weather icon Mostly Clear

The bite is on

When the word goes out, “€œThe 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 “dedicated” 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, “chumming” as sea sickness is sometimes referred to.

Jeff is once again staging his annual “Take a Kid, a Senior and Friends” 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 “€œkey-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. “€œIn 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 “€œhook 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 “€œdeckie”€ 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 I’ve never considered sharing one with a big fish, especially a shark. This is however, a popular and growing sport; one I wouldn’t mind observing.

Whatever your style of fishing, it’s time to oil up that reel, as the run of tuna heads north from Mexico and points south. Like Jeff, I think I’ll go for the day-and-a-half boat, enjoying both the fishing and the journey as we once again heed the call of “the bite is on.”

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 shouldn’t be. It’s 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 you’re 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 you’ll find you won’€™t be huffing and puffing up those hillsides, and will be able to fight several of those big fish while the “€œbite 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 dansimmons@usa.net.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
RODEO 2024: Here are the winners

The Nevada State High School Rodeo was in Pahrump last weekend where junior and senior high school students from around the state came to compete after their winter break.

Trojans girls basketball moves on to the quarterfinals

After Avery Moore stole a pass from the Sports Leadership and Management (SLAM) girls basketball team she passed the ball to Paris Coleman who ran up and scored the team’s fourth two-pointer in less than two minutes.

Pastor opens boxing gym for Pahrump youth

Pastor Ruben Bajo, of Full Armor of God Ministries in Pahrump told the Pahrump Valley Times that decades ago the sport of boxing saved his life and kept him off the streets of Los Angeles.

Trojans struggle in nail-biting 4th quarter against Chaparral

It was all up to No. 14 Daxton Palmisano from the Pahrump Valley boys basketball team with less than 10 seconds on the clock to score a three-pointer to get the Trojans into overtime in a hard-fought game on Wednesday.

Trojans boys basketball on 3-game winning streak

Three wins in one week from the Pahrump Valley boys basketball team last week after they won at home against the Pinecrest Academy Sloan Canyon in a tight match that ended 59-57.

UNLV students, staff find solace at NFR morning go-round

UNLV freshman Ty Huel said walking to the Thomas & Mack Center to watch the NFR was like “walking through Mandalay Bay with the Oct. 1 shooting that happened.”

Lady Trojans trounce Chaparral

The Pahrump Lady Trojans basketball team thoroughly steamrolled Chaparral with a 54-3 score in a home game Thursday night.