You see, unlike Kris Kringle, Salmon Claus isn’t bound to one single day on the calendar, No, Salmon Claus can ride in on his boat any day during salmon season. You always hope he’s gonna roll up when you’re out there on the Briny Deep, but it’s never a given. Well, he sure did stop and pay us a visit! I didn’t think a day could go better than our last jaunt, but boy, was I wrong!
Jacob and I got up really early this past Saturday and made the hour drive down to Catdaddy’s to pick up him and the Sea King. The day looked like it was going to be a hot one. Summer has finally hit its stride around here, and without a bimini top, it was going to be sweltering out on the water. There was some nice fog hanging on halfway down the Bay, so we hoped it would linger as long as possible.
After stopping by the Moss Landing bait shop/liquor store for ice and last-minute gear (and Jacob scoring that sweet sticker for the boat) we headed off to the boat launch. There was a bit of mechanical failure down at the ramp, but it wasn’t enough to derail our day. We soon got underway and headed on out to the area we had such good luck at on the previous outing. When we arrived, I put my freshly tied rigs on mine and Jacob’s rods and we sent our lines down to around 200 feet on the downriggers.
We were hoping for some early action like what happened the last time, but there wasn’t anything going on initially. We opened up some barley-pops and got our troll on. As these things usually go, it was a matter of working water and having patience. It was probably an hour or so into our day when Jacob’s line popped off and it was Fish On! The fish turned out to be quite a fighter as Catdaddy and myself brought up our lines and downriggers. I kept the boat straight as Catdaddy was on the net. Jacob got the fish up to the boat and Catdaddy swooped it up. It was a big ‘ol fish! I got out the scale and weighed it, and it was a 20 lb’er. That’s a big fish for the Bay! More importantly, the knots on my rig held true. No matter how secure I thought my knots were, there is nothing like testing them out in the field under real-world conditions.
Things were off to a great start. We got re-rigged and bracketed that spot with our trolling. It wasn’t long before my line popped, and it was Fish On for The Dogfish! I was amped as hell, as I was shut out on the last trip, so I really wanted to land this one. In salmon fishing, every bite counts. You might get one bite a day so it definitely puts on the pressure to not farm your hookup. I got it up to the boat and one of the boys netted it. It was glorious! I was whooping and hollering to bring down the house. My first salmon of the year! Again, my knots held true. I think I can safely say I’ve got this salmon rigging down.
Now we were riding high! Already the day was a roaring success. It took us a little longer to get fish on board on this outing, but every time you go out things go differently. You’ve just got to roll with whatever comes your way out on the water. Salmon Claus wasn’t done with us yet though! Not long after my catch, Catdaddy’s line went off the downrigger! You could tell by how it behaved it was a real beast. He managed to get it up to the boat and it was sucessfully landed. This one was a true beast, the biggest fish of the day! It weighed in at 25 lbs and was 35 inches if I remember correctly. We now had 60 lbs of salmon on board. Salmon Claus had not forgotten us on the 4th of July!
Not long after the catching of the third salmon, the winds & swell started to pick up. We tried as hard as we could for a fourth fish, but as things were getting pretty nautical out there, it was time to make our way back to port. We had done what we had set out to do, there wasn’t any point in lingering around when the winds pick up as they inevitably will in the afternoon. It was a bit tricky getting back to Moss, but we made it back without any problems. Upon our arrival back to Catdaddy’s, I again volunteered for fillet duty. It’s a little tough when the fillets are wider than your fillet knife is long, but I managed. It was a good problem to have!
We spent the evening ringing in the 4th in classic style and good times were had by all. Catdaddy has a vacuum sealer so we got the fillets all nice and packaged up. We each wound up with 10+lbs of fillets, it was a treasure hoard! Later on after we got back to Last Chance, Jacob cooked up some salmon slabs on the grill and we all feasted. It was just as good as before. Eating fresh salmon properly bled, gutted & prepared is always a transdescent experience. It was a great end to another awesome fishing expedition. Maybe next time we’ll try for halibut, as we’re going to be stocked up on salmon for a while!