May 27, 2008

Anticipation and Fulfillment

One of the things I love most about summer here in Humboldt is the fishing. About 5 years ago Dean got a boat for the purpose of ocean fishing. I was invited to go and have been a pretty permanent fishing partner ever since.

One of the things I hate most about working weekends during the summer is the fishing trips with my best friends are few and far between. So when the prospect of spending Memorial Day out on the water with my friends came to light, I couldn't have looked forward to too many other things in life with the same anticipation. Sunday rolled around at work and I was only too ready to get out from the my second home and get away to the watery depths and work to provide meat for the family.

We watched the weather intently and found that Monday was shaping up to be a fine day to be on the water. The weather was going to be calm, a little overcast and had all the making of a fine day.

So we set out Monday morning at 6:30 and left the marina at Eureka. As was left the marina, I was n Dean's boat with Tyler's (Dean's son) little league coach, Graham. Iver and his brother Eric can be seen here as we moving at about 30 mph through Humboldt Bay. A cold wind in our faces, a little mist that is very characteristic of the area and a high level of anticipation. So we left the bay and headed south for Cape Mendocino. Its about 40 minutes by boat and spirits were high.

We arrived at the fishing grounds, fishing in about 200 feet of water hunting for the elusive Halibut. A flat fish, ranging from 20 to 40 pounds on average, and yielding a fair amount of tasty, white meat. We sat on this area for a little while and, sadly, yielded nothing. We were hearing reports of people closer in making a killing out of rock fishing, so we reeled in our lines, stowed some gear and headed in.

Dean bagged the only keepable Ling Cod of the group. A prehistoric looking fish which gets rather large, has really sharp teeth, and a nasty temperament when hauled from the ocean floor after trying to eat something that might have been a decent meal as opposed to a sharp hook attached to sturdy length of fishing line.I will say this about a ling cod. You can't just haul it in on the hook and line. They are too strong and, given their nasty disposition, you stand a good chance of getting bit or spined. So they have to be gaffed. And if they happen to come off the gaff in the boat, look out. They'll flip around and snap their jaws and for a guy like me, who wears sandals all the time, this can be a dangerous event. I am really surprised I haven't fallen over board at times when the ling is loose on the deck and I am doing everything I can to not be eaten.

Graham, on his first trip with us on the water had a good time, and hauled his fair share of snapper of fish from the ocean floor.In this fine picture here, you can see the dorsal fin quite clearly, and notice the spines with protrude from the back of the fish, giving the fin its shape and support. The fins are razor sharp and have given me plenty of small puncture wounds to the finger over the years. Some people are actually allergic to this and their hands can swell to a rather large size. I guess I am fortunate this is not a problem for me.

Iver and Eric had it in mind to bag the elusive 'But, and spent most of their time in pursuit of this goal. The nice thing about this is the state of the ocean. It was so calm it was ridiculous.

Here we can Iver and Eric hard at work, looking to be the ones to hook the 'But. In the end, though, we came home 'But-less. Such is life. Later, we were all in the same area, close in to the Cape itself.

Again, Iver and Eric, hard at work. The nice thing about this area is the bite was on. Up until this point the fishing was slow and somewhat down-heartening. But here, we couldn't keep the fish away and ended up with our limits of rock fish.

I should have pointed out that throughout all this time there were Whales everywhere. There is a large amount of krill (the preferred whale food) in the water and I don't think we could have counted the actual number of whales that we saw. At times the came to the surface to breath and were so close we could smell their breath as it was spouted from the blow hole. The Gray Whale migrates yearly and the Humboldt Coast line is pretty much the highway they travel.

An amazing day, spent with good friends. When I got in the car to head home for the day I was fulfilled. Contentment is a fine thing, and what better way to achieve that, than in the company of good friends doing one of the things in life that are loved best.

May 19, 2008

Perch Fishing, Part 3

Some of you might be wondering what happened to Perch Fishing 2. If you are that curious, please refer to Perch Fishing 1 (sadly, that should about cover that).

So, Cody and I headed out to Petrolia today, a little tiny town on the Lost Coast. Truth be told, though, we never actually went to the town of Petrolia. In stead we went out to a beach a little north of Petrolia. The morning started out foggy, but cleared for a while, long enough for to get a bit of a sunburn.
So we set our gear and began the sport called Fishing. Oddly enough, we were actually catching, too. Cody was the first to real in a fish, a nice sized red tailed perch. About 2 minutes later, I pulled one in myself.
I think this picture does not really do him justice, as he was really a nice fish. In fact, he was the biggest fish caught today (fishing trips always include bragging!). So we continued to reel them in. Some were big enough to keep, some were not (Fish and Game has a 10" rule for perch). In the end, we kept four. A fine catch, and a fine day of fishing. I can't complain at all either. After all, my first two tries at perch fishing were somewhat lack-luster. So after the bite seemed to die off we walked down to a rocky patch hoping to catch some rock fish in the high tide. Cody was the successful one here. Here he can be seen with a nice sized catch, definitely worthy of photo documentation:
Ok, this is not the fish he caught in the rocky surf. This minuscule Cabazone was caught earlier. This is the really photo worthy Cab he caught in the rocks.
Not a fish worth keeping, but a good looking little fellow all the same. In the end, the rock fishing didn't produce much else. So we walked down the beach a ways to an area that was easy to get back up to the road. On the way, I found another sea creature worthy of note.
So after a fine day on the shore of the Pacific Ocean we headed home. The fish were laid out and cleaned, and all is well.

Thanks for tuning in.

May 15, 2008

Something to Say....

In the space of about 3 hoursI had 3 different people complain about the fact that I have not had anything to say for about 10 days. This is, to put it fairly, completely inaccurate. The fact is I have plenty to say. I just haven't made a a succinct effort to actually sit in front of a computer and put my thoughts to words and my words to typed text.

So here I sit. I have a few things on my mind, and of course this is my forum so the things on my mind are what get posted here.

The funniest thing is, I started this entry 2 days ago. I got through the first two paragraphs then got distracted when a friend came to the house. By the time I was able to sit back down it was so late I needed to head to bed. As I was preparing for much needed sleep I actually felt a pang of guilt for not finishing my entry. Was I failing? Was I letting anyone down? Was my incomplete blog going to put someone in mortal danger? No (well, at least I hope not).

So what was my problem? I really don't know. perhaps it is simply I have grown so attached to the idea of sharing my inane ramblings with whoever wants to read them that the idea of not having something there was leaving me with that feeling failure. So here it is, my entry back the world of amateure internet journalism (I don't really think that is an accurate description of this Blog, but oh well.)

I have more tomorrow.

May 5, 2008

Perch Fishing - 1st attempt

I was introduced to ocean fishing when I moved to Mckinleyville. Dean invited me to go fishing with him, and generally speaking, we have been fishing partners ever since. We have had some really good times out on a boat catching food for the table.

Now, however, with the summer months approaching I find myself working weekend days. This is no good. In fact, it stinks. First off, the Wife and I don't have a regular day off together for the next 4 months. That seems like a really long time. Second, it means I am going to miss out on many fishing opportunities this summer with my goods friends. So I am looking for some sort of solution. The obvious answer? Learn the art of shore fishing. In particular, Red Tailed Perch.

These smaller fish hang out in shallow water, in the surf to be exact, looking for food that tumbles about in the surf. They are supposed to be decent eating, and its a sport that doesn't require a lot of up front cash. In fact there is a decent place to do this not far from my house. So, it seems like a no brainer.

So, off I went to the fishing grounds.

So I went to a nice sandy expanse of beach and gave it a go. I had a few hits, but in the end I came up empty handed. The wind picked up pretty good and I was nearly frozen when another gentleman entered the area and began fishing. So I went and talked to him (people fishing are generally pretty decent to each other, and even feel a bit of a bond towards other Fishermen). Turns out he has been coming to this are for a long time, and is a pretty accomplished fisher of perch. Case in point: he reeled one in while we were talking. So he gave me some pointers and told me what works best for him.

So home I went, to warm up a little, and make a new plan of attack. It sucks going home empty handed, but I am ready for another shot at it tomorrow. If all goes well, and I am very confident that it will, I'll be cooking perch for dinner tomorrow.

To the gentleman I met today, I thank you for your help. To my good friends who I won't be doing a lot of fishing with this summer, I am going to miss the experience.

Tomorrow, though, I will not come home empty handed.

May 3, 2008

Home Improvement Part 2: The Sequel

I was at work the other day talking with Cody about my patio project. He quickly volunteered, and we set up Thursday as a day to accomplish as much as we could.

The weather was perfect. It was sunny, very few clouds in the sky, and temperature was nice and warm.... somewhere in the 60's.

So we set out to make plan. We had to seal off the underside of the house and find a way to not have any dirt or sand or anything else in direct contact with the ground. The end result, heavy duty wire mesh covered in a heavy duty mylar sheet. The end result looks decent enough, and there will actually be trim over it as well.
You can see there is some actual damage to the house from what was there before, fortunately as far as I can tell, the damage is all superficial. So it will clean up nicely. So w put up the block for the gravel and then began moving three yards of gravel. I don't know if everyone know exactly how much gravel is in a yard, I think its about 8-10 wheel barrel loads. And gravel is not light. In fact, its very heavy. So this was a lot of work.
Here I am near the completion of our task. I can't thank Cody enough for his help. I don't think I would have gotten it all done by myself. The end result:

Amazingly enough, its fairly level and the frame is still square from when I set it up. Next will be the weed mat, sand and paver stones. I'm happy with the results thus far. I'm looking forward to having a nice little area in the backyard that will be goo for sitting and relaxing during the summer. So, that was the end of the work, of course, there had to be food involved.

At least one more installment to come.....

May 2, 2008

Rat Rlease

There is a certain amount of fear that accompanies the release of a wild rodent. Rabies? Bubonic Plague? These are serious concerns with a well documented, and tragic, history. So this was video was made with some trepidation. In the end I managed to survive, and so did the rodent.

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