July 27, 2006

Thursday Report


Here it is Thursday morning. I got up, had my cereal (low carb, hi bran), looked at the paper (I don't read - only look at the pictures) and did the cross-word puzzle. All the while I had this feeling that I had forgotten something. And then it hit me - somewhere, someone is sitting on pins and needles waiting for these infamous reports. And so, "pen" in hand I will share the excitement of yesterday's activity on the high seas. In this case, however, it was "low" seas. The ocean was glass (or grease) the entire day. No wind, no waves, no pop corn and I suspect the Tanner Bank buoy was registering a minus reading. It was typical morning overcast which gave way to bright skies and that meant a hot day out there. Water temps ranged from a "low" of 73.5 to as much as 77.1 - readings virtually unheard of locally. And, for the most part, bright blue, clean water.
    The regular Wednesday crew consists of Geoff Halpern, Harry Okuda and my son, the pediatrician, Ken. Geoff is the caucasian clone of Harry for they both remind one of the story of the little boy optimist happily searching the room full of manure saying: "With all this s--- there must be a pony in here somewhere." Their version is: "If there's water, there must be fish, any kind of fish, even hammafors and whifflegiffs." And Ken is the second Board certified physician to work the Fisherman's Landing booth at the Fred Hall Show. (Guess who was the first. Three guesses and the first two don't count.) But Ken is still on Paternity leave and not allowed to venture out of cell phone range. So Geoff and I decided it was (it always is) time to drag the big ones and look for the long nosed creatures.
    The trip started badly when I discovered that someone had "liberated" all of the nice cured bait from the receiver next to the boat. That meant it was time to "make" some more. There is lot of the stuff in our little harbor, but  there are also lots of "almost legal" white sea bass and as soon as it gets dark they gang up under the lights and chase the mackies away. The best most frequently productive spot seems to be the waters outside of the Mission Bay jetty. Therefore, up at 3 AM and around the corner (Pt. Loma) and to the "spot." A can of cat food in the water and within 30 seconds it was WFO - especially with a little "meat" on the hooks.
    When we had our fill we took off. Out to the 178, lines in the water, cross the "trench" to the 182, up the "Ridge" and, about half way decided to try the southern route so we did a 180 and down to the "Kidney" bank, 371, 425 and then, past North Island and home.
    Just short of the 182 we found one of only 2 kelp paddies seen the entire day. I think the kelp got so crusted with all the grease on the water they simply sunk out of sight. But Geoff put out a cedar plug as we trolled past it and promptly nailed a YT. So we crank 'em in and worked the paddy with some of the smaller mackeral we had "made." This produced another 'tail and a fair sized Dorado (aka Mahi Mahi, "Dodo"). Later in the day the other paddy we found gave us another Dorado (final score" 2 YT, 2 Dorado and 0-0-0 on the Marlin). We talked to Stan on the "Hooker" and he was working from Catalina to the 277 to the 209 and they were seeing nothing up there. And we saw or heard nothing of them down here. A local angler, John Ashley, worked up the Ridge to the 181 and I heard nothing from him. The "time of day" rule might have prevailed, but obviously this was the wrong day.
    High tide was 11:30. At 12:30 we were dead center on top of the Kidney bank between the 224 and 302. Geoffrey was making lunch. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a huge splash and I had visions of a Marlin jumper. So I headed in that direction. Watching the area I saw 2 fins pop up. Aha? it was a Marlin. So I put the glasses on them and saw that the dorsal fin was not triangular, but rather sickle-shaped. I slammed on the brakes and shouted to Geoff - "Swordfish." The water was so flat you could follow the creature from a long way off. So I ran down and helped crank in the lines while he got out the heavy equipment and kept asking me: "Where is it?" It was straight ahead and couldn't be seen from the cockpit so I kept telling him not to worry, yes, it is a swordie, and just keep cranking. Finally, he was ready and "they" the two fins were still there and high and dry. As I looked at them those fins had a big spread (not quite wide enough to drive the proverbial truck between) and this must be a big fish. Slowly, on one engine i got us closer and when it was at 9 o'clock Geoff finally saw it and said: "that's a big fish."
    The fish was moving slowly, but stayed up and didn't appear to be boat shy. On at least 4 turns he turned towards us and I was able to pull the bait (one of larger Mackeral) closer, but he would turn away. But each time we were getting closer. Finally, he turned to his right, towards the bait and sunk out. I stopped and we waited. A few seconds later there was a whack! - not a little tap - that Geoff felt quite dramatically. We waited and within a few seconds there was a big swirl where he kicked and went after the bait that - sorry to report - he had whacked off the hook. Yes, it was time for the "s" word.
    While we sat there feeling sorry for ourselves up he popped not too far away. Bad choice, but we tried dragging a large squid in front of him. Actually got it well placed, he aimed for it, sunk out, and, again we waited. possibly 15 minutes, but nothing. Never showed again and this was our adrenaline surge for the day. Could of, should of, might of, etc used another mackeral or even tried casting on it. But that's how that goes.
    Just amazing how flat that ocean was, how hot the water is, and how many YT and Dodos there are. Can Blue Marlin be far benind? Stay tuned.     M