Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Wheeler Fishing Report, Oct 10th

As a Federal Employee, I had Columbus Day off. But, the kids didn't. Because my wife has to be at work before the kids can be taken to school, I had to take them. Which means that I wouldn't get on the water until after 8am. Not really a big deal, but it cut into a sizable portion of the morning fishing.

I'll be honest that I wasn't really motivated. I didn't have anyone to go with me. The water hasn't been kind to me this year, as you are well aware. With money being tight, traveling anywhere other than to Wheeler, notably the Rec area, was out of the questions. But, who knows. Maybe it would be one of those days. Might not catch anything big, but maybe I could catch a whole bunch of small ones. I loaded up some drinks and a light lunch and headed onto the Arsenal.

At the gate, the guard asked if I was there for pleasure or business. Of course, I answered pleasure...to which he quickly told me that today only business was allowed on base. So, I told him that I had business, and he waved me through.

After fighting to get the motor started, I decided that I wasn't going to mess around. I had one full tank, and I wanted to catch fish....not look at new places. So, I ran the 3 miles or so to the upper point of Hobbs Island.

I was made very aware of the high rate of wind. It was about 20mph sustained, combined with a good 2-3 mph current. It was impossible to stay on one spot. I did the best I could, casting mostly crank baits, since I am not special enough to be able to run a trolling motor AND finesse fish. I used side scan to located the underwater rock fields we usually fish. However, the water was very low, and while I normally fished these in 10 feet of water, today they were 7 feet. I was amazed at how far out the point of Hobbs extends, too. You wouldn't want to run wide open through there, as it was about 2 feet deep over 50 yards off the point.

Not having any luck, I started looking around and spotted fish busting. I set the trolling motor on high and grabbed my Lucky Craft Sammy.
First cast, I didn't get a hit. So, I quickly cast back out. A fish knocked it hard, but didn't get stuck. But, it frenzied the other fish with him and suddenly they were fighting to see which would get hooked. I drug the first one in, and despite being RIGHT next to the boat, a whole school of 16 inch fish dashed around. Had I been smart, I could have drug a crank through them and prob had caught as many fish as I had rods. Now, how I would keep them from getting tangled, THAT would be impressive.

I took my sweet time getting the fish unhooked, and by the time I was ready to catch another, I had been blown way on down stream. In fact, I couldn't even remember where I was when I caught the first fish. I trolled back up stream, hoping they would bust again, but I never saw them. Instead, I fished down the point of Hobbs. I caught another fish pretty quickly.

I fired the motor up and ran back to where I THOUGHT I had spotted the schooling fish. I was rewarded quickly with a couple of hits. But, I spotted the marine police. And he spotted me. Instead of him motoring further up river, he made a lazy turn. I knew what that mean. And they ALWAYS seem to find you when you are on the fish.

He pulled up, asked for current registration. I dug in the glove box, but I already had a sinking feeling about why he asked for "current" registration. It was a few days past September 30th, which meant I had an expired registration. Of course, he quickly pointed that out.

I explained that the boat was in my dads name, and that I knew he had the registration, but he had just been too busy to put the sticker on the boat. It's hunting season and he is preoccupied with that. I admitted that I hadn't thought about it. Of course, none of that matters. He asked for my boating license. I had the certificate showing I had passed it, but I hadn't added it to my license, and I am sure you all know why. I had JUST renewed my license, and I was NOT about to spend a whole day, plus another XX amount of dollars to add it. The policeman informed me that having a printed out license wasn't actually a license......I am still confounded by that. Regardless, if it isn't on your license, apparently it doesn't matter that you took the course, paid your money, and have proof that you did so.

So, two tickets later, and I was ready to get off the water. It didn't help that during the exchange, I had been blown almost half a mile down river. With the howling wind, the ripping current, and the tickets, I called it quits as 12pm.

Well, almost. I made one more stop in Butler Basin. Didn't have a hit, but I did get up close with this: