Saturday, October 6, 2012

Brian Day!!

What an amazing day! I must admit, I definitely wasn't expecting it!   I got a call from Bud to come over for some late-season October Tuna!  However, he went out the day before and the fish weren't very cooperative.  After coming back with only one fish, having travelled past the 125.30 line, and burned $600 in fuel, we changed the game plan for Saturday and decided to stay in closer and just fish for lings and salmon.  Since tuna wasn't going to be on the menu for Saturday, Bud declared it Brian Day!!  This was considered my wedding gift and present.  He even allowed the crab pots!  (...not the norm on Seelicious!)   I decided I would drive over the night before to go to the BBQ at Big Tuna Marine, and say hello to the guys I hadn't seen much this season.  I packed up the car and headed west across the hill.  Unfortunately, the 'heightened fire danger' and the dry east winds met up and caused a little hangup on the way over.

I was stuck behind a line of cars that was stopped because a field had lit on fire and was burning wildly, alongside the road.  I couldn't help but notice some fishermen with a teal boat, eagerly wanting to get across the hill, as well!  I quickly noticed a green trash can, a.k.a. bleed bucket, attached to the back of their boat and immediately knew what they were going after!...the same thing I had planned!  After sitting in a long line of traffic, and getting a little detour, the trip continued...
I arrived at Big Tuna that evening, just in time for the food to go on the grill.  Bud was the chef behind this giant grill.  There were tuna medallions, chicken wings, squash, and even steaks for steak sandwiches.  These guys go all out!

After a good meal, I headed to Brad's place to crash for the night.  The next morning, woke up and headed down to the marina.

We loaded the rods and traps onto the boat.  There were three of us that headed out.  Bud, myself, and Rick, Baitboy.  We zig-zagged our way out passed the salmon guys before heading north to drop the pots.

The ride out was stellar!  Beautiful sunny day with little chop on the water.
After deployment, we ran west to the ling cod hole.

On the way out, we saw something breaching wayyyy up ahead.  Looked like a humback.  It would come straight up, half way out, and fall to the side.    As we got closer, we noticed a pod of orcas!  There were at least 5 of them.  It looked like 3 calves, a mother, and a giant bull.

There was no mistaking this giant dorsal fin!  It was almost twice the size as the female's.

They didn't seem too thrilled that the boat was around, and quickly disappeared out of sight.
We continued out to the ling cod hole.  Once there, we scented up our 'special baits', made sure they were tuned and running right, and dropped them down to the depths.  They have to be just perfect to get these finicky fish to bite!  ...okay, not really..
When I say depths, I mean over 400'!   Lucky for us, Bud brought his two electric reels.  Talk about luxury!!

 Winching those fish up from those kinds of depths wasn't so hard!  This also gave us the ability to throw back any large females to continue to breed.  We want to practice conservation and release the large fish to spawn and keep our fishing grounds prosperous for years to come.  Here's Rick with a nice big male!

We were releasing fish that were HUGE!

 Some we ended up keeping due to bleeding, and others because they were a perfect eating size.  After gathering our limits of lings, we headed in a few clicks to some salmon numbers we had.  We had some other boats in the area, and everyone seemed to be enjoying the weather.

We planned to put 3 rods out at different depths to find the fish.  However, we couldn't get one line down before it would start going off.  Fish on!!  Before landing the fish, we realize we never brought a net.  We left it back at the dock, because it was originally going to be a tuna day.  Well, we're good fishermen!  We improvised!  A gaff did just fine!  After 2-3 shakers, we finally got all the lines in and started hooking some nice chinook.  Again, we must have released 5-10 fish that were only 8-10 lbs, sifting through feeders.  (Hopefully this is a sign of a good stock next year!)

At one point, a mola mola, or Sunfish, swam up to the boat to say hello.

These fish seem so docile and almost inquisitive.

This fish almost seemed like it was hanging around, begging for scraps; continually looking up at us, hanging out just 6' from us on the surface.

This lasted for few minutes before it went on its way.  What an amazingly odd critter!

Well, we eventually kept our 6th fish and decided to run in and pull the pots.  Those pots were stuffed with so many crabs, we were culling to keep the largest and fullest ones.  These crabs were Giants!

We found our perfect specimins and headed back to the barn. (Thanks Brad for the extra couple pots, too!)

Back at the marina, we saw Doug, Dylan, John, and a few others, who also had a bountiful day out there!

(Those are our ling cod in the light blue cooler in the picture above!) That one is a Mammoth! He needs a beer! 

Here is a final shot of our chromers before processing them into bags...

Once we found some room on the cutting board, Rick and I made quick work of the fish.

With a trifecta of limits, Brian Day couldn't have been better!

Fall Ling Cod!

Days like this may not be the nonstop tuna action, but they are low-stress, lots of fun, and memorable!!   I couldn't have asked for a better trip and memories!

Thanks again Bud!!!!