Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Live bait

I just did a quick check of my blog and I didn't find any mention of fishing. Strange? Maybe I missed it. Well, I will continue with my fishing stories. Or begin. My father fished, ergo I fished. I used to go with him as a youngster of 7 or 8.  My favorite times were when he and I went 'deep sea' fishing. Getting up early and getting dressed quietly with as little light as possible.We didn't want to wake my sisters. Then we would drive to San Pedro and get aboard a 'party boat'. Not that kind of party... it was a party of 25 or 30 fishermen. Dad would carry the tackle box and his pole. We would rent one for me. Once loaded up, the deck hand would cast off and the Captain would pull away from the dock and make his way down the channel to a live bait boat and order enough sardines to put in the live bait well. We had to go past the Copra processing plant where the smell would make you glad that you didn't have breakfast.Iit wasn't long after that, that we were leaving the calm waters of the port and facing the heavy swells of the Pacific. I'm one of those people that never gets seasick, so I was enjoying the ride. Some didn't. These day long 'party boats' would usually find fish in the Catalina channel. It wasn't very deep in lots of places and so the Skipper (Captain) would anchor if he saw any fish on his 'fish finder' screen, or if he heard anything good on the radio between all the other boats out in the in the channel. We would put an anchovy on the hook and let the line out. If they had been catching Halibut, we would let the bait go to the bottom. Otherwise, we would listen to the skipper or deck hand's advise as to how deep we should position our bait. Then, we waited.The boat going up and down. The sun slowly rising. It was beautiful! On some of the party boats there would be a galley where you could order ham & eggs plus toast for breakfast. Some boats sold sandwiches and pastries. With any luck we would be too busy to eat. Busy hooking and fighting fish to the surface. There, the deck hand would gaff the fish and put it into your sack for you.  If there were a lot of fish being caught, he would drop your fish on the deck and move on to another lucky fisherman. All during this time the boat was going up and down (pitching) and often with a yaw, or going up and down with a twist to the right or left. A frequent and combined, plus steep, pitch and yaw would often send people over to the railing where they would lose whatever was in their stomach. As long as you were busy catching fish, the motion of the boat usually wasn't noticeable. When we weren't catching fish, the deck hand would stand atop the live bait tank with a small scoop net and throw anchovy in the sea around us. Chumming, as it's called, is to attract any of the larger game fish such as Tuna, Yellowtail and Albacore. If we were lucky enough to be in the middle of a school of these fish, fishermen would be catching fish right and left and the deckhand would be very, very busy. Sometimes the Skipper would have to climb down from his post at the helm and help him out....

...More about fishing later.

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