Monday, February 19, 2024

 


   So it is happening, even without anybody doing anything. Maybe because nobody is doing anything. Regardless, the Aleutian Storm is no more. Another small business in California is gone.




  It appears that the herring are finally coming in. San Francisco Bay has had a couple of smallish spawns but many herring fishermen there are still waiting for the big one. It's kind of late for herring, but the fish may not know that. Actually, the fish may have gotten tired of waiting for the right time and they're just coming because their 'nads are ripe. Either way, the birds say that the fish are here.
   One of the effects of this winter's storms can be seen here. All of these rocks were buried last fall, and many of them were buried for the last couple of decades. We have lost about three feet or more of sand from the beach in front of the store. South winds wash it out. Soon, the spring winds will blow, maybe not as much some years with an El Nino going, but some wind for sure, and that wind (the wind that, if you've been here more than once you've probably experienced it) will make the beach build back up. I hate that wind, but dammit, I hope it hurries up. I look forward to a spring of hating life and building beaches. Summer is coming.



Sunday, February 18, 2024

 Crabbing should be pretty slow now, as usually February is about as slow as crabbing gets. The crabs didn't get that memo this year, luckily, and so the crabbing has been pretty good, considering. That is, when the current in the bay isn't racing along and/or the bar lets you get out to the outer bay. And when the wind and rain give us a break. So, I guess I should say that sometimes it doesn't suck. But I've seen a few guys get limits and most boaters are getting a few Dungeness. A few of the shore snarers have been doing pretty well, too. 

  It appears that that commercial boat on Salmon Creek was unable to be hauled off. On the good day to do it a combination of factors conspired to keep it aground. It seems that it will be leaving in pieces instead. I hope the boat owner had good insurance, as only the homeless get their boat "situations" taken care of for free. I guess freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose. 

  The salmon return numbers are in and they are good and bad. Returns for the Upper Sacramento were abysmal. Returns to the Coleman Hatchery were also bad.  Other rivers had good returns. Those other rivers also had hatcheries that trucked some of their smolts down to the bay. Coincidence? I think not! There's a good chance that some if not most of the fish that did return to the Upper Sacramento were trucked smolt strays. I honestly don't care. I'm not stuck on "natural" fish. If you take eggs from wild fish and spawn them they're still the same kind of fish. If you raise a human child in an orphanage that's still a human, right? Hey, it we can't manage our rivers well enough to allow the fish to spawn, maybe manufacturing fish is the only answer. What am I saying? Of course the Governor's new salmon plans will make all the difference and there will magically be enough water for everybody! Yay! But back to this salmon season. The minimum magic number of returns is 122,000, and this year we had 133,638. There were almost 12,000 jacks, which are less than any time since at least 2010 (except last year's 6,945 and we know what that got us). Coleman wanted a minimum of 12,000 fish to return and they got 4,534. It's really up to the scientists and their complicated jack count math to predict numbers, but they don't look awesome from here. That said, in the past they have used both successful adult numbers or successful jack numbers to justify opening the season when the other numbers didn't seem to be good enough, so.... who knows? There may be short season just to let us fish enough for them to be able to blame us for overfishing when the numbers crap out next year. You know, give us enough rope to hang ourselves, as they say. And I'll be swinging right next to you. I've had a crick in my neck for while now. At least it will feel good for a little bit.

Saturday, February 10, 2024

    So, the "half your gear" rule may have halved the risk for whales but it has doubled the work a commercial fisherman must do to get the same money. Costs don't change much, but your ability to pay for them sure does. A string of pots that were producing well enough over a week but not in a day have to be moved, so running gear has changed to stacking and moving gear. Easily twice the effort but with no guarantee on the success. This leaves tired crews. One of these tired crews ended up aground at Salmon Creek beach last night. An effort to get the boat off of the beach today at high tide was apparently thwarted by environmental concerns that moving some sand with tractors would somehow be more detrimental to the environment than having the vessel break up. I heard a rumor of some ad-hoc shovel crew showing up tomorrow at sunrise to hand shovel around the boat. I hope it's true. When our government agencies act against rational thought, well, somebody out there with their heads not inside their rectums has to act rationally and for the environment. And heck, just do the right thing. Anybody with an argument for how moving some sand is worse than a boat busting open and dumping fiberglass fragments, oil and fuel on the beach, please feel free to tell us all. The sand comes and goes all the time. Petroleum takes a bit more time. Tell me I'm wrong. I love to learn. Or, I don't know, maybe shut up and dig.

Thursday, February 8, 2024

 I report as it happens, and there ain't much happening here but feeding generators and post-storm maintenance. Plenty of that, though. Actual fishing has been minimal and the catching has been even less. King tides now are preventing almost any catching of anything except for right around the turn of the tide when currents are slowest. Crabbing has been the only thing going, except for a few die hard clammers coming out for some of that special "dark meat" clams that we get right after a big rain and all of the poop washes off of the local ranches. It is better than the clams in front of places with a lot of homeless, but still, in my opinion, no gracias. This is the time of year when you want to have a few still in the freezer. Clams are filter feeders. I don't have to be one too. But they're too tasty, so some folks can't wait. I'm going to wait until sometime after the water turns from brown to green. 

   

Friday, January 26, 2024

     The commercial guys are catching some crab, never as many as they want, but hopefully what they need. From the little I've heard, the crab seem to be running either deep or stupid shallow. "Stupid shallow" is the definition of water so shallow that if you leave your pots there very long and the sea comes up, no more pots for you. Pots wash ashore, walk down the beach, and bury in the sand. Why, it's the very definition of crab ring water! For you dedicated ringers out there, it ain't over. For the crabbers in Tomales Bay, it has been slow. Mostly from really excessive tides with strong currents blowing out crabs and gear. The rainy weather has also kept a lot of crabbers home. That's crazy to me, as they could have come out here and got soaked and cold and maybe caught a crab or two. Well, this weekend looks like great weather inside the bay, and outside should be good tomorrow. The tides kind of suck for crabbing unless you concentrate your crabbing around the turn of the tides. If the water is moving fast, don't drop your gear. It's expensive to replace. In fishing news, there isn't any. Maybe a herring spawn next week. A few jacksmelt swimming by, getting ready to spawn. Pace yourselves. The season of catching is coming. Paint your house. Change your oil. Change the line on your reels. It's coming. Be ready and with less distractions. And maybe a better looking house.