Croaker Tsunami

From FB Post of August 8, 2019

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 Croakers that 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.

Sunshine or Fog, The Fishing Goes On

The fog rolls in...
Sunshine, fog, or both, I am out there…

From FB post of August 2, 2019

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.

How to Catch a Whale—or Not…

A Skate Ray, often mistaken for Shovel Head Sharks

From FB post of July 28, 2019

I didn’t catch quite as many fish today as I did on my last outing, but the variety was greater and the fish bigger including a Skate Ray which weighed around 20 pounds.  Tomorrow I go to my old haunting grounds, the Goleta Beach Pier where I have caught hundreds of fish including a Bat Ray with a 4-foot wide wingspan.

I did have a heart-attack moment today, though. I had just outfitted and baited my Fishing pole and tossed the hook in the water while I outfitted and baited my Wishing pole. Suddenly, I heard the crack of my line guide hitting the edge of the pier. The 8-foot pole was bent double. I grabbed it and tried to pull back but the line went slack. Reeling in I saw that I had lost everything, hook, line, bait, and sinker. THEN some guy with his phone on video record asked me if I had seen the “whale”. I was about to tell him that what he saw, and what hit my line, was a shark of some sort when another guy ran up yelling about the whale next to the pier. So I guess it was a whale of some sort and had I not secured my pole, it would have been in the somewhere in the deep blue sea ala Moby Dick.

I don’t think I could have landed it anyway.

Where I Fish

ventura pier
The Ventura Pier

Although I sometimes go to my local lake, Lake Casitas, and do a little freshwater fishing, most of my efforts are limited to the Pacific Ocean.  I grew up in Arizona where saltwater fishing is not an option so for 20 years I fished in lakes, lagoons, rivers, and streams where there were only a limited number of species to catch (Perch, Crappie, Sun Fish, Bass, Catfish, Carp, etc.).  Once I moved to California, took in the splendor of the ocean, and realized that there are unlimited types of fish to catch, I became “hooked” on saltwater fishing, so to speak…

Most of the time, I fish off what I consider my home base, the 1600 hundred-foot Ventura Pier in my hometown of Ventura, CA. I also fish in the surf and at other piers in the area such as the ones located in Goleta, CA and Port Hueneme, CA. I may even try Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara, though I hear that it is not a very good fishing spot.  

The Ventura Pier was first built in 1872 when it was known as the Ventura Wharf.  It was mainly used as a commerce connection to accept imports of all types of goods and to export the area’s agricultural products and crude oil. 

Over the years, the pier has been destroyed or damaged by storms several times (twice since I have been here) and in 1916 it was destroyed in a collision with the freighter, the Coos Bay.  At one time, the pier was 1958 feet-long and was the longest pier in California. 

Today the pier is no longer used commercial purposes, it is strictly a fishing pier and one of the biggest tourist attractions in our area.  There are two restaurants on the land side of the pier as well.

I fish on the pier at least two or three times per week and people have come to know me as the “guy who catches all those fish” and as someone who is always willing to share fish, bait, and advice if I am asked for it.  I especially love helping the kids and whenever the chance arises, I tell them about the fish I catch and that they should respect them no matter what becomes of them.

I first began posting my fish stories on my personal Facebook page but I am going to migrate all of those tales to this blog and add to it as I go along. Check in daily or sign up for updates if you’d like to follow along as I go about my activities.  Even if you do not fish, I think you will enjoy the stories.