07-16-2007, 08:51 PM

Joe T and I Got the invite to join Bassassin on his cutty out of Bodega Bay. I scrambled Thursday to get my salt gear together and had rods/reels bait ice and grub figured by 2230 on Thursday night.

We drove towards the coast and after 2 hours, 2 u-turns, 1 gas/pee stop, 1 nearly-road-killed bobcat, 1 horned owl, 2 barn owls, a broken down Chevy and a dropped phone call later... we ended up at the West Side Boat Launch at 0200 hours.

Jason's new diesel hauler and yellow boat stood out. He was sawing logs in the cabin while Donzi and Richie, parked nextdoor, were walking around the grounds with beers in hand and fish in brain. "Hey SLEEPING BEAUTY, wake up you sissy" was the alarm sound offered to Joe who was curled up in a sleeping bag in the passenger seat of my Dodge Ram.

We all bs'ed a bit and I decided to knock out for 2 hours in the back of my truck. Launch time came around quickly. I introduced myself to the guy we needed to cut off to get in line.... THANKS! Nick from Healdsburg for passage rights on your North River...

Launching took forever due to a few not so gifted drivers.... One guy backed his rig up and jackknifed 6 times before his hull hit the harbor. I helped his wife move the boat down the docks and it wouldn't budge.... I kindly suggested he lift his prop out of the mud DOH!

FINALLY, we were on the pond and it was a pond indeed on Friday... GLASSED water, no swell, no wind, no fog, WTF?


Joe and I received our instructions about holding on and 'MR. Sea Legs' here... thought he was above grabbing a rail so when Jason opened the throttle... I went forward very fast and grabbed a seat cushion so hard that I yanked the stitches out of the tuck hinge.

We headed west until we saw 'the armada' of stick and sport boats and then took a NW/N bearing to find the fish.

We trolled at roughly 45-60 OTW and with a good mix (Cop Car APEX, large herring/crowbar, and FBR with a small herring)

Joe T drew first blood on the bait.




We had numerous drive by's and boated a couple marginal kings (19-20"). which were too close for comfort and thus released.

Because of the unusually calm weather conditions we got to see a lot of marine life that would otherwise have been lost in the fog. We spotted gray whales, a possible humpback, several porpoises and bait balls as thick and long as a good sized lake.


At some point, I decided to switch out my cop car Apex for something stinky and figured since everyone else had larger baits on, I'd downsize to a small 'chovie. It turned out to be a good call when an hour or so later, I got into a 16/17# king.


With 2 in the box, we continued our quest. Oh the inequities... the 2 greenhorns each boat a salmon and the guy that made it all happen, was still scratchin' for his. On the turnaround, Jason was running a crow bar/herring rig and put the third fish on the wire.


Joe did a fine job making it count with the net to get the meat in the boat.



FREAKIN-A! We all got blood on our hands. We got the downriggers set and lines back in the water and headed south back down the grid.

And then it happened... what we never would have expected in a million years... and what would be the highlight of the trip. Something we would tell stories about around the campfire and what our grandchildren would tell their grandchildren about...

Joe T's line went bendo and the fight was on. It was a big beast of a fish, tough as nails, sandpaper, leather, and razors... all wrapped up into one mean-arse fish. It was a vicious battle but Joe came out on top and in the end, the 3.75' 8# smoothhound shark was conquered...

We dreamed up cigar advertisements of 'Joe Smooth' with a phallic picture of a smoothhound shark puffin' on a stogie. We wondered how a smoothie shark smoothie might blend up with avocado, fruit juice and yogurt? and then we released the monster without even taking a picture, IMAGINE THAT!

The rest of the day was flat and calm for weather and salmon hookups. We heard some nice radio reports coming from up north around the 20/10 in deep water (160-180 OTW) but time was too short to make that run so we counted our blessings good and came back to the head with half-limits.

No complaints here... The WFO bite which had emerged and stuck from Tuesday through Thursday, was bombarded and put down by a lot of sport and commercial vessels. Many boats got the big (0) so for 2 first timers and an up and coming captain... I think we pretty much kicked butt.

We got back to camp, had some drinks and eats and went lights out by 2200 hours.

The next day I slept in until 0600 and napped until we were ready to go out for day number two... The weather had come in and was looking more like the BLOWdega everyone has come to expect. There was no hurry to join the VERY LONG line of anxious fisherman who formed a line a mile long.

There was ESPECIALLY no hurry for THIS guy. and whereas, I never got the official word... rumour has it that he decided to drop anchor off the launch docks in order to beat the crowds in the morning. He beat the crowds alright... but he left out one minor detail... something to do with an overnight minus tide... oops...


He must have made out okay (at around 1200 hours when the tide came back in) since his boat was out of the mud when we came back in.

Saturday, wasn't too rough but it was much choppier than the day before. We definitely didn't see the Zodiac inflatable 7 miles offshore where it had been the day before.

We headed less west and more North before setting the DR's, We tried to cover our X's on the graph and at the same time get to where the school was late on Friday.

It was a tougher bite for us. I hooked a sub-legal and tossed her back. Captain Jason, would have first blood on this mission. his fish came on a red dodger/crow bar herring combo (I think).


We had some short bites and kept at it. I was at the helm when Bassassin barked out my name... I jumped up and ran aft and started to grab Joe's rod for some strange reason... Fortunately, the salmon was pinned deep on THE OTHER HOOK, lol... I grabbed the correct rod and in pretty short order, had fish #2 on deck. This shiny girl would weigh in at 13/14#'s.



We worked hard to get limits but couldn't make it happen. Joe was bummed that he didn't catch another smoothhound but he got over it...

During one of our last trolls we saw a giant splash off our stern. This massive brown furball WAS PISSED and was jumpin' up and down like a kangaroo on krack. ?WTH? Way too big to be a sea lion... way too brown to be a whale... definitely a mammal and a fat arse' cow of one at that... So many years since my degree in Wildlife Biology... and from HUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMBOLDT no less...

WAIT A MINUTE.... COW! THAT'S IT... We had seen a behemoth sea cow wallowing and jumping on the surface. She was either feeding or was trying to avoid being fed upon.... DUN-DUN, DUN-DUN, DUN-DUN-DUN-DUN (by a NOT SMOOTHHOUND cartilaginous, many-gilled fish that can't stop swimming...). I got some photos but she was several hundred yards off our ass so this is the best I could do with 70mm of lens.



We fished a bit longer and pulled lines at 1900 or so hours and made for the docks. The stick boats were coming in behind us.



We filleted dos pescados and gave the scraps to an Asian couple with a cooler of salt, blood, and fish carcasses. It was cool knowing that our fish would be completely consumed. At the boat cleaning station, some guy got my attention with a 16# cabezon he dredged up from the rocks. Its mouth was WFO and you could almost put your BIG head in it... I stopped for a FSF sashimi break and my only regret was that I had no soy sauce, wasabi nor ginger to help it down. I managed though...



When we got back to camp, there was quite the festive atmosphere... Adults and Kids were celebrating.





One particular kid was playing a bit ruff and crashing his bike into other kids' bikes. We had to talk to him about that. When all of his 8 years of wisdom, led him to yell out to 4 adults, "The next person that laughs is going to get kicked in the balls... by ME!" we figured he had skipped his Ritalin break... and later found out that it was a correct assumption.

Moving right along... we joined up with some friendly FISH SNIFFER folks and got in on some of the awesome grub laid out on the table. There were fresh oysters, mushroom dip, and one of my personal fave's... spicy crab dip on French bread. That was paralleled only by the cup of stout home brew that spouted from a nearby keg.


All in all it was an A+WESOME experience. I got to see what a REAL CHROMER looks like before it leaves the salt. My first king actually came from a guided trip I took as a kid in Vancouver but that was 35+ years and 1,000+ river-caught salmon ago... so I was way impressed with the color and brilliance of these sea-migrant fish.




It was also nice to actually see FOOD in the stomachs of the salmon. All of the fish that went under the knife... coughed up wads of sardines, herring and anchovies and some as big as 14 inches.

We shook hands, said goodbyes, and thanked Jason for an absolutely KICK-BUTT 2 days of fishing. On the way home, I was beat. I drove 1/3 of the way and Joe took over at the wheel. I only woke up twice on the way home... once for peanut M&Ms and petrol in Vacaville and then again at my driveway.

Looking back on the 2 days... it was an all out adventure. Things went relatively smoothly. Jason was a great host. He's a perfect mix of laid back and balls-out business. He made us feel at ease on the water and didn't get too bent when we drove in circles or FUBAR'ed our lines in the downrigger. His attitude and perseverance for finding fish was solid and unrelenting and as a result, he put us on fish 2 days running.

I won't be surprised at all to see Jason running 4-pack charters in a few years or less.

To all of the fellow SNIFFERS I met for the first time, KRZY, DONZI, DRAGONSLAYER, 209RICHIE, AND OTHERS... it was a pleasure. To anyone I didn't meet, hopefully, next time...

If anyone needs a deck hand/fishing partner to come along (with food/drinks, bait and gas $) PLEASE PM ME. I can go any day/any time with 2 hours or less notice.

THANKS AGAIN JASON for having us along and for making it happen.



07-16-2007, 09:01 PM
Great report and nice pics, glad I got to meet you.

07-16-2007, 09:34 PM
Mark, Joe. It's nice to see you guys on the Big Pond. 8-) I was surprised as hell when i talked to Jason Friday Morning and asked him who his crew was.

Nice fish guys and like always Mark. Very well written report my good friend. :-*

07-16-2007, 09:59 PM
Hey Carlo~

Thanks man and it was cool seeing you at the fest.

Thanks for pointing us in the direction of the eats. I was HUNGRY...

You disappeared somewhere quickly after I got a small plate of food so I never got to visit with ya much or say adios...

We'll have to hit the river sometime fairly soon.

Later bro

07-16-2007, 10:03 PM
Fishenrick nice to meet you also.

So many new faces and so little time.

I regret not personally meeting more people than I did.

Maybe next event, it would do well to have an organized time/place to gather for just an hour or so and do a round robin of introductions, names, where from etc...

Regardless, the event was a smashing success and greatly enjoyed by myself and everyone I spoke with.

Take care/Fish hard

07-16-2007, 10:21 PM
Nice to meet a bunch of people this weekend. Good to see you out there Carlo. The food and the homade beer was great on saturday night. Thanks to all the people who set up the event.

07-17-2007, 07:45 AM
Great writing and pic's! A totally complete report and excellent read. It takes time to do this kind of thing but I think I speak for everyone it is appreciated.


07-17-2007, 10:33 AM
great report crome, great job jason getting the crew on fish 8-)

07-17-2007, 10:53 AM
Nice report. That was a good read but it makes me sad :'(..............


A Very Jealous, Burt

PS. I'm happy to see that the weather held out for all you guys & all made it back safely.

07-17-2007, 10:57 AM
Holy cow! With a report like that I'm ready to hook up the boat and head down this weekend! Great to meet you guys!


07-17-2007, 11:12 AM
Holy cow! With a report like that I'm ready to hook up the boat and head down this weekend! Great to meet you guys!


Mi Casa is always open to you Mi Amigo ;)

07-17-2007, 01:01 PM
It's stories and photos like this that make it ;) ;D ;D

Very nice job Chrome, very nice job 8-) [smiley=thumbsup.gif]

07-17-2007, 03:35 PM
Mark, very impressive report as always. Love your writings. It was great seeing you and all the other sniffers at the fest. Thanks to all. It was a blast.

07-17-2007, 07:15 PM
Man Thats a GREAT REPORT!! I didnt get to meet to many at the fest as we came in Sat right behind that pretty WellCraft. I had Robert L and a local buddy with me. We tryed for a couple hours to boat a salmon but after having a few come unbuttoned we decided to run up to Salt Point for RF. we got a couple limits and headed home. Ran across Donzi at TC well they were hooked up on a ling. We stopped by the river on the way back LOTS of bait so we dropped them in and had a couple more come unbuttoned, We were just about to pick up and run in when BAM BAM BAM a triple. Roberts came unbuttoned Garys was a mackrel and I boated a 23# er that I gave to my GREAT CREW. Sorry I kept Robert out solong and ya'll (or me either) didnt get to try his chilly. Momma and my daughter love the T-shirts. A big Thanks to those that made that happen! Again wish I could have joined more in the festivities and meet more Sniffers. Rick/sebric/dukedempsey

07-19-2007, 07:13 AM
Guys - Thanks again for a great weekend. Mark pretty well hit the nail on the head for our trip. We caught fish from 11/10 to 19/11 and worked every number in between. We covered a ton of water and were lucky to boat fish both days on the water. All the pressure was removed Friday when each of us boated fish. From then on it was just icing on the cake. We had action all day Friday. Saturday was a little slower, but we still had a lot of action for only boating two fish. Bait was the ticket; crowbars and fbr's both produced; herring and anchovies both produced. We caught fish on both the jumbo herring as well as the standard size. As long as it was bait fish were hitting it.

I certainly need to work on the bite to fish sticking ratio. So many times we saw that rod bouncing hard only to come up empty handed. I guess it's just fishing, but I'll be playing with some things in attempt to improve the ratio.

Great seeing familiar faces and meeting some new ones. I'm hooked. I'll be back in a few short weeks. :) Hope to see you all down there soon!

sebric - so sorry we didn't get to hook up this weekend. I tend to get in a zone around the launch. I just want to get in and out as quickly as possible. I'll look forward to seeing you down there in the coming weeks.

11-15-2007, 07:42 PM
Bump^ ;)