After ending my latest quest to catch something while surf fishing, I needed to stay on the Emma Wood State Beach side of town for a few hours so I could run an errand in the afternoon. Instead of just prowling around all the interesting shops in Downtown Ventura while I waited for the time to pass, I went over to the Ventura Pier during the interim.
The weather could not have been better for the way I fish and there were surprisingly few anglers around. I didn’t have my ultralight with me since I had not planned to use it, so I put the line on my Shakespeare ATS 350 reel& Shimano Saguaro rod outfit on the ocean bottom looking for sharks, rays, or a stray Halibut and fished over the side with my Shakespeare Contender reel & 8-foot Shimano FX 2803 rod. It is a pretty big outfit, big enough to haul in a 5-foot Tiger Shark, but it is not really suited for drift lining. Still, I had to use what I had on hand.
When it was time to go, my catch for the few hours I fished was 3 Mackerel, 1 Smelt, 1 Croaker, and the guy pictured above. I am not a crab expert but apparently a passerby was, he was also a lover of crab meat.
He told me that this is a Dungeness Crab which are very good to eat; he had eaten hundreds in his lifetime. He also asked me if he could have this one. I told him that I was going to let the guy go back into the ocean after I took his picture for my blog. As if he knew what was going to happen, once the crab finished posing for the picture, he scuttled sideways to the edge of the pier and jumped in which gave all of us observers a good laugh.
The now crab-less passerby stayed and we talked fishing. He is from Atlanta, GA, maybe a 75-mile drive from where my sister lives. He told me of a great place to fish which is about 4 hours from Atlanta but worth the trip.
So, I am thinking that maybe its time to pack up my gear and pay sis a visit…
I am sure you didn’t expect to see that word next and you would have a hard time convincing my wife and friends that this statement can be attributed to me, yet it is nonetheless true. Today was one of those days.
I can’t explain why I felt this way today. Maybe it was because I had “stuff” to do but when you are retired, “stuff” can always be done later. Maybe it was because I didn’t like the wind forecast; blowing as it was predicted would make fishing difficult. Or maybe I realized that I won’t have a day like I did the last time I went out: 40 fish caught in 4 hours.
Still, I went fishing.
The wind was as bad as predicted. The flags were nearly straight out all day. at my home base, the Ventura Pier, and though I only stayed for half as long as usual. I still caught four fish, all different species, but all small so the Skate, Perch, Croaker, and Smelt all went back into the Pacific.
I am planning an outing which will be an experiment that will combine three of my loves: Fishing, writing, and biking. This will be a first time for me so I don’t know how it will work out or if I will catch any fish, so stay tuned for the results.
I have been having some issues with the line on my Wishing Pole which I keep on the ocean’s bottom hoping to lure in a big fish. The line on my new reel was the 35-year-old line that I had on my old reel. It was getting fragile and I did not have enough of it left to fight a big fish if necessary, nor could I find any of the 80-pound test Tuf Line Braided Dacron line I wanted locally so I had to order it from Amazon and it took two weeks to get to me. Well it arrived yesterday so today I loaded up my Shakespeare ATS 350 reel with it, grabbed my Shimano Saguaro rod and went fishing which is rare for me on a Saturday. I had also added 10-feet of rope to my pier gaff. Nothing was going to get away today.
The action was slow at my home base, the Ventura Pier, but I did manage to catch 2 Mackerel, 1 Smelt and 1 six-inch Croaker. My now totally new Wishing Pole outfit only got a few small tugs on it, but I did catch one fish—the six-inch Croaker which swallowed a chunk of bait almost as big as it was.
I will be
hitting the road for my next few outings.
On Monday, I fish Santa Barbara.
Today’s fishing effort picked up right where it left off yesterday. I caught my first fish on my first cast. It was a Croaker, one of seventeen Croakersthat I caught along with two Perch and two Smelt one of which was a foot long.
It was lucky for “Doc” and his wife who drove to Ventura all the way from Rancho Cucamonga, CA to fish on the Ventura Pier (that is a 118-mile, 3-hour trip) that I was having such a good day since the only fish they had in their buckets when I left was the fourteen that I gave them.
I threw seven fish back, so the day’s total catch was twenty-one
fish which kept me busy all day.
No big fish today, though. The Smelt was the catch of the day.
My slow fishing day (2 Mackerel, 2 Smelt, and 1 #&% bait stealer) got off to an auspicious start when I arrived at the Ventura Pier at 6:45 AM only to find it still closed even though it is supposed to be open at 6:30 AM. There were anglers and tourists waiting for someone from the City of Ventura to come and open the gate. A workman finally strolled in around 7:10 to do the job. The anglers were not really upset but three tourists from Colorado were pretty put out. At the time, it was a bright sunny day and people were out and about early. However, that did not last.
Around 8 AM a huge fog bank rolled in. The featured picture above was taken around 10 AM. By that time, the pier did not seem to be attached to the land. It was surreal hearing the sounds of Highway 101, an occasional train or a siren without seeing exactly where the sound was coming from.