The Maiden Voyage!
FishWisher’s new North River Bayhawk gets her bottom wet!
February 3, 2009
Launched at the Brannan Island State Park’s launch ramp – I think she likes her bottom wet!Launched for the very first time, FishWisher III is ready for her first cruise.
Brannan Island, near Rio Vista, Calif on the California Delta is a boater’s paradise. There are modern, clean ramps and a large lot for parking. Just a short walk away are plenty of berths that rent for just $7 per night, and RV spaces with electricity overlook the berths for just $28 per night. The launch is just $5 if you are camping – and if you’re old and worn out like ol’ FishWisher, the price is half because I have the California Disabled pass. So, for $37.50 I spent three days and two nights at Brannan. I had all the comforts of home with the coach, and when it was time to go fishing, I just walk down a short path to the boat and go! Life is good.
This is what it’s all about for me… just sittin’ and waitin’ for the little sturgeon nibble.
I headed out Monday aboard the motor home with the new boat in tow. I had to spend a few hours doing the break-in routine for the new Suzuki 90, and spent my time doing just that on Monday. After a few hours cruise, I had the slow speed portion of the break-in complete, and for the next seven hours I just have to keep from running her wide open for more than five minutes – but I’m not looking for wide open speed, anyway.
The only problem that was apparent after the maiden voyage was a rooster tail caused by the Humminbird transducer. The North River has a pretty severe deadrise – about 28° – and that’s all I can think of that would cause the upward surge of water from the transducer. I checked with another boater at the ramp, a very nice fella named Chang, who had an Alumaweld with about the same deadrise. He had a plastic shroud over his transducer for that very reason. I’m hoping that I can get my fishin’ buddy John – who is a good aluminum welder – although he won’t admit to it – to weld a shroud over mine for the cost of a delicious Chinese seafood buffet pig-out!
On the California Delta trying for 2009’s first sturgeon aboard my new North River.
After the hours of breaking in the motor on Monday, I spent my time fishing for sturgeon on the Sacramento River off Decker Island, just a few miles south of Rio Vista, Calif. I have caught many sturgeon there and it is one of my favorite “honey holes”. I waited for the tide to turn to outgoing on Tuesday morning, so I didn’t begin fishing ’til after 1000 hours. The river was a bit choppy at first, but as soon as the tide turned and the current was flowing in the same approximate direction as the light breeze, the water became flat calm. The breeze died off and the afternoon was just perfect.
At about 1500 hours I was down to my briefs, soaking in the warm rays of the sun and enjoying life to the fullest when… a Calif. Fish & Game boat pulled up alongside me out of nowhere. Now I am not exactly an underwear model, and one of the DFG officers was a pretty, young gal. It is just wrong that she would have to see a flabby, bright white, old man in his underwear! I scrambled for my Levis as soon as I saw them – but I was a bit late. The first words out of my mouth were “Hey! You caught me with my pants down!” We all had a good laugh although I’m sure she had nightmares after that experience. They asked only if I’d caught anything and what I was fishing for. I told them I was skunked so far. (Why don’t they ever check on me when I do have a sturgeon on board?) They asked for my zip code for their records, I guess, and were on their way. As they departed I suggested that they toot their horn before sneaking up on people like that, but of course they want to sneak up to catch someone poaching – and more power to ’em!
I fished ’til 1700 that second day of the trip, then reeled in, weighed anchor and headed for the berth at Brannan Island where all the comforts of home awaited me in the coach. Maybe Wednesday would be better fishing – I really, really wanted to put a sturgeon in my new boat on her maiden fishing trip.
Beautiful Bonaparte’s Gulls keep me company much of the time, waiting for me to toss some old bait overboard.
On Wednesday I was back at the same honey hole about 0800 and began fishing an incoming tide. I was still carving on an old lamprey eel carcass that I’d purchased six or eight months ago. That’s the beauty of using eel – it lasts forever! The little nippers cannot steal it, and only the sturgeon seem to really like it. So it’s the perfect sturgeon bait – when sturgeon are around. I did see one roll on the surface on Tuesday, but that was as close to one as I’d gotten so far this trip. I faithfully kept the bait on the river bottom all morning, but had no takers.
At around noon I headed back to the dock to get a sandwich and a few beers from the motorhome, then headed right back to the same honey hole. Soon after, the boat patrol from the Solano County Sheriff’s office paid a visit. It was good that I was dressed for this visit, and it was only because the day was a bit cooler. The deputies, all three of them, asked to see my life jacket and fire extinguisher – and I showed promptly showed them. I asked if I could take their photo and if they’d take a couple of me in my new boat. The were happy to oblige, and I knew they wouldn’t run off with my camera! The photo above of FishWisher III on the water were taken by those kind deputies. After a few pleasantries, they were off on their patrol. They advised me that because of California’s miserable budget problems, the Dept. of Boating and Waterways may face the chopping block. This is one state agency that actually does something for us boaters and fishermen, so I will be writing my state congressmen and the governator, asking that they fully fund the department. Unfortunately, my writing to any government agency is a lot like home – nobody listens to me!
The Solano County Sheriff’s Boat Patrol visited me on Wednesday.
I began fishing again after the tide turned, but my luck did not change. Of course, sturgeon fishing is the great past time that I enjoy, and actually catching one is just a bonus. And I always say that when I get skunked! But I really do enjoy the peace and quiet of fishing with a cold brew in one hand, my fishing rod in the other, listening to real country music on XM radio while blissfully waiting for the gentle bite of a sturgeon.
At 1430 of day 3 I reeled in, weighed anchor and headed to the dock. I retrieved the boat and tied her down to the trailer there in the ramp parking lot. It had been a wonderful maiden voyage and fishing trip, and I expect to enjoy many more aboard my new North River FishWisher!
FishWisher in tow behind the coach after her first fishing trip. Maybe next time a sturgeon!