The time was right for another adventure on Suisun Bay. The tides and the winds would be working together – or so it was predicted – and I was due for a good sturgeon hunt. I loaded up the boat and coach and headed out on Wednesday, April 29th to Brannan Island State Park near Rio Vista.
I launched the boat and set up the coach in one of the many RV spaces – and was ready to go fishing! It was a bit after noon when I boarded the boat, backed out of the berth and headed out to try some local fishing. Once I got out on the river it was clear that the wind and the tides were not cooperating. It was too windy and lumpy to even try anchoring at my usual spot off Decker Island, so I headed upriver to Light 25 where there is a bit of protection from the wind. I tossed the anchor over and tried my best to get it to hold, but that area is a big clam bed and the anchor just wouldn’t dig in. After the frustration of dragging the anchor for entirely too long, I gave up and headed back to the berth to wait for the next day. I planned to head downriver to Suisun on that second day if the wind would lay down.
On Thursday morning the wind was a light breeze and I hit the river early. But the farther downriver I cruised, the lumpier it got. I was slammin’ across 1½ to 2 foot waves by the time I got to Suisun Bay, but as I pulled between Roe and Ryer Islands the waves were somewhat smaller. When I anchored at my honey hole, the rocking and rolling kept up as the boat was sideways to the waves. I had the anchor at the pointy end of the boat and a drogue out behind the transom. The boat settled sideways, and I sat around for half an hour trying to decide whether to give it a go or just head back to the berth. I chose to stay and catch some fish! The outgoing tide was to drop about six feet, but the prevailing winds come from the west against the outgoing current. That means it stayed lumpy. But I rode it out, and tossed some old, stinky eel that I’d had for many months out over the side. And I waited.
The time was filled with the sound of the reel ticking off line as the boat swung about. When the boat swung back I’d reel the line back in, slowly and deliberately, keeping it taut so that I could sense the light bite of a sturgeon. I have been carting around a new eel for the last two or three trips, and it was time I started carving on it as the old eel was finally used up. I grabbed an old leader to load with my new eel, and I would regret that foolish choice…The big one that released himself. He was probably in the mid 60 inch range. RATS!
At about 1300 I had the pull on the line that told me a sturgeon was visiting. I set the hook – and I was hooked up with something substantial. The big sturgeon breached almost at once, and the fight was on! For 15 minutes or so we battled one another until he finally came to the boat, tired and in submission. I tried to measure him with my plastic tape on the end of a stick and marked at 46″ and the end at 66″. But I could not get the critter visible from one end to another to get a good estimate. I finally decided to go ahead and net him and measure him in the boat. I had a fair portion of him in the net when he suddenly slapped around and got out of the net – but the other hook had caught the net! I fought with him for a moment to get him back in the net when suddenly he was gone. @#$%&#!! I was fit to be tied! The old leader that I chose to use had broken! I was broken hearted and also very angry with myself for such stupidity. But there was no reason to cry over spilled milk for too long.
Photo of a broken heart: The old leader that couldn’t do the job!
I kept at it ’til the tide finally changed, and when it began flowing upriver the waves subsided a great deal. The boat was then faced away from the wind and fishing was much more comfortable. The weather had improved dramatically; the wind was just a light breeze and I was determined to catch a mighty sturgeon to make up for the one I lost. I had until 1900 before I had to head for the berth.
The “little” guy of about 42 inches that I released.
Around 1730 I had a couple of bumps on the line, and that is often a sturgeon messing with the bait. I waited for him to pull a bit of line off my reel – and in a few moments he did just that! And I hammered home the hook! I had another sturgeon on! I was hooping with delight, realizing that all the pounding waves and the patience was about to pay off again. This fella was as substantial as the earlier brute, but I thought that he might be a legal 46 incher or so. It didn’t take long to reel him in, and when I set my little green tape alongside him in the water, he measured about 42 inches. I released him to fight another day. While he was too small to keep, he was still a fish of over 20 lbs. and made for a fun and exciting catch.
Toward the end of the day, the tide turned and the wind laid down. What a beautiful time on the Delta!
I tossed the eel back out and again waited for yet another hungry sturgy to come along. But it was not to be that night, as it was getting late and I wanted to get back to the berth before sundown. At about 1830 I reeled in, packed away the gear and weighed anchor. An hour later I arrived at the berth.
It had been another grand Suisun Bay fishing adventure and I’ll surely be back there another time or two before I give up my beloved Delta to the tourists for the summer. I’m already looking forward to the next little nibble of a mighty sturgeon.
En route home I shot this photo on the Sacramento River above Broad Slough. At one time this was someone’s pride and joy. What a cheesy way to get rid of a boat!
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.