IMG_1448Sunday, I had planned to take the kids down to Dana Wharf as my buddy Jimmy Bass had told me it was wide open on the shorty calicos.  Juliana’s favorite fishing is shallow water calico bass.  If you haven’t taken advantage of it yet, Dana has a Free Kids Clinic and Fishing on their Sunday afternoon half day boat.  I’ve taken Jake and Juj for years and they always have a blast.  Unfortunately, Sunday morning rolled around and Jake had yet to finish his geometry homework (the kid has a ridiculous schedule) and Juj was doing her typical “I’m not hungry” act after I made breakfast.  Lovely.

So Sunday evening, as I typically do, I’m reviewing the counts and came across this eye popping stat – 46 lings out of MDR!  Wow, that’s a whole lotta lingcod.  I made plans to go out Monday morning.  My alarm goes off at 4am.  Get some coffee in me and I’m out the door by 4:30.  Traffic won’t be an issue, it’s early PLUS it’s Columbus Day, right?  WRONG!  I drive for an hour and made it less than 10 miles.  Turned around and came back 🙁  I grabbed a couple more hours of shuteye and tried again later.  This time I made it to the landing in time to make the 12:30 departure for the afternoon run.

As the anglers for the morning run were getting off…smiles all around.  Good sign.  I went into the galley to purchase my ticket and there’s the meat of blue ling in a plastic bag sitting on the counter that galley cook Dylan Grace had just caught.  Dylan tells me they caught over 20 in the morning and that it was primarily on live squid.  Nice.  Big anticipation as we depart from the marina.  Small crew today, Capt. Danny Erickson driving, Eric on deck and Dylan in the galley.  As I’m rigging my rods, Eric tells me to rig one for ling…6-8 oz. of lead on bottom, and longish leader with a 3/0 hook to fish the live squid.  He says rig another one double dropper with smaller hooks for the live anchovies we also had as we’d be hitting a grouper spot at some point in the ride.

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Dylan with my 1st short

As we drive out, Capt. Danny says the first stop is going to be a ling spot.  After about 45 minutes we get to the spot and drop anchor.  I dropped in and quickly connect.  I can tell it’s the right kind.  I reel it up and as it comes to color, I can see it’s going to be close as to whether or not it’s a legal.  Dylan helps me out and takes it off my hook.  Short.  Dang.  Oh well, it’s early.  Several shorts in that first spot for the boat, but no legals.  Danny makes a short move and we drop anchor again.  I drop in and I’m feeling some action at the end of my line again.  C’mon, eat the damn thing.  I wait a bit longer and set.  It feels big, and it’s not budging.  “You stuck?” Eric asks me.  “It was a bite, but I can’t move it.”  Eric gives it some slack, then reels it up again.  Wedged in tight.  He keeps working it and eventually it comes loose.  I reeled it up to find my leader bitten off.  I go re-tie and as I’m come back the guy to my left is working on a fish.  He had already brought in about 3 shorts, but this one looked like it might be a keeper.  Sure enough, he gets it to the surface and Eric gaffs it.  First legal of the ride.  Shortly after, the guy on the opposite corner is heavy.  It’s a big long fish, but not the right kind.  It’s a HUGE wolf eel.

Danny made another small move and initially it’s more of the same.  He’s getting ready to bail when the same guy that caught the wolf eel is bent again.  This time it’s the right kind and he pulls in a ling that was bigger than the first one.  We made a longer move and the next spot is the grouper spot.  I switch to the other rod I had rigged up and find success on the anchovy about 10 cranks up off the bottom.  Mine was maybe a pound, but there were some larger model groupers brought up on that spot along with some starries, square spots, barber poles and the like.

It’s getting late in the day and Danny tries one more rock hopefully holding some lings to end the day.  Immediately I connect on my first drop, but only another short.  No more legals and that was the trip.  The second ling took jackpot.  Solid outing, I just wish the traffic didn’t keep me from making the morning ride.  Oh well, that’s how it goes.  Thanks to Danny, Eric and Dylan for another good ride on the New Del Mar.

 

 

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