Gary and I went fishing on Thursday on The Aloha Spirit. Gary had heard that the white sea bass were hitting. White sea bass are big and excellent tasting fish. It’s a firm fish and a little bit moister than halibut. We didn’t catch any last year, because the of the warmer waters. When Gary signed up to go on the boat the afternoon before, they had only sold about half of the tickets. That morning they had a full boat of 22.
We found a place inside for the ride out. I’m soft when it comes to cold, and the Joy Sea has me spoiled. We stopped out by the Anacapa arch to start. We went to the front of the boat, so that I would have a place to sit down (still babying the foot, which is on the mend but I can’t be on it all day). It wasn’t long until the boat had a white sea bass in the boat.
We were using live anchovies. I’ve read a lot about how to hook them, and how to keep them alive longer. It’s easy to say how to do it, but much harder in practice. They say go for the ones that are swimming the strongest, but they’re the hardest to catch. Then they say be gentle with them, but if you don’t squeeze them, they’ll be flipping out of your hands and hitting the deck, which isn’t good for them either. We had another friend on the boat with us. He was hooking them through the nose and his were lasting for a long time. Hooking them through the nose takes a lot of practice. The hooks are huge in comparison to their noses. If you hook them too deep, your into areas that kill them quick. If you go too thin, they wiggle and fall off the hook. The bait tank was at the back of the boat, and every time I tried to make my way to the front I had to skinny past everyone else on the side of the boat. The captain circled around the area trying to get on top of them before we dropped our lines. Unfortunately by the time he said drop em, my anchovy seemed to be dead.
The arch is often a cold and windy place, and it was a cold morning. I was wearing knit hat, t-shirt, sweat shirt, hoodie, and a wind breaker. I put on my little wooly gloves and I was still cold. Gary was wearing shorts and a hoodie.
We eventually had five white sea bass on the boat, but Gary and I weren’t among the lucky/skilled fishers. The bite was off, so we went after rockfish. We got a few small reds, and a bunch of the blue bass, which were so small I just wanted them to fall off my line. The captain said that they’re good eating, but I just can’t get excited about them. Toward the end of the day we tried the front of Santa Cruz where the boat picked up another white sea bass, and then it was back home.
It was interesting, but I think I’m done with that kind of fishing. There’s good and bad to everything, but fishing on the Joy Sea is just so sweet. After we leave the harbor, Gary drives the boat, and I go back to bed. When we get to a good spot, I put my line out, place the pole in a holder and if it’s warm, I’ll sit outside. On a cold day, I’ll wrap up in a beach towel or a denim blanket or just sit in the salon. When the sun comes out the bridge gets warm and it’s enclosed. I’ll sit up there and watch my pole. Come afternoon, I was ready for wine, cheese and crackers. I missed listening to country tunes as we waited for the fish to strike. Because there were no pole holders, I couldn’t read my book.
On the positive side, the crew was great. The captain did a good job finding the fish, the deck hands took off the fish, cleaned the fish, and untangled the lines. We didn’t have to go and get ice, which can be quite a workout when you load three large coolers. We didn’t have to clean the boat. I enjoyed watching Britney, the galley cook make breakfast. Cooking on a boat is a talent!
Gary just got back from a recent trip to Mexico where he caught a 202 lb. cow tuna, as well as two smaller tunas. He’s planning to charter the boat next year and I’m going! Let us know if you’re interested and we’ll let you know the details.