November 24, 2013
For about a week I had been checking the marine forecast and looking at conditions that seemed like they were to good to be true. No way was this going to stick - this has to be a software glitch.
November 20-22 was showing 10-15 foot swells with winds 10-30 knots and small craft warnings. November 23rd conditions are changing rapidly to calmer seas. November 24th: Swell = 1 foot. Winds less than 5 knots.
The ocean off the central coast is going to be Flat A$$ Calm. It's ON!!!!
All week I kept expecting to see a change that never came. Another buddy had already winterized his boat and put it away for the winter. The conditions looked so good he decided one more trip would be absolutely necessary.
Rather than launching right at sunrise we decided to launch around 10am and enjoy the whole day out there. My buddy Clyde and I arrived to Montana de Oro (just south of Morro Bay, CA) around 9:30 and started getting our gear together. As I rolled my Predator down to the shore I could see the seals are in close and going nuts. They pushed a huge bait ball of sardines right up against the shore. We knew it would be really, really good. Like a kid that can't stop laughing kinda good.
We launched through the sardines and seals and dropped our hoop nets to go for rock crab. Spent an hour or so inside the cove without much luck so we headed for deeper water and good fishing.
On my second drop my reel started singing - but only for about 5 seconds before I broke off. 50# braid - whatever it was - it was big. And had lots of teeth!
We continued to move around the reef and Clyde goes full bendo with a 6lb red vermillion. Seconds later I get a 5 pounder. We keep moving around catching rockfish and releasing the little guys. Check our hoop nets - still nothing. My reel starts going again - this time I land a fat 5#+ 20" cabezon. This one I caught on a homemead flashabou jig with my Abu Garcia Conlon MH bass rod and a Curado loaded with 15# braid - that was a fun fight!
My buddy Keith pulled out his winterized boat and calls for me on the radio to join us. Soon we have a group of 8-10 kayaks and 3 or 4 boats working the same general area. Everybody is on them. And its 65 degrees and sunny ... who wouldn't be having a good time?
We move a bit farther south away from the herd and Clyde gets a nice 9 pound Ling Cod. Keith and his son are catching fish. A few minutes later I get an 8 lb. ling ... Sweet! Let's check the hoop nets - Clyde finds 1 rock crab - Nada for me.
Its getting to be late afternoon and we have been on the water for about 4-5 hours at this point. Conditions are still flat calm and we are still catching fish so we decide to stay out for another couple hours. We start making our way to the launch, stopping to fish different spots. BAM! Clyde nails a 32" 11# ling! Icing on the cake ...
We called it a day after dropping the hoops a few more times. 7 hours on the water - 6+ miles of paddling and drifting the reefs - Brought home enough for a couple dinners and released plenty to be caught again next year.
Clyde summed it up best on his facebook page after getting home - Days like today are a gift. Yes they are and one I will gladly accept... especially at the end of November.