The Monster that Got Away!

Nov 14 – 15, 2012

The Season’s First Suisun Bay Trip

My honey hole on Suisun Bay. It was a nearly calm day, and almost as good as it gets on Suisun in November.

Over the years my honey hole on Suisun Bay has produced more sturgeon than any other honey hole. Often times one cannot fish Suisun Bay due to the wind and waves, but when it’s calm it is my favorite spot. And so when the forecast predicted “light winds” or winds to 10 MPH, I loaded up the boat and headed for Brannan Island. Brannan is near Rio Vista, and is an hour’s cruise upriver from Suisun Bay. I always choose to cruise down river for an hour to get there rather than to fight the Bay Area traffic to get to a closer launch ramp.

Sunset on Suisun Bay. I love the solitude of my favorite sturgeon hole; not a single boat passed within a mile of me the entire 19 hours I fished there. Talk about getting away from it all!

Before leaving home, I zipped the Eisenglass windows along the sides of the cockpit to make the cooler weather more tolerable. Then I loaded up the gear for a sturgeon adventure and headed for Rio Vista.

The big tides on Suisun wouldn’t begin ’til about 1500, so I dropped anchor off Decker Island, near the launch ramp at Brannan Island State Park, and tried for about 2½ hours for a hungry sturgeon. It made for a nice, temporary anchorage, but that was about it.

I cruised down river to Suisun Bay and arrived about 1500. I began fishing the start of the big outgoing current and kept the nasty eel bait freshened as the hours ticked by. And waited.

Kicked back in the darkness of Suisun Bay, miles from anywhere, waiting… waiting. And soon enough things got a bit less sedate… 

Around 1830, well after dark, I picked up the rod just to check the line was taut, and discovered I had a big ol’ sturgeon on! I was shocked. I never heard a tick or saw a bit of motion on the rod. But suddenly the fight was on! I set the hook hard, then again, and the big bruiser was off to the races!

Whatever it was that had tried to run off with my bait, he was strong! He was determined! I had him to the boat five times before he was belly-up in submission. And even in submission he was luckier than I was as the victor; while trying to get him in the net, I screwed up, got the free hook stuck in the net and ultimately he broke free with a final surge of energy. I had little regret for having lost him; he was a valiant fighter and earned his reprieve – even though it was only a lucky reprieve on his part. My intent was to measure him in the boat and if legal, administer a couple of hard whacks to his noggin.

I did not get a photo of him, but here’s a rather lousy video of the fight as it wore on.

Here’s a brief epilogue of sorts:

I was disappointed, of course, with losing the big bruiser. But I had a good, tiring fight with a worthy opponent and that’s the greatest joy of fishing to me – along with the county music and the beer, naturally!

Sunrise on Suisun Bay the morning of November 15.

I was fishing again by 0530 the morning of Day 2. It was a fair outgoing tide that could have been productive, but alas, it was just a morning whiled away watching Suisun Bay lighten into another calm day. But that’s not all bad!

By 1030 the outgoing was about done and the boat began swinging on the hook. I’d had a grand time of it, and decided it was time to stow the fishing gear, raise anchor and head back to the ramps at Brannan Island.

I enjoyed a nice cruise back upriver, and am already looking forward to another Suisun Bay adventure. Maybe next time I can actually get a big ol’ sturgy in the boat!

My Space while night fishing in November on Suisun Bay. Note the tea kettle for instant coffee. The little Mr. Heater does a fine job, as does the little catalytic heater in the cabin I use when sleeping in the V-berth.

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

9 Responses to The Monster that Got Away!

  1. Anonymous says:

    Living the dream

  2. FishWisher says:

    Thanks, Anonymous posters. I’d really be living the dream if I’d bring home a sturgeon! But as you said, I’m fortunate in doing what I want. Life is good.

  3. TJ Downes says:

    SOmetimes those “one that got away” are the incentive to keep going back. Looked like a good fight!

  4. Tony M. says:

    Have you considered switching to single hook leaders? I find the second hook quite dangerous when handling a big fish.
    Love your stories.

  5. FishWisher says:

    Thanks, Tony. The Kalifornistan thugs that run our great outdoors but cannot enforce the present rules while always passing new ones anyway are taking care of the two hook issue themselves. Soon only one barbless hook will be the law. The 10% of sturgeon fishermen who abide by the laws will comply and a few will just give up and not buy a license for the coming year. It gets very discouraging. Meanwhile, those who don’t give a rip about the rules, and know there’s a very small chance of getting caught, will keep on poaching! It’s a crazy state I live in.

    • Tony M. says:

      Geez, the single hook doesn’t bother me as I always use the single hook. The barbless is pretty rediculous. It is not like we injure their mouths releasing the regular hook. What I used to do for salmon to get by that rule was to give the barb a little squeeze with pliers. Not too hard. This leaves a nice bump to help holding onto fish but shows an effort to follow the rules. But it is entirely not necessary for sturgeon.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I love your blog, something about it reminds me of “the good ol’ days.” Seeing as how I’m 30 my version of the good ol days is me at 10 years old catching sun fish with my dad. I guess it’s the care free nature of your writing that brings me back. Keep up the great work and keep living the dream.

  7. FishWisher says:

    Thanks for your visit, Anonymous. I’m glad you enjoyed the site and left a note. I need to get off my duff and chase some new adventures – it’s been too long since I’ve been fishing!

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