Fishing upside down, Part IX
Fishing and hunting
WE WATCHED the Super Bowl from a sidewalk table at the California Cantina in Santiago, Chile. In photo (left to right): Me, Katherine Culligan, Dottie Lynch, Tom Culligan.
The Huilo-Huilo Biological Preserve in Chile is in the middle of the Andes Mountains. The nearest airport is in the city of Temuco, a three-hour drive west and north of the preserve. It was from the Temuco airport that we took a flight to Santiago (about an hour).
This bustling capital city was an exciting and entertaining final stop before heading home from our 19-day South American adventure. It could have been even more interesting if it wasn’t the middle of Chile’s summer. While the season was good for the fishing, it wasn’t so hot for strolling around a city; or I should say, it was too hot for strolling around.
February is the month that most sane city residents leave their homes for the beaches or mountains. And while we rented a lovely apartment in Santiago’s Providencia district, it was a significant walk to city attractions and it was not air-conditioned.
It was comfortable enough in the mornings to do some walking around, but by early afternoon, it was advisable to find a shady spot in which to rest until the sun went down.
That said, Santiago is an interesting city and I’d like to see more of it.
I have one recommendation for a restaurant – Astrid y Gaston. Gaston, a Peruvian celebrity chef and his wife, have created a very upscale and innovative restaurant in the Providencia neighborhood. The food was expensive, but it was one of those dinners in which each of us was telling the others, “You’ve got to taste this. It’s fabulous.”
We watched the Super Bowl, or at least half of it anyway, at a sidewalk table at the jam-packed California Cantina. Every American expatriate in Santiago, along with Chileans who had spent enough time in the United States to become football fans, packed into and around this little bar for the game.
Dottie and I had to leave for the airport at halftime because we had a red-eye flight home. As it turned out, because of the power outage at the game, we were able to watch most of the second half in the airport lounge before our plane too off.
Our trip home took longer than expected due to a major power failure in Panama City that prompted an additional stop at some jungle-side airport in Ecuador, which caused us to miss our connection, which then caused a second missed connection. But we finally arrived at SFO very happy to see Mike and Dolores McEntee, whose Sonoma-based airport charter service is wonderful, waiting for us. If you ever need a ride to or from the airport, call them, 938-7554.
In fishing news locally, Mike Phelps won the 30th annual Al’s Ark Striper Derby top prize of $540 with a 27.5-pound striper, followed by Dan Giovannnoni and Dave Harp with 24-pounders each. John Lipanovich came closest to the sturgeon slot-size limit of 54 inches with a 54.5 incher to win $500 in the sturgeon division on Sunday, while Andy Marden won the $370 top sturgeon prize on Saturday.
Other best striper prize winners included: Dan Dos Reis, 20 lbs., Laurence Brumley, 19.75 lbs., Jordon Price, 19 lbs., Marhall Briggs 15 lbs., Saretha Hayes, 14.25 lbs., Sid King, 14 lbs., and David Harberts, 13.75 lbs. Additional to sturgeon winnes included Tim Bonman, 49.5 inches and Steve Perkins, 48 inches. Top woman finisher was Ann Marden with a 58.5 inch sturgeon. Brook Crawford one the kids competition with an eight pound striper. There were 144 entries and the derby awarded a total of $4290 in cash prizes.
Clear Lake and Lake Berryessa are providing some action for bass fishermen who know the water. Most of the action is in shallow areas and the pros are saying fish slow.
Further north, I’m still seeing reports of good steelhead fishing on the Klamath and Trinity rivers, but it is supposed to be the end of the season, so it probably won’t last. Trout fishing on the upper and lower Sacramento River and the Pit River is good right now.
Striped bass are sill the hot topic on San Francisco and San Pablo Bay, while sturgeon fishing is pretty darn good and halibut action is barely beginning. Keith Fraser, at Loch Lomond Bait Shop, said the tides get much better for sturgeon this weekend and terrific into next week. The best location is near the Pump House.
Valerie Lightborne, at Leonard’s Bait Shop at Port Sonoma, said she is getting good reports for the Petaluma River, Sonoma Creek and the Napa River, all three of which are producing good action for stripers plus some sturgeon.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife planted trout this week in Lake Berryessa and Lake Ralphine in Santa Rosa. Next week Berryessa gets another load.
Mark your calendars for the opening of ocean salmon season on April 6. Capt. Rick Powers, of Bodega Bay Sportfishing, has space on his big boat, the New Sea Angler, for the Saturday opener and the day after. He said signs are pointing to lots of salmon. There are lots of krill for them to feed on, and one of his boat captains has seen salmon jumping. He is also keeping his crab pots in the water with limits virtually every trip. Salmon trips on the New Sea Angler, Rick’s big boat, are $110. He also books some smaller six-pack boats that run between $175 and $200 an angler. Call Rick at 875-3344.