IMG_2683Dana Wharf Sportfishing does a great job of getting kids involved in our sport.  They do summer camps on the water.  They do artist nature trips.  And they always have a Sunday free kids clinic and half day ride (one child rides free per paying adult).  This last Sunday (Feb 2nd), Jacob, Juliana and I went down for the ride.  They had a special 10am-3pm trip to accommodate the Super Bowl, so we got in a fish before watching Seattle blowout Denver (#GOHAWKS).  Both of the kids have enjoyed a lot of success on these trips, and the crews are very friendly and enthusiastic to help up that enjoyment level.

We got down to the landing and it was fun to see some of the regulars that we know…Jeanne Koester, her husband Lee, and Peggy Stein.  Jeanne was the 2012 Angler of the Year for Dana Wharf Lady Anglers and Peggy was the Dana Wharf Halibut Derby winner in 2012.  I wrote about them both in a previous article, Halibut Ladies Of Dana Wharf.  They remembered us, welcomed us down, and gave us some fresh dope on the fishing.  Fishing so far this year has been pretty tough.  Lee even recalled our buddy Jimmy Bass winning jackpot on one trip with a perch.  Ouch!

We boarded and were welcomed by Capt. Chris Pica.  Tanner and Chris were working the deck, and Marcus was doing double duty on deck and in the galley.  The bait was beautiful 4-5″ anchovies.  Jake was keen to score his first legal bass of the year.  I figured I’d take advantage of the nice bait and rigged all 3 of us with single droppers and small light wire circle hooks to fish it.  It was windy and cold once we got out of the harbor, but hopes were high we would have a good day.

Hieu, Capt. Chris, and the eventual JP winning bass

Hieu, Capt. Chris, and the eventual JP winning calico bass

Once we settled into a spot, I found out what they meant in terms of the tough fishing.  We were posted up on the port side, close to the bait tank.  Jake and Juj pretty much just dropped in over the side and I tried to cast and drag to find some fish.  The current was strong moving toward the stern, so I had to use a pretty heavy weight to avoid crossing a bunch of lines.  Other than some perch pecks, nothing happened for us.  Meanwhile, the regulars who had gotten in line early and staked out their claim to the stern had some decent success either flylining or using a small sliding sinker to find suspended calicos hiding in the kelp.

Unfortunately, the second stop was more of the same.  The kids soon lost interest and started digging into the stash of snacks I brought for the trip.  Sucked for them, but it freed me up to move around the boat a little.  I eventually snuck behind Lee who had taken residence on the starboard/stern corner.  I was able to downsize my weight and flip out a bait diagonally from the corner, letting the current work it down and away from the boat.  Employing this method, I was able to quickly hook into an almost keeper sand bass (13.75″…missed it by that much) and another shorty.  I had a couple more bites that I eventually lost to the kelp, but it felt good to at least get the skunk off.  After awhile, I managed to get Jake into a stern spot next to me.  He was uncomfortable at first fishing the light setup that was getting bit.  He got over it though and managed to get a couple bites.  One was a really good one, but the bait came back scarred from mid-body down…short bite 🙁

We moved and did a rotation to let some other anglers get time on the stern.  We ended up back where we started and I got one more shorty calico to end the day.  Pretty tough fishing…11 keeper sized bass were caught for the day.  The count was actually more than the last time we’d been down here.  Usually though, there are a ton of shorties to keep the kids entertained.  Juj caught a nice mixed bag the last time we did the kids trip in June.  Oh well, that’s winter fishing.  We had had a lot of wind over the course of the last week and the water was cold and unsettled.  Things will definitely improve.  It was still nice to get out and get a fish in.  AND now we’re into February, so rockfish will be open again soon.  Tight lines!

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