A perfect day on Suisun Bay

The Good Life on Suisun Bay!

March 15, 2005

After missing the prior week’s fishing entirely, it was important to me to get out on a serious sturgeon safari this week. I shuffled my schedule around and planned on launching at Rio Vista on Tuesday. Then the winds came with a vengeance. I chose to wait a day and on Tuesday I monitored winds on Suisun Bay that gusted over 40 MPH. The weather guessers predicted nearly calm winds for Wednesday and Thursday. I took them at their word.

Early Wednesday morning I dug a frozen lamprey out of the freezer, loaded up the boat with a two day supply of provisions and headed to Rio Vista. If the winds permitted, I planned to cruise down to Suisun Bay to try my luck at my favorite sturgeon hole.

And the winds did cooperate. As I cruised down the Sacramento River towards Suisun Bay, the river had a light chop, but the chop gave way to glass-like conditions as I entered the bay. The sun was bright and warm and, for once, I had timed my trip just right.

I dropped anchor at my favored sturgeon hole, weaved a couple of chunks of lamprey onto the hooks and tossed the smelly stuff out over the transom into an outgoing current.

The tides were working well for me this trip, also. The ebb tide was predicted to drop pretty deeply as the afternoon passed, and knowing the sturgeon activity at my favorite sturgeon hole, I expected a better than average chance at taking home a keeper.

Sure enough, in less than an hour, I had a sturgeon on! Well, he wasn’t much to brag about, but as I checked my line for tautness, I felt a slight pull – and set the hook! A very small sturgeon of about a foot and a half charged off the bottom of the bay, jumped clear of the surface of the water by about two feet and spit the hook in the process. Wow! What an exciting show! I reeled in, checked the nearly indestructible bait and tossed it back out. And waited.

Within another half hour, I set the hook into another small shaker and reeled him to the boat where I released him. Both fish were very small shakers – but sturgeon were certainly in the area.

After the catch and release I checked the bait. It was, as lamprey usually is, as firmly attached as when I first weaved it on. I tossed it back once more.

During the next two hours or so I had three distinct sturgeon bites. The first two consisted of the usual click-click-click taking of the bait in a very gentle manner. Both times I set the hook with a mighty heave – and missed. The third was another typical sturgeon bite – and that time I set the hook into something very substantial!

After setting the hook a couple more times, I leaned over the engine well and raised the main engine out of the water. I knew a good fight was brewing.

He was a strong fighter, and managed to keep his distance from the boat for about ten minutes or so. I thought I had a bigger fish on, but when I finally got him to the boat, I couldn’t convince myself that he was big enough to keep.

I dug out my little garden tying strips that are attached to a handle of about a foot long. One strip is 46” and the other is 72”. On the occasions that I am not sure if a sturgeon is legal, I set the tapes alongside the fish and try to get some idea of its length. This little guy required about four measurements as he rested belly up at the boat.

I finally decided that he was indeed longer than the 46” minimum. I administered a proper whack, grabbed him by the gill plate and lifted him aboard the boat. He measured an accurate 48”. I reached for my little electronic scale from its place in a cabin drawer… and it was gone. Apparently it was another casualty of the recent break in that I hadn’t noticed before. Rats. Another item I have to replace. But I referred to a weight chart and estimated his weight to be in the low 30 pound range. He fit into the fish box just right!

So there I was, anchored on Suisun Bay on a perfect day with my limit in the box. It was still early afternoon of the first day of this planned two day trip. I thought about just staying put and trying for some stripers, but I had no bait other than lamprey. One of the reasons I buy lamprey is that it doesn’t seem to attract much striper activity.

I could have done some striper trolling, I suppose. But no, all my tackle had been stolen and I have yet to replace the striper lures. Hmmm, what would I do? I polished off the brew that the little sturgeon interrupted, cleaned up the boat, weighed anchor and headed back upriver to the Rio Vista ramp and home.

While I missed that second day of fishing on a perfectly calm Suisun Bay, I had no complaints. There will be many more such trips if I have my way and I’m looking forward to them all.

About FishWisher

Over the years I have posted many exciting fishing and boating stories here, but now in my seventies, it was time to sell the boat and find less demanding pastimes. All the fishing stories are still here! I will now post my travels aboard the motorhome and other activities. I hope y'all will still enjoy the fishing and boating adventures and perhaps peek in on my post-boating activities on occasion. Thanks for dropping in and I hope you enjoy your visit.
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