NO BITES, NO PROBLEM; STORIES AND CAMARADERIE MAKE UP FOR FISHING TRIP THAT LACKS MANY CATCHES.Byline: BRETT PAULY
It started out as one of those fishing trips in which the stories are better than the fishing.
By midday the bags of most anglers were empty, an ominous start to our two days at San Nicolas Island San Nicolas Island (sometimes shortened as San Nic or SNI) is the most remote of California's Channel Islands. It is part of Ventura County. The 14,562 acre (58.93 km² or 22. .
But already we had hauled up a bizarre starfish with too many legs to count, run into an overzealous sea gull and received a terse military warning over the radio that our vessel was in restricted waters.
``Looks like you don't have a story yet,'' a fellow angler said, shortly after the captain hightailed it safely out of the Navy's forbidden zone For the Forbidden Zone appearing in Planet of the Apes and its sequels, see Forbidden Zone (Planet of the Apes). For the exclusion zone around the Chernobyl disaster, see Zone of alienation. .
On the contrary, I replied, it is often the excursions that don't net memorable fish that are the most indelible.
The Seahawk LXV departed Sea Landing on a Sunday evening with its crew and 15 passengers envisioning rods routinely bent over monster calico bass calico bass
See black crappie.
[From the colored spots on its body.] , white seabass Noun 1. white seabass - a species of large perch noted for its sporting and eating qualities; lives in marine, estuary, and freshwater habitats
Asian seabass, barramundi, giant perch, giant seaperch, Lates calcarifer , rockfish rockfish, member of the large family Scorpaenidae (rockfishes and scorpionfishes), carnivorous fish inhabiting all seas and especially abundant in the temperate waters of the Pacific. Rockfishes are found among rocks and reefs. and even a yellowtail or two. The trip was unusual both in duration and destination - San Nicolas San Nicolas or San Nicolás ("Saint Nicholas") may refer to:
Little did they know that the dawn would bring one of the slowest topwater fishing days in their collective memories.
These anglers, many of them veterans of the Los Angeles Rod & Reel Club, longed to target the island's legendary calicos - ``The bass are probably bigger, on average, at San Nick than most places,'' said Seahawk skipper Merit McCrea - on lightweight gear and wouldn't take no for an answer when it became apparent that the vast stringers of kelp weren't yielding the fruits of the sea.
``We got hammered back into an area that didn't have any calico bass and nobody wanted the fish that were available,'' McCrea said. ``There were plenty of whitefish whitefish: see salmon.
Any of several silvery food fishes (family Salmonidae, or Coregonidae), inhabiting cold northern lakes of Europe, Asia, and North America. and other stuff that we were catching, and we moved away from it to find calicos. By the time we got back to it after no luck on the bass, the conditions had changed and it wasn't any good any more.''
Turns out, that was just a foreshadowing fore·shad·ow
tr.v. fore·shad·owed, fore·shad·ow·ing, fore·shad·ows
To present an indication or a suggestion of beforehand; presage.
fore·shad for stranger events. Consider:
While trying to mooch mooch Slang
v. mooched, mooch·ing, mooch·es
1. To obtain or try to obtain by begging; cadge. See Synonyms at cadge.
2. To steal; filch.
1. from the baitwell, the seagull seagull
a noisy, gregarious bird that frequents the seashore. Web-footed, hook-billed, white with gray wings. Member of the family Laridae and of the genus Larus. managed to impale itself on a gaff and flew off with the darn thing. Upon hearing the news - and with more than a few disbelieving shakes of his head - the skipper turned the boat around to retrieve his cherished tool.
Each time the craft got close the fouled waterfowl waterfowl, common term for members of the order Anseriformes, wild, aquatic, typically freshwater birds including ducks, geese, and screamers. In Great Britain the term is also used to designate species kept for ornamental purposes on private lakes or ponds, while in , it would flap a few yards further. When finally the bird tired out, the deckhand dipped his net for the strangest recovery he's ever had to make. ``That was a first,'' said deckhand Mike Winn of Santa Barbara. The gull winged away, appearing no worse for its injuries.
One odd occurrence was followed by another, until it became apparent that something more sinister was at work - the wind. A gale was brewing and we were eventually blown off the water. (Angler lingo Lingo - An animation scripting language.
[MacroMind Director V3.0 Interactivity Manual, MacroMind 1991]. for ``heavy winds, couldn't fish.'')
McCrea anchored - well, sort of - on the south side of the island, hoping for a little protection from the northwesterly north·west·er·ly
1. Situated toward the northwest.
2. Coming or being from the northwest.
north·west gale, which he estimated at 50 mph or greater. (The Navy had forecast nothing over about 20.) Turns out the winds picked up speed over the island - much as they do over an airplane's wing - and funneled across the water with such force that the kelp slapped the brine like an angry child. It's tough to guess how far the boat dragged the anchor, but the skipper repositioned his vessel three times before it finally held for the night.
What ensued was a bonding experience between frustrated anglers seldom rivaled by the hottest of bites.
``We didn't catch many fish, but it happens,'' said Malibu angler Tom Polliard. ``They're all good experiences. Now, every time it gets windy on a future trip, you'll think of San Nicolas and say, `That's nothing.' ''
It had been one of those days when one might say, ``You should have been here tomorrow.''
Fortunately, the next day the breezes subsided, if not the swells, and I learned a great deal. I discovered that the best way to free your hook from the kelp is to reel right through it, but when a bass is at line's end and it gets caught up, do the opposite - put the reel in free spool and let the fish swim out on its own.
I found out why Tarzana's Dan Felger, a charter member of the 47-year-old L.A. Rod & Reel Club, is such a hot fisherman: He puts Tabasco sauce on his salad.
Even during the dry spell the day before, Felger had yelled, ``Hot rail, hot rail,'' when a line-peeling behemoth behemoth (bē`hĭmŏth, bĭhē`–) [Heb.,=plural of beast], large, fanciful primeval monster, like Leviathan, evoking the hippopotamus mentioned in the Book of Job. raced to the bow with him in tow. Others scurried out of the way at his warning to let the ace through. Turned out his would-be jackpot was merely a sea lion that made off with the bait, leaving the sizzling siz·zle
intr.v. siz·zled, siz·zling, siz·zles
1. To make the hissing sound characteristic of frying fat.
2. To seethe with anger or indignation.
3. angler red-faced when he learned the truth of the matter. It was a welcome break to the monotony.
And I learned that a bite can recover even after the worst of days, for the calicos finally showed - not in wide-open numbers or huge sizes, but cheered by onlookers as if they were.
Later, perhaps aided by a growing sense of urgency to fill their bags, the topwater fanatics finally broke down and began dropping heavier line and sinkers to the bottom to target table fare. Sheephead, ocean whitefish and an assortment of shallow-water rockfish began hitting the deck.
Each angler brings home a favorite memory from every journey - be it good or bad. On this trip, mine was the vermilion vermilion, vivid red pigment of durable quality. It is a chemical compound of mercury and sulfur and is known as red sulfide of mercury; it was formerly obtained by grinding pure cinnabar but is now commonly prepared synthetically. rockfish - the revered red snapper that has few rivals when it comes to taste - I brought up on topwater plastic that I let sink patiently deeper and deeper while everybody else was casting bait and stout weight straight to the bottom. It made the trip worthwhile.
But had I not caught a thing, it would have still been just as valuable because of the camaraderie I enjoyed.
As the L.A. Rod & Reel Club motto states, ``Good sportsmanship is worth more than all the fish in the ocean.''
3 Photos, Map
Photo: (1--color) The fishing at San Nicolas Island wasn't spectacular, but the sunrises made up for it.
(2--color) Chris Sullivan of Thousand Oaks casts for calico bass off San Nicolas Island. Although the bites were light and the winds strong, fishermen bonded through storytelling.
(3--color) Jon Smith of Culver City hefts a stout California Sheephead during a rockfish bite.
Brett Pauly / Daily News
Map: (color) San Nicolas Island