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Old 01-16-2014, 10:59 PM   #1
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CA Delta Fishing

I looked at the forecast and tides and liked what I saw, so I headed out Monday midday for a night or two on the hook chasing the elusive dino fish. I picked the Mothball Fleet area loaded with eel, roe and grass shrimp. I initially set up at the 680 bridge, but during the strong outgoing tide, I repositioned into the Horseshoe to fish the incoming through the night.

At 7:45PM on the end of the ebb, my rod got hit and I set the hook on a big one. It took 14 minutes to get her tired out enough to land. I was solo on the boat and struggled 3 times to get her into the 24” x 30” net, but she wouldn’t fit. She kept tumbling back out into the water. Finally, I decided the only way to land her would be to lip her from the swimstep. I cranked her in as much as I could then, with rod in left hand, I stepped onto the swimstep with my right foot. Using my left leg to keep me in the boat, I grabbed the mouth. I had her! Now, I just needed to get her over the transom and into the boat. The fight was worn out of her and she came aboard without much struggle. After it was all over, I was beat, too!

She taped out at 54 inches to the tail fork and weighed an estimated 45-50 lbs. She hit straight eel with a 50/50 mix of Sturgeon Frenzy and Bloody Tuna oil.

Lessons learned:

1. A 54 inch sturgeon will not fit into a shallow 24x30 net

2. After 4 years trying to get a keeper, all good things come to those who persist.

3. A 45-50 Lb sturgeon will yield just about 20 Lbs of fillet.

Questions to research:

1. Is a sling permitted by CA DFW? I'd like to fashion a 66 inch sling with marks at 40 and 60 inches alongside the boat to assist in safely landing large keepers and gently cradling oversize sturgeons for immediate release.

2. Since I was living on the boat for a few days, it is essentially my home. Even the IRS agrees it's my second home. Is it legal to clean the fish out there on the water, then freezing the fillets in my onboard freezers and saving the tagged tail as proof with photos to validate size? I realize that I cannot continue to fish for sturgeon b/c I already have one in possession...no questions there. But my buddies can, or if I'm solo, I can change over to striper fishing. (Yes, I had frozen shad onboard, too.)







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Old 01-16-2014, 11:06 PM   #2
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Congratulations, Al. While on the Napa last Friday, I felt sad for you when you said you had never caught a keeper: they were either too small or too large. Glad that problem is now corrected.

Not sure it was wise to get on the swimstep when you were alone with the current running.

Current running strong in Suisun Bay:

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Old 01-17-2014, 08:26 PM   #3
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Yes, Mark...I have rethought my procedure and agree that a tether needs to be rigged and ready when solo sturgeon fishing. If I fell in, PFD or not, I'd have a hard time making it back onto the boat.

At the time, I didn't have a tether rigged and couldn't do it without risk of losing the fish. We used to be able to use a snare to control the fish, but that rule was changed a year ago. When I landed an oversized fish with my brother onboard, we did rig a tether when I ventured out onto the swimstep. Everything is tougher when fighting a fish like this solo. Lesson learned.
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Old 01-19-2014, 12:49 PM   #4
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Al, saw this in the obituaries today. For an instant I thought it was you.

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Old 07-27-2015, 03:43 AM   #5
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Many years ago I have been to this destination with my friends. It is a great place for fishing. Millions of fishers come here every year around the world.
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