Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Secret Lobster Report October 2012

     Went Lobster fishing for a weekend at  an undisclosed time, to a pair of uncharted islands in search of large marine insects,  The plan was to go to an ultra-secret spot at an island we'll just call Cantina  We intended to fish for bugs all night and then leave at dawn the next day for another island I'll nickname Roberto Clemente, because he is my favorite baseball player of all time. 

      Our secretive Skipper (let's just say he wouldn't be a starter in the NBA)  took us to a spot that had been producing a late night crawl.  The sky was clear and swimming with stars when we got to this enchanted isle after a pretty bumpy ride across the San Pablo Channel.  I (call me Ishmael) was third in command behind our experienced big game hunting Dentist (we'll just call him the Extractor).

     We tried to get live squid from the San Pedro and Long Beach guys, but everyone was fishing them commercial style because they were getting $700 per ton for the dead ones and they can keep ten times as many dead as alive.  Therefore, no one was selling to the few fishermen with low enough self-esteem to take it in the face for that nocturnal channel crossing.  We got a scoop of trout sized sardines instead.

      After we arrived we put out our hoops in 15 to 35 meters of water, baited with Laguna Tuna and Rushdie heads.  We then commenced to hammering our way through seemingly unlimited supplies of Kentucky Fried Chicken, Mountain Dew and extra hot Beef jerky.  The first few pulls were pretty sparse, with lots of ruby red crabs that tried to pinch us as we released them.  We got about 8 legals in the first 40 pulls, as well as twice that many shorts (and not by much).  Things started to heat up around midnight, as we worked out way into the second day of our three day bug hunt (multi day permit).

      We fished until about 4 am when we pulled into a mooring at Valhalla Cove, where we enjoyed a pleasant nap for about 45 minutes before going ashore for the Extractor to deliver a huge dose of internal emancipation at the facilities next to the green pier.  We also got some much needed coffee for the ride  over to Roberto Clemente Island.

     The ride proved to be pretty rough for a dawn patrol crossing, and we were grateful to get to the shelter of North by Northwest Harbor.  We kept chasing bird schools diving on breaking fish with our trophy sardines and surface irons, but all we caught was more lobster bait.  We tucked in for  some big calicos and sheephead along the front side.  It was our intention to fish south toward triangle cove, where we would lobster fish all night at this pristine location.  While working our way down, we noticed thousands of commercial traps, which could prove to be a serious hazard for working a string of rave lighted hoop buoys in the fatigued darkness. 

       When we got to the Sphynx, we took a look around the corner and saw nothing but deadly buoys, so we made the hard decision to run 60 miles back to the front side of Cantina, where we set up at our previous spot about 4 pm. We set out our hoops before dark, but were soon joined by the always oblivious divers who weaved their boats through our well lit buoy line, dispensing humans with flashlights and bags.  One of the boats had no lights, but that did not prevent him from parking his boat in the middle of our string (probably because it was a source of light) while his divers worked around our hoops.  We had several meager pulls - again with the ruby red crabs and a few shorts, punctuated by occasions for hope in the form of a legal or two. 

    We were getting pretty punchy and at one point the Extractor managed to board the drifting  dive masters as they bobbed by us.  He flung himself onto their deck and rolled inside their cabin to release a few KFC -powered farts that sounded like Klaxons.  Their crew was terrified and climbed, with their eyes watering, out onto the foredeck to escape his presence, as well as his presentation. He jumped back onto our boat after telling them they were free to go back to the mainland if they hurried. 

       When the derelict dive boat finally left before midnight, things started to happen for us.  The bugs crawled even later this time, while we consumed a six and a half foot sandwich that the Extractor purchased from a war surplus store for $2.75.  It was like the loaves and fishes all over again. 

     We rolled into San Pedro just before dawn and collapsed into a sleep that lasted a couple of hours - long enough to down a couple of red bulls and get the boat cleaned up.  We caught 38 legal bugs for 3 dudes, so it was close to limit fishing once again on Secret Skippers boat.

      I happened to be staying with my family of seven at the local Residence Inn in Dana Point, due to huge flood created by an unfortunately large species of feces left in a running commode by one of our sleep -over surfing house guests.  Because of that lack of housing, I said I would bring this bounty of the sea to my Mom and Dad's house for a big family feast.  I stopped off at the market to buy some steaks, where I perceived the discomfort of others at the fishy cache' eminating from my clothing.  I wiped my self down repeatedly with those sanitary moist towelettes that all of the stores have at the door and got out of there as quick as I could, with the intention of getting in a shower and sneaking a quick nap at our under construction home before heading over to extended Familyville. 

      We were in the middle of a substantial heat wave and I had been glad for the free air-conditioning at the Residence Inn (A great place to stay, by the way).  When I activated the garage door to our house, I was blown down by the incredible stench of our outside refrigerator, which was surrounded by all of our belongings in our garage.  Our house was in the custody of our contractors and the breaker for the garage got tripped by power tools.  The freezer, containing tuna, squid and salmon, was now in the bloom of a week long cooking  contest.  The warm liquifaction that I got to clean up made the lobster bait scent I was wearing seem like Chanel.  I got it all cleaned up and after a week of several bleachings, scrapings and gallons of high-powered cleaner, I finally got that fridge (for which I had just purchased an extended warranty) back into good enough condition for our contractor to load it into his truck and take it to the dump.

       We are back in our house now, though it is not done.  We have all new toilets, as befits our station in life.  We enjoyed a fabulous surf and turf dinner with all of the family, my folks and my sister Mary Lou, thanks to the efforts of Secret Skipper and the Extractor, so it worked out.  I even used my Iphone's camera feature to snap what I thought was a photo of my bride and two youngest posing with the bugs before i slaughtered them (the lobsters).  You can see from the attachment that I really know what I am doing when it comes to devices like I-phones.

    Well, next week I am off to Colorado to try and shoot something majestic and tasty, so wish me luck, or don't, if you give a shit about the beauty of nature.

Enjoy your pumpkin, because after all...

These are the Days

Halloween surf fishing report

I took Tommy, my 7 year old (David declined) down to go surf fishing yesterday morning and it was a very glorious day at Salt Creek Beach.  The crowds were thin enough so that we could get a late start at 8:30  and get to productive water ahead of most beach goers.  The lack of waves also contributed to getting a pretty swimmer-free zone with which to work.  The water was surprisingly clear, the incoming tide was just right, the wind was slightly offshore and the waves/seaweed were not a factor (often the kelp blowing back and forth in the surf makes it unfishable).

Tommy is getting pretty independent at surf fishing and can cast and retrieve, as well as catch sand crabs for bait as he fishes.    Yesterday, he did not need to stay right  next to me me as we worked back and forth along a stretch of beach.  He caught several large perch that he only needed help releasing.   At the beginning of summer Tommy could not cast and would only reel in if someone handed him a hooked up rod.  

                  It was a very remarkable day to actually get to see fish in the water.  Tommy was able to spot fish cruising the shallows and identify many of them.  We saw leopard sharks, corbina, perch and various rays.  Tommy claimed he saw a white seabass that was bigger than he was (I have never seen that, but they do cruise the beach and can get absolutely huge).  We saw the most corbina I have ever seen in one morning.  They come into water that is less than 6 inches deep and sometimes get their backs out of the water as they  coast in on the foam to feed on sand crabs before flashing out underneath incoming waves.

                  Anyway, we were catching and releasing many pretty good fish for little crowds that stopped to watch us reel in.  Folks are usually surprised when you catch fish right off the beach like that.  I handed off to Tommy what I thought was a big corbina (the prized surf fish above all others), but it turned out to be a shovel nosed shark that screamed off line and took him all over the place before we beached it for the crowd and heaved it back into the sea.

I managed to sight cast ahead of the largest corbina we saw that day (very line shy fish) and saw him disappear toward the cast, after which I got bit and ended up landing one of the biggest ones I have ever caught in my life.  It took close to ten minutes to bring it in as it made several runs and then would stop and frame itself in the lens of a forming wave, which made it look really big. I would like to think he was the one I was casting to.  They are really good to eat, although I have not kept one in twenty years. It was two feet long and we released it to the approval of onlookers. If our kitchen had been put back together, I might have brought it home.

             I did not bring my camera, as we were in the surf at times.  This is the main type of fishing we have done this year and we have had some real good days (as well as days when conditions made it impossible) but this is probably the best conditions we have fished in all year.  We left them biting in the sunshine at noon.

Happy Halloween.  We are still not sure what we will be.  Something with swords, I’ll bet.

These are the Days