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2018 AOTY/DOTY Entry

Topic: Shelter Cove - 10/3/17  (Read 679 times)

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  • Gimme Shelter Annual Kayakfishing Tournament Director
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Shelter Cove with Jackson Kayaks team member and Nor Cal Kayak Anglers club mate, Matt Davis.

Matt came up from Lodi to check out the Cove for his first time. We'd been talking about this trip for several weeks, and the forecasts were making it look like we might not get on it this season. When last week the National Weather Service called for light winds and almost no swell on October 2nd and 3rd, I was leery of it. All summer it seems that the forecast has been a moving target - four or five times since late August NWS has called for light winds and then changed their forecast to "10 to 20 knots with gusts to 30"... The irony of the situation has been that each time that the forecast changed like I've described, it turned out to be fishable water all day at the Cove!

After a few postponements, Matt and I set our trip for Tuesday, October 3rd, and right on cue the forecast blew up! Watching as the call went from light winds to a gale and then a small craft advisory, my head was spinning trying to figure out what to do. Hate to have a guest come from long distance to get blown out, but it was too late to call it off...

Having arrived at The Tides Inn Monday evening, Matt got to see the end of the gale force winds, and I'm sure he was wondering whether we'd actually be able to fish the following day. As I drove down 101 in the dark on my way to meet Matt Tuesday morning I got a text from Eric the innkeeper that the wind was already heavy and that he didn't think we'd get out that day... Oh ye of little faith! 8>}

Matt and I met up at the ramp at 630 as planned, and even in the pre-dawn darkness it was obvious that we wouldn't be launching any time soon. We sat in our trucks, side by side with the windows down, getting to know each other and watching the nearshore water as the sun came up. The trucks were shaking in the wind, and the water blowing on to the ramp and breakwater was a mess. Here's another irony - I only had the forecast to fall back on! The latest call from NWS at that point had the Small Craft warning expiring at 11AM, and winds and swell were supposed to subside through the day. When you can't launch first thing in the morning due to wind, it's not very often that things improve as the day progresses...

After BS'ing for an hour or more we cruised town and got a look at the outside water now that the sun was up - no swell and not many whitecaps, but the wind was strong and coming from different directions every few minutes. Things were actually improving, so I was cautiously optimistic that we could get on the water - whether we could fulfill a legitimate trip or not seemed iffy.

By 10AM Matt and I had taken our time gearing up and were ready to launch. Things looked much better, but it was still ugly out there - sustained wind from a gale generates very sloppy seas that last for some time after the wind subsides, and we could see that kind of mess on the outside. We headed for Deadman's to try our luck for halibut where we could stay somewhat protected from the predominantly NW gusts. For the next couple of hours we got blown around a bit as things continued to settle. No halibut love, but Matt got us on the board with a legal lingcod, so hopes were up. Soon the innkeeper joined us, and eventually the 3 of us headed to the outside. It was still quite tossed up out there with random wind gusts and wind waves toppling in our laps here and there, but the lack of swell allowed us to ride the bumpy surface like a mechanical bull - swiveling at the hips in order to avoid being tossed off our yaks.

After a bit the innkeeper bailed to inside water, but I wanted to get my guest out to the Whistle for a taste of classic Cove bottom fishing. Matt was on his Jackson Kraken 13.5, and I knew right when we got on the water in that wind that his kayak was very seaworthy and its pilot was ready for the challenge of rough seas. We are not foolhardy in our approach to navigating the ocean on our plastic boats. We are prepared. I take out all levels of kayakers, and it's very important for me to assess who is ready when it comes to challenging water and wind. Matt brought all the tools and showed that his conditioning and experience were not just adequate for our trip - like so many NCKA club members that I've taken out, Matt was in tune with the requirements of the situation.

We rode the bull out there and went on to catch a variety of species - Matt pulled up a dandy of a 20" Rock Sole, and he landed 6 legal lingcod. We were having fun out there and did make it to the Whistle, but the water was far from ideal. Soon we were retreating back inshore when the innkeeper came on the radio to announce a "beast" of a halibut he'd just caught near the launch. Having gotten a couple hours on the outside, we gradually made our way back inshore where we saw Eric and went on to tow some chovies in hopes of our own flatty. We didn't get any halibut, but Eric the innkeeper scored big with two beauties well over 30" landed.

By a little after 5PM we wrapped the on the water portion of our mission, loaded gear on the trucks at the launch and headed up the hill to fill some Ziplocs with the freshest seafood around. Time at the cleaning table is such a pleasure as we share stories over cold beers and enjoy the glow of being thankful for our opportunity, the experience, and the fruit of our labors.

At the end of the day - having literally spent over 12 straight hours together, it was time to settle our business deal and head our separate ways up and down 101. When I started guiding I knew I was taking a well developed hobby and trying to turn it into something special, but I really had no idea how it would go. I have come to know that being on-point all day and focusing on maximizing learning and effectiveness isn't just a business function. What I'm doing out there, it turns out, is using the Golden Rule, and the benefits of that focus are the basis for any inkling of success that I may feel.

Thanks for coming along.  :smt001
I am a licensed guide.  DFW Guide ID:  1000124.   Let's do a trip together.

Loleta Eric's Guide Service

loletaeric@yahoo.com - call me up at (707) 845-0400


Being an honorable sportsman is way more important than what you catch.


  • Gimme Shelter Annual Kayakfishing Tournament Director
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Good Times, Matt - hope to get you and your pop on a steelhead trip this winter.  :smt001
I am a licensed guide.  DFW Guide ID:  1000124.   Let's do a trip together.

Loleta Eric's Guide Service

loletaeric@yahoo.com - call me up at (707) 845-0400


Being an honorable sportsman is way more important than what you catch.


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You got a rock sole too?


  • Salmon
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 :smt001 thanks for sharing Lost Coast reports always get my blood pumping.


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  • Salmon
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Thanks again Eric! I'll have my report and pics up asap
Jackson Kayak Regional Team Member


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Thanks for The Cove's report and great pictures Eric.
"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...it's about learning how to dance in the rain."

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That does look lumpy. Great report and pictures as always.  :smt006

  • View Profile MooMoo Outdoors
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Great report Eric. I wish I was there. Can't wait for Matt's report.

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Greta pics and report!!

Congrats Matt and Eric, and thanks for sharing!!




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pronounced "Pie-see-in"
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Man, I miss the cove.  Thanks for the report and taking me to the cove, even for just a sec in my head.   :smt005
If you ain't first, you're last. 

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