Fishing in the mountain lakes and rivers of
is a popular form
of recreation, but I’ve only been fishing once since we moved here. I guess I’m all fished out. Plumas
When I was a boy, my father took my brother and me fishing regularly in
Monterey. He had a favorite boat captain named “Sam,”
who had a couple of fishing boats and guaranteed a good catch. He always kept his promise and I remember
coming home with gunny sacks full of fish.
Much later, I would go fishing most weekends with two buddies who owned a fishing boat in
Santa Cruz. It was an old diesel thumper that required
ether to start the engine. Combined with
the smell of diesel fuel, I was always on the verge of sea-sickness before we
left the harbor. Despite the woozy feeling, I never got sick, no matter how
rough the sea. Never - except once.
That “once” was during a particularly rough sea on a foggy morning. When you can’t see the horizon, you become more vulnerable to getting sick and turning green. I actually saw a guy turn green once. I don’t know if I was green that day, but I spent a significant amount of time hanging on the boat railing straining to see a horizon line. I was on the verge of losing it.
Some of my “good buddies” are very skilled at pranks. As I was struggling to keep my breakfast down, I got a tap on my shoulder. The late Glen Dennee, a friend since high school, was a foot from me when I turned around. He was grinning with a slimy squid hanging and dripping from his mouth.
I have a fairly well developed diaphragm from playing the trumpet most of my life. When I spun back toward the ocean and let loose, I swear I sent everything I had eaten since my tenth birthday party straight at
Japan. And I mean “straight.” The trajectory defied gravity and shot in a
straight line as far as the eye could see. I felt a sense of pride at my power.
It was like hitting a high C on my trumpet.
More recently, I did some halibut fishing in
Alaska. Reeling in a large halibut is like pulling a
minivan up a hill. But the largest fish I have ever seen was right off the deck
of our previous home in . Right in my own back yard. Discovery
We had decking that extended out over the water and you could fish right off our deck. I was working on the deck railing when I heard a commotion by my dock. When I looked, I saw two ducks under the boat lift and one seemed to be very agitated. I thought he was just in love until I suddenly saw a monster fish come out of the water in an arc and take that full-grown duck in one swallow.
That would require a huge mouth. I was startled at the length of that fish. It was six to eight feet long with a head over a foot across. Hitting
with an abdominal purge may have been slightly hyperbolic, but this description
is accurate. The fish I saw was even bigger than the one in the photo below.
At the time of this incident, I was writing a weekly column for the newspaper and asked my readers if anyone in the delta area had ever seen a fish that size. I was amazed to get reports of other sightings that confirmed what I saw. It was a relief to realize I wasn’t delusional.
I don't know where the fish in the photo was caught, but you never know what lurks below the surface - even in the delta. Well that’s my fish story for today. Some of you may have even better stories.