Finally! Chasing Sturgeon with the New C-Dory…

FishWisher IV’s Maiden Fishing Trip!

March 9-10, 2011

Launching the new toy at Brannan Island State Park near Rio Vista, CA because… IT’S TIME TO GO FISHIN’!

The projects were finally complete, the weather had warmed a bit, and the forecast was for light winds. I spent the better part of a day stowing all the gear and supplies for my first Delta adventure since November. On Wednesday morning I headed for Brannan Island to launch into the first fishing trip aboard my beautiful, new toy!

The 57 inch sturgeon caught near Decker Island on Day 1; he was released to fight again.

I was fishing at my honey hole off Decker Island on the Sacramento River, below Rio Vista, Calif., a bit before 1100 on Wednesday afternoon. As I pulled up to my spot, I noticed the same fellas, Don and Ed, who caught that 8′ monster sturgeon back in November of ’09, fishing nearby. I motored over near them to ask how they were doing, and they had just caught a sturgeon of about 48″. Good news! Sturgeon were in the area. After exchanging pleasantries, I motored over to my spot, dropped anchor and set about rigging up for my first day of fishing aboard my new C-Dory, FishWisher IV.

As I waited for a sturgeon to come along, I noticed Don and Ed had hooked up again! Sure enough, they battled a big ol’ sturgy to the boat, then leaned over the gunwale and released him. Wow – they had caught two sturgies in just a couple of hours!

Don and Ed release their second sturgeon near Decker Island. This photo is a bit grainy due to the long, 12X telescopic shot required.

I was encouraged. Surely a sturgy would come along and accept my usual offering of an eel steak luncheon.

And sure enough – just after 1400 something on the river bottom picked up my line – tick – tick – tick went my reel. Wham! I set the hook hard and fast into something substantial – and the fight was on!

I was hooked into a tough one, and he gave a great account of himself as he came to the boat four times! Each time I’d have him near the boat, he’d charge away in wild abandon, fighting valiantly for his freedom.

Finally, on the final trip to the boat, he arrived belly up and in submission. He gave me a real exciting battle that I enjoyed while it lasted – about ten minutes.

Most of all – I had scored a catch on the first day of my first fishing trip aboard my new boat! What a great way to break her in!

I did not bloody her decks, nor spread sturgeon slime all over the cockpit, but she was nevertheless well broken in on our maiden trip. I chose to release the tough guy – after all, I wanted to continue fishing. And I did.

A lousy video of this catch is here:

Some time later, my friend John joined me aboard his big Hewescraft. He anchored upriver a few hundred yards. We would fish the outgoing tide, then head to Suisun Bay for the night.

Flat calm Suisun Bay on Day 1. It doesn’t get any better than this!

We quit fishing near Decker Island when the outgoing current gave out about 1500. We headed downriver to Suisun Bay to spend the night aboard the boats. A bit after 1600 we were fishing Suisun Bay; I was on my honey hole, and John fished about a half mile away. The water was flat calm under overcast skies and a perfect day to fish Suisun. The fish, however, did not cooperate with me.

It was a tough first night aboard my new C-Dory. The wind kicked up and small wind waves kept knocking me around in the V-berth. I could not sleep. Finally, sometime after 0200 on Day 2 of our trip, I weighed anchor and moved across the strait to John’s anchorage. It was sheltered there, and I dropped anchor – but wait! The anchor was fouled in the anchor roller, upside down, and refused to launch. Rats. I’d have to climb up to the anchor and release it. And so I did, but it was not fun – it was, after all, just after 0200 and it was cool and windy out. I climbed back into the V-berth and finally got a few hours of sleep.

Day 2: Sunrise on Suisun Bay

Day 2 began on Suisun Bay…

…and it dawned cool with an occasional breeze. John told me that around 2300 he had about a 50″ sturgeon to the boat, and released it. That was great news! I was pleased for his catch, and hoped for more action as the morning wore on.

I motored back to my honey hole and tried for several hours to entice another sturgeon with my nasty, smelly eel. I could not attract any takers, but kept trying ’til a bit after 1000.

My fishin’ buddy, John, aboard his boat at sunrise.

The breeze kicked up again, and it only worsened. I told John, and by then his son, Johnny, who had joined him aboard his own boat, that I’d tired of the wind and would head back and see if conditions were better around Decker Island. They chose to stay put, so I bid them farewell and cruised upriver.

Heading up a lumpy river along the green hills that line the Sacramento River.

Conditions were no better near Decker; the wind was blowing and the river was choppy as the photo above shows. I’d had enough wind for one morning, so I headed into Three Mile Slough and the Brannan Island launch ramp.

A short video of the trip upriver is here:

There were only five rigs in the parking lot when I arrived at Brannan about noon, and three of them belonged to John, Johnny, and I. It was pretty clear that many other fishermen stayed home and out of the breeze this day. It was good to know that I was not the only wimp!

My baby sits proudly on her trailer after the first fishing trip. Yep – all the projects were worth it!

It was a grand maiden voyage aboard my new toy! I was very pleased to have caught a sturgeon on this first trip, and figure that I broke in FishWisher IV right proper!

John and Johnny headed into Montezuma Slough after I left, but didn’t find any more cooperation from the fish. They returned home that evening.

Meanwhile… I’m looking forward to my next exciting Delta adventure!

(The story of Don, Ed and Bill’s huge 8′ sturgeon mentioned above is here:

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 "Sturgeon" John, Fishing Overnight on the Water, Fishing Sturgeon. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Finally! Chasing Sturgeon with the New C-Dory…

  1. Your Sis says:

    Hi Dear,

    Hooray!! A fun & exciting adventure! I feel like I’m right there with you as you describe it so well….

    Am glad your maiden voyage on FishWisher IV was a happy one!! Congrats!!

  2. FishWisher says:

    Welcome aboard, Sis! It’s good to know you’re perusing my site from time to time. Being back online is fun, isn’t it? I’m glad you enjoyed my story.

  3. Sea Ray Bill says:

    Great to hear you are back on the river Dale. And you caught a sturgeon on the first trip out. I caught 3 sturgeon and 1 nice striper in 2 days. I still have 2 tags left so it is pretty much catch and release for awhile. It looks like will have a good salmon season this year. Your friend SeaRay Bill

  4. FishWisher says:

    Hi Bill – thanks for the visit. Man, you’re doing great this year – as usual, I’d say. I have three tags to go still. I hope to use one in the next couple of weeks. And I’m sure looking forward to a decent salmon season, too – it’s been a long time! – Dale

  5. Jim O says:

    Good to see someone out on the water fishing with all this bad weather we’ve been having. Been following you for a few months and really enjoy your blogs and videos about your fishing adventures and upgrades to the boat. Just got myself my first real fishing boat an ’03 1800 Lund fisherman had it out once and loved it, so keep up the bloggin and good fishing stories.

  6. FishWisher says:

    Thanks for the kind words, Jim. My trip week before last was not in bad weather, but a bit windy. The weather has been unreal since, and am hoping to get out next week if the delta isn’t still blown out. Congrats on your new fishing boat and hope you have lots of good times aboard. – Dale

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