Three times last week I responded to off shore weather reports of nearly flat seas and warm water on the San Diego coast by treating myself to several days of fishing.
One to two-feet wind waves and gentle westerly swells were just too compelling so I hitched the boat to my 4Runner and took off for the Dana Harbor launch ramp in Mission Bay, bought my half-scoop of lively sardines from the Everingham Brothers barge and flew out across gentle two foot swells into the aptly named Pacific, bending north towards La Jolla and slowly trolling the seaward edge of the kelp beds accompanied by gulls, pelicans and my hopes for hookups with several yellowtail that are beginning to show in numbers in the alongside San Diego’s inshore kelp forest.
The last week of May is when I try to spend as much time on the water as I can. I was not disappointed by last week’s catch, or the ease of which I overcame and learned from new boating experiences.
My eyes are still a little fried from reflected sunlight bouncing off the Pacific, I’m slightly sunburned but I’m happy to have taken the time for what’s become a yearly event but which turned this year into a buddy bonding experience with my eight-year old grand nephew, Morgan Smith of Central, Oregon.
Spending time with a salty 8 year old is an activity I recommend to any pre or post retirement male who wants to glimpse backward in time and get in touch with their inner Huck Finn. I taught Morgan how to gently con my boat through kelp patches without completely fouling the outboard and how to catch Pacific flatties (halibut) and slashing barracudss.
Morgan told me of his desert painted sheep, his outstanding grades in mathematics and his ability to operate a four wheel ATV.
But most of all, I tried to instill a love for chasing and catching tuna family members here on the San Diego coast—a drop dead simple task with any young outdoorsman.
After two zippy runs down the coast towards San Diego, running my Suzuki outboard at 4500 rpm, the engine died. Gulp!
We didn’t want to freak Morgan out, so his dad told him to sit down in the back of the boat and keep the fuel tank tilted up. We made it. And at the fuel dock in San Diego, young Captain Morgan broke his shiny new $20 bill to buy gas and boat drinks., We then spent 30 minutes touring the harbor looking at four subs at the submarine base, a haze gray frigate pushing off a navy fuel dock then making way, and opening its throttles as it cleared the harbor.
It’s been one of the nicest weeks I’ve had since moving to San Diego: A couple of hard hook ups with muscular halibut, great boat rides on tranquil seas under the San Diego Sun, hanging out with my nephew and his son as they reconnect with my 91 year old mother, and flat out awe of my nephew for his accomplishments in life and the fact that he’s about to interview for a job as chief of police in a small rural town.
Life doesn’t get any better Sometimes yo catch fish, other times you just have fun. —Jim Forbes 05/30/2008.