The Sacramento River at sundown after a day of fishing Suisun Bay.
This week’s trip to Rio Vista on the California Delta was remarkable not for the fishing (I was skunked) but for the pure pleasure of just being on my beloved delta during the calm days of autumn. It was warm and calm and the water flat as a mirror. To me, that’s as good as it gets, sturgeon or no sturgeon.
Waiting.. waiting… and not even the fish bothered me on this idyllic day near Decker Island.
Monday, Day 1: To Delta Marina
The tides and weather combined to make the first week of November a perfect opportunity for the season’s second sturgeon adventure. Winds were predicted to be light, which is nearly unheard of for the delta, and the tides were moving plenty of water. I looked forward to spending election day all alone on the water, away from all the hassle – is this a great country, or what?
After launching and docking the boat and settling in at the RV park, I motored downriver to Decker Island. The incoming water was a bit ruffled by a slight breeze that kept the day cool and comfortable. When the tide changed to outgoing, I was facing into the warm sun. I removed my shirt and soaked up the sunshine as if it was a summer day. The beer was cheap and cold and Okie music played softly on the radio. Who needs a sturgeon to interrupt such a splendid day?! Unfortunately, none did, and I really didn’t mind.
This strange vessel passed Decker Island while I fished.
I gave up the effort around 1730, reeled in and headed back to the marina. I spent the night in comfort aboard the coach, looking forward to two more days of chasing sturgeon – and if the weather held, most likely down on Suisun Bay! =====================
Tuesday, Day 2:
The beautiful weather continued, as predicted, and the day dawned calm and mild. A bit of fog hung over the river, but it burned off quickly. After morning chores, I boarded the boat and headed downriver to my favorite honey hole on Suisun Bay.
I paused for awhile at Light 25 to fish awhile ’til the fog burned off. But after just half an hour I continued my trip downriver.
I was fishing my Suisun Bay honey hole by 0930. As usual, I was offering eel steaks to any passing sturgeon and was freshening more often than usual. I was getting a bit impatient with those sturgy critters, as they’ve been ignoring my offerings for a total of four days in a row so far this season, including the trip of a couple of weeks ago.
The weather was perfect on Suisun Bay; the water flat as a mirror.
Alas… they would continue to ignore my offerings for a fifth day. I fished the incoming tide and also an outgoing ’til I had to head for the dock at about 1715 to beat darkness to the marina. But the days do not get any better on the delta – especially Suisun Bay. It was warm, indeed hot in the sunshine, and the air was calm. The water was flat calm and as pleasant as it gets.
The fellows I towed in at sunset. And it was a slow, dark cruise upriver to Sandy Beach in Rio Vista.
En route home, somewhere near the power lines, a couple of fellows in their disabled boat flagged me down. Now, I’ve sworn off towing boats due to the risk, but still I cannot leave people at risk on the river – especially at sundown. I tried to tow them in the usual manner, but their flimsy bow cleat broke almost as soon as we got underway. We finally tied the boats together, starboard to port, and headed upriver in the dark. It was a long, 5 MPH trip against an outgoing current to the nearest ramp, which was Sandy Beach Park near the Coast Guard Station. We tied their boat to the dock where one of them stayed with it. I then took the other fellow up to the Rio Vista Ramp where their truck was parked. They were mighty pleased to have the help, and my tow was what any responsible person would do for a stranded boater on the river, especially at sunset.
It had been a long day by the time I got back to the marina, and I was mighty pleased to relax and recoup in the comfort of the motor home. The next day would be my last opportunity to entice a sturgeon to the boat, and my hopes were high.
Wednesday, Day 3:
Day 3 dawned the same as Days 1 and 2, perfect! The winds were calm and the sun was bright. I considered fishing locally, perhaps Light 25 or Decker Island. But on such a perfect day and desperate for a sturgy, I decided my best bet was to cruise downriver to fish my favorite honey hole again.
I was fishing the Suisun honey hole by 0945. The wind blew about 10 MPH during the morning, but the boat stayed pretty stable in the incoming current. By the time the tide turned, the wind died down and the afternoon was, yet again, perfect. Well… perfect would include a sturgeon, so perhaps the day was just very, very good.
The waters of the delta were about this flat much of this week’s visit. I love it!
Nope, I still couldn’t fool a sturgeon. For the whole three days of trying, I never had so much as a sturgeon bite. I was skunked once again – but that’s just sturgeon fishing. Even so, that exciting moment of setting the hook into what seems like a log is worth the trips that don’t produce. And, once again, three days of fishing my beloved delta has led to spiritual growth – I am once again humbled. And doesn’t the Good Book says something about the humble inheriting a big fish??
So I will head home on Day 4, and will look forward to the next great sturgeon adventure… ====================
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.