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…Ying & Greg needed to rent, and I’d checked the website for outback adventures’ kayak rentals at the lake on either Wed/Thurs. They had in red at the top of the page “10-15% off, this weekend only” and I relayed this information to them. When we got there the guys running it had no idea. I checked the website from my phone, and the red text was gone…
So yea. First time I’ve run into problems with them…seems kinda sketchy?

Moving along with the report, I got hit in the shallows by the trees at the back of the lake, but it spat the hook before I managed to pull it up to the surface. Was using a robo worm wacky rigged with a 1/2oz weight.

Dropshot rig for bass
Wacky rigged roboworm for bass

Was using 6″ straight tail oxblood worms with red flakes (recommended to me by nice people at Fisherman’s Warehouse on de anza, still my favorite store).

Using 1/0 barbless octopus hooks. You can’t eat the fish at SCR, so trying to minimize the damage done.

It seemed far too shallow (maybe like 2-4′ at best) and pretty warm, so I figured I’d just laze it up and drift right down the middle of the lake in that area. Hopefully deeper water would be cold enough to hold some fish. Here’s the result!

I miss a hookset @ 6:00, and get it right around 6:08.

Hook popped out right as it reached the surface. I’m not that great with barbless hooks, rarely use them d= But at least I got to see the fish this time! That was pretty much it. I may have had a turtle eat one of my nightcrawlers at one point, but yea… Sort of lazed out on it. Sorry to Greg & Ying, we wound up sticking around for awhile, hope you guys did okay :] Next time we’re in Lafayette we’ll give you a call!

Come Sunday it was time to poke pole. At 4am. Despite what everyone says, its NOT my fault this time d=

Can be found here: http://tides.mobilegeographics.com/locations/2365.html?y=2013&m=5&d=26

Low tide peaked at 6:12am, and you technically want to be fishing at least an hour before, so you can move out/in with the tide. A little past 4am I get called by Kara: “Good morning sleeping beauty!”

Damn it! Was supposed to be there by 4…anyhow, ran around to grab my stuff and headed out the door to meet Kara & Charles, and then we went to pick up Jesse. He had a fancy new light, and let Kara play with it. Little did we know…

The damn thing turned into a fucking strobe light while I was driving. At 430 in the morning. While it was dark. EVERYONE was blinded. What a troll.

Anywho, we found ourselves at half moon bay without further incident, making terrible jokes along the way. There were TOOOONS of people out there. Lights across the entire waterfront of the south jetty harbor. So many people digging for clams. Saw a couple people getting monster 12-15″ ones, so jealous. Was fun watching them do a little dance on top of their PVC(?) tubes. I need to find out where they get those, I’d do a lot better with one.

We hoofed it out, and set up just short of the second semicircle of water. Those of you who have been out before may recognize this crude drawing:

pillar point harbor
half moon bay south jetty

That red arrow and line marks that further, second pool that meets with the deeper water inside the harbor. When the tide gets low, you can see the water meeting along that semi circle.

We set up on the closer side of that and started poking back towards shore since the tide hadn’t gone low enough to let us get to the other side. Charles caught a rock crab and a fish, and I think kara caught a fish? My memories fuzzy, and I’m pretty sleepy @_@
Borrowing Kara’s awesomely done picture:

His first fish!

Jesse and I didn’t get anything for awhile. I was mostly waiting for the tide to go down further so I could get out further to my favorite spots. When it finally seemed to be about shin height I headed out to try my luck. Couldn’t find my old #1 spot where we pulled 3 10+ inch rock cod out from the same hole though…was very sad. But then I spotted this:

pillar point south jetty
half moon bay south jetty

Kinda blurry, but think to yourself about whether or not you see anything that sticks out before scrolling down.

Sorry about not having video btw. My gopro bugged out on my and got frozen on the select mode screen. Not sure why it does that sometimes. Didn’t want to open it up and remove the batteries to kill it while standing knee deep in water :

Here’s what I saw

A better look

The lines are the shapes of the rock, the arrows point to open spaces. Things to note:
1. Good cover from sun & waves
2. A bunch of that reddish/brown kelp. Eels eat that all day
3. Very likely a cave behind there, multiple escape routes, entrances, etc.

Stuck my rod in there and INSTANTLY got hit and pulled in and to the right. I didn’t realize at the time that something like that might happen, and got snagged. Its amazing how fish & eels can just take a chomp at your bait, then just slam the hook into a rock nearby and swim off giggling to themselves.

I was forced to break it off. But since I didn’t actually even get around to tugging the fish, I was pretty sure whatever it was had to still be content to just sit in there nomming on my bait. Oh, was using squid by the way. Had shrimp, but I don’t like poke poling with it since eels tend to make quick work of something so delicate as shrimp. Retied, and this time gave only maybe an inch or 1.5″ and was prepared to start reeling as soon as it hit. Was using a rod that day since I was testing some other stuff out (I like to hand line down as opposed to using a rigid poke pole).

Once again I got hit almost immediately, but this time it was even stronger! Not sure if it was something different, or just it got the hook this time. There was a short tug of war, but since I was prepared I already had the head of the eel out of the rock and made short work of it. Landed a decent sized eel, not idea what size. Didn’t measure, but had meat on it (>9-10″). Wish I had a picture, but had to walk it all the way back to drop it into my bucket.

On the way I spotted a 5″ brown rock crab making its way to the jetty. Reached down and slowly moved my hand into position to grab its hindlegs. Started heading back with my two catches to drop off in my bucket. After dropping those off I quickly made my way back to the same spot. I know in that particular area I tend to pull up 2-3 fish/eel per hole regularly. Did the same thing, was ready to reel, and again! Fish on in a matter of seconds. I pulled the fish out, and…! Fish dropped off the hook, and swam off :[ I was slightly disappointed, but figured there might be more, don’t lose hope yet! Stuck my bait back in there, and no bite. Was about to go and scratch my head and then bite! Fish on! :3

Turned out to be a rock cod, and into the bucket he went as well. As I wandered back I ran into Charles and offered to take him out to where I was fishing and show him some spots. We tried the same hole when we got there, but no bites. Found a few other caves to poke, and he quickly found an eel (guessing by the behavior). After a few minutes of feeding it tons of squid, it stopped biting. While that was going on I spotted a huge 6″ red rock crab in the same place I nabbed the brown crab! Not sure what the deal with right there is, but the crabs and fish seem to freaking love it.
This time it took some work. I missed the legs on my first go and it tipped the crab off to what was going on…a short 2-3 minute scuffle ensued as I tried to not get my fingers crushed while trying to grab the crab with one hand in 1-2ft of water @_@ There were a few times when there was too much sand to even see, and I got a little worried about my toes…

In the end I managed to subdue it with the but of my rod, and grabbed the hind legs. It was slightly before that the eel stopped biting. Unfortunately by now it was like 6:30, and the tide was starting to come in at the knee level…About time to head back. I figured what the heck though, lets give that same hole from before one more shot before leaving. And what do you know, Charles lands a decent 7-8″ rock cod! We yell and celebrate while turning to head back, and it dropped off the hook back to freedom… Dangit -.-

And before I forget, yes. I paid a blood tribute to the jetty per the norm.

Kids, don’t forget your pliers on the car when catching eels. They have sharp teeth, and when the hook finally comes out, the point can destroy your finger…that scratch actually goes along my entire fingernail too…

So we ended the day keeping 2 rock cod, and 2 crabs. Gave an eel and a rock crab away to another guy poke poling and headed off to clean up before strawberry picking. Yea, day is just beginning! d= Oh and we stopped to clean the fish at the public boat ramp at the half moon bay/pillar point harbor.
I bring this up because some idiot walked up to me and informed me that “hey, that has to be 12″. sea trout. 12 inch”
No asian who can’t tell one fish from the other…these were either kelp or grass rock fish. I know what a greenling/sea trout is. Stfu. I informed him of his stupidity in a kind manner, and he said “oh”, but I’m pretty sure he didn’t believe me. Freaking idiot. I bet he’s the reason I can’t land a god damn legal cabezon off the jetties. Probably takes 12″ cabbies going “Oh, its a 12″ sea trout, I can take it”. CABBIE MEAT IS WASTED ON THE LIKES OF YOU ASSHOLE.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m happy he knows there’s a limit. I’m just pissed he has the nerve to quote wrong rules to me when he can’t identify very very different fish. Especially since until this year greenling were limited to some #( 3?) in the 10 RCG daily limit.

Ranting aside, here’s a shoddy picture of what we kept:

Sorry for the lack of good photos, I was pressed for time. It was like 8am, and we were supposed to meet up to carpool to Swantonberry Farm @ 9am.

So we piled into the car and went home to clean up and get ready for strawberry picking. I showed up 30 minutes late at 930, then we waited for one guy for awhile who stopped responding to texts…after 30 minutes, we decided he must’ve been driving himself the whole way since it couldn’t take that long to get from his place to where we were meeting…
Hopped into my car, and then…my car wouldn’t start. It died on me. And we were laaaate as hell already. Supposed to be at the farm by 10am, and it was already 1030am!
After a few more failed attempts we decided to leave it there and figure it out later. Olivia offered to drive, so we all jumped into her car and off we went to meet the others.

Picking was good! It was a really small farm, and I was worried when I first saw it that we would have a HORRIBLE selection. Turned out to have quite a lot of strawberries though. If you’re looking for a place to go for strawberries, I highly recommend it. No cover charge, they don’t charge you to use their boxes (actually a big deal), and the people were very nice.
http://www.swantonberryfarm.com/ <— check ’em out, the strawberries are delicious

swanton berry farm U pick strawberries

Afterward we headed to the roadhouse in Davenport just down the road. Food was decent, but the best part came afterward. Nite found a trail going down to a great beach!

It was a cool little path that you wouldn’t really think to walk down. There were signs all over similar to this one:

On the other side of the trees and vines we were greeted with this site

We also discovered a…river?

Davenport Cave Tunnel By The Beach


There’s something on the other side!



Looking back on it now, those were dark times…

so dark

Dark times make you sad

But in the end, it’ll always be okay as long as you yell “WORTH IT!” and fist pump.

Props to Nite for thinking to take a photo!
On the way back

Yea, it was actually necessary to cling to the wall like that. Slippery too!

Dem waves.
album: http://imgur.com/a/kakYr#0

Exhausting weekend, but well worth losing the sleep :]

One thought on “Kayaking, Poke poling, And Spelunking”

  1. Hey, I just stumbled upon your fishing blog. I’m from the Bay Area (Santa Clara) and would love to discuss fishing. Hit me up! And keep on posting.

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