March 8, 2005 - Synonymous with the Fred Hall Tackle Show are reports of the White Sea Bass bite breaking out at Catalina. Sorry - didn't happen. The halibut are biting? Nope! The story of Steve (Bad Dog) Ross's encounter with a Marlin in 61 degree water just below the Inner Bank? Great story, but no cigar! Ahh, it's that time of the year for reports of Albacore scouting trips? Sorry, you lose again.
So what else is there to report? We did hear about the hoop netters have a lot of success inside and outside of the SD Harbor Zuniga jetty so there must be a few "bugs" still around.
What's left? 3 guesses and the 1st two don't count. Well, just maybe the squid are still around. Surely they have to take off one of these days. On Kenneth's only trip of the season we managed only 6 that night So he wanted to try again - especially with a long line at work with their hands out. And Bobby Wallace of our Tuna Challenge work had never tried this so they talked me into giving it one more try. And Tom Gruber, also of the TC committee, agreed to come along and "help out." With pulled muscles and residual aches and pains I agreed to run them out and "watch."
Have you noticed that the days are getting longer? It gets lighter in the AM and stays lighter in the PM. In fact, we are already just about half way to the longest day of the year (no, not D-Day).
So, leaving about 5 PM we made it out to the outside drop-off edge of the "9" being the first boat out on the scene. The three of them put their lines out while I "watched." Nothing happened for the first 15 minutes or so - therefore, while they dropped down, cranked up and yo-yo'd their jigs I dropped a 4th line in the water and put the rod in a rod holder. That technique works fine for Albacore. About 5 minute later guess which one got bit? You win! I lost. That is, we offered the rod to Bobby, but he wanted to hook his own. So I was elected to crank it in. As the poor victim neared the surface it became obvious that not one, but all of the relatives where following him(?) up. For the next hour and a half we had 3 or 4 going constantly with free swimmers all around. What a sight! Not only were they all around, but they followed the hooked unfortunates to the surface and we (Kenneth and Bobby) were able to free gaff at least 4 or 5.
As a couple of smaller boats and a couple of sport boats from Mission Bay moved in - as well as drifting to the Mexican border line - the bite suddenly shut off, but not for long. This was a clue that it was time to take off. However, not wanting to leave until Final Jeoprady (I got in right) I went back up-drift to where we had started, about 3/4 mile above the fleet, and it was an instant bite with more of the same. Apparently, they were all doing equally well back there. Finally, with both bags filled to the top, we took off at a slow troll while the other three started the cleaning process. There were so many they lost count but we must have had around 40. With three ice chests packed full there will be lots of smiling faces (and open hands) at the VA, the North County Health Services, and at the Wallace family and friends. Tom was under orders not be bring another piece home - or go buy another freezer.
As Kenneth says - it's nice to go out at a reasonable time, have WFO fishing, and be home by 10 or 11. It's hard to believe the creatures are still here, but the end does not appear to be in sight. And the fat lady has a squid in her throat.