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Fishing Diary  

2017

 

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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