Sunday, September 25, 2022

Ozzy and Chariot

Gentle Readers:

With this essay, I promise only brevity in place of quality and I'm lying about that.

Friday, after your reporter left the exciting CLM construction law seminar  in San Diego to get a jump on the weekend's plan for carnage, Secret Skipper took me out for a nocturnal mission that matched delusion to reality. Our plan and destination was all night knife-jigging for bluefin at the Osborn Bank.  We had big gear and big plans for big fish.  We left the dock early with many ice chests and lots of ice.  We spoke of breaking out the pressure cooker to can those 200 pound  fish we could not accommodate by eating, gifting or freezing.  We might have to work all day Sunday and take off Monday just to get it all processed.

We procured two very generous scoops of large and sluggish sardines from Mike at Pedro Bait company at 7 pm and proceeded through surprisingly calm seas to arrive on station at the Osborn by a little after 9 pm.  We noticed the glow of the fleet on the backside of Catalina on our way out.

There were few boats on the Osborn and we jigged on our giant gear for a couple of hours of nothing and no marks before deciding to head toward the light in the distance like squid do.

We joined the fleet, which was about 15 miles away, to tediously reel up and drop down amidst a host of sport boats doing the same thing for mostly the same results, all night long.

At gray light, we decided to head toward Clemente instead of Santa Barbara Island and look for paddies, dorado and maybe some of those yellowfin that had moved in to balance out our catch of pelagics.

We made it to the west end early in the morning and saw lots of bird action and breaking fish.

Skipper hooked up to what seemed like a small yellowtail.

As it turns out, it was a Laguna Tuna that we released instead of converting it to lobster bait for the upcoming opener.

Compare and contrast it with another rider that had so recently occupied the deck of our vessel.

Skipper got another quality bonito that, had it been a yellowfin tuna, would have qualified for a 12 pound class caption in Western Outdoor News.

It was neither of those things.

Your narrator also got in on the action with the bonito and barracuda, but could not hang a yellowtail.

Skipper eventually found a quality resident yellowtail that fought him up and down the water column every step of the way before your reporter got the chance to plant the gaff.  He weighed over 26 pounds.  It would have been our preference to forego this measurement and lie about the size, but we burdened ourselves by bringing a scale.

We should have taken advantage of the good weather to start our long uphill journey back to San Pedro and end the day on a positive note in the morning, but we had expectations of finding dorado and so left biting yellows to hunt paddies.  It has been such a treat to have these great schools of them here in such record abundance, so we just had to try.  Your narrator took the binos up into the tower and had no problem skillfully scanning the horizon to put us on one dry paddy after another all the way across the channel to the backside of Catalina.  We eventually fished tight to the backside in the complete absence of current or wind and quickly abandoned that program.

We doubled back down and out a bit to work some paddies on the 152 that did not produce. We stopped in the calm water to cut up the yellowtail.  The blood and chunks brought a flurry of jumping dorado that we could not get to bite our tired 'dines.

Once again, like it was a college keg party, we fished too hard and stayed too long.  The wind came up and started blowing a grumpy chop that produced an unhappy angle of attack for our return trip.  This extended the remaining ride time from an hour to three hours as the wind waves plumed over the house and moguled our journey home into a pounding, spine-compressing head-throb.   It was like the ride the losers experienced during the chariot race in Ben Hur and made me long for a mouthful of opium to keep from chipping my teeth.

After an exhausting clean up at the slip, we split up a really nice fish and decided which of the five ice chests that our big plans had equipped us with would best transport a single bag of fillets and 175 pounds of ice.

We will still dine in style on some great hamachi tonight, have some cocktails and pontificate about how to catch big fish, one has to sometimes fish hard without finding them.

I am saying this to console myself, as I certainly know that some people don't have to fish hard at all to be rewarded with huge fish, because it all has to balance out somehow.

Well, to those people, I would just say that you can thank us for the hard work we put in to catch less in order to balance out your bountiful experience, whether you deserve it or not.

It appears that the ferocious bite that has been going on was paused for a great many anglers on Saturday, so my cry for victimhood is more of a chorus than a soliloquy.  This company of misery brings comfort, as does the knowledge that we get to do this instead of dodging the splash of bullets in Ukraine or a million other shitty things that afflicted the world on Saturday, reminding us once again that 

These are the Days.

No comments:

Post a Comment