Great crab fishing off coast
Fishing and hunting
Steve Kyle and guide, Francois Blanchet, of the Babine Steelhead Lodge, with one of several nice steelhead Kyle caught in British Columbia in September.
The sport fishing season for dungeness crab opened last weekend with fantastic weather and outstanding results for all anglers who went out over weekend and into this week, reports Capt. Rick Powers, of Bodega Bay Sportfishing.
Rick’s clients not only caught full limits of big, fat, tasty crab on every trip, but also full limits of rockcod and lots of lingcod. This is a great time of year to go on one of Rick’s combo crab-and-rockcod trips out of Bodega. Call him at 875-3344.
Valerie Lightborne, at Leonard’s Bait Shop at Port Sonoma, is not only seeing lots of striped bass caught in the Petaluma River near the shop, she is also catching them herself. When I talked to her Wednesday, she had caught and released five nice fish.
She said the action is good on the Napa River and also at the mouth of Sonoma Creek. They have plenty of live bait at the shop, including bullheads, grass and ghost shrimp and pile worms.
Striped bass fishing is still good from the Marin shoreline, particularly near China Camp this week, and a few guys are catching halibut drifting shiners near Red Rock and other Bay hot spots. Call Keith Fraser, at Loch Lomond Bait Shop, to book a party boat on the Bay for stripers and halibut. Look for sturgeon to start showing this week, too.
Fly-fishing on the upper Sac is fair this week, said Bob Grace, of the Ted Fay Fly Shop in Dunsmuir, but action over the hill on the McCloud is better.
I got just got an essay from my fishing buddy Steve Kyle summarizing his experience fishing in British Columbia earlier this fall. Sounds like the fishing was good. The catching, no so much.
“If you had been wearing a tuxedo instead of waders, you might have passed for a conductor leading a symphony near a waterway. But instead of Mozart and a moving baton in hand, you are waist deep in the Skeena River, and your arms and hands are lifting a 13-foot spey rod upwards where, after the briefest of pauses, there follows a brisk forward motion which launches 70 feet of fly-line into the frosty morning air toward the opposite bank. As the line unfolds and settles to the river’s surface, you make a quick, but subtle, flip of your rod tip to properly set the fly into the current.
“As the line begins to pull the fly into its natural swing beneath the rippled water’s surface, you hope that maybe, just maybe, this will be the cast that gets the grab. Your body, arms, head and eyes slowly rotate downstream following the path of the line. The current on the backs of your legs pushes you to the balls of your feet, while your breathing slows and then stops … and you wait … and then wait some more, until the fly comes to rest directly downstream unmolested.
“You exhale and mutter to yourself, strip in some excess fly-line, take another three steps down stream and cast again. Hour after hour, from dawn to dusk, in rain, snow, hail, heavy winds and sometimes sunshine, you do this dance with a metronome-like cadence – cast, mend, swing, pick-up, take three steps down and cast again.
“That’s a steelhead fishermen’s day and at times, his week. Then it happens on that next cast, you watch your line swing smoothly across the current and as it approaches midway, it pauses and begins to straighten out. Your hand instinctively tightens on the rod handle and before you can answer your own question of ‘Should I strike and set the hook?’, the decision is made for you as a leaping, cart-wheeling and very angry streak of chrome explodes out of the water and starts rippling line off your reel at a furious rate while you struggle to retreat toward shore so you can run and give chase downstream before he takes all of your line.
“I’ve been told that to be a successful steelhead fisherman you needed a strong right arm and a room-temperature IQ. I believe it’s mostly true. Steelhead fishing is not a numbers game. But no matter what the results of my previous trips, each fall, I find myself spending weeks at a time at one of my favorite fish camps in the middle of British Columbia, chasing this noble fish that makes hooking just one a day a great day, and if hooked and landed, will give you the greatest fight possible before being gently released back into his home waters with gratitude. This was my September on the Babine, Kispiox and Skeena rivers.”