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Written By: Steve ‘Hippo’ Lau, February 7, 2013
Fishing in 2012 brought along a lot of different challenges, to say the least. One of the staple fishing opportunities of the bay area, striped bass, was for the most part a total bust. Never have I heard from so many fishermen that they caught few, if any, stripers last season.
Personally, I attribute this to the long, cold winter and spring that hit this region. Indeed, the central valley never even hit a string of 80+*F until mid-August, when such weather is usually set off around Memorial Day, two and a half months earlier.
Combine the lack of consistent warm weather with the unusually late snow and cold rain and you have a condition where the water temperatures never got high enough to allow the stripers to spawn when they normally do in late spring.
Of course, the colder than normal temps in the ocean brought about acres and acres of nutrient rich krill, which made for a wonderful salmon season. The kings were big and fat and red fleshed as only krill fed salmon can be and it made for some very happy salmon fishermen and satisfied full tummies as well.
No need to go through all that happened this past year as it all made for good reading in the past issues of the Fish Sniffer, but suffice to say there were winners and losers in the fishing world. The big winners were salmon, albacore, and lingcod; the losers were stripers, halibut, and white seabass. My opinion for sure, but that is how I saw it for 2012
For me, 2012 was a pretty good year, in fact, one of my better ones. I had some really good outings for black bass, fished for sturgeon more than I have in the past, caught more trout using different methods, and even set some personal records.
Years ago, I would have simply bemoaned the fact that striped bass was a no go and simply refused to fish. Nowadays, and especially last year, I decided to fish for whatever opportunities presented itself.
You would have thought I would have jumped on to this way of thinking years ago when a friend of mine, fishing on a long range boat in hopes of catching big tuna, bemoaned the fact that no big tuna were there to be caught and only the presence of hungry hoards of wahoo kept the rods busy. Not wanting to be bothered by the big skinnies, he resigned himself to reading books and watching dvds while his boat mates busied themselves with delicious 'hoos.
It wasn't until he got back to the dock that he finally realized he had missed out on one of the most epic wahoo bites ever on a long range boat. He was so focused on just one thing ... big tuna ... that he missed out on something special.
And so, gentle readers, my wish for you for 2013 is that you go out and fish more, not only for the fish you normally fish for, but open up your world to fishing for something you haven't fished for yet. I know I have several trips lined up this year that will involve catfishing, smelt fishing, more trout fishing, maybe some more black bass fishing, and even the (for me) dreaded salmon trolling. Hopefully, I get to toss in a major crappie fishing day in the mix.
While being one of the Fish Sniffer's salt water writers forces me to show a little more attention to wetting a line in the briny deep, I have to admit some of the more popular fresh water fishing techniques work very well in salt water, thank you.
And this is why I wish for you to do more different kinds of fishing this year. Each different kind of fish you catch can lead to new ideas and techniques you can use on the fish you more prefer to catch. This will certainly make you a more diversified angler and one that maybe produces fish when no one else can buy a bite.
Get out there and enjoy the outdoors! And don't forget to fill out that loan application before going out to get your new fishing license.
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