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.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you don't get motion sickness! Just thinking about fishing (or being on a boat on the ocean) gives me that nauseous feeling!


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