It was a cloudy drive to the marina, but the wind was calm and the drive was uneventful. Good. Upon arrival, I paid for my stay at Delta Marina in the office, then set about launching the boat and setting up the coach as my cozy home for three days. I love that even during my everyday vacation known as retirement, I can enjoy this higher level of vacation known as Three Days of Fishing!
Upon getting settled in, I headed downriver to Light 25. I considered heading on down to Suisun, but fortunately I stayed put. The afternoon was a bit breezy and my trip back upriver might have been more adventurous than I want.
I cast several eel steaks out to the river bottom at about 1130 and sat back and spent the entire afternoon awaiting the tender bite of a sturgeon. Late in the day, an apparently legal size sturgeon jumped about 50 feet from the boat! I was surprised and encouraged by the show, knowing that sturgeon were in the neighborhood. Even so, no sturgeon took my offered eel steak dinner. This was seven days of fishing over three fishing trips, and absolutely no action of any kind. I could get discouraged, but I choose to accept this slump as an opportunity for spiritual growth; I am becoming very humble. I suppose that’s a good thing.
During the afternoon, the WWII cargo ship, Jeremiah O’Brien, cruised upriver within a stone’s throw of my anchorage, lead by a big ol’ tug boat. At first I thought the ship was in tow, but no, she was under her own power. I suspect the old gal was required by the Coast Guard – or some other agency – to be escorted by a tug large enough to control her in the event of a power failure or some other such issue. She was a sight for old eyes! She is among the dying breed of WWII veterans, and I really was enthralled as she chugged by me. I took photos and also a rather nice video of her as she cruised by. This trip will be memorable, thanks to the Jeremiah O’Brien, even if I do head home with no action once again. God bless America!
My video of the Jeremiah O’Brien as she chugged upriver: Click Here
Her history from her own website: Click Here ================================
2010-5-19 Wednesday, Day 2: Fishing with Willie
The Isleton Bridge as we cruised back downriver on the Old Sac.
Willie met me at The Striper Cafe at 0800 where we had a great country breakfast of pancakes, eggs, biscuit and gravy and sausage. Mmmmm. What a great way to start a day of fishing. As it turned out, breakfast was the high point of the day, but I’m not complaining.
Fishin’ on the Old Sac, sheltered from the wind.
Spending the day aboard a boat with an old friend, listening to good music – 50’s Rock ‘n Roll was the main entertainment this day – and cold beer on demand, cannot be a bad day. But it sure would have been a lovely change to have some sturgeon action. I did make ol’ Willie’s day for him by purchasing a new, padded folding chair just perfect for old folks. He was very pleased with his new chair, and I was happy for him.
We tried to fish near Light 25, but the lack of current and the brisk wind nixed that plan. We headed up the Old Sacramento River, cruised past Isleton and on upriver above the Isleton Bridge. After trying a couple anchorages, we finally found shelter from the wind and rolling river, and even enjoyed brief times of gentle rain. The outgoing current ran the whole time we were there, but we didn’t have any takers for our eel steaks. Finally, later in the afternoon, the wind died down and we headed back to the main river, just below Light 37A. We spent over an hour there, but still could not find any action. At 1600 we reeled in and headed for the dock. Rats. For me, this had been eight days of trying for another sturgeon with no results. I continued my spiritual growth. ==================================
5-20 Thursday, Day 3: Boarded by armed teenagers!
I began the day by walking over to The Striper Cafe for a good breakfast of biscuit and gravy. The plan was to head for Suisun Bay, and at 0815 I was heading downriver toward Suisun. By the time I got to Big Break, less than halfway to my honey hole, the river was so windy and rough that I turned back. When I left the Rio Vista area, it wasn’t so bad; the river was fairly flat and the wind just a light breeze. By the time I got back upriver, it was rockin’ and rollin’ and not fun. I tied up at the Delta Marina dock and waited for the tide to turn and the river to calm down.
A bit before 1100 I embarked once again to chase sturgeon. The wind was blowing as it was earlier, but the tide had changed and the current was flowing in the same direction as the wind, making for a calmer river and fishable conditions. I anchored at Light 25 and tossed out some fresh eel steaks for the sturgeon below, then sat back and waited for the gentle bite – that never came.
The armed teenagers as they depart after boarding FishWisher. They were very professional.
At about 1400, a boatload of armed teenagers approached my boat, tied up to it, and boarded! Under the authority of the U.S. Coast Guard, they first asked if I was armed. I said yes, and they took possession of my firearm.
They then asked to see my registration and driver license. I coughed them up as well. Then they wanted to see my life jackets, my throwable life preserver, my fire extinguisher and wanted to hear my horn toot. I passed the boarding inspection, apparently, and after they checked via radio that my license, firearm and I don’t know what else was in order and that I was not wanted, they returned my property and bid me farewell.
I remember reading the 4th amendment to our U.S. Constitution, and something about unreasonable search and seizure. But that means nothing when fishing on a navigable waterway in the good ol’ USA. Although I’d rather be left unmolested, the young fellas were very professional and courteous and they did their job well. I wish them well. How I wish I had turned on my video camera as they approached, which was already mounted and ready to record a sturgeon fight, but I didn’t think of it ’til after they left. Darn.
I fished from 1115 to 1715 at Light 25, faithfully tending the bait, keeping it fresh and clear of debris. No matter, I couldn’t buy a fish – and this has been the ninth day with no sturgeon action for me over three visits to the delta. This is the time of year to bid my beloved delta farewell, anyway, and I won’t be back ’til October when I will again chase sturgeon. The wind will likely howl all summer, as usual, and I simply choose to avoid the hassle. I’ll likely do some RV traveling and foothill lake fishing. Even though I’ve been humbled nearly to embarrassment, life is good!
Being skunked wasn’t enough humble pie: Here FishWisher (R) humbly sits alongside a luxury yacht on the evening of the last day of this sturgeon season. I’ll be back in October!
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.