No fly fishing in Crete – Part II
Fishing and hunting
OUR GROUP trekked through some beautiful, rocky terrain in Crete. (Above) Former Sonoman Janet Richman leads the way followed by Celeste Ferguson, Jim Lamb, Peter Haywood, and Randy Ferguson.
Index-Tribune photo courtesy of Manolis Mavrakis
(Note: This is the second in a series on our trip to Crete. The first part of this second-part is not about fishing; for that skip down to the last paragraphs.)
Crete, Greece’s largest island, was the home of the Minoans, Europe's oldest advanced civilization, although they were apparently not fly fishermen.
After the Minoan civilization faded, the Greeks created a myth that it had been ruled by King Minos, a son of Zeus, who periodically demanded a tribute of young maidens to be scarified to the Minotaur (half man, half bull), the monster of the Labyrinth.
Today, it is a beautiful green land, rich in agriculture, where tourists mingle with ancient gods, and trekkers wander, like followers of Odysseus, in search of Zeus knows what, succumbing frequently to the siren call of the nearest taverna, and eventually ending up back where they started.
The labyrinths trekkers explore are the numerous gorgeous gorges cut through the high mountains to the sea. The Minotaurs are long gone, but there are lots of goats. Tribute is paid in sweat, blood and blisters, along with swollen joints, and in my case, frequent whining.
“What in Zeus's name was I thinking? This stopped being fun five miles ago.”
Trekking is either for the young, fit, and adventurous, or it is a pastime for those who love the gods of nature (Cybele, Dionysus, Hera, Pan, et al.) so much that they are willing to suffer for that love.
I prefer to follow Trouticious, goddess of fly-fishers.
OK, there is no goddess of fly-fishers, but if there was, I'd gladly follow her.
For days, our group trekked, and trekked, and trekked – down steep, rocky trails, through narrow ravines, over big boulders and along steep, treacherous rocky cliffs. There was pain – more for some than others. Dottie’s knee gave out on the second day, and we skipped a couple of the treks.
Pain was the price the ancient Greek gods demand for invading their domain – including the lovely little seaside villages of Sougia, Agia Roumeli and Loutros, where we rested and enjoyed wonderful meals; the beautifully restored village of Vamos, where we took a class in Cretan cooking from Koula Barydakis; the ancient Venetian port of Chania, and the ruins of Knossos, the center of the Minoan civilization.
Our companions were perhaps the best part of our trip – our hostess, Karen Collins (of Going Places), and Sonomans Tom and Katherine Culligan and Peter and Maggie Haywood, and Jim Lamb, as well as former Sonoman (and my childhood friend) Janet Richman, and Tom and Bonnie Herman of Oakland, and Randy and Celeste Ferguson of Vancouver, Wash.
We were ably led by our guide, Manolis Mavrakis, a native of Crete (cretanwalks.com). More than a guide, Manolis was an evangelist for Crete. He looked like a son of Zeus, and spoke with passion about the island history, its people, its beauty and even its faults.
(Next week, a few final highlights and thoughts on our adventure).
MEANWHILE, closer to home, big minus tides have created problems for most bay anglers, but it does help the sturgeon bite. Keith Fraser, at Loch Lomond Bait Shop, saw one nice 64-inch sturgeon landed Tuesday. He said the best action will be tomorrow, when the minus tides are more manageable. Then you can go after stripers and sturgeon in the morning from anchor, and drift live shiners in the afternoon for halibut and bass. The best spots are Red Rock, South Hampton and Paradise.
Joel Sinkay, of Leonard's Bait Shop at Port Sonoma, has seen pretty good action in the Petaluma River and Napa River on stripers and bat rays (aka mud marlin).
Salmon fishing off of Sonoma's coast continues to be good. Capt. Rick Powers is reporting more than one fish a rod up to 19 pounds, plus nice limits or near limits of dungeness crab. Call Rick at 875-3344 to book a trip.
Trout fishing in the upper Sacramento River and McCloud River is good and getting better.
Lake Sonoma and Lake Berryessa are both producing lots of action for local bass anglers. This is an excellent time to go before the water and traffic heats up.