A nice little paddle out at Capitola

So the only reason I’m back tracking on this post is because…well otherwise I’d have nothing.  For now.  And seeing as I’m here not doing anything…  A note to myself though, I should really work on taking pictures before and during my fishing trips so its not a wall of text, then pictures…

Went out to the Capitola pier on 8/5/2012 with my brother and a work friend.  My brother and I showed up at Capitola around 6am and parked up on the cliff overlooking the pier.  Does anyone know of any other place with 12hour parking?  Every other spot seems to be limited to maybe 4 hours or less :

Was kind of odd too.  We ran into someone up there who was apparently $5 short…I had 1 quarter left after filling my meter.  Later when we got down to the pier we ran into him heading back up with another guy and all their gear.  Guessing they were on the waiting list for a boat, but there were no no-shows?  Either way he said if we wanted we could have his spot, it already had 3 hours in it.  At that point I’m not sure what confuses me more:

  1. that they got up early and lugged all their stuff down the pier just to leave?
  2. threw in 3 hours but planning on getting a boat and leaving?
  3. thinking we would want to move our car into their slot after he watched us fill our meter.

Anyhow after renting our kayaks we headed out towards the kelp beds to the left (if facing the ocean on the beach).  A few years back I had quite a bit of luck there catching 2 or 3 rock cod on a short drift.  When we went out this time though we couldn’t even get a bite.  My brother was drifting a halibut rig with squid, and I was drop shotting 1 anchovy & 1 squid lure with smelly jelly (anchovy).

We’d paddled around most of the kelp bed with no luck but we were seeing small fish jumping out of the water for awhile.  My brother made the call that they were probably smelt or anchovies so we swapped to sabiki rigs and boy was he right.  There was a huuuuge school of smelt below us the entire time, just deep enough to be out of sight from our kayaks.

After we’d caught maybe 20 each my work friend showed up and I passed my rod to her since she didn’t bring any sabiki rigs and I didn’t want her to miss it.  Let me just pause here to point out, light tackle bait fishing is one of the most exciting things you can do.  Sure if they’re anchovies its not as amazing as hooking into a large bass or a ling, but its still very fast consistent action with a LOT of tapping.  This school had mostly large smelt too.  Nothing like hooking into 2-4 big ones at a time and actually having them TAKE LINE OFF YOUR DRAG.  And when you finally got them up near the surface part of the school was following and you’d just see hundreds of fish!  When I was a kid fishing at the Cement Ship at Seacliff State Beach I definitely took the anchovy schools that passed often for granted.  These days I almost never see the same amount of bait go even with sight range of piers.  Maybe I just go to the wrong ones at the wrong times now…but it feels like fish are definitely less abundant.  Especially perch.

Getting back on track though.  I didn’t want her to miss out on it since I was using a fresh water set up (read: light as hell) and let her use my rod while I paddled off to go mooch smelt from my brother to use as live bait on my heavier rod.  A little while later she came paddling up and informed me the rod had snapped, and the whole thing had gone into the ocean…
A moment of silence for that reel.

It was my lucky reel and favorite that I always used since I was a kid.  It landed me 3 halibut one summer off the Capitola pier off a grub that was barely an inch.  And it was now gone.  I had some snorkeling goggles in my back pack for things like that, but she was so far away when it happened there was no way I’d be able to pinpoint where it went. :[

Anyhow, she described the event like this: hooked into 4 smelt and the combined strength of them snapped the pole, at which point it become much harder to hold onto.  To add onto this, a giant white fish swam by and gobbled up one of the smelt at which point she had to let go of the rod to prevent being flipped over.

We all headed over after she told us what happened and I tried drifting the general area with a fresh live smelt with no luck.  We suspected it might have been a white sea bass since they’d been in the Capitola area recently, but had no luck drifiting live smelt the rest of the day.  At that point we were down to 1 sabiki rig, so the fishing slowed down.  My friend caught one more mackerel on a rock cod shrimp fly rig, but that was about it.  My brother kept catching and releasing smelt though (we only kept about 20 for using as crab bait).

Day after we were there, I was checking Capitola Boat and Bait’s site to see how others had done, and I saw this: http://capitolaboatandbait.com/2012/08/06/capitola-john-45-pound-white-sea-bass-jason-12-pound-halibut-on-kayaks-out-side-the-kelp-beds
Which makes me think what took my rod was really a WSB.  That was a lucky rod. T.T

It was a nice day and the water was practically flat until about 1 or 2 when we decided to head back since we couldn’t get any bites in the area and the wind was just starting to pick up.  Here’s the results:

Yea.  That’s me in those ridiculous swimming trunks…I forgot my pair at my apartment that day, and grabbed one from my parents house.

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