When I was about ten years old, my parents bought a deep sea fishing boat. My two brothers Wyatt, 6 years old and Zeb, two years old, my parents and I would mob our boat through Bodega Bay and Moss Landing salmon and rockfishing.
Rockfishing is my absolute favorite. There are many varieties of species ranging from Reds with Weak Head Spikes, Strong Head Spikes, to White Spotted Reds, Banded and Red/Blacks. Rockfishing is like Christmas. Every time you drop your line, when you reel up, you never know what kind of package you are going to receive. Actually, the ocean is like a gift. It is such a beautiful mysterious part of nature that cannot be controlled. So many lives living beneath and to think that humans have only discovered nearly, 1/3 of our deep blue sea!
With a few celebrations for the month of August (Wyatt home from Qatar deployment and my birthday), I've been vakaying a little bit. This last weekend, we rented a beach house in Morro Bay and fished, drank, ate and laughed our hearts away.
What I love about fishing is being able to watch the ecosystem in it's organic form. When we fish and fish by the rules, meaning abiding by the laws, regulations and limits, we are helping conserve nature. When the size of the fish is too small, we throw it back to give it an opportunity to grow. Unfortunately, there are many times that the fish may not live when we throw them back. But then, that fresh organic fish floating on top of the water feeds Pelicans, Seagulls, Seals and many other fish.
Another thing I love about deep sea fishing is being able to feed so many tummies such fresh and real raw organic fish; from the ocean literally straight to the fridge, freezer or mouth! This is the most beautiful thing about hunting and fishing. Not only again, are we helping conserve nature, but we are eating fish that has never been touched - no added chemicals, preservatives, no packaging and untouched by man. That is the most rewarding part of fishing, being able to provide such healthy food to so many mouths and families.
On our vakay to Morro Bay, Friday morning at 5:30am, Wyatt, Zeb (@bigwitt_36), Emily (Zeb's gf @eemmmbaeza), my dad (@witthardwoods), Brent and I took a charter boat out with Captain Brad Leage and his crew with Endeavor Sportfishing and Charters. It was the funnest trip I had been on. Unfortunately, not so fun for Brent, as it was his first time and he was (deathly) sea sick.
We mobbed out near San Simeon rocks and threw out our lines. I don't know about everyone else on the boat, but our salty crew was kicking ass! Most the time, I couldn't even get my line all the way to the bottom because the fish were already biting. A perfect example of this is Emily. The very first 5 minutes of fishing, Emily caught an 18 pound Lingcod, which was also the biggest fish of the boat (and would've won the jackpot but didn't enter!). She dropped her line to the bottom, felt it hit and then decided to reel up a little and as she said, "physically couldn't!" We thought she was caught on the bottom, so Wyatt took her pole and suddenly discovered she was hooked and passed her pole back.
I wasn't able to watch the action much because I had two big Blue rockfish on my Daiwa Rod paired with a Okuma T-15 Lever Drag Reel and shrimp fly rig with raw squid. This was within the first 5 minutes of our first stop. I was so proud of myself because I put the squid on my hooks. I know it sounds silly, however I am so weirded out by touching, smelling or seeing dead things (even raw meat). But, of course I refused to take the hook off my catch. I have my own personal rules in everything I do and I'm not sure taking my own fish off the hook will ever change. I can skin a deer but can't remove a hook!
Capt. Brad, Tabitha and Sean, who the boys nicknamed Ling because he had this badass gold chain with a Lingcod hanging off of it, did everything in their power to make sure all passengers were comfortable, fed, having fun and always catching. If your line was tangled, they were there. If your line was backlashed, they were there. If you needed help changing your weight, they were there! Capt. Brad constantly monitored and made sure we always sat on hot spots. If there was no bites within the first 5 minutes, he would tell us reel up and we'd move. My arms received quite the work out.
My biggest catches of the day, Vermillion and Rosethorn rockfish are in the above photo. I wanted to catch the biggest Vermillion, aka Red but I was satisfied with the big momma I caught. Everyone on the boat caught their limit by 1:30pm. The limit is 10 rockfish and 3 Lingcods. I caught one Lingcod, 24 inches long that felt like it weighed 100 pounds. They are a little feisty! In order to keep a Lingcod, it mush be 22 inches in length or longer. They are greenish blue and their meat carries over their color until cooked.
Another part of my day I found exciting was watching a Mola, aka Sunfish swimming on top of the water near the boat. They are known to be the heaviest of all the bony fish. They like to sunbathe near the surface of the water. On average they weigh about 2,000 pounds and the biggest recorded Mola weighed in at 5,000 pounds! They are really odd fish but they seem peaceful and happy. He was swimming right next to where I was standing so I took a real good look.
Closing the day, we brought home approximately, 65 fish in our crew. And another benefit of the Endeavor is someone has to fillet these fish. Don't worry, Brad and Sean have you covered while Tabitha mans the boat! The whole trip from start to finish was so easy, fun and stress free. It is very affordable and if you enjoy fish or consume a lot, its actually not only fresher but cheaper than buying from grocery store. The fish you don't eat now, you freeze.
We were all so happy to get home and nap, eat some fish tacos and drink some strawberry daiquiris made with fresh strawberries from the Morro Bay farmers market. Brent and I took Lily and Cookie to the beach for their first time and when we got back to the house, we ate our catches in some delicious fish tacos, drank some shots of tequila, cocktails and enjoy some Spencer's (Morro Bay's grocery store) Banana Cream and Coconut Cream Pie with some good laughs!
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