailing from
NorCal, were Emily Hamilton and Rebecca Woodruff.
While it was the warmest and driest trip
I've ever encountered in British Columbia
we did get some overcast and fog along with
some wind. As I mentioned above in my second
paragraph, the only hindrance this caused
us was not being able to go beyond the usual
salmon grounds in the inlet and bay entrance
to visit Marble Island and some of the surrounding
Emily and I really enjoyed getting "hands
on" experience setting the down riggers
and Rebecca is skilled with running a boat.
We all took some turns at the wheel and Jeff
got the GoPro coverage on some of the action.
In between bites we laughed, joked (ask me
about my butt bruise, acquired the day before
I left home, nicknamed China sometime.) We
never lacked for food or drink or a good story!
We saw black bears and fed eagles as we fished
alongside stunning scenery.
By the end of day three we were working as
a well-oiled machine and having a blast as
a new wave of nice Chinook salmon
rolled in. Emily also had the largest Coho
(silver) salmon of our trip at 15
pounds and a lingcod as well.
Many thanks to Chef John who kept offering
me things to eat that were not on the nightly
menu. Those pork ribs, red pepper soup and
custom grilled cheese sandwich were over-the-top!
You truly feel like you're part of the family
when you fish at Queen Charlotte Safaris.
I'll be back in 2019 or 2020... maybe even
both years if I play my cards right.
It's been a great week as far as weather
and having the fish cooperate so it didn't
take too much arm twisting for Dean to get
me to go again today.
While I still has to be at his home by 4:30
am, this time we only had to trailer to Half
We ran uphill to Pedro Point and boxed our
limit of salmon (no brutes
but at least we didn't have shaker city).
On the return trip down we managed a baker's
dozen in rockfish and Dean
got 2 decent lingcod while
I released a small one. I also released a
graceful decorator crab and a starfish...
I just needed a sea slug for the IGFA trash
Dwight, Fred and I were Tom's crew today
aboard Tea Sea and we had warm weather and
a flat ocean as we turned south from Pillar
Point Harbor. As we started looking for signs
of life and actively flying salmon nets we
got a tip to roll further down to a section
of San Mateo coastline near Tunitas Creek
where we saw the Huli Cat and several friends
in private vessels catching salmon.
Although we had to deal with some jellyfish
they didn't seem to bother the fish and we
started to land a couple. All of a sudden
we had a feeding frenzy with fish hitting
the deck in short order. A double hook up,
then a triple. My Seeker BCS 270-7 was saddled
with a new Accurate Valiant 400; the blue
and silver reel looking very cool with the
perfect rod for today's action. The biggest
fish of the day (although they weren't big
ones) hit my anchovy-laced chartreuse rotary
salmon killer behind a pink lady with a green
Mack's salmon snubber.
A little after noon we got the final fish
for limits all around and headed back to enjoy
the rest of a beautiful Sunday.
Dean and I took advantage of a nice day to
go salmon fishing. We launched
his Airslot from San Francisco and headed
north of the golden gate.
The bite wasn't red hot but we put two in
the kill bag and tried for a halibut on the
way back in.
Due to the fact that I was supposed to fish
2 trips almost back-to-back I didn't attend
the Tuna Wars IV Captain's Reception but you
bet your butt I wasn't about to miss fishing
with Team Hard Merchandise on the Tomahawk!
We boarded the vessel Wednesday evening and
made our way out to sea from Seaforth Landing
in San Diego. We had a full moon and a full
cast of characters, many of whom were returning
from previous years, however this was finally
my turn to join the fun and frivolity with
a great group of anglers.
Along with celebrity Captain Dave Marciano
and his wife Nancy of "Wicked
Tuna" fame we also had Howard from
Rollo's Kids at Sea (this organization
is the whole reason for the event), and Sergio
Fainsztein of Angler
Chronicles who brought along his cameraman,
award winning outdoor videographer and expert
aerial cinematographer, John Senften. Add
a fantastic group of men and women who love
to fish and listen to rock and roll while
doing it and you have our team!
Captain Jeff Spafford likes to fish hard
core and fully expected us to do so and we
did not let him down! The bluefin
tuna were out and about and by Thursday
evening we had coaxed up 5 or so and had 1
yellowfin aboard too.
On Friday we poked around at a spot which
we hoped held bigger quarry. While loading
up on some feisty yellowtail
at a kelp paddy stop I observed one guy starting
to empty a good portion of his reel and thought
he might have a big yellowtail... Thankfully
the crew acted quickly to get everyone else
out of the water and give chase to what would
become our biggest bluefin of the trip! The
fight was one of the most epic battles I've
ever witnessed and I've seen some stuff! I'll
leave you with this hint... Start watching
In between fish bites Edmar kept the galley
churning out great food, and Mikey and Trevor
(TJ) rigged most of my lines and lures. (I
had my reading glasses packed in my other
bag for what was supposed to be my next trip
on the Intrepid which was cancelled.)
The Tomahawk (formerly the Eclipse) is a
well run boat with a passion for fishing.
(I'm part Cherokee and my Indian name would've
been Wrestles with Fish LOL!) Do yourself
a favor and check them out!
I managed to get up at 3:30 am and get to
Dean's by 4:02 where we trailered his Airslot
towards Half Moon Bay. Along the way we picked
up Dean's high school fishing buddy Lee.
The ramp was packed but orderly and we saw
Mike Jones and a few other out around the
launch ramp in the pre dawn. We ran down the
beach and dropped 6 crab pots to soak while
We then headed out towards Deep Reef area,
stopping briefly to try an area with birds
and whales but it had jellyfish and we didn't
get bit. So we forayed further out and set
Dean had been off the water since my last
trip with him and he was pumped to say the
least to get on these big salmon
he'd been hearing about. I kept saying "We're
going to need a bigger kill bag".
There was a steady pick of fish being fought
and landed around us. Dean and Lee were running
apexs off the port down rigger and off the
back with a cannonball rigged rod. I had a
chartreuse FBR on the starboard down rigger
with an anchovy. We only had one tray of primo
bait so we wanted to make it last.
I noticed some humpback whales on the outside
slapping their huge pectoral fins on the water
and enjoyed a few more breaching whales in
Then my rod went off! I danced with a big
brute of a salmon who was intent on getting
away. It porpoised through the surface several
times and dogged down. Lee kept saying "Just
slide him into the net..." and finally
about 15 minutes later I had it lined up and
in the net! A 28 pounder! I was stoked to
say the least. And like my big fish yesterday
it was a male hatchery fish.
Over the next hour or so we added 5 more
for limits between 14 and 28 pounds! A lot
of those were 18-22. The fish were up high
in the water column again today. We never
set the rods below 40'.
Lee and Dean had a double which made for
some frantic fishing and netting but we got
both fish in.
Big salmon littered the deck; on the floor,
in the bleeding bucket; in the cleaning tray...
After the main quarry had been cleaned and
iced, we ran to a few rockfish spots. I managed
a few while the guys knocked out our limits.
No big lingcod were around but Lee and Dean
kicked back several baby lings.
We headed in the collect the contents of
the crab pots ending the day with 22 dungeness
to top off the kill.
Capt. Tom, Mark, Jim, Joe and I departed
Half Moon Bay aboard Tea Sea, Tom's nice 32'
Albemarle around 7:45 am for some salmon
fishing. We headed due West in gorgeous water
out to Deep Reef. After finding out the down
riggers wouldn't work the guys tossed on dog
whistles and weights. I rigged up a pink lady.
Thankfully the fish were on top. Fish were
hitting between 28' - 40' deep and most were
high teens and mid 20's. We started off running
half fruit (WMApex) and half anchovies. Switched
it up to all chovy after first two fish.
Joe was the hot stick but the boys had a
few LDR's. I got a big fatty (Sacto looking
fish) and played it off the port side of the
boat. Just as it was going into the net and
I couldn't see it I had the hook whiz by my
head and rod went slack. Not to worry! The
last little pressure I hit it with put it
straight into the net. The 24 pound fish was
loaded with anchovies and he put up a great
We updated Dean who was planning to come
out the next day and said we were packing
it in with 9 but ate my words a few minutes
later when we got the devil to bite while
cleaning the last fish in the box. LIMITS
Our fish ranged from 15-24 pounds and I had
the only hatchery fish which was a male.
Sure I could've stayed home and made $5,000
trading VSTM this morning but sometimes you
just have to take a day off work and go play!
Going out again tomorrow!
Dean left me a phone message to call ASAP
and I thought maybe we'd be trying for halibut
in San Francisco Bay - The last thing on my
mind was salmon fishing. Well much to my surprise
it was a shout out to go after king
salmon out of Moss Landing.
I rolled over to Dean's at 5:15 am and we
towed his recently re powered boat down to
launch. While paying the ramp fee we discovered
a cell phone someone had left. I didn't want
to risk leaving it there so we brought it
along and I left a contact note in it's place.
The ocean was somewhat jackass but we were
able to deploy the down riggers and started
fishing around 175'-200'. A few boats were
reporting fish but it was not a wide open
bite. Dean had the first fish hit his rod,
which was rigged with an anchovy, at around
10 am. He played it towards the boat while
I steered into position and had the net waiting.
At the last minute the fish took a wrap on
the down rigger clip and I thought we'd lose
it but I swung the net and we managed to get
the 16 pound fish in the boat. One down, three
Since our weather had greatly improved and
reports of fish at shallower depths had been
reported we adjusted the troll depth to 150'-
175'. Humpback whales were breezing through
and we had 3 stripped baits before fish number
two rang in on Dean's rod.
The jellyfish were thick today and we had
to reset lines often and just before noon
I opted to drop down a green Lhur Jensen Krocodile.
A little while later I was rewarded with a
25" salmon (approx. 6.5 to 7 pounds).
Around 1 pm the wind kicked back on and we
turned in the direction of the landing. Dean
boxed the last one about 15 minutes later
after a minute or two of trying to decide
if it was a line fouled with jellyfish or
an actual fish. When we cleaned the salmon
they were all plugged with anchovies.
Back at the ramp, DFG said we were the 4th
boat to have limits and most had 1 or 2 fish
counts per boat. As Dean went to get the trailer
the "lost" cell phone rang and we
were able to reunite it with a guy who'd been
fishing on another boat. KARMA rewarded us
After my first visit to Lake Mead a couple
of years ago I swore I wouldn't return without
a fishing rod. So when my sister, Marilyn,
and my bro-in-law in training, Bob, gave me
a nudge to come visit I went the extra mile
and booked a guide. Captain Mark Edison runs
private charters through his web site Adventure
in Angling and I had a chance to make
some inquiries with him via email to get a
feel for how he rolls. He was very forthcoming
on sharing information and answering my questions.
Marilyn and I booked an afternoon trip and
we met up at the Boulder Harbor launch ramp
as Mark was bringing his morning group in.
The sun was shining and the lake was calm
as we set out in the 2017
Pathfinder 2600 HPS. Mark had this vessel
specially built and as someone who has fished
off her fair share of boats, I was impressed!
We headed off to make live bait and Mark let
me maneuver while he threw the cast net. Marilyn
helped with the assist on getting the bait
out of the net and into the bucket. Mark has
several "wells" so he can hold baits
of several sizes to prolong their fresh state.
From there we went hunting and on our first
drop both Marilyn and I had striped
bass hit within seconds of each other!
I have been stoking my sister's renewed interest
in fishing and Mark was attentive to teaching
us the tactics in working the lake. A day
on the water with local knowledge is worth
it and I soaked up as much as I could for
future reference. The bite was not red hot
but the lake hadn't turned and it was unseasonably
warm still. We wound up keeping 3 stripers
and released the others. Mark really impressed
me with his experience and friendly attitude.
It's no wonder that he's one of the most popular
guides on the Lake.
Of course we got to talk about a lot of fishing
stories on the salt pond too. I'd also love
an opportunity to fish with Mark sometime
on saltwater. Who knows? Maybe we'll cross
paths down in Baja someday.
Well who am I to turn down fishing for rockfish
in January... At Ano Nuevo to boot! Wouldn't
you know, the students participating in the
studies at CCFRP
needed their trusty volunteer anglers to come
out to fish today. Dean got into the program
and he made the cut to go too so I picked
him up on the way to Pillar Point Harbor to
board the Huli
The weather was awesome and the fish were
biting. I was up on the bow while Dean fished
the stern. He was truly amazing today as he
caught 4 yelloweyes. He got
a pair of tickets to the Monterey Bay Aquarium
for that cool trick too.
to my 2017 Fishing Diary
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