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Messages - LoletaEric

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1
Introductions / Re: new to halibut (and posting)
« on: July 11, 2024, 06:29:41 PM »
Welcome to the community, Bill.  Great pic of you and your daughter.   :smt001

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Wilderness Systems / Re: Is 700 for a brand new Tarpon 120 good?
« on: July 09, 2024, 09:48:30 PM »
Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.  Best of luck~   :smt001

3
Introductions / Re: Checking In
« on: July 09, 2024, 09:47:12 PM »
Welcome to NCKA.  Maybe look up Kayak Fish Sonoma and do a guided trip with Kyle to get your game moved forward several steps and learn a spot or two as well.  Good luck~   :smt001

4
Introductions / Re: New to Kayak Angling
« on: July 08, 2024, 02:38:21 PM »
Welcome to NCKA, Kevin.   :smt001

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I have a Cape List, who I contact when I see these forecasts coming.  It consists of people who've gone out with me before elsewhere.  Hit me up, and I promise not to wax poetic throughout the day~   :smt003

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Back in the day it was 8 photos per click...

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Photo posting problems persist...

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Forecast finally shaped up after weeks of unrelenting winds where GSXVIII and my Memorial Day trip were some of the only nice days, so yesterday Domenic and I hit some of our old stomping grounds out at the Cape.  The morning minus tide had us reminiscing and longing for the ab diving days, but this day's mission was fishin'.  We took our time since the wind forecast was great, there was no fog, and the swell was totally manageable. 

Arriving and rolling along the reef at the leisurely hour of 0730, we scoped out multiple launch options before settling on #3 - a favorite and very scenic spot that requires tag-teaming the boats down the rock wall before assembling the rest of the gear on a nice low tide beach with one of the mellowest surf launches available.  With not a breath of wind, bright sun and the whole day ahead of us, it felt really great to just enjoy the moments of preparation and anticipation of the day's adventure to come.  We got launched and paddled out through rock gardens that I know well from years of dive explorations, and the water was an impenetrable brown from the big tide swing.  No worries though, as it's rarely the case that the muck persists all the way out to the fishing grounds, a mile and more to the west.

As we made our way offshore I shared with Dom that three years ago the kelp bed was the largest I'd ever seen.  This was unexpected at the time, because most of the kelp along the Nor Cal coast has been decimated by warm water and urchins.  On this day we saw zero kelp, other than the small patches along shore that avoid the urchins by virtue of persisting in the surf zone.  Since bull kelp is an annual, distributed as spores and sprouting opportunistically from hard substrate where spores settle, there is potential for restoration of past beds, but the over-abundance of urchins diminish those potentials greatly.  Knowing that kelp forests provide way more surface area and habitat complexity than the reef by itself, it's always on my mind that there's a direct correlation between the presence of kelp and the health and abundance of the fishery.  I don't want to be a downer, but even at remote and relatively seldom fished areas like those along the Lost Coast, fish populations are suffering from current conditions, and the trends don't look good as time goes by.

All that said, it's the Cape.  Far from ports to the north and south (Eureka and Shelter Cove), and known for strong persistent winds and currents that keep people from fishing it other than on the nicest days, this area has always produced more and larger fish than most other locations in the north state.  Like anywhere else, there are slow-bite days at times, but expectations are always higher here.

Once we cleared the worst of the muck zone, we deployed lines and waited for the first biters.  The extreme minus tide a couple hours earlier and the brown water closer to shore meant that we wouldn't be shocked if it took a while for things to get going.  The wait was longer than usual, but eventually we settled in to some greener water offshore and Dom hooked up a barely-legal lingcod for our first landing of the day.  Those Cape Expectations fueled what felt like an obvious choice to release the ling, hoping that surely a better one would show up... 

Fishing together within earshot, we each started racking up bites, but the fish were slow to show.  Domenic missed one that gave some good headshakes, and a bit later I hooked up on a quality ling in the same area - 30"+ on the stringer.  We hoped this would be the start of the bite catching fire, but it's fishing, and the hopes don't always pan out.  Regardless, we were having a great time and glad to get some time together, as Dom hadn't even ocean fished in a couple years due to work and family obligations.  However things go out there, measures of the day's success should always be more about appreciating the range of experiences and challenges on the water, observations and interactions with the animals, and spending time with a good friend - kayak fishing, many of us have come to know, is especially reflective of these values and priorities.

Over the next few hours we scratched out some decent catches, with a variety of species showing up:  a couple more small lingcod, the ever-present blacks, blues, a couple of olives, and two quality cabezon - Domenic's going 25"+ and around 10 pounds, a legit trophy size for that species.  We were happy with our success, but it felt slow for sure.  At one point we were separated by a couple hundred yards, so I fired up my VHF to announce that I'd landed on a large school of blacks a bit west of Dom's position.  I'd not had the radio on until then, but we'd seen a few powerboats around, as the day was nice enough for some from the Eureka fleet to make their way this far down the coast.  Over the next half hour we were at our farthest western location for the day, so we were picking up chatter on the radio from not only the couple of nearby boats but also the Shelter Cove boats down at Gorda.  There was a common theme on the airwaves:  slow, slow and more slow.

It's surely a valid consolation when even the powerboaters who've motored 20 to 30 miles from port aren't getting bit well, so we added that knowledge to our optimistic outlook that we were enjoying another fun and rewarding day together at a place that we know so well and love so much.  We each had decent keeper lings up that spit the hooks near the yaks, and a few more rockfish got strung up, but the anticipated 'high tide bite' never materialized.  With the hours out there passing like minutes and now a strong northwesterly current setting in, by early afternoon we started to make our way in.  We were ready to mine for prospects on some inshore pinnacles, but the fish just weren't interested.

Approaching our launch area from the outside, we could see that the rock wall was getting wet from the still highish tide.  With too much water it can be a pain to land on that beach that had been so mellow at the low, so we opted to beach it at launch #2 and hoof it a third of a mile or so up the road to the trucks, stashing our gear along the brush of the trail for fifteen minutes or so.  'Soon we had the gear packed up the trail and loaded back on our rigs, and other than lots of ticks in the brush and a hard sweat in the sunshine, life was feeling pretty easy and good.  Even though the fishing hadn't been lights out and we'd only kept one lingcod between the two of us, we were pleased with the work we'd done - it was time for cold beers at the Tailgate Fillet Station!

These days of planning, effort, camaraderie and fun in the offshore wilderness can sometimes seem to play out very similarly over the years, but the truth of the matter is that we're all progressing toward a place that's more important than the consistency of the bite.  Kids grow up, careers evolve and change, our bodies start changing the planned script on us... 

I am a believer in embracing the change; being ready for it, and trying to grow through all of it.  In a world where the landscape, the flora and fauna and even our social structures are seemingly transforming before our eyes into something less recognizable and less predictable than ever before, levels of uncertainty and concern can seem dwarfed compared to the domination of the status quo.   

In these reports I strive to give true details of my experience and to share very real feelings.  I want to involve the reader in my view of the world and to inspire whoever is open to that.  In the end, I aim to bring messages tied to spirit and honor.  Through these narratives and photos, I hope to help bring changes that will help all people - especially those who've not yet come to be.  Somehow, through relationships, experiences, schooling and my own personal meditations on all of it, I have become quite fixated on my belief that we need change.  It's not all about us - the living human beings, right now.  It is all about us - the species that is dominating this planet and whose known actions have brought about threats to our own prosperity and very possibly our own survival.  I can't hold it in, so I will continue to try to refine and organize my focus, and through it all I know that I must remain positive.  The fishing helps me.

13
General Fishing Tips / Re: Any tips for fishing Van Damme?
« on: July 06, 2024, 09:42:12 AM »
Nice work!  Chunky blues.  Way to execute the plan.   :smt001

14
General Talk / Re: Happy Fourth of July halibut
« on: July 04, 2024, 10:52:13 PM »
Noice!   :smt001

15
Introductions / Re: Unclepsycho Checking In
« on: July 04, 2024, 02:16:37 PM »
Welcome to the community.   :smt001

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