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Well-known member
Sep 16, 2006
I haven't seen a lot of activity here, maybe you guys are too busy fishing! ;D
So I decided I would tell my little avatar picture story.

Now I am a half-baked fisherman at best, like most people I have tried for a lot of different fish but have never really become an expert in anything. So as a consequence, I read a lot. Books, internet forums, trade papers, etc. I tend to shy away from magazines and newspapers, they seem to be more advertising and just plain half truths anymore than anything else. This goes for any discipline, it seems, whether it be guns, sportscars, photography, or anything of a technical nature. Like the man once said: Skill cannot be bought. They do have their place, don't get me wrong, I just don't pick one up expecting to learn anything new. If it happens, it's kind of a bonus.

So here I am at a yardsale, right down the street from my house. They have a bunch of the standard yardsale junk, treadmills(towel racks?) lawnmowers, Tupperware, a phone book: Minneapolis 1982, you get the picture. So I look over in the corner and there's this big box of books. Second from the top is a Chapman's 1974. Now I gotta have that. So the lady tells me she has to have 5 bucks and I eventually give her 2 and that's that, you know how it goes.

Well, inside the book there's an old clipping from a newspaper, no date, no paper, just a clipping. About how to catch rockfish on a flyrod. I kind of snort, figure some people still think the Earth is flat too. So after pondering the difficulties of getting my line down 60-100 ft in the right spot with a 4 knot current I start to read. It seems the technique involves nothing more than taking a Krocodile or similar lure, removing the hooks, and jigging it about 20- 30ft down. Theoretically the fish come up to a depth you can get them with your light tackle setup. I'll have to try this out, I think.

Just a side note: now I'm no English major, matter of fact, I went to school in Arkansas, where it was taught as an elective. Nimmons Junior High:Yankee I & II. ;D
But if I wrote: I'll have to try this out, I think to myself.
Is that redundant ? Who else would I be thinking too? I suppose if I was telepathic, it would make sense. Anyway...

So we show up at Seward at 0 dark thirty one Friday and start to get the boats ready to launch. Inflatables, a 16 and a 14 footer. The water in the bay is just absolute glass. We're happy, that means a smooth dry ride out. So we go to top off the air in the tubes, and my buddy turns to me and says those magic words: "You brought a pump too, right?" Turns out he had left his at home. Now in my defense, technically, I DID bring mine, I just forgot to load it in HIS truck when my wife and I dropped the trailer at his house the night before. Isn't it a rule that if you drive the truck, you're responsible for checking the equipment?(I stop short of bringing this up.) His boat rides on the trailer on top of mine, and his motor goes in the bed, we hand launch that one. He seemed pretty crushed. If you know inflatables, you know proper pressure is everything. So to cheer him up I said "Hey,at least you remembered to bring the motor." His reply, while unprintable, definitely showed a rise in spirits.

Luckily for us, the wives were following us down later in the morning, we knew we would have a dry bag with a?pump in it by 9am. Along with my registration, VHF, chartplotter, tools, spare prop, emergency gear, etc. I don't mention this "extra" stuff to my friend, no sense in dwelling on the problem.

So about ten we're tied up, the trucks are parked, and we're ready to go. I head out first, buddy runs drag. The water is the same mirror it was earlier, with the exception of a big cruise ship coming around Fox Island. You know, one of those kind that have 60 life rafts bigger than the boat you're in. I gotta tell ya,? I hate cruise ships like the devil hates holy water. I can feel my teeth starting to bang together allready.

So we ride out the cruise ships wake for what seems half our trip, I think I even saw an old pickup from the earthquake that it dredged off the bottom. We stop for a quick break on Fox Island Spit, which is kind of a ritual for us, then take off again, heading? back toward Seward and then turning left for the run to the back side of Hive Island. Lots of rocks back there, hopefully lots of rockfish.

We get to a spot with rocks on three side, about 80 feet of water. I set up my halibut rig as mentioned above, just a Krocodile, no hooks. I set the reel free and peel off 30 feet of line as it drops. Now I saw thirty feet, but if you want to get technical I just spread my arms out 5 times, peeling as I go. I'm 6'2", so I figure that's close enough. Then I reset the reel (Penn 210GTI, if you gotta know, on top of a Lamiglas rod thats about 4.5 feet long. Don't ask, it just works better in a small boat.) I then ziptie it to a grommet on my hogging strip, that funny piece of rubber that runs all the way around on a good inflatable. The swells are about 3 feet, and that should help the jigging, I'm thinking.(To myself?) About 30 seconds later the rod starts getting hit. Repeatedly. It actually worked!!

So my buddy and I rush to tie up. Now I mentioned before we were in two boats, what we do is tie off to each other, only one anchor to pull, works great. I'm using 35' of 6wt level floating, topped with 5' of 800 grain shooting taper,(I use a nail not, not the loops. Kind of interesting, I really don't enjoy fly tying, but I'll work on a knot or a handmade tapered leader for 30 minutes and be happy about it. Maybe something's wrong with me.) Next I add something simple: 10 feet of Chameleon 10lb. No real need to be subtle here. I hang some medium split shot on, and tie on my professionally selected fly. To tell you the truth, I've heard stories of people catching rockfish on safety pins and gumwrappers, so I figured I was pretty safe in picking out one of those rabbit fur bass flies, you know, the long stringy ones they advertise beside the deerhair frogs and mice in Cabelas. I've had this thing laying around since my travels through Arkansas and mid-Texas (San Angelo) and have never landed a fish on it. It is extremely purple, which infuriates my friend for some reason I don't understand. But who cares what some guy who can't even remember to bring a pump for a boat filled with air thinks?

Now if you do the math, you'll see I have roughly 50' of line out before I hit the backing. So what I do cast about 30 feet of that, about all I can handle with this setup, quartering into the current and strip the rest as it sinks. If I have a few turns left on the reel, I should be in the neighborhood as it passes the boat. I finally get it right the second time, first was too shallow, and IMMEDIATELY it's fish on. If you haven't played with one of these fish on a light rod, I highly recommend it. They are great little fighters. So I have one in the boat. My friend is busy looking for purple anything. I tell him it's not color, it's location. Next thing you know, double hookup. It was like that all day, we put our limit in easily, and even got to do some C&R, as it seemed that we were hooking more into Irish Lords as the day went on. My buddy even picked up a small halibut! I guess it's true that if they see something going on, they head for it.

It was a really good day, and we fried some fish that night. I guess I'll do a little paraphrasing and say:

"If you want to learn something new, buy an old book."
That's a great story, thanks for sharing. Just reading it makes me want to hop in the fishing boat and load the tackle. Alas, we're away right now - on the water, but without the bass boat.
Thanks Tom. here's something else: The future of rock-fishing!


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