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As anglers we tend to overlook the miniscule details that make up our fishing trips. I've found in the last year, my fishing trips now focus on the entire experience rather than "catching fish"
Now, don't get me wrong, catching fish is still loads of fun, but my changed perspective has definitely taught me to appreciate my love for this great sport.
My good friend Brian Arimoto recently invited me to join him on a rock fishing trip out of Bodega Bay. Immediately, I thought about the boat ride, the smell of diesel, and sea gulls flying above my head. "I'm in," I replied.
The week plunged forward and before I knew it, there I was, on a boat plowing full throttle through wind chop while the powerful diesel engines spewed smoke. The seagulls circled, eagerly awaiting an easy meal.
"The key to a good fishing day is the weather," the captain said over the loud speaker. "Its going to be real nice out there today."
The captain, full of enthusiasm and encouragement was Mr. Rick Powers, a battle-tested and proven fisherman that has guided the waters of Northern California for over 25 years.
After going over the details of the day and reviewing safety procedures, he nudged the throttle up on the New Sea Angler, its bow slowly cruising over the evenly spaced northwest swell.
I snapped photos and videos of every single last thing I could find during the ride to the fishing grounds.
I was in heaven. It was sunrise on the ocean with a layer of fog and minimal winds. Things were shaping up to be a great day. The throttle eased up, and the anglers prepared their gear.
"Go ahead and drop em down guys," Powers said.
While I'm no expert, I prefer using lures when chasing rockfish. On this trip, the arsenal consisted of diamond bar jigs and swimbaits.
Arimoto followed suit and used the same baits. "Sweep your hook sets rather than jerk," I tipped, after he missed a few hits.
Arimoto and I shared a few dozen fist pumps going forward, with several lingcod hitting the deck along with some rockfish. My arms were already sore and it was only 9:30.
"Roland, how many lings have you gotten so far?" Powers asked. "Three sir," I replied.
"Wide open ling bite guys, get on that bite! Make sure you hold 'em down in the water when you get 'em to the top," Powers shouted to the anglers.
Suddenly, an eruption of energy came from the anglers at the stern. "That is one hog!" one of of the anglers yelled.
"Go check out that fish, Roland. You gotta get a picture of it," Powers said.
I promptly made my way to the back of the boat and found a behemoth of a lingcod, caught by Calvin Casner of Yuba City. The 31 pound fish was caught in the most remarkable fashion.
"I was using a shrimp fly rig and a ten pound ling hit it. This guy hit the ten pounder and I caught both of them," he said.
What a day of fishing this was turning out to be. The water conditions improved as the day wore on, and by noon, glass-conditions were had.
Near-limits of lingcod were in sight for the anglers, and the grade on the rockfish wasn't too shabby either.
"Start checking your sacks, guys. We're going to make a few more drifts then head off for some dungeness," Powers said.
As I observed the anglers around me, I noticed that a great variety of rockfish were landed by everyone. Olive, starry, brown and copper rockfish were all in the mix. Beautiful fish to look at, and all wonderful to eat.
The last few fish were brought up to fill sacks, and shortly after we were underway to pull crab pots.
The energy and enthusiasm rolled on at the direction of Captain Powers, with the anglers interested to see what the pots had in store.
"Big crab! Full pot!" exclaimed Powers.
The pots were full and some of the biggest crab I have ever seen in my life began hitting the deck. Pot by pot, more crab were plucked from the pots by the New Sea Angler crew.
With my energy dwindling, I slouched into a seat in the galley, and eventually fell into a deep sleep as a result of the day's fish fighting battles. Laughter echoed on the deck as the anglers reflected on the day.
I awoke to more large crab being pulled from the pots, and shortly after we were back at the dock stowing coolers and washing down rods.
The boat totals were impressive on the day, with a total of 78 lingcod, 430 rockfish, and 258 Dungeness crab for 43 anglers.
More impressive for me was the beautiful weather and water we experienced on the day. Looks like I've got some great material to post on Instagram this week.
The New Sea Angler is docked at the Bodega Bay Sportfishing Center, located in the Porto Bodega R.V. Park and Marina. For more information, visit bodegabaysportfishing.com or call (707) 875-3344Back To Reports
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