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The Best Weekend for Salmon

This last weekend, July 22 and 23, started out as many fishing trips do. You always hear about how the bite is on; but most of the time, you get out there and you get the, "You should have been here yesterday".

Our Farallon 3200 Explorer, Predator, is docked in Pillar Point harbor outside of Half Moon Bay, Ca.

To escape the heat of Sacramento and see what all the hype was about, my dad and I decided to head down and try our luck. The morning before, we invited some family friends to join us and we had no problem convincing them to join and be there in the morning. After getting a late start we were headed out of the harbor around 8 am. On board was father and son Dan and Ben Trickett, Brett and Jake Trickett, and Joe and myself. It was a full boat but there was plenty of space to get comfortable for the 13 mile journey. Cruising at 22 knots with six people and full tanks of fuel, we listened to the radio of all the people limiting out and heading home. We were excited as we arrived at the "fleet" and it didn't take us long to drop the downriggers and get our lines in the water.

Ben, who had never caught a saltwater fish before, was fired up when the first line went off.

He learned a valuable lesson on how to be gentle reeling it in and not let it shake the barbless hook as it got loose right near the boat. It is always a horrible feeling loosing a fish, but it did not stop us from getting them back in the water and continue trolling. We started getting hooked up every twenty minutes or so which was just enough time to grab some snacks and sit down.

We ended up getting nine fish, loosing a few right from the start and a few getting off right at the boat. Even with the late start we were home by 1 o'clock. Cleaning the fish as we caught them, on our rear mounted cleaning station, made it easy once we got back to the dock to load up and head home.

Sunday we headed out again, but this time it was just Jake, Joe, and I. As we drove to the harbor we couldn't believe our eyes when we saw the line of boats waiting to launch. If you have been to Pillar Point Harbor, the line was all the way from the launch to the stop light off of Highway 1 with more trying to turn in. We saw every type of boat trying to launch from your standard Whaler and Parkers, all the way to few freshwater ski boats. We couldn't believe what people were willing to risk their lives on in search for salmon. We even came a across a couple on two kayaks 13 miles out!

Luckily for us we knew the local way in and scooted around the hoards of boats and made it to

our slip, fired up the 425 hp Cummins, heated up some breakfast burritos in the microwave, turned the heater on, and headed out for another great day of fishing. The radar came in handy to keep an eye on the multiple other boats headed in the same direction as we headed through the thick fog. It is always nice to have reliable Garmin electronics to get you through and ultimately get you home safe.

We arrived around 7:30 am and with the three of us it was easy to get the lines in and start fishing. We decided to go a little bit deeper with our downriggers in hopes to get a bigger class of fish. With this decision we had a little bit more line to reel in which isn't a problem unless you find yourself being followed by a sea lion. We got a double hook up and as Jake is reeling in his line, a sea lion jumps out of the water with the salmon in its mouth. Snapping the line and taking our watermelon apex with it, we watch as it plays with our huge salmon just a few 100 yards off the boat. After seeing that, I reel in my fish as fast as I can because another sea lion is jumping and headed in our direction. You can feel the salmon take off running away and as it heads straight toward the boat, Jake grabs the net and snatched it just feet from the sea lion. The sea lions jumps up right next to the boat growling and snorting at us in anger that we got the fish.

With all the excitement and multiple hook ups, we limited out with six nice salmon by 9:30. We even threw back some legal fish because we wanted to get the larger ones and give the smaller ones a chance to grow.

We get back to the dock, clean the boat, and head home to a BBQ just getting fired up. As we fillet out the fish, we throw the carcasses on the grill with some basic seasoning and let them cook for 10 min or so. The amount of meat still on the six carcasses fed the three of us to the point where we were full.

It was a great weekend spent with family and friends. It was also amazing to see so many other fisherman eager to fish and willing to trailer from afar and wait in line to fish. Stay fishing!

-Blake Carter

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