Fish Netters

Fish Netters


August 17

Beautiful morning to be back out on the water, we’re up early, leaving our house by 5:30 am.  We stop at Ciscos for bait.  It’s not cured.  Cured bait is bait that they’ve had for a while.  The weaker ones die off and they tend to stay alive a lot longer in the bait tank.

As soon as we leave the harbor, I go back to sleep.

We get to Santa Cruz and the sun is already out.

The crossing between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa is pretty rough.  Not the roughest water I’ve been on, but I do tend to get seasick, so I go take a nap in the stern.

Rosa is windy, with white caps.  We go near the pier and anchor.

By 4:00 1/2 of the bait is dead.  Uncured bait doesn’t last long.  We did do some trolling on the way here.  We had to bring in our lines as we went through MPA (Marine Preserve Area).  Some lines were put out when we anchored, but so far all they’ve done is catch bottom.  Sun is out, but the wind makes it feel cold.

August 18

This morning is much calmer.  We go out and do a drift for halibut.  Around noon Derek gets one.   It’s probably around 30 to 35 lbs.

Another sunny day, it’s warm, but not warm enough to wear shorts.

In the evening we go and anchor by the pier again.  Gary gets a thresher shark, and Derek catches a bat ray.  We generally don’t keep bat rays, but we have a friend out here that uses them for crab bait, so we save it for him.  We’ll give it to him tomorrow.  The threshers are rumored to be good to eat.  I’ve never seen one before.  It has a really long tail.  Gary will check to see if the buyer wants it.  If he doesn’t want it, I’ll be looking for some good recipes to cook thresher.

We had plans to barbecue chicken for dinner.  We’ve had this barbecuer for a long time, but we’ve never used it.  I told Gary that we should do a trial run at the house.  He said, “it works just fine,” but when we went to use it the Colman propane tank was empty and we don’t have another on the boat.  I ended up cooking chicken veronique.

It’s almost 7pm, and I just pulled in a bat ray.  They fight really hard, but after a while you can tell the difference between how a halibut behaves and a bat ray.  I was about a half a minute into the fight, when I knew it was a bat ray.

Gary and Derek talk to a boat that uses nets.  He tells them that he catches 15 to 20 halibut in his net each day.

August 19

We do a few drifts for halibut but don’t catch any.  We’re running out of bait.  Another netter is in the area.  He’s actually sitting on a mark where we have caught halibut in the past.  There are laws against netting right next to the main land.  You have to be at least three miles out to use nets.  Problem is that they are with in three miles of the island, but they are more than three miles out from the main land.  Net catching isn’t sport fishing.  We’ve had people complain about us because we’ve caught three halibut with four people and spent four days doing it.  People like us really aren’t the problem.

We meet up with our friend that wants the bat rays and give them to him.  He’ll use them as crab bait.

We decide to go back to Santa Cruz Island.

August 20

We tried for yellowtail for a short period, but we didn’t have much live bait.  We see several boats around us, and listen for buzz on the radio, but no one is really catching.  After a few hours, we’re out of bait and call it quits.  Another fishing trip in the bag.

Post trip

Gary calls around and checks online to check on the netters.  He finds that they only have to be one mile off of the islands.

We cook the thresher shark with teriyaki.  It didn’t turn out very well.  Gary will try to smoke it.

Next outing we will be looking for marlin.