Fish Sniffer On Demand Digital Edition Issue 3719 Aug 31- Sept 14 - Page 25

VOL . 37 • ISS . 19
The strike wasn ’ t really a strike at all . It was signaled by a little unnatural pressure . At first I thought I might have wrapped another line , but when I felt a pair of weak tugs I knew it was a fish . I let the ling hold onto the bait for a long time , perhaps 30 seconds or more . At that point , I started to ever so slowly crank the fish off the bottom . One crank , two , more … When I figured the fish was 20 to 30 feet off the bottom , it suddenly came to life . First there was a series of violent tugs and then the rod loaded . The ling had turned and was trying to swim back to the bottom ! Thumbing the reel , I allowed the fish to pull the rod tip down as far as possible and then I swung hard . My rod was spooled with 65 pound braid and my leader was constructed out of 60 pound Yo-Zuri fluorocarbon , so I wasn ’ t worried about breaking the fish off on the hookset . On the contrary , I wanted to drive the hooks home and turn the fish back toward the surface . I had no idea how big the fish at the other end of the line was until I set the hook and the fish barely budged … I was locked up with a monster !
Will Cook nailed down the rockfish division in the recent High Rollers Lingcod event on the California Dawn with these jumbo vermilions .
Photo courtesy of CALIFORNIA DAWN

GONE FISHING continued from page 1

“ Fish on in the bow ,” I yelled . I was pumped and excitement induced tunnel vision set in . The ling made several blistering power dives , each time the Baja Special ’ s drag stopped the fish short before it could reach the safety of the rocky reef . The fish was in 150 feet of water when I hooked it and it was a long crank to the surface . When a huge mottled mass appeared off the port bow , Captain James Smith was at my side . The gaff stabbed into the water . James made a perfect “ head shot ” on the fish and hefted it over the rail . I guessed the ling ’ s weighted at 25 pounds . I ’ d tagged my first fish , a small 7 pound ling , when the fishing was slow . When I tagged the big fish , I was “ tagged out ” meaning I had my two fish for the weigh in . The big ling , was the biggest I ’ d seen landed and I suspected ( correctly ) that it was the biggest lingcod on the boat . With good fish coming in steadily at that point , the question was whether or not the combined weight of my two fish would be enough to hold off the competition . If you ’ ve never heard about the High Roller ’ s Lingcod Derby , the contest works like this . Every keeper lingcod caught during the contest goes into the box . The outcome is based on the heaviest two lingcod limit . It is up to the angler to designated which fish he wants to tag at the time of catching them . If you tag out on two medium size fish and then hooked a monster , you ’ re out of luck and the big fish simply joins the rest in the box . Likewise , if you play cat and mouse too long you might end up not tagging a pair of fish before limits hit the deck and the contest is called . In addition to the lingcod segment of the contest , there is also a side pot for the biggest 10 fish rockfish limit . In years past we ’ ve enjoyed great ocean conditions during the High Rollers trip , but this year was an exception . The water along the Marin Coast wasn ’ t super rough , but it was cold and the fish there had lockjaw . Ultimately , we opted to push north to Point Reyes , where the water would be much rougher and hopefully warmer . “ When we got to Point Reyes , I really thought about calling the trip due to


weather , but the lingcod guys that come on the trip are pretty hardcore . On the plus side the water at the point was 6 degrees warmer than it was down toward Duxbury . In the end , we all committed to tough it out and it paid off big time ,” exclaimed Captain James Smith later in the day . How rough was it ? Jagged 8 foot high wind waves were constant . It seemed like the further north James strayed to start a drift the bigger the water got . At one point , I looked up from the bow and was confronted with a massive swell that looked like a small hill . I have no idea how big the swell was - 12 to 15 feet ? It was one of the biggest I ’ ve ever seen ! Up we went and when we reached the top there was a lot of open air between the tip of my rod and the surface of the water far below ! The fishing was extremely slow for most of the day . I didn ’ t catch my first fish until about 1 o ’ clock . That ’ s how I came to tag such a small fish . At that moment with few fish coming over the rail I figured if I could combine the little fish with a decent ling I ’ d have a shot at the title . The problem with this strategy was that right about the time I got my first fish , the bite went from nonexistent to wide open . Suddenly the fish were on the chomp and it seemed like a lot of 10 to 15 pounders were coming over the rail . I saw some fish that looked to be huge lost up on the bow . While I reeled up my 25 pounder , Will Cook was right around the corner of the wheelhouse from me working hard . First , he landed a nice matched set of lings in the 16 to 17-pound class . With his lings landed he started targeting rockfish and hooked good fish while others struggled to catch any rockfish at all . At some point , Will nailed a jumbo vermilion that weighed several pounds , which would be the anchor of his rockfish bag …
Aug 31 - Sept 7 , 2018
Here are the top finishers in the 2018 High Rollers Lingcod event including Cal Kellogg , Will Cook and Chuck Brooks .
Photo courtesy of CALIFORNIA DAWN SPORTFISHING , Berkeley .
By 3 o ’ clock we were done fishing with 28 limits of lingcod in the box and half limits of rockfish in the sacks lining the rail . As soon as we got into calmer water it was weigh in time . It was tense . I knew I had a big fish , but I had no idea what had come over the rail toward the back of the boat . The California Dawn ’ s deckhand / second skipper Mike Verone put all the lings on the deck and sorted out the best limits . From there it was head to head elimination via the balance beam . To my surprise , my jumbo fish and tiny fish duo were holding off all challengers . And then there was Will Cook ’ s fish . The first couple times Mike held up the balance beam it looked like a dead tie . On the third attempt the beam tilted just a bit toward Will ’ s fish and both Mike and I declared Will the winner . James wanted to verify it himself and once again the beam nodded a few degrees down toward Will ’ s fish . Will took home a wad of cash for his dandy limit of lings . I took home a smaller , but still totally awesome fist full of greenbacks for second place . The rockfish side pot also went to Will virtually uncontested . Nobody had landed anything in the rockfish category that could compete with Will ’ s jumbo vermilion . Will Cook is the 2018 High Rollers Lingcod Champion . On behalf of all the other contestants and the crew of the California Dawn , congratulations Will . The title couldn ’ t be in the hands of a better angler or finer gentleman !

Rancho Seco Recreation Area For Fishing & More !

Rancho Seco Recreational Area is a 400-acre park overflowing with recreational opportunities including camping , boating , fishing , swimming and wildlife viewing . The 160-acre lake is fed by the Folsom South Canal and is a great year-round day or overnight getaway located in California ’ s Central Valley , just 25 miles from downtown Sacramento . You may launch an electric motor boat , rowboat or sailboat from the two ramps located at each end of the dam . Ramp hours coincide with facility hours . Kayaks , Row Boats , Stand Up Paddleboards , Electric powered fishing boats are available on a seasonal basis . Windsurfers are also welcome on the lake . This fresh water lake is a habitat for bass , bluegill , red ear sunfish , crappie and catfish . Rainbow trout are stocked in the lake January through March . Fishing licenses are required . For more information call- ( 800 ) 416-6992 .