Three days at Delta Marina (Rio Vista, Ca) aboard the coach and boat!
Sundown while sturgeon fishing on the Sacramento River near Decker Island (Below Rio Vista) on Day 1.
Monday, Dec 28, 2009 Day 1: to Delta Marina
I’m conflicted. I don’t like cold weather. But if I don’t go fishing regularly I get depressed. It’s been cold, and I’ve been depressed, so I decided to head on over to the delta to chase sturgeon in spite of the miserable, cold weather. Fortunately, I have a Mr. Heater aboard the boat, so I figured I could go fishing and still be somewhat comfortable.
I loaded the gear onto the boat after church on Sunday, and loaded the coach the morning of Day 1, then headed to Delta Marina in Rio Vista once again. Although they are closed on Mondays during the winter, I called on Sunday and was told to go ahead and launch the boat, set up the coach and make myself at home. It would be fine to settle up later.
With high tide predicted for noon, I decided to eat lunch aboard the coach while waiting for the huge outgoing tide to get underway. The high tide was very high; the walkway from the launch ramp to the dock was underwater! I launched by boarding the boat while still on the trailer, and motored to the dock, then set up the coach in my favorite space where I can keep an eye on the boat. I headed downriver and was fishing near Decker Island at 1330.
En route to my fishing hole, I cruised by Brannan Island State Park to see if the new docks were completed. The pilings, the docks, even the cleats are in place, but it isn’t yet open. There are still only two launch lanes available. When the new lanes are open, it looks like there will be eight launch lanes open – and that will be a huge improvement!
Awaiting the gentle nibble of a sturgeon on Day 1 near Decker Island on the Sacramento River.
I spent the whole afternoon of Day 1 trying to entice a big ‘ol sturgeon with eel, but didn’t manage to fool a single one. I kept warm by running my Mr. Heater all day. At 1700 the rain started, and after sundown, at 1730, I reeled in, stowed the tackle, etc., and cruised upriver in the dark to the docks at Delta Marina.
While I didn’t manage to catch a sturgeon this first day of this crazy Winter fishing trip, I did enjoy the effort. Back in the comfort of the coach that evening, I looked forward to trying again the next day for that final sturgeon of the season – and using the last of the three tags for 2009.
Tuesday, Dec 29, Day 2
Day 2 of this winter time delta adventure dawned cold and frosty. The dock was icy and slippery and the boat looked like an ice cube. My friend Willie drove over from Stockton and met me at the coach about 0815. We drove over to The Striper Cafe for a good, hot breakfast. We sat next to a heater near the back of the cafe, and we enjoyed some good conversation along with some delicious pancakes, eggs and sausage that Raul always serves up at The Striper Cafe.
Sharing room with the big boys is fairly common on the Sacramento River. This ship was no doubt steaming for the Port of Sacramento. To keep the river safe, a U.S. Coast Guard Station is just below the town of Rio Vista.
After breakfast, Willie dropped me off at the coach and then headed for home. Normally he’d have joined me for a day of fishing, but he’s getting so old and feeble that he had to get back home to his recliner and personal nurse. I’m sure ol’ Willie will be back fishing with me soon.
I gathered the necessary stuff for a trip down river – such as bait and beer and camera – then boarded the boat. It was flat calm, cold and somewhat foggy on the river – as perfect a day for fishing as one will find in the dead of winter. I again anchored near Decker Island, and was fishing by 1000. I gave it my best, fishing the flood tide, the turn to an ebb tide, and stayed faithful ’til nearly dark. I had one possible sturgeon take down, set the hook with a hearty heave… and missed! That was the sum-total of sturgeon action for the day. Coming home empty is just a part of sturgeon fishing and believe me, over the years I’ve grown used to it!
I motored back upriver to the Delta Marina dock and walked the short distance to the coach. I had my usual microwaved meal, fresh-caught from the little freezer of the coach. After a couple hours of TV, dinner and relaxing, I retired to the queen-size bed and spent a very restful night in my warm, cozy coach.
Wednesday, Dec 30, Day 3
Day 3 dawned much warmer than Day 2, and the boat was not covered with ice when I checked it out early in the morning. The day was very calm, so naturally I headed downriver to my honey hole on Suisun Bay. At 0915 I anchored over my favorite hole and chucked a few pieces of eel out over the transom, then sat back to wait for the sturgeon bite that this trip was all about. I was down to the last hours of fishing for 2009 and I desperately wanted to fill that last sturgeon tag.
It doesn’t take much to keep some people happy! (No, not just the beer! Note the flat calm water of Suisun Bay!)
During the course of the day I freshened the bait regularly and kept hoping that a sturgeon would eventually suck it up. Hope was not enough. I had one brief hook-up with something small during the last hour of my fishing day, but it didn’t stick for more than a second or two. After seven hours of trying, I reluctantly reeled in and stowed the gear.
I headed to the dock a bit before 1600 to be sure I didn’t have to cruise up the darkened river. I was a bit glum about my lousy fishing luck on that cruise back to the dock, but wait a minute! How can someone who has nothing to do but fish whenever he wants, let himself get depressed over fishing?! How foolish.
I had spent three wonderful days on my beloved delta, and this year has been my best sturgeon year ever. I am a very blessed guy and I sometimes have to remind myself of that.
The steam rising straight up from a plant near Suisun Bay tells boaters from far away that the wind is calm. I often check such columns of steam from over 20 miles away to check the wind on Suisun Bay.
I arrived back at the coach a bit more humble than when I arrived on Day 1. That is one of the benefits of fishing – one learns humility regularly, and unintended spiritual growth is a good thing, I suppose. I’d rather brag about another great sturgeon catch, but that will have to wait for another day and – indeed – another year!
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.