Fish Sniffer Magazine Issue 4021 | Page 14

14 Nobember 26 , 2021 VOL . 40 • ISS . 21
like ‘ STU ’ for sturgeon . As I ’ ve racked up years of experience on the delta , I now have dozens of proven spots I can run to on any given tide . As we zigzagged along looking for elusive stripers , I finally saw some nice marks on the sonar screen . “ Looks like some fish here ”, I related to Kirby . The marks were on the bottom , so thinking they were feeding stripers I ran to the bow and immediately set the anchor . The boat swung around with the incoming tide , and we were fishing once again . Kirby got his two rods out quickly , but after I had my first striper rod deployed , I took a glance at the sonar screen . 28 feet deep , and we were only about 100 feet away from the sturgeon waypoint . I decided to cast some salmon roe out on my sturgeon rod . Only a few minutes had passed , and none of the striper rods soaking chicken livers had been touched . I glanced at the sturgeon rod at the starboard corner of the boat . I thought I saw movement at the rod tip , and did a double-take . PUMP . PUMP-PUMP . PUMP . After the first pump I was thinking it was another pikeminnow . After about the fourth pump I lunged to the rod and cranked as fast as I could . “ Fish on ” I grunted , as the rod loaded up and the drag started slipping . I pulled the rod out of the holder , but I couldn ’ t quite tell if I had anything on . There wasn ’ t much pressure . I felt a slight shake . “ It ’ s a fish ” I related to Kirby , but it didn ’ t feel substantial . Earlier in the day , I had shared a story with Kirby . I told him of a day when I had landed numerous six to eight-pound pikeminnows while fishing nearby for sturgeon . “ It might be another pikeminnow ” I told Kirby , as I reeled the fish near the boat . When the fish was about ten feet from the side of the boat , it turned and pulled about twenty feet of line off the reel . Thinking it was probably a small sturgeon , I had Kirby reel in my striper rod located behind me . As I gained line and my sinker came out of the water , the fish darted away from the boat , once again taking twenty feet of line . As the fish turned away , all I could get a glimpse of was the tip of its as it slashed the surface . The muddy water kept us from getting a look at whatever was on the end of my line . Just as I mumbled

GONE FISHING continued from page 2

This sunset greeted Jack Naves and Kirby Desha on the evening of November 16 while leaving Sherman Island Sacramento County Regional Park . In addition to great fishing , the California Delta provides gifts like this that shouldn ’ t be taken for granted .
Photo Courtesy of Jack Naves
“ Looks like a little guy …”, the fish kicked into high gear . Yellow braided line whizzed through the guides of my rod , and the fish turned and bolted under the boat . I immediately pointed my rod straight down until my hands were almost in the water . I didn ’ t want any chance of the fish rubbing the line against the bottom of the aluminum hull .
Just as I mumbled “ Looks like a little guy …”, the fish kicked into high gear .
With my line still under the boat , the fish turned and headed upstream under the bow . After ripping off over 100 feet of line in a matter of seconds , the fish slowed . I was able to gain some line , but then there was a rubbing sensation , and the line stopped dead in its tracks . “ I ’ m on the anchor rope ” I related , knowing that I needed to get over to the other side of the boat to free my line . With the rod still pointing deep into the water , I shuffled off the

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started ! My fishing line was up around the anchor line at the bow of the boat , and the fish was heading back downstream on the other side ! With the canvas boat top in the way , there was no clear path around bow . “ I have to go up front !” I shouted , and handed the rod to Kirby . I franticly ran up the steps and reached over the canvas top . I grabbed the rod and quickly swung the tip back over to the other side . I reeled a few cranks and felt clean pumping action without the rough rubbing sensation I had felt earlier . “ I ’ m free , get the net !” I relayed from the bow down to Kirby . He was still standing in the back of the boat , and asked if he should come up to the bow . I said I would just swing the fish over to him from my current location . After one more spirited run , I angled the fish towards Kirby and we finally had it in the net . Using thick PVC gloves I use to handle sturgeon , I quickly removed the barbless hook and took a measurement . The fish was 44 inches long , well within the ‘ keeper ’ slot limit . With fresh striped bass in the cooler , and frozen rockfish fillets back at home , I figured that I had all of the fish I needed . The mighty sturgeon was released after a quick photo . The stripers never decided to come out to play , but the wind laid down and the delta provided a perfect winter ’ s afternoon . A postcard worthy sunset greeted us as we motored away from the launching facility . A winter ’ s day in the delta had lived up to its promise . “ In order to find time , you have to make time .”
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