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Messages - LoletaEric

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General Talk / Re: Artistic bread
« on: Today at 09:14:28 AM »
Can't wait to see your next moves, Sonny.  Way to live the life.   :smt001

General Talk / Re: Artistic bread
« on: Today at 08:33:14 AM »
You've caught all your Devil Fish and now on to Devil Bread, Sonny!  Nice job.   :smt001

And Mark the bread chef - very impressive as well!

Quote from: PISCEAN
Nicely worded write up Eric.
I think many of us over 50 have had similar experiences. The buoyed feeling often comes as a bit of a surprise considering how it is the farthest thing from your mind in the beginning of the adventure.

Thank you, Sean.  It was great seeing you at GS.   :smt001

Check my FB post for the photos that won't post here.  Seems to be the more panoramic ".5" aperture shots...

Couple photos at a time these days.   :smt004

Shelter Cove - May 27, 2024

Greg and Kerry have gone out with me several times now over the past few years.  They're busy professionals from Lake County, and they love adventure!  Throughout our time together at Shelter Cove and one trip to Trinidad, this spirited pair of wonderful humans has shown me so much love through their attitude and readiness.  Not only are they really good at maintaining positivity and displaying grace and generosity at every opportunity, this couple seems to have a knack for bringing out the best in others around them.  On each of our day-long trips, I have been struck by how evident it has been that both Kerry and Greg were focused on helping me to have a good time.  As a guide, it's a blessing to be in the company of guests who are so affable and gregarious, and I very deliberately try to emulate and reflect their beautiful way.

Yesterday shaped up much like scores of other Shelter Cove trips have over my years of guiding.  The forecast 5 days out looked superb, with 5 to 10 knot winds and hardly a swell, but, as has occurred so often, the National Weather Service call degraded in the days right before our trip.  By Sunday evening the NWS had changed their tune about waters from Cape Mendocino to Point Arena out to 10 nautical miles - now they were predicting winds of 15 to 25 knots with gusts to 35!  I can't overstate how many times this has happened, but Shelter Cove was named for a reason.  When the prevailing wind and swell are from the north or NW, the Cove is largely protected from the direct effects of raging gales in the nearshore waters.  In the early days of my guiding I would fret over such developments, and more than once I considered cancelling trips due to the potential for unfishable conditions.  What I learned though, by keeping all of those dates, was that almost all the time the Cove would come through with at least a morning window, and more often than not, the prime fishing grounds between Point Delgada and the green and red cans would be fishable most of the day, if not all day long.  So, this time around I really wasn't too concerned about whether the wind would limit our opportunity - especially since I was taking out experienced kayak anglers who've long since shown me that they're ready for reasonable challenges on the water.

As I made my way to the Cove early Monday morning, first light up near Paradise Ridge revealed gusty breezes in the trees with fresh fir boughs on the road.  It was also nippy out - mid 40's at a spot that often has a unique thermal effect where it will regularly be 20 to 30 degrees warmer than the Mattole Valley at Whitethorn, a few miles to the east.  It was also unique to experience first light while still driving toward the Cove, as I'm usually the first one at the ramp, in the dark, coveting the occasion of heading out onto the Pacific in pursuit of Chinook Salmon.

My morning commute from Loleta to the far southwestern corner of Humboldt was also different for how I was feeling and have been feeling of late.  I've been off, and my hearing over the past year has been quite noticeably diminished.  I've been trying to be patient with our region's typically slow and disappointingly under-responsive healthcare systems, and it's taken over 6 months to secure a visit where a doctor will actually look in my ears.  I'm getting old - it's a fact of life, but this hearing issue is hitting me harder than when, at 45 years old, I found that I couldn't quite read fine print anymore without the aid of some Dollar Store reading glasses.

Admittedly feeling this frailty, combined with the fact that for the past couple of seasons I've employed a strategy with my trips where I leave days off between outings so I can rest, I find myself contemplating how I may be in the sunset of my hardcore guiding career.  As I drove down the 101 and onto Shelter Cove Road, over the ridges and on my way to execute another small chapter in a vocation that I have loved far more than anything else I've ever been paid for, I was encountering feelings that have always before been foreign to me.  Through some level of self-questioning and subsequent moments of determination and resolve, I steadied myself in the face of what can only be described as doubt about what may lie before me - not just on this day, but in the coming years of my life.

These exercises, where one is afforded a chance to evaluate and to correct course if needed, are so important and should be highly valued by all of us.  Not feeling at your best is a normal part of life, and navigating that possible deficit in spirit can come with significant peril.  I try to embrace these feelings and experiences, just as I strive to celebrate and cherish each moment of joy and triumph.  My daughter once asked me, in a loving but somewhat exasperated tone, "Dad, why is everything so intense with you?!"  I highly appreciated her words and they stuck with me.  Having added a new theme to my constant self-analysis through Claire's gift of honesty and love, I am both mindful and proud of how I choose to emote.

I arrived at the launch down in the Cove, and it was a ghost town.  Even though it was 30 minutes past dawn, there wasn't a soul to be seen.  It's because the salmon season is closed, and that's how it needs to be for now.  I enjoyed having the space to myself, as I set up my kayak and one for each of my guests.  Ticking through a checklist of essential gear and proper provision, I assembled every aspect of the kits that would allow us to effectively pursue the fruits of our quest in offshore angling.  An osprey hunted overhead near the harbor, and all 3 fishfinders fired up - I was feeling better already!

Greg and Kerry arrived at our agreed time, and after pleasant greetings, obligatory guide paperwork and completion of needed outfitting, we were launched onto a beautiful ocean.  I'd seen coming down the hill that the open water west of port was a bit of a sloppy mess, but everything in the lee of the point was looking inviting.  The water quality was notably improved since my last outing down there two weeks ago, so things were looking good for us.  As we got to paddling out past Pilot Rock, we were treated to quite possibly the best whale shows that I've ever witnessed in person.  No breaches or fluke flashes, but the number of spouting Gray's all around us from the point to just outside the moorings and along the beach from Deadman's down to McKee Creek was so outstanding!  The three of us were thrilled to add this unexpected and extremely welcome phenomenon to our itinerary for the day.  The fish were biting too - all lingcod for the first few hours, which sometimes happens and is another welcome and wonderful event to be a part of.

After a tour from the harbor out to the Bell and back to the lighthouse point, the ocean seemed to be mellowing a bit.  I had been regularly checking in with my guests, as I do on these trips, and they expressed comfort and readiness - it was time to head out to the Whistle.  We nearly had our three limits of lingcod before we landed at the red can, and thankfully some rockfish showed up to add to our stringers and the fullness of our day.  By just after midday we were making our way in.  More whale sightings and a pass through the halibut grounds rounded out the session, and by the time we landed, throngs of locals and a few tourists had occupied the ramp area to enjoy the full sun and cool waters of the Cove.  We joined right in, sharing some fishing talk and showing off a couple of nice catches with families and folks who were reveling right around where we landed our boats.  A cold beer went down like it always does in that situation - like a taste of heaven on Earth!  With an incoming tide and not much space to utilize my Tailgate Fillet Station, we opted to meet up at the cleaning tables in an hour.  This allowed for Kerry and Greg to head back to their rental, clean up and grab some food.  I would have time to load up most of the gear, clean the blood and sand off the kayaks, take a dip and change clothes.  I also had time to check in with myself and to take account of how the activities of the day had me feeling revitalized.  With quite a bit more work to do yet, I was more than just ready.  Having about 50 pounds of fish to fillet and knowing that my clients were having a ball, my confidence matched my contentedness, and the Home Stretch of the day looked as inviting as had the calm waters of the Cove earlier that morning.

K&G met me at the tables, and Kerry produced a whole plate of killer Chinese Food for me that they'd scored at a favorite spot in Willits the day before.  OMG, that grub was so bomb!  I needed it and am too often guilty of snacking and beering my way through the afternoon in such situations.  As per always, Greg and Kerry were lit up with enthusiasm and appreciation.  I enlisted a local friend, Margrete, who'd stepped up to say hi, to snap some photos of our traditional Stringer Display, and then it was on to the cutting.  My guests know the routine well.  I fillet, Greg rinses the meat in a bucket of cold saltwater that I brought up from the breakwater, and Kerry stows the harvest in ziploc's, each marked with the species of fish and details like "belly" and "cheeks" where needed.  This practice in taking care of the day's catches is as important as any other aspect of our engagement together.  From immediately bleeding each fish on the water, to continuously wetting the burlap that shelters them from the sun during our hours offshore, to the pride and joy of sharing the stories and the beauty of the animals with onlookers and friends at the launch, the disciplines of fishing are and should be tied to respect for the lives taken and gratitude for the nourishment provided.  Respect and reverence for the animals and their habitats is built from the attitudes and actions of the practitioners - this is part of every trip that I lead and is part of what forms the basis of my spirituality.

At the end of the day, after settling our arranged transaction and being awarded with a generous tip and the validation of happy clients who are also good friends who I will see again this year, we said our goodbye's and I headed back down to the still-crowded, high tide ramp, where I'd left one of the kayaks until I could button up my load to cap off my day.  The smile I wore at this point felt like a warm blanket, and as I drove up out of the Cove toward home I had come full circle from the moments of angst experienced on the morning drive.  I have Kerry and Greg to thank for buoying my spirit with their love and passion for life, and I have guiding to look to as a solid foundation that can help me to work through whatever may trouble me.

Up since 330AM and wrapped up cleaning my gear just after 10PM - In the end, I know that I will continue to do the 18 hour days with 100% commitment to outcomes that land me in a space where I feel so alive, and well.

Thanks so very much, for digesting a couple thousand of my words.

Thanks, Al!  I'm in.   :smt001

Help!  Can someone assist me with getting my current email on my AOTY profile?

It's LoletaEric@yahoo.com

My old Suddenlink email went poof a couple years ago, and I guess I've been signed in or my laptop remembered the pw ever since - until now...

TIA, and watch out, Yaady and Tom McD, I'm looking to knock you two down the rockfish leaderboard with a 21.5" verm.   :smt005

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