August 17, 2005

Now that the albacore have moved on and we await the coming of the tuna (reservations for the Tuna Challenge have been placed) it is time for a young man's fancy (yes, old men as well) to think in terms of Carp fishing. No, not those kind - the ones with the extended upper jaw and a series of stripes down the side.

The past week has seen Marlin popping here, there, and everywhere (lower 500, 302, 425, 182, 9 mile bank, 178 and all the way up to the Northern fleet's grounds. Several have been released, several brought in to various weigh stations (San Diego's Marlin Club, Dana Landing in Mission Bay, and who know where else). So it looks like the season is off and running. Current reports from down below (lower 500) have indicated a possible concentration of the immigrants from down south. So much so that several of our locals are taking a few days off to stay in Ensenada and work the area for 3 days.

So, putting the albie jigs aside and pulling out the Collectors, Zukers, Clones, 7 Strand EALs, and, of course, a load of live bait "bullets," it was time to give them a chase. Sleep late, fish within site of land, save fuel, and lots of time to eat, drink and be sleepy. We wanted to make merry, but she couldn't make it. The crew of the "Ken-Dan" consisted of good olde Geoff Halpern and his son-in-law, Kevin Crosby. Kevin's grandpa had done some angling, but is probably better known for his crooning. Kevin's previous experience was up north chasing some of those little Silver Salmon around.

The best local activity had been around the 178 so off to the top of the "9" to the 178 and possibly to parts beyond. Weather was beautiful with flat sea all morning and minimal later in the PM. In the area were the "Key to the Sea" (with Skeet, Richard and Skeet's Dad) and Carl Schlieder's "Gadget II" ( III?, I lost count). Bob Woodard, Jr. on his "Drop Back" was out at the 182 where they baited a small two-finner. Nothing was happening so we headed up towards "Off La Jolla" and possibly "Off DelMar." On the way we had two quick zips on the EAL (B&P) out there on a "whiskey line." My thinking is that if the fish are supposed to hear that chirping we ought to get it as far away as possible from the boat noise. We dropped a bait back and nothing came of it. I suggested we check the leader when we brought it in. But never had the chance.
The further up we went the greener became the water - almost 72 degrees. So we turned around and slowly worked back towards the 178. Saw one splash way off in the distance. Quick feeder? Who knows. So slowly back to the high spot moving in and out and seeing nothing. It was now a quarter to 3 with thoughts of packing it in. "Gadget" was on its way to the Coronado's to spend the night. "Key to the Sea" was looking around and "Drop Back" had gone in for a short day. AT 2:20 both Geoff and Kevin were laid out resting their eyelids.

You know the drill: spend 3/4 of the day watching those jigs splash around and as soon as you look forward - bingo! Off went the rod on the fly bridge with the EAL. I jumped up and, reaching for the rod, I flipped the clicker off. Shouting for Geoffrey I looked down to see a second fish coming up on a Steve Elkins special on the port rigger. No Geoffrey.

The fish hit the jig - but no stick. I ran down, threw out the drop-back just as Geoff and Kevin staggered out. We looked up and waaaay out there was a Marlin jumping around. We looked up and saw line peeling off that rod at a rapid rate (unfortunately no clicker). So we managed to stop the boat, crank in everything and get Kevin set up, finally getting a butt belt strapped on.
So "lift up," "crank down" and "don't panic." We had no fears since one does not usually troll $200 lures on light line. We normally don't drag 50, but don't trust that lighter stuff for the expensive stuff. Kevin kept it up and got us close, twice the swivel out of the water, but could get no further - he had the line all piled up in the center and wouldn't take any more. So we had to pull away to get line off before Geoff could grab the leader. And that he did. He "billed" the fish, YT planted a tag, he disengaged the hook solidly set in the upper lip at the base of the bill and then held on for the resuscitation slow troll. The tail kicked, the dorsal raised and off he went. About 125 to 130.

And, in reply to JD and Rich Holland: "There's another release for San Diego." Sorry we weren't able to provide them with some "blood" for their negative reporting of San Diego fishing. It would seem that there is a double standard north and south of 33 degrees north latitude. I think that makes 3 releases for the Marlin Club so far, but you'll get no report of that from up North.

So the blue and white and red and white flags are up again. Time to try it again. I don't know about JD or Rich, but Kevin has a big smile.