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.
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