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Topics - ftbraggyakfish

Pages: [1] 2
General Talk / Lost in the Fog
« on: July 08, 2024, 01:18:43 PM »
I went out of Albion (about eight miles south of Mendocino) on Sunday morning with a buddy (very experienced) and only one of us made it back to the launch spot on the river. Rough day.

We launched about 7:45 -- such an awesome launch there when you catch the tide going out. You can drive right down to the river near the mouth and unload your boat right on water's edge and the current will float you out, under the bridge and into the beautiful bay. It's really sweet.

Just before launch I asked him to turn his radio to channel 69 so we could make sure things were working and it turned out that he didn't have a radio. Argh. And his wetsuit looked to be a thin, maybe 3mm Farmer John (not ideal for an extended swim out there). No kayaking jacket. At least he had a life vest, but I was not pleased.

Oh, and it was really foggy. Maybe 100 yards of visibility.

He'd been out there once before, going north out of the bay -- it was my first time going on the ocean there. He suggested we try it to the south where a friend of his had had a lot of luck, so we paddled out through the foggy mist and first dropped around the big rock that's furthest west, at the southern edge of the mouth of the bay. Spent a fair bit of time there, pulled in and released a couple of dinkers, and then made our way south.

Really slow bite, and then a strong current, going north, kicked in big time, and we turned around and went with it, leap frogging each other, staying in view of one another in the fog, and ended up back at that big rock where we'd started fishing, at the southern point of the opening of the bay and he fished the shore side and I was on the ocean side. Super slow bite and not much to show for it.

So after a couple of drifts I'm looking for him and can't see him so I paddle around it to where I last saw him and... gone! I paddle back around the rock and then, knowing he likes to fish shallow water, head toward more rocks and shore and look and look and nothing! Poof!

He'd been out at Van Damme for five hours the day before (Sat.) and he'd mentioned he was a bit tired from that, so I knew he wouldn't have paddled the half mile across the mouth of the bay, especially knowing he'd be fighting the strong current/wind on the way home. And he wouldn't have just left me like that, going that far north, without telling me. And he wouldn't have gone south again, against the now quite strong current. So WTH?

So after paddling all over the place and not finding any sight/sign of him, I'm really worried (if something bad happened) and pissed off (if he just took off like that without telling me, that he doesn't have a friggin' radio, and that he's wearing a thin-ass surfing Farmer John).

Just about then I see a kayak through the mist but it's a tandem. I paddle over and ask if they'd seen a guy in a green kayak and they say, yep, he said he was heading in and if they saw me, tell me. WTH?

Now I was pissed. He couldn't have told me himself, leading to me frantically paddling around for an hour searching for him?

So I paddle in. I was only out for about three hours. The tide was going in by this point, so I just cruise up the river to the launch spot and land and look around and... no buddy! No kayak. His truck is still there. No sign of him whatsoever.

I pack up and wait. Eventually I head over to the campsite office to see if anyone had seen him (or maybe they had a bar/restaurant there that I didn't know about and he's having a beer?), then look at the docks up there for a green kayak, check the campsites (maybe he bumped into an old friend?), and... zippo. Back to the beach, staring west, waiting for him to appear out of the mist.

And wait. A couple of hours go by. I decide that six hours on the water is the limit. Then I'm calling the coast guard. Maybe should have called in the coast guard already. I'm still struggling with that decision.

Then, with 45 minutes on the clock, I get a text from an unknown number: "Hey, it's me. I'm at Van Damme."


Van Damme is five miles north of Albion.

He's fine. Major relief.

I drive up there and pick him up and bring him and his 13" black-and-yellow rf back to his truck in Albion.

So here's what happened on his end.

When he had last seen me we were fishing around that rock off the southern end of the bay. BUT, he didn't realize it was the same rock where we'd started fishing. He didn't know it was the southern side of the bay. With the fog, you couldn't see more than 100 yards, so you couldn't see the bay (or the shore, for that matter). We'd been working our way north, leap-frogging one another, and he likes fishing near the rocks, so he made his way to the next rock to the north that must be out there in the fog, assuming I would catch up with him shortly. Then after paddling for a bit he bumped into that tandem kayak and they yacked it up for a bit, with that strong current pushing him the half mile right across the bay without him even realizing it. When he told them he was heading in, there turned out to be a misunderstanding there: he didn't mean to imply he was going in right away. And in his mind, Albion was further north anyway.

Oh, no reception for his phone.

So some rocks appear (unknowingly off the northern point of the bay) and he fishes there for a good hour waiting for me, pissed off, not realizing where the hell he is. Then he heads north a bit further, finds some more rocks, fishes, and keeps expecting to see Albion Bay. But, of course, that's not gonna happen. Eventually it dawns on him that he must have totally f-'d things up and missed the bay in the fog, so decides to aim for Van Damme to the north, which he knew he couldn't miss if he stuck close to shore.

Luckily the wind and swell never kicked up big time, as can happen unexpectedly around here. If that had happened... the ending here could have been very different. He eventually made it to shore safely and borrowed someone's phone to text me.


If you're reading this and do not have a friggin' VHF marine radio, please get one NOW. And some kind of functional GPS device.


I bought a second-hand Shimano Ocea Jigger 1500HG on ebay last year (shipped from Japan) -- awesome reel! Well, at least the few times I got to use it and then a couple of weeks ago it crapped out on me on my first drop of the day. Argh. Took it apart and didn't find anything obvious and put it back together and it's still not right -- very rough and jerky on the wind.

Shipped it off to the Shimano service center in Southern California and they shipped it right back, untouched, with a note saying they don't service foreign market reels.




CA Regulations / Navionics: 20fm waypoints/line setup
« on: April 07, 2024, 04:19:49 PM »
UPDATE 4: Please don't bother reading any of my posts below about setting up 20ftm waypoints manually -- now that some of our very helpful posters have come up with a file that can be imported into Navionics (can only confirm on iPhone) to do it all automatically, that's obviously the way to go. Thanks to 123engineering and AlsHobieOutback!

The downloadable files can be found here:

The step-by-step that worked for Navionics on my iphone:

  • Saved file to documents folder
  • Went to documents folder, found file and clicked Share icon
  • In Share dropdown, found Boating/Navionics app and clicked that
  • Went to Boating/Navionics icon on my homescreen and opened the app
  • It displayed a message asking if I wanted to accept the import (or something like that)
  • Confirm
  • Go to main Navionics menu
  • Click on Tracks
  • You should see it listed there
  • Click it and voila, you should see the yellow 20ftm line on your map

UPDATE 3: Issue solved (see my post down below if this solution is of any interest)

UPDATE 2: I clearly don't know that the hell I'm doing, as now I see my 20fa boundary lines differ from those on this page:

I have what will no doubt be a stupid question that I've now spent an hour trying to find an answer for but have to wave the white flag and ask for help from you fine people. See further down in the thread.

UPDATE: My post below concerns using the Navionics app on my iphone -- I don't use a fish finder.

Navionics: How to set up a 20fm waypoints and boundary line

This post is about how to set things up manually -- if someone knows a way to upload a file or whatever and make it happen more magically, please let us know.

If anyone needs help manually setting up a 20fm boundary line in Navionics so you can see where you are in the ocean related to that line, I'd be happy to lend a hand (just PM me).

Paul/123engineering put up a very helpful post (see below) that got me started, but there are quite a few more steps and it can be a bit tricky if you've never set up markers and routes using Navionics.

I'm not sure of the need for this amongst you lot, so not sure about putting in the time writing up a step-by-step, but if you need help I'm only a phone call away. Lemme know.

Here's the original thread/post:

I will be reviewing 20F line at my favorite RF destinations, Fort Ross and Russian Gulch.
If any of you guys have comments about these locations, please let me know.
I can compile comments together, and we can submit them together.

Based on my preliminary review, RG looks good, but RF will require some modification.

1.   Add CDFW waypoints near your favorite destination to Navionics/Google Earth/Fish Finder. (you only need 2 to 3 waypoints to cover a location) https://youtu.be/_0NAVJndyto?si=fNRtQMqDW2Mofb0B
2.   Create a Route Manually by selecting added waypoints and save
3.   You can view Route and see if your rockfishing spots are covered.


Jigging it,


For Sale / SOLD: Shimano Jigging Rod: Talavera Type Slow J
« on: March 28, 2024, 06:01:35 PM »


I bought this rod last year and used it ONCE for rockfish/lingcod and then the season ended abruptly and that was that and I realized that I prefer a stiffer rod so moving it out. I'm in Fort Bragg and you're welcome to come by to check it out.

$120 new -- $60 firm.

Like-new condition -- zero issues.

Shimano engineered the Talavera Type Slow J series of jigging rods for enhanced performance when targeting anything from bottom fish to pelagics with a slow-jigging presentation. Designed to fish with a slower and more methodical tempo, the parabolic shape of Talavera Type Slow J rods enable the blank to load and unload to provide the eloquent presentation desired when targeting trophy fish with a slow-pitch jig. The Talavera Type Slow J series of jigging rods feature powers from Light to Medium Heavy that provide anglers with the confidence to land their next big fish.


Shimano Talavera Type Slow J Jigging Rod
Length: 6'6"
PowerPro Line Max 40#
Max Jig Wt: 250g (8.8oz)
Power: Medium
Action: Moderate Fast



General Talk / Fatality in Mendo -- Russian Gulch
« on: September 26, 2023, 08:30:32 PM »
Don't know exactly what happened to the dad here, but just a tough reminder of the importance of wearing the right clothing/wetsuit/life-jacket/safety-gear.


General Fishing Tips / Halibut on Mendo Coast -- Where?
« on: September 20, 2023, 11:53:39 AM »
So with my/our usual lingcod/rockfish season done for the year I'm looking to find other options with the kayak on the Mendocino coast.

Tried for CA halibut out of MacKerricher (at bit north of Fort Bragg, paddling north to very sandy Ten Mile Beach) last weekend and zippo. We were the only boats of any kind out there even on a super chill day, so that should have been a clue that maybe that's not the best halibut area, but I was with a buddy there last year fishing (south of the launch) for lingcod when he accidentally pulled in a 32" halibut, so I know they're in the general area at times.

Any suggestions on where else to try for CA halibut (or maybe petrole sole?) on the Mendocino coast?

And what's the typical season for halibut on the Mendocino coast? And what depth, typically?



I'd like to get some clarity around some bait questions for both crabbing and ocean fishing (Mendocino County, if that’s important).

Situation 1:

I went out last week with three hoop nets, using cut-up lingcod carcasses/parts I brought along (from a previous trip) for bait. After dropping the hoops I went to a rockier area and fished for lingcod and caught my limit of two on the day. I checked my hoops about every 1.5 hours. At various points I would have had, technically, more than two lingcod on board, as when I pulled up a hoop there were lingcod parts being used as bait.

So that was illegal, right? Can’t use fish parts for bait if the combination of those fish parts plus any new fish go over a given limit?

Situation 2:

I went out with a friend who catches 10”-12” rockfish (preferably blacks and blues) to use as live bait to target lingcod. He uses a dedicated RF bait-fishing rod with a smallish diamond jig, catches a RF bait-fish and transfers it to his treble/single-hook/8-ounce-ball-weight/bottom-fishing setup on another rod.  Not sure how many RF baitfish he went through on the day, but I’m going to say it was a lot (more than 10). At the end of the day the only RF he came home with were two big vermillion.



General Fishing Tips / Fishing for bait-fish on the ocean
« on: December 01, 2022, 05:22:22 PM »
What are some good ways to catch bait-fish if you're wanting to use live bait-fish for, say, lingcod or halibut?

I've seen videos where guys bring in like three 5"-10" fish at once -- I assume they're mackerel, herring, anchovies, or sardines.


I’m looking for advice on a good way to launch into Mendocino Bay out of Big River -- either from the river or the beach.

There’s the beach launch on the river at the east parking lot, where you can drive all then way to the river edge. But then you have to (maybe?) time it with the tides (each way) and then what to do about that dodgy channel leading into the bay? Possibly leave the river and haul across the sand to the beach. But then can you safely surf launch on the south end of the beach if there’s say, a 4’-5’ swell (aka a good day here), or do you need to haul ass/gear all the way to the quieter north end?

Or do you park in the west parking lot and just haul across that wide expanse of sand straight off?

Or what?


PS. I realize that Van Damn, Russian Gulch and Caspar are much easier, but I’m looking to explore new territory.

General Talk / Big Shark Encounter: Van Damn, near Mendocino
« on: October 09, 2022, 09:02:51 PM »
Conversation last night:

Friend: “Are you still going out tomorrow?”
Me: “Yeah, why? Last I looked the forecast was looking good!”
Friend: “You hear about the shark?”
Me: “What shark?”
Friend: “At McKerricher the other day, and some other place near there. Surfers. Big one.”
Me: “Ugh. Well, I’m going out of Van Damn. That’s like 15 miles south of there.”
Friend: “Well, be careful!”
Me: “Yeah, sure, of course.”


My buddy and I launched this morning, and went north around the point. We weren’t that far out and there were a group of three other kayakers further out and we heard some shouting and figured someone had landed something big and about 45 minutes later, after the bite had fallen off, we decided to head out to the deeper water and join them. Then we found out what the shouting was about. Dude said a huge great white had gone under his kayak and then circled around and came up alongside him, giving him the stank eye, before swimming off.

Dude said it was as long as his kayak.

The five of us fished as a flotilla for a while after that but fortunately no other encounters.

Encounters here on the Mendocino coast are pretty rare — first I’ve almost had.

The guy might be a poster here — maybe he’ll chime in with his account.

General Fishing Tips / Brined Herring: Re-Freeze Possible?
« on: August 21, 2022, 06:39:59 PM »
So was hoping to go out for halibut today in the Fort Bragg area and had brined a dozen herring last night (first time: used MooMooOutdoors' salt, dried milk and blue dye recipe) but it turned out to be just too rough to launch at McKerricher and I left the herring in the fridge.

Question: Can I take them out of the fridge and drain them and put them in the freezer (I bought them frozen originally) for a later time or are they going to turn to mush with the re-freeze?

I understand that we have to use barbless hooks for salmon. My question is: Can we have barbed hooks onboard as well?

Say I'm going out for Salmon and Lingcod on the same trip and would prefer to use my usual barbed lures for the ling -- is it OK to have them with me when I'm fishing for salmon (with barbless)?

General Fishing Tips / Halibut fishing spots near Fort Bragg?
« on: August 11, 2022, 05:41:47 PM »
Can anyone recommend any Fort-Bragg/Mendocino-area halibut spots? I was out at McKerricher State Park a couple of days ago (first time there -- jigging for lingcod) and my buddy surprisingly hooked into a ~36" halibut. Unfortunately it was too big for his net and we didn't have a gaff, so... not a happy ending. We had gone south a bit around the point on the left side of the launch bay by the parking lot and there were some sandy-bottomed areas. To the north, along Ten Mile Beach, would be all sand. Has anyone fished there?



General Fishing Tips / Kayak Salmon Fishing 101 ?
« on: May 11, 2022, 09:32:54 PM »
Can somebody point me to a site-link or other resource for learning how to fish for salmon in the ocean (from a kayak)? I've never fished for salmon in any capacity, and never used a downrigger. I'm solid on ling cod and rockfish (on a kayak) but would like to branch out this season and get some salmon. I'm in Fort Bragg.



General Fishing Tips / Crab fishing Big River: Newbie Questions
« on: January 29, 2022, 08:48:10 AM »
  • Are the crabs just hanging out there between the bridge and a couple more bends up past the parking lots 24/7?
  • Or do they migrate daily with the tides to feed?
  • And if they migrate daily they have to do so with the tides, I’d imagine, so at what point in the tide cycle do they come in and how long do they stay in feeding mode before heading back out to sea?
  • Are some moon cycles better than others, in terms of being big or small tides?
  • And what’s the seasonal cycle on them coming into the river?
Appreciate any tips!

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