2010 Sturgeon Fishing!

Sturgeon Fever 2010!

 First Sturgeon of the New Year!

February 2-5, 2010

Day 1, February 2, Tuesday: Home to Delta Marina and some fishing.

After watching and waiting for a good – or at least acceptable – weather window, I loaded the coach and boat and headed again to Delta Marina on the Sacramento River in Rio Vista, Ca. I had settled in by the fireplace at home all through January, waiting for the warmer days we sometimes get in February. Finally a good weather window seemed to fall together and I was more than ready to hit the water for some sturgeon fishing!

2010 Sturgeon Fishing!

Did I report that the river was unusually high? Note the walkway to the dock is underwater!

I arrived at Delta Marina around 1030, launched the boat and set up the coach for my three night stay. I was fishing off Decker Island by noon, and spent the afternoon ’til about 1700 trying for the year’s first sturgeon. I had a couple of pulls that might have been a sturgy, but didn’t hook into anything. The good news was that I had two more days to try!

A boring video of me fishing in the rain is on Youtube.

 2010 Sturgeon Fishing!Waiting… waiting… is the key to catching sturgeon!

I spent a comfy evening aboard the coach, as usual. I had a breakfast date with a couple of old friends on Tuesday morning, and was looking forward to seeing them.

 Day 2, Wednesday, February 3: To Suisun Bay!

I met my new-old friends (it’s along story!) for a truly great breakfast at The Striper Cafe in Rio Vista. It’s walking distance from Delta Marina, but my friends drove me back to the marina via Hap’s Bait where I picked up some frozen shad. I don’t fish with the stuff, but I like to feed the Bonaparte’s Gulls that continually seek handouts as I fish. I hate to see them beg for nothing, and enjoy giving them a few shad for their efforts. One will often spend the whole day with me if I’ll just toss a shad every half-hour or so.

I cruised downriver to Suisun Bay, a 25-mile cruise over glass-like water. It was a gorgeous day with NO wind and mild February temperatures into the 60s. After dropping anchor at my honey-hole between Roe and Ryer Islands, I cast chunks of eel out over the transom, then sat back to await the tender bite of a mighty sturgeon.

2010 Sturgeon Fishing!
Suisun Bay was flat calm and mirror-like. This is one of my very favorite places on earth!

It was a long wait, but the country music was pleasant and – as usual – the beer was cheap and cold. I kept the eel steaks juicy with some smelly bait attractants, and kept the rod in hand nearly every minute as the bait soaked on the bottom of Suisun Bay. The hours passed in glorious timelessness, and I was as content as one can be in this life. Gosh – I love sturgeon fishing Suisun Bay on a windless day! 

As the final half hour of my fishing day began ticking away, after six hours of blissful waiting, the reel suddenly ticked off a few inches of line. That was exactly the gentle nibble of a sturgeon that I had been awaiting so faithfully. I swung with all my might, setting the hook deep into something of substance! I jumped to my feet, slammed the lever drag full forward and set the hook again – and again! I hooted and hollered like a kid on the playground! That moment of setting the hook – after investing two days of timeless waiting – is THE moment every fisherman lives for!

 My sturgeon was strong and spirited – he fought with all his heart for his freedom. As he’d peel line off the reel against a hard drag, I could only let him run. As soon as he’d try to rest, I’d lay the ‘glass to him, forcing him toward the boat. It is that give and take and wearing down of a mighty fish that is the very essence of my fishing addiction!

 After about ten minutes my sturgeon lay beside the boat, belly up and in submission. He was long and lean, very likely a male sturgeon, and a perfect specimen. I measured him with my “slot measure” plastic tape as he rested, making sure that he was within our 46” to 66” slot limit, and he was right in the middle. I scooped him into my over sized net and welcomed him aboard. As he lay on the cockpit sole, I measured him with my tape measure and he was right at 55 inches. I guessed him to be around 35 pounds, but did not weigh him as I decided to release him. With only three sturgeon tags allowed per year, I’d wait for a bigger fish.

2010 Sturgeon Fishing!
The big fella at rest in the boat; he was released and swam away in a flash. Aren’t they beautiful?! To me they look like supersonic submarines – very fast and sleek-looking even when still.

After I released the big fella, I cleaned up the boat, stowed my tackle and headed back upriver to the marina. It is always such a pleasure to cruise home after a good day at my Suisun Bay honey-hole. There is an afterglow – the lingering thrill of a successful hunt – that just makes all the effort worthwhile. A video of this catch is on Youtube.

Day 3, Thursday, February 4: Back to Decker Island for one more sturgy.

Day 3 dawned cloudy and a bit breezy, so I chose to fish locally. I cruised the few minutes downriver to Decker Island and dropped anchor at my 2nd most favored honey-hole. I’ve caught many sturgeon there, but it doesn’t compare to the success I’ve had on Suisun Bay.

 I spent over six hours trying for one more sturgy, but it just wasn’t to be. At one rare moment when I did not hold the rod in hand, but was fiddling with a camera, I had a very likely sturgeon bite that I missed. Yep – during more than six hours of trying, I set the rod aside for not more than a half-hour total – and of course, that was when some lucky sturgeon chose to try my offered eel. Rats!

2010 Sturgeon Fishing!
Armed Teenagers !

Armed teenagers were everywhere this week, it seemed. Note the big gun at the bow. I’ve never figured out why they need a Coast Guard Station in Rio Vista. Rio Vista?! It seems to me they would be a lot more useful down on SF Bay.Three of these patrol inflatables were working the Sacramento River below their Rio Vista Station. It seemed they were training and at least they left me alone. I once was boarded by a crew of an inflatable CG vessel in the middle of the night while fishing – just so they could check me for safety equipment. A video of the some of the Coast Guard “show” is on Youtube.

By 1500 the wind was kicking up, the outgoing current was slowing and the boat was beginning to swing, making bait fishing a bit more work than I like. I finally decided I’d had enough for the day, and reeled in.

 I cruised the few miles upriver to the marina, tied up to the dock and spent another very comfortable night aboard the coach. This fishing life is good and I look forward to more Delta sturgeon adventures in the coming weeks!

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.
This entry was posted in Fishing + RVing = Comfort, Fishing Sturgeon. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to 2010 Sturgeon Fishing!

  1. Philip says:

    Hi, From the Ship Keeper of the SS Jeremiah O\’Brien, I would like to thank you for the excellent footage. We were proudly cruising to Sacramento to participate in a massive Homeland Security excercise. All went well and we\’re back home in the City. -Philip O\’Mara

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