When the word goes out, “The bite is on,” the fish are in a feeding frenzy.
Some of my fishing fanatic friends go into a frenzy as well. They abandon their jobs and family, mortgage the home, grab a credit card, their Penn International or Shimaro reels, and go.
My buddy Jeff Miller is one of these âdedicatedâ sportsmen, and he has a small team of like-minded colleagues who join him. Well, the call has gone out for tuna in our south coast waters and the fishermen, with their appropriate priorities, are on them.
The water has calmed a bit too. We had been seeing some rough weather, higher than comfortable winds and ocean swells that had some fishermen, and crew, hanging overboard, âchummingâ as sea sickness is sometimes referred to.
Jeff is once again staging his annual âTake a Kid, a Senior and Friendsâ fishing charter out of San Diego. I wonder in which category I fit? He will be joined by 10 of his friends and family including daughter Megan, the kid.
These trips usually “key-in” on one species such as Albacore, Yellowtail or Yellow Fin Tuna. This time it’s Yellow Fin and Blue Fin, with perhaps a few of those beautiful and scrappy Dorado thrown in.
They are able to get this variety by going offshore. This is my idea of a nice outing, but Jeff says he could have used a little more fishing time than the one-day trip allows. “In the future it will be a day-and-a-half trip” says Jeff, but this time he and some of the group had other plans.
On previous trips the shouts of “hook up,” were heard. Line would smoke off the light reels, as tuna sounded or headed straight for Japan. The resulting salt spray would coat one’s glasses, but the smell and taste would only add to the experience. Fish were brought aboard, but many were lost as they threw the hood or power-dove, breaking the line.
I would often act as the “deckie” and became proficient in belly gaffing these heavy fish. The trick is getting a clean hook in it and practice makes perfect: the trick is to get enough water time to practice. I continue studying the craft.
By the early afternoon it was time to head back, but with frequent stops at the many coastal kelp paddies to add some rockfish to the locker. The trick to their rockfish success was attributed to some chumming activity by an unnamed crewmember, following an overindulgence of junk food on a rocking boat. Some call this seasickness. On the way home, as we all know, the work began. The fish were filleted, the deck was scrubbed and all the gear washed in fresh water.
This is ocean fishing the way it should be done, and we should be out doing it.
The fishing has also been good close to shore off the La Jolla kelp beds with a new twist on the story with the increasingly popular sport of saltwater kayak fishing.
These guys go out in small kayaks and catch big fish including halibut, sharks, and even sailfish. One could imagine any of these monsters towing their small boat to Japan, or at least in that direction. They’ll even travel several miles offshore in both U.S. and Mexican waters.
I’ve always been intrigued by kayaks, but always thought a boat was supposed to keep one secure and dry, not exactly my kayak experience and Iâve never considered sharing one with a big fish, especially a shark. This is however, a popular and growing sport; one I wouldnât mind observing.
Whatever your style of fishing, itâs time to oil up that reel, as the run of tuna heads north from Mexico and points south. Like Jeff, I think Iâll go for the day-and-a-half boat, enjoying both the fishing and the journey as we once again heed the call of âthe bite is on.â
Give H&M Landing in San Diego a call at 619-222-1144 or go to www.hmlanding.com and begin your tradition, which will become an annual event. Whether it’s a bunch of guys, gals or the family, this will be an event to mark the year.
Recipe of the Week
Jeff’s Grilled Marinated Tuna Steaks
I’ve been trying to get this recipe from him for years. I caught him in a weak moment, and he has agreed to share it with us, on the condition that we keep his secret. (I will if you will.)
1/2 cup salt; 2 cups water; 1 cup brown sugar; 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce; 3 tablespoons hot sauce; 1 teaspoon dill seed; 3 tablespoons minced garlic.
Marinate for 24 hours. Grill using mesquite wood cut into 2-by-2 inch chunks and soaked overnight in water.
Here’s what’s new, but it shouldnât be. Itâs called getting in shape. Whether you are on a long- range fishing trip fighting the big ones, hiking in the backcountry for elk or certainly climbing those mountains while sheep hunting, fitness is paramount.
Start with one mile of walking, then begin walking longer distances with some jogging and wind sprints. You will start feeling better right away. Start eating less and stop when youâre no longer hungry, not full, cut out fast foods and start drinking water or ice tea instead of soft drinks.
Start your own program like this and youâll find you won’t be huffing and puffing up those hillsides, and will be able to fight several of those big fish while the “bite is on,” not having to sit it out while the others are still going strong.
If you have an adventure, a story or a comment give me a call 775-727-9777 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.