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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Wharf Fishing, a Birthday, and Woodies!

This last Saturday my son-in-law David and I went fishing on the wharf here in Santa Cruz. We were planning to go last week, but David and my daughter Beth had to take off on a rescue mission to Battle Mountain, Nevada. My son Jon had been traveling to Chicago with a friend, but they didn't make it. The car was destroyed in an accident and the shaken travelers spent the night in Battle Mountain. You really should visit the place in Google maps and try street view.

So, we went fishing this week. Unfortunately, there was an event this week. Woodies on the Wharf. It was only unfortunate due to much of the parking on the wharf being taken up by the event. We had to park off of the wharf and walk in. It was fortunate in that we got to see a lot of really cool Woodies.

"That's the smallest Woodie I have ever seen!" quipped David, at one point. A woman overheard and was overcome with laughter. There was no shortage of Woodie jokes this weekend.

We found our way to the end of the wharf and I set up to bottom fish. Dave set up a bottom rig and a Mackerel rig, called a Sabiki rig. Later in the morning David's brother arrived for his first fishing experience. David set him up with a Sabiki, and we all fished.

We spotted three Dolphin swimming near the wharf. There were the perennial Sea Lions, of course. Pigeons and Sea Gulls. Also a great many Pelicans. More Pelicans than I ever recall seeing in one place. With all of the wildlife, plus the massive traffic in pleasure boats, and all of the car buffs and tourists, the wharf was a very busy place.

There were between fifteen and twenty people fishing there at the end of the wharf, just on our side. People were friendly, sharing bait and stories and advice. Most are sport fishers, but a few are there to help feed their families. Everyone seemed to be having a good time.

David's brother did quite well. He landed five Mackerel. David landed two. I got a Perch.

David had fashioned a crab net from a metal basket, some rope, and a bit of fishing line to tie in the bait. We were using Sardines and Shrimp for bait, as well as some small Sanddabs we caught. The makeshift net caught two small crabs, which returned to the ocean.

Toward the end of our day a nice man gave us four crabs, and a bucket. We kept the crabs, and gave the bucket to another fisherman who needed something to hold his catch.

I cleaned the fish at the cleaning station. It has been a while, but I got the knack back. Some Sea Lions like to wait below the cleaning station, since the drain for fish guts runs straight down to the sea. Free snacks. I could hear them barking, the sound coming up through the four inch gut drain pipe.

We finished the day of fishing at about two in the afternoon. It was my wife Linda's birthday, and we needed to get home to celebrate. We walked out, admiring the Woodies and working our way through the crowd. We got back to our parking space in a paid lot, loaded up and got in. I started the engine and we inched out. There were many cars waiting for our spot, and it was tight.

We were stopped by a young lady working for a security company. She informed us that the streets were being closed for the Woodie Parade, and we would have to stay in the parking lot. I asked her to whom I might complain, since I didn't want to stay there. She called her supervisor, who said they had orders from the City Police to close the roads.

We waited. The young lady went to answer a question from another driver, and left the way out unattended. I waited a respectful period of time, in deference to her having a difficult job. When she remained away long enough, we escaped.

The way home was circuitous, due to all of the traffic. People sure seem to like Woodies!

Since my daughter Beth had a beef roast in the oven, we froze the fish for a future meal. The crab we put on to boil, since they don't keep well. They were small, and yielded only a bit of meat, but they were a tasty snack.

As a gift Linda received an Adirondack chair and side table. She seemed quite pleased. We enjoyed roast beef, bits of crab, and a nice coconut cake from The Buttery. On the whole a most satisfying day.

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