Fish Sniffer On Demand Digital Edition Issue 3616 July 21- August 4 2017 - Page 28

28 July 21 - August 4, 2017 VOL.36 • ISS. 16 SOUTH TOWER MAYHEM! T he adrenaline seemed to sizzle in my brain. It was the kind of excitement that only saltwater anglers can understand. I was living the dream, helping California Dawn deckhand Mike Verrone work the deck during a wide-open bite right underneath the Golden Gate Bridge. It doesn’t get any better than that! The boat’s decks were splattered with blood, squashed bait and destroyed terminal tackle. Dozens of seagulls circled, dipped and squawked overhead and there were probably 20 fish in the box. The bite was getting more intense with every passing minute. Boats were everywhere dotting the rough water. By now everyone had heard about the bite and it seemed as if everyone had shown up from guys in tiny two man skiffs to full blown charter boats with their rails lined with anglers. Captain James Smith deftly brought the boat around, hesitated for a moment picking his spot and then nosed the boat into the drift just in front of a series of big rollers that were at least 7 feet high. Our anglers were ready. Their hooks were baited with lively anchovies and they were awaiting the word from the captain to drop their lines. “Hang on folks we’re about to take a couple big rollers,” I yelled. A beat later the boat lurched hard to port, then recovered, then lurched again. The Cal Dawn’s big diesel engines roared in reverse as Captain Smith used them to keep the boat in the proper lane. “Drop them, drop them now,” the captain’s voice crackled over the boat’s speakers. “There are fish all over the screen. Drop your gear to the bottom and then slowly reel up.” Yells of “Fish On” and “Hook Up” erupted all around the boat. There were only two kinds of anglers on the rail right then, those that were hooked up and those that were tangled! Mike was up front working with the gaff, while I worked the back of the boat with a huge long handled net. From a distance the water looked slate grey and murky, but when you looked down into it you realized that it was light emerald green and actually pretty clear. When you glimpse a hooked striper in water like that they are absolutely beautiful. Instead of looking silver bright like they do once they hit the deck, the bass have a subtle green hue and you can actually see them changing colors from a more intense electric emerald color to more subtle shades of green and some of them even “light up” in tones of bronze. And all of them small or large look powerful. Saltwater, huge schools of bait and big pulsing currents are like steroids to the bass. Dana Groome was hooked up with a nice 7 pounder that had wrapped several other lines. I scooped the fish, tossed it out of the net onto the deck and moved on. Dan Marinelli was hooked up in the back corner with a fish similar to Dana’s. This wasn’t Dan’s first rodeo and it showed. He skillfully swam the bass into my net and then reached up and grabbed his swinging sinker as I lifted the bass aboard. “Nice fish Dan,” I exclaimed, flipping the bass out of the net and moving up the rail to net another pair of fish. From the amount of numbered fish tags gone from the rack we could tell that we were close to limits and a quick count revealed that we did indeed have full limits of 62 stripers in the box with many of the fish ranging from 6 to 11 pounds. It had WHAT’S HOT SALT by Cal Kellogg Chef Marc took a break from the galley on the California Dawn and posed for a photo with this beautiful 11 pound S.F. Bay striper that was landed on June 29. Photo by CAL KELLOGG, Fish Sniffer Staff. only taken Captain Smith 51 minutes to limit the entire boat! By 9 o’clock we were motoring away from the Golden Gate to go hunt for halibut on the flats. The intense action I just described took place on Friday June 30 and was basically a repeat of the action we’d experienced aboard the Kristen and Dave loaded up on striped bass while fishing the Cal Kellogg School of Fishing event aboard the California Dawn on boat the previous day with relief skipper Bryan June 29. Photo by CAL KELLOGG, Fish Sniffer Staff. Chan at the wheel. The trips were undersize fish. milestone events for me. I’ve hosted too Since both trips were Cal Kellogg many charter boat trips to remember over my time at the Fish Sniffer, but June 29 and School of Fishing adventures, there were lots of prizes up for grabs including rods 30 represented the first time that I’d ever from PENN, Fenwick, Daiwa and Shimano actually chartered a boat and booked my and reels from PENN and Abu Garcia. own trips. Plus, I had a variety of products from Originally, I was only going to charter P-Line including fillet knives, braided line the boat for one day, but when the first trip and monofilament. filled up within 6 hours of me advertising In closing I’d like to thank Captains it, I quickly booked a second day to Bryan Chan and James Smith of the accommodate the overflow and there was California Dawn along with Mike and Chef still a long roster of anglers that didn’t get Marc for two outstanding