First Sturgeon on the Delta this Autumn! October 18,19,20 – 2010

Sturgeon on the Delta!

October 18-20, 2010

Day 1, Monday:

October finally arrived! It had been a long time since I fished the delta, and  was anxious to begin sturgeon fishing again. It had been a frustrating summer of fishing Hogan for stripers and I looked forward to slinging bait into the delta for a change.

More 2009 Delta Sturgeon Fishing!The coach set up in one of Delta Marina’s RV spaces.

Three North River boats at the dock; pure coincidence, but it looked like a boat show! My humble 18 footer is at the rear.

After arriving at Delta Marina, I launched the boat and set up the coach, then headed downriver to Decker Island. It’s always a great pleasure to toss out the first cast of the season, then to settle back and await that subtle sturgeon bite. The day was gorgeous with light breezes and bright sunshine. I began fishing about noon at Decker Island, a few miles downriver from the marina.

After getting settled at the marina, there wasn’t time to head for Suisun Bay which lies about 25 miles downriver. Suisun is my #1 choice for sturgeon fishing, but the winds and waves often limit me to fishing the Rio Vista area, which is my #2 choice. Over the years, I’ve caught a lot of sturgeon in both locations, but I prefer the higher success rate and the solitude of Suisun.

I spent about five hours at Decker, trying to entice a passing sturgeon with a few chunks of eel. A few little stripers nipped at the bait as I waited, but no sturgeon took my offer. Rats. I spent a comfortable night aboard the coach, as usual, and looked forward to the next day of fishing when my friend John would join me.

Day 2, Tuesday:

I met John at Raul’s Striper Cafe for breakfast, and after eating way too much breakfast, as usual at Raul’s, we drove back to the marina and boarded the boat.

The day was gorgeous again, and we headed down river to my honey hole on Suisun Bay. After an hour or so of cruising, we dropped anchor about 0930 at my favorite fishing hole in the whole world. It is very remote, and I seldom see another boat within a mile. The only sounds are those of birds, distant trains and the occasional airplane flying overhead.

We tossed our lines out over the transom, then sat back to enjoy the day and await the visit of a mighty sturgeon. We fished an incoming current, and opened the boat canvas completely to permit as much air circulation under the top as possible. It was a hot sun, but the occasional breeze was tinged with the feeling of autumn.

John fishin’ before the big sturgeon came along.

It was over four hours after anchoring that one of John’s reels ticked off the good news that a sturgeon had stopped by for a bite. John set the hook into a very substantial fish – and the fight was on! I jumped up to to turn on the video camera as John began the tug-of-war with his fish. John reeled the big fish to the boat, then he charged off again – and he did so several times. He had a lot of spunk and made for a good fight.

When he finally settled down alongside the boat, I set my plastic measure next to him and declared he was a 48 incher. John was pleased with his triumph, and that’s all he really wanted, so I grabbed the pliers and pulled the hook loose, releasing the big fella to fight another day. And John had kicked the skunk off my boat.

The video of the fight is on Youtube here

That was it for the day, although we tried for a half hour near Decker Island as we returned up river. I dropped John off at the dock at 1600 as he had a long drive home.

I headed back out on the river for another hour and a half, but still couldn’t attract my own sturgeon. At about 1730, I headed back to the marina for the night and looked forward to Wednesday when another friend, Willie, would join me for the day.

Day 3, Wednesday:

Willie was sitting at the table at The Striper Cafe, waiting for me, when I walked in at 0730. We ate good, hot breakfasts and then headed back to the marina.

The morning was a bit grey, especially downriver, but we headed for Suisun Bay, knowing that it would burn off as the morning wore on. We found the river to be pretty lumpy as we motored downriver, and the wind was blowing a pretty steady 10-15 MPH against the outgoing river. But we knew the tide was changing, and when the current turned to incoming, that it would settle down. Nevertheless, it was a rough, pounding ride across Suisun Bay. Had we had a lesser boat, we probably would not have attempted the crossing, but the deep-V hull cut through the lumps very well. That little 18 foot North River is a stout, well built boat!

A short video of the Suisun crossing is here.

Willie and I awaiting the bite of a passing sturgeon. The bite never came.

We anchored on the honey hole about 1000, and fished ’til the incoming current weakened and we began to twist in the wind. We had a couple of nibbles during our time there, but no sturgeon cooperated. At 1430 we pulled anchor and headed back upriver.

I dropped Willie off at the dock at 1530, then headed upriver to try my luck a bit longer at Light 36A, above the Rio Vista Bridge. It was flat calm as I fished there, but still no luck. I’d spent three days on the river once again, and this time had no fish of my own. I’m mighty glad that John caught that nice sturgeon on Day 2, and can only plan to return soon to catch some of my own.

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 Fishin' with "Stockton" Willie, Fishin' with "Sturgeon" John, Fishing + RVing = Comfort, Fishing Sturgeon. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to First Sturgeon on the Delta this Autumn! October 18,19,20 – 2010

  1. Ethan H. says:

    Did you use eel as bait? Was it fresh water eel or sea? Thanks a bunch.


    • FishWisher says:

      Ethan – I use lamprey eel, a fresh water eel so far as I know. It is available frozen in most delta area bait shops. They come whole, sealed in plastic. -FishWisher

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