Kayaking, Poke poling, And Spelunking

edit: some images missing. Imgur sucks :[ hopefully they’ll load eventually

Together they make a wholesome memorial day weekend!

That was one long long weekend. I learned my lesson, I can handle about 4 activities for a 3 days weekend tops…I’m exhausted. I woke up this morning and literally could not function until I’d finished an entire energy drink. I was done with a second, and working on a cup of coffee before 11am.

Anyhow! I set off to go fishing at Steven’s Creek Reservoir on saturday (5/25/2013). Was hoping I’d be able to land a few bass and lots of crappie. Thought it might be the either right before or during spawning, but I might’ve been wrong. Didn’t get many bites, in fact much less then I had found from shore in winter even.
Was supposed to meet up with a couple friends, but some bailed. In the end it was Kara, Ying, Greg & me.

Going to pause here and note an odd thing that happened… Continue reading Kayaking, Poke poling, And Spelunking

5-19-2013 Ft Baker/Moore Rd Pier & Jetty Rock Cod Fishing

Just got home friday evening from staying at home all week to help my dad after his back surgery. Some of his vertebrae were too narrow, and he was in danger of having nerves pinched (read: paralyzed from the stomach down). Anyhow, after putting the surgery off for years he finally went in and got it and I spent the whole week back in Cupertino helping when I could (I even spent 1.5 days in the hospital).

Finally got back to Redwood City Friday evening for a relaxing weekend. Nothing planned, no rushes, just sitting back and relaxing. Been awhile since I had one of those. Decided to start on a second bow as well.

Second bow is on the right, and has a riser block (? handle? I forget) this time. Last time I got too lazy and skipped it. Spent an hour having a nice fellow (John) from craigslist help me cut it with power tools (I don’t have them…and I’m done grinding the entire block out with a rasp d=).

Anyhow! He did a great job and now I just need to sand/scrape it down. Probably aiming to have a lower strength bow this time and hopefully not splinter it during tillering…but it saved me days worth of work. Pretty sweet. I’ll post updates if it succeeds d=

Getting back on track, I spent most of the weekend happily half asleep in my armchair. Around 2pm Sunday I got the urge to go find some fish though, so grabbed some squid and hopped out the door. I’ve only been out to Ft Baker/Moore Rd Pier once so far, and that was a loooong time ago. Back when I thought drop shotting was the magical end all solution to all fishing. We came out, I bounced for ~10 minutes and had a rock cod! My first time ever landing one off a pier! Probably only the 2nd time I’d ever seen one landed on a pier at the time even. It was exciting, but that was the end that day.

I set out Sunday hoping that with all my experience since then I’d be able to land at least 2, regardless of size.

SF Golden Gate Bridge
My destination

Started on the pier, since I was most interested in fishing under the pier, between the pilings, looking for structure anywhere. Rockfish Ninja’s reports (from PFIC) always make me want to head out to a pier in the bay in search of rock fish. Soon as I got halfway out I realized exactly how windy it was. I thought I was boned, no way I could fish, but it turned out to be not so bad, as long as I wasn’t out on the front end of the pier. Tried fishing along the way out (the first initial straight section) for no bites. Didn’t get any hits until I was in the elbow of the pier. I had been tossing under the pier for awhile and not getting any hits, but I noticed on a few pulls I seemed to be nearly getting snagged on something just outside of the pier (in open water). Threw a little behind it and dragged my bait over it and found it felt just like a hole in the jetties.

Kept at that hole for the next couple minutes, even letting the bait rest a few times. Then one time after leaving it for about 20 seconds, FISH ON! I was totally surprised, still believed it couldn’t be anything besides a large chunk of seaweed I was tugging on. But then it started moving from side to side to side and I knew it was a fish, but I couldn’t horse it up real quick. Was using pretty light tackle (14lb line, but my rod was probably only weighted at 6-10lbs?). Had planned on using a different reel, but forgot it at home…so I made do.
10-15 seconds later, fish got away. When I pulled my rig up it kind of looked like the squid had been covering the hook to begin with? Figured either the fish was too small to set the hook itself properly, or it was just stubborn and wouldn’t let go of the squid. Fix the hooking, and tossed it back down (was using a carolina rig, 3/4oz sliding egg sinker, not pinned in place)
Based on how the fight felt, I suspect I didn’t really actually get the fish out of its hole too much, if any. Mostly just a tug of war that happened. My guess was in that situation the fish would probably still be hanging out in the same hole. From my experience unless you pull them out into open water, they don’t really move away.
With that in mind, I tossed back, working the same area. Finally got a hit and hook set on something from the other side of the pillar. This time I gave an extra little tug before anything else, even though I was using a circle hook. If its a small fish, it couldn’t hurt my chances anymore (the smaller ones don’t always hit hard enough to set the hook properly). Fought the fish up after about 20 seconds, though in all honesty it was more just pulling it up. Fish didn’t break to either side, just tried going straight down.

Was a maybe 6-7″ brown rock cod. But then I dropped it off the hook trying to get my rod and it over the railing…talk about noobish moves. Though there were tons of people around, and bunches stopping to ask how I was doing often, I lucked out and noone saw d=

Couldn’t get any more bites in that spot, and didn’t have the skill or space to fish anywhere else effectively. Tried the spot where I think I caught a fish last time, but no luck. Decided to use my time over on the jetty on the other side of the harbor instead. Tried it once with a diamond bar and…well ’nuff said. Don’t diamond bar off the jetty. I sure was an idiot in the past…

Anyhow, off I went. Nearly couldn’t figure out how to drive up next to it. Those super steep, super narrow dirt roads always make we worry since I no longer drive a ford explorer…I miss 4wd some days. Anywho, off onto the jetty I ran. Didn’t see anyone pull any fish up while I was there, but didn’t ask anyone either. Saw two asian guys with an ice chest, but they didn’t seem to get anything but snags. I fished one spot for about 5 minutes with no luck. Tried on the inside side of the harbor at one spot where water was coming through, no luck. Swapped back to the bay side and rigged up a berkley gulp shrimp. Same set up, 3/4oz sliding egg sinker and a 5/0 circle hook. Tossed out pretty far a few times with no luck. Tried tossing less far to save some time, and not even 4 ft out I got hit! I was a fool and still using the light tackle rod and worried I’d get rocked. The best I could do was keep the fish from diving downward and quickly reel in whenever it stopped diving. In the end I won out (lesson learned from multiple large fish lost on the HMB jetties…) and it was a nice ~9″ black cod:

Black rock cod from Moore Rd Jetty
Black rock cod from Ft Point Jetty




Fished for maybe another hour with no more bites. Guessing it was because swell was up, and wind was nearly howling. Better results than I expected for both the area and weather. 3 bites, “landed” 2. Not bad for a lazy sunday afternoon.
Didn’t really take many pictures, rest can be found here: http://imgur.com/a/xod7B#0

Anyhow, I’ll be out at Steven’s Creek Reservoir this Saturday (5/25/2013) targeting bass or crappie mainly, and maybe carp. Will be out there with 2-3 other people in kayaks/foldaboats. If you see a dude with a mini 1-2ft rod &/or a black/red chainmail bracelet, give a holler!
I’ll also be out at the half moon bay jetties with a few people the next day (Sunday, 5/26/2013) to poke pole the amazing low tide (-1.85!? Lowest I’ve ever seen, fishing should be amazing).

Random thought to close out the day, do fish believe in god(s)? When they get hooked and are fighting, can they comprehend what’s happening, or do is it just like they’re on some ride, courtesy of a magical force? When they break the line, do they go home and tell their buddies they felt the hand of god?

HMB North Jetty – Cabezons & Large Rock Cod

Originally planned to make a run down to Pebble Beach in Carmel, but the forecast said 13mph wind by 12pm. Wanted nothing to do with that. I’ll hit up Stillwater Cove some other day.

Decided I’d give the north jetty at Half Moon Bay a shot. Wanted to get there by 630/7am to pump up some yabbies, but woke up at 9am still feeling groggy… Hopped into the shower, grabbed my gear and was off.

Parked the car at the lot for the north jetty around 10:30am and headed out. I didn’t bother fishing until I was at the last bend.

pillar point harbor
half moon bay harbor

North jetty is the one in the bottom left side. I started fishing at the second bend (1st bend closest to shore).

There were a ton less bites than I expected. Somewhat disappointed, but can’t complain about the quality of the fish I did bring home. Bounced over an area with squid with no luck. Swapped to a 2″ berkley gulp shrimp, and suddenly FISH WAS ON!

15
15″ Rock cod half moon bay jetty

Continue reading HMB North Jetty – Cabezons & Large Rock Cod

Quick ‘n Dirty HMB Update

Hit up the half moon bay/pillar point harbor jetty last night (5/7/2013). Bait was shrimp, went with a carolina rig. 1/2oz – 1oz. Water was like glass, but had to use one of my stiffer poles due to some reel problems. Hook was a 5/0 circle hook.

Size is definitely down, but the numbers are doing okay. Not as bad as I thought before, but not great. Two biggest fish were <10″ and skinny. Both grassies. Oddly enough the majority of fish caught last night were grassies. Kind of odd. Usually I only see 1 or 2 fat grassies every 4-5 trips. Continue reading Quick ‘n Dirty HMB Update

Capitola Reef Kayak Fishing 5/4/2013

Before we get started, just going to leave this video here. Lost my phone, driver license, and fishing license on saturday, been kinda bummed. But this cheered me right up. Oh Bill Dance, you’re my idol d=

Not my video btw. Maybe half of the footage is new-ish (I’ve seen a lot of the old bloopers, and many of these were a great surprise :3)

Anyhow, moving onto the report! Also, all photos courtesy of Kara, I lost my phone :[

Woke up 2 hours late Saturday morning…meant to get up at 5am, woke up after 7 to a text message from kara asking where I was. Gah. Grabbed my gear, loaded up the kayak and ran out the door.

Picked up Kara and breakfast, and we were off! Traffic wasn’t bad at all, pretty much speed limit the whole way or more. Not bad considering it was like 930/10am-ish? Was really weird driving into Capitola though. It was sunny right up until Capitola. Then all of a sudden the world got darker, and it was pretty foggy. Stayed that way all day. Kind of odd, considering there was some wind (5-11mph forecast).

Anyhow, we got there and unloaded our gear. On my way to the bathroom I passed a young boy who had a nice looking rock cod (black or blue, didn’t get a good look). Was AMAZING for off that pier, 10-12″ easily. Kid was using a ball weight with a maybe 4-6″ leader beyond that. I don’t know the name of the rig, but its got a bit of a cult following. Anyhow he wasn’t tossing it out too far, maybe 30-40′. Odd to have some rock cod out in the open there.

Ready to go!

Capitola Kayak fishing
Capitola Kayak fishing

Continue reading Capitola Reef Kayak Fishing 5/4/2013