Monday dawned foggy and cold at home, a typical December day in late November. The kind of day that would normally find me inside by the fireplace. But late November is the end of my fishing year, and I just had to make one last trip to the Delta for the two remaining sturgeon tags I had yet to use.
Having done much of the prep work for this trip already, I had to do just a few more jobs, such as load food on the coach for my trip and get the boat hooked up to the coach for the drive to Brannan Island.
I arrived at Brannan at mid-morning. After launching the boat and finding my RV space, then paying my fee for a two night stay, I headed for my favorite sturgeon spot off Decker Island and began fishing at noon.
I was busily putting up my canvas cover and side curtains for protection from the cool breeze when my first sturgeon of the day took my rotten lamprey and sped off on a suicide run with it. This is a very rare occurrence when sturgeon fishing; most sturgeon gently mouth the bait and it takes close attendance to the rod to note the visit. But this sturgeon took off with a vengeance, creating the much-anticipated screaming reel that all fishermen love to hear. I stopped setting up the canvas at once and grabbed the rod. I set the hook with a mighty heave – and once again knew that I had a pretty decent fish on.
He wasn’t too feisty ’til he saw the boat – other than the big, acrobatic jump he made right after I hooked him. When I finally worked him close enough to the boat that he saw it, he made another mighty jump and was off to the races! He put up a splendid fight, refusing to come to the boat. He chose to go deep instead of taking off on a wild run away from the boat. Nevertheless, after about 15 minutes of fighting, and a mighty good fight it was, he quickly ran out of gas and came to the boat belly up.
I measured him with my green plastic tape, and knew that he was legal, about 48 inches or so. I struggled against the current while netting him, and at one point had the weight snagged in the net. After getting things sorted out, I got him over the gunwale and into the boat. I administered a few righteous whacks, then measured and weighed him for an exact size. He measured 49 inches and weighed in at just 22 pounds. He was a tough male sturgeon.
After resting for a few minutes, I called my buddy, Willie, in Stockton and asked if he wanted another sturgeon. Heck, yes! And Willie was at the ramp ASAP to take possession of my sturgeon. I love to catch ’em; Willie loves to eat ’em. It’s a good thing.
My fishing day was over; one sturgeon is the limit. By mid-afternoon I was back at the coach and doing the final set up work for spending a couple of nights. Maybe the next day would find me catching my third and limit sturgeon for the year!
The next day came with rain clouds and cool, flat calm air. The river was like a mirror. By 0900 I was back on my sturgeon hole off Decker Island, still fishing with the same old lamprey eel. I had the canvas top and sides in place before I left the dock, and was ready for some sturgeon action. It didn’t take long.
After an hour of patiently waiting, I had the typical sturgeon bite, click-click-click. Wham! I set the hook at once and again I had a substantial fish on. There were no jumps or acrobatics with this guy, but he was strong and durable. After a ten-minute battle of wills, I had my sturgeon to the boat. I measured him with my green plastic tape, and he was a keeper at 49 inches. It was still morning and I didn’t want to call it a day quite yet. I released him. After recording my release on my sturgeon report card, I tossed the lamprey back out into the river and waited for my next visitor.
The 46 incher that I released.
The day grew cooler and cloudier. I put on a second sweatshirt and long johns to keep warm. It sprinkled a bit, but never enough to matter. I stayed at it through the entire incoming current, including both turns of the tide. I did have one last bit of action at few minutes after 4:00 p.m., and set the hook into something big. But the hook broke free almost at once. I waited a few more minutes for another bite before I reeled in and called it a day. Most of the other fishermen on the river had already headed for the ramp. It was getting dark and I decided to call it quits, too.
I spent the night in the warm and comfy motorhome and enjoyed a good, hot meal. It had been my second adventure at Brannan Park in just three weeks.
My drive home Wednesday morning was mostly in the rain. The weather and the tides were timed just fine this trip, and that’s what I plan for. I gave up cold weather fishing a few years ago, so this adventure may be my last fishing trip ’til February – unless we have an unusually warm winter. We need a cold, wet winter, and I hope we get it.
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.