Fish Sniffer On Demand Digital Edition Issue 3902 Jan 3-17 - Page 26

24 FRESHWATER Jan 3-17, 2020 GONE FISHING up against the cabin, so I had nowhere to go. Virginia swooped in and coached me through the rest of the fight, adjusting my drag when necessary and reminding me to use proper body form to regain control. “When it runs, you let it run,” Virginia instructed. “Hold it, and keep your 90-degree angle to the boat...it helps guide where the fish can fight.” “Then, you’re going to reel down to the water, and use your weight to get the rod up to your shoulder. Use more of your squat than your back.” I knew my years of weight training would eventually pay off! The last thing I wanted to do was lose this fish. “A lot of guys try to strong-arm these fish,” Zack added. “For some reason, women know to plant their feet and use whole upper body as leverage.” After a few more minutes of this rhythmic pumping action, we all saw color and I breathed a sigh of relief and accomplishment. This was my bucket list fish for 2019, a goal I had set for myself after chatting with Virginia and Zack at the International Sportsmen’s Expo back in January. I looked at Virginia and exclaimed, “Now I know why you love this so much!” We all got a good look at my beautiful VOL.39 • ISS. 2 Continued from page 1 sturgeon once Captain Zack gently placed it on the deck. It was 50 inches, caught in roughly 50 feet of water, and every bit of 50 pounds. Its head was as hard as a turtle shell, and the diamond markings were just breathtaking. “This one is about 20 years old,” Zack stated. A good photo is always key, so Zack helped me get into proper position; after all, a 50-pound sturgeon is not something you want to drop onto the deck of a boat. Shots were taken, then we released the beautiful specimen back into the Delta. Ten minutes later, my cousin was giggling at me. “You’re still shaking!” I looked down, laughing at my arms, which were spasming involuntarily. This is why I fish! Once everything settled down, Zack fired up the gas grill at the bow of the boat and started cooking up chicken and tortillas. We had a nice spread with street tacos, chips and dips, and key lime pie. Not a bad spot for a Sunday picnic! Stuffed, I retired to the cabin to learn why Zack feels so strongly about catch and release when it comes to sturgeon. “There’s such an overabundance of other sustainable fish to eat out here,” he said. “What a lot of people don’t know is that compared to other parts of the country, the Delta is actually one of the least abundant locations for sturgeon. So, why not release and help preserve the population?” This is where my cousin chimed in, laughing. “My friend told me he boils sturgeon four times before he eats it. Why would you want to kill something that has to be boiled four times?” Zack agreed. Zack also works closely with the Department of Fish and Wildlife as well as UC Davis to constantly educate himself. “UC Davis biologists deter- Soon after Stacy’s sturgeon was safely released mined that permanently removing a 8-year-old Owen got his first ever keeper too. sturgeon from these waters creates a Photo by STACY BARAWED, Fish Sniffer Staff. 25-year ripple effect. That’s a huge impact on our fishery.” conservation. So when a fellow passenger, The late Rich Tipton of Lucky Strike 8-year old Owen, landed his sturgeon later Charters was one of Zack’s biggest mentors in the day, I had a deeper appreciation for and has had a big influence on his passion Zack’s careful handling of the fish before for conservation and why he feels so releasing it back to its home. strongly about sustainable fishing practices. “I once caught the same sturgeon twice in “People often call sturgeon “dinos” the same day,” Zack laughed. “Who knows, because they are prehistoric. However, you just might see this one again some they are not from the Jurassic period - day!” they are from the Triassic period. So far, As if I needed more motivation to come they’ve survived everything...except for the back to the Gatecrasher! Maybe re-catching existence of mankind.” my beast should be on my bucket list for This conversation provided me with a 2020. brand-new perspective on both fishing and Website: www.gatecrasherfishing.com Bill Eads RV: For New And Used Recreational Vehicles! W hen it’s time to buy an RV, Bill Eads RV will treat you right! Here’s what the Bill Eads team has to say: We’ve been selling RVs since 2007, Our no hassle sales philosophy allows you to browse the RV’S we have for sale without being pressured by a salesman. Our inventory includes Travel Trailers, 5th Wheels, Motor Homes, Toy Haulers and Diesel Motor Homes. Bill Eads RV’s sell new and pre-owned RV’s. Most of the RV’s are one-owner units. 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