FX going striper fishing

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FX

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Tom - You'll be waiting a long time :)  I don't know how to post photos.  Plus, without posting the photo's I can lie about the size! 
As with anything, my plans have changed. 
I am picking up the boat this Thursday and storing it at a friends ranch for a month.  We have made a pledge to take it out in the Rio Vista/Martinez area 3 out of the 4 weekends the boat is down.  It's been awhile since I have had the boat in the delta and from what the Wednesday's fishing report in the Stockton Record has been saying, the striper fishing in the delta has really been improving. 
 

Tom

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FX said:
I don't know how to post photos.

Click the Resources button in the toolbar above, scroll down to Forum navigation tips, then scroll down to the Posting messages heading and the first line under that is the link to how to post messages (click the link). Now you have no excuses!  ;D

...take it out in the Rio Vista/Martinez area 3 out of the 4 weekends the boat is down.

We might see you there. We're hoping/planning on berthing at the Delta Marina in Rio Vista around Nov 19/20. So you can show me your big catch in person. Given the striper report, I'll probably take the dinghy along and drop a line in the Sacramento. Hopefully I won't catch anything too big and get towed upriver by a big fish  :(

Are you planning to launch at Brannan Island or at the Rio Vista city ramp? Martinez seems a long way to go in a pontoon boat from Rio Vista, so I assume that will be a separate trip (?)
 

FX

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I have launched at Brannon before when I fished under the power poles.  When I went to the mothball fleet, we launched from some marina in Martinez.  I am not very good at navigating the delta. 
 

Tom

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FX said:
I have launched at Brannon before when I fished under the power poles.

I assume you mean the power poles on the Sacramento River near Sherman Lake (approx 1 mile downstream of the 3 Mile Slough bridge).  That's a good place to fish for stripers (under the power poles) and Sherman Lake is where stripers hang around to desalinate when they migrate upriver from the ocean and bay.

we launched from some marina in Martinez. I am not very good at navigating the delta.

I'd encourage you to either get a navigation chart of the Delta, or at least Hal Schell's map of the Delta. It costs only a few $ and is available at most bait/tackle stores, West Marine, or you can order it online from Hal's web site (click Delta publications on the left of his home page). Just for clarification, Hal Schell's map stops around Pittsburg, so it won't cover Martinez or the mothball fleet.

When you leave the Martinez marina and head upstream under the Benicia bridge towards  the mothball fleet, be aware that there are two navigation channels, each clearly marked with navigation buoys. Always remember "Red, Right, Returning", which means that the red buoys will be on your right as you head upstream. So, if you're going upstream, keep the red buoys on your right and green buoys on your left. (For clarification or maybe confusion, the U.S. is one the few countries that do not follow international maritime conventions for channel marking; The majority of countries have the green buoys on the right or starboard side of the channel as you return to port or go upriver.)

The two channels split off to opposite sides of the river just above the bridge. One channel goes to the left past the mothball fleet and the other is way over on the other side of the river. The large body of water between the two channels is very shallow and I've seen numerous boats run aground there. I realize your pontoon boat draws very little water, but I suspect it could run aground somewhere between the two channels.

Remember that the sturgeon will have gone back down to the bay in search of the herring spawn in Novermber.

Any talk of boating on the Delta shouldn't be without a reminder to wear a USCG approved life preserver.
 

FX

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Tom- I have about every map there is of the Delta, on of which is very details and cost quite a bit too.  To be honest, they really don't help me much.  I have found myself semi-lost in the past while my buddy is guiding me with the map.  It's those darn little branches of water that go off to the side that screw me up.  It may seem easy to you, but we just can't seem to get the hang of it.  My friend at work, says he has taken his boat in the Delat from Stockton to the Bay area, had dinner and come back. 
Do you actually wear your life preserver, or just have it on board.  In your years of boating, have you ever been been stopped or boared by the Sheriff's dept. or Coast Guard?
Also, thanks for letting me know about the sturgeon.  We were going to try for them as well, but not now.
 

Tom

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Those numerous little sloughs really can get you lost very easily, especially when you can't see over the levy. They claim that there's 1,200 miles of waterways in the Delta, which obviously includes all the sloughs, but that's enough to get anyone lost. When we first started boating in the Delta we'd go just a short distance and I'd be following along on a map or chart. Next time, we'd go a little further and so on. After more than 20 years on the Delta, there are still numerous places we haven't been. A great investment if you can afford it is a GPS chartplotter; In addition to having the maps/charts on screen, it will show you where you are.

FX said:
Do you actually wear your life preserver, or just have it on board.

The correct answer should always be yes, but it depends. You really need a life presever on when you're in the water, but it's too late to put it on after you fall overboard, especially if there's a current taking you away from the boat. If I'm in a small/open boat which would give me no time to react in the event of capsizing or being ejected from the boat, I always wear a life preserver even if I'm just fishing behind the house. Here's a photo of forum staff member Jim Dick and me in my bass boat; You can see we're both wearing life preservers, although these are the inflatable type which are less bulky than most other types.

If we're on the enclosed bridge of the big boat and are in calm inshore waters, we don't normally wear life preservers although they're always nearby. But we wear them when we walk out onto the bow to put out fenders and lines in a harbor. Another good alternative for fishing is an inflatable fishing vest. If you call the USCG for help, the first thing they'll do is tell you to put your life preservers on.

Your pontoon boat is relatively stable in calm water, but it can get in trouble in a hurry if you're thrown a wake from a passing boat. So I'd be inclined to wear a life preserver if I were on your boat in the Delta, except possibly if it were anchored in a protected slough with no boat traffic to worry about.

In your years of boating, have you ever been been stopped or boared by the Sheriff's dept. or Coast Guard?

Yes, although for the most part they leave you alone unless you're doing something you shouldn't. The U.S. Coast Guard is unlikely to stop or board you unless they see a potential safety problem or a security issue. One thing that helps a little is we have the Coast Guard auxilliary inspect the boat and they attach a sticker to the boat certifying that it's passed.

When we've travelled to or from the bay and they're loading nukes at Concord Naval Weapons station, they have a 1,000 foot boundary around the ship. Unfortunately, that would put us in shallow water, so I always ask for an escort through the channel and past the ship. In addition to the USCG cutter sitting right there, it's a little unnerving to have one or two USCG gun boats accompanying you at 5mph. (They're carrying live ammo in those guns). But they're quite courteous, professional and helpful and are there primarily to protect the ship.

Don't mean to scare you, but you did ask  ;D
 

Carl L

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Might take the occasion here to put in a plug for the US Power Squadrons and US Coast Guard Auxiliary boating courses.? Both give a intro to charts and navigation and safety afloat.? ?Both are cheap.? ?And if your course is taught by a squadron or flotilla in the area, the instructors are likely to have Delta familiarity.

Check them out at http://www.usps.org/? or http://www.cgaux.org/. 

Both now offer boat safety inspections, often in cooperation with the other.? ?Both have more advanced courses for members.? ?The USPS Piloting course, taken after the boating course is particularly valuable in my experience.? ?I suspect the USCGA has a similar course.
 

Tom

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Good suggestions Carl. We've taken USPS and CGAux classes.

Wasn't aware that the PS were able to offer CGAux vessel inspections, although many PS groups will have one or more CGAux members in their ranks and will perform the inspections if/when you visit for their (PS) classes. The CGAux are under the supervision of a "Div Ops", a full time USCG officer who has full authorty over them. Don't know if the PS has any such connection.
 

Carl L

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Let me quote the USPS website about the vessel inspections:


Vessel Safety Check is a courtesy examination of your boat (Vessel) to verify the presence and condition of certain Safety Equipment required by State and the Federal regulations. The Vessel Examiner is a trained specialist and is a member of the United States Power Squadrons or the US Coast Guard Auxiliary. They will also make certain recommendations and discuss certain safety issues that will make you a safer boater.

This is not boarding or a law enforcement issue. No citations will be given as a result of this encounter. We will supply you with a copy of our evaluation so that you may follow some of the suggestions given. Vessels that pass will be able to display our distinctive VSC decal. This does not exempt you from law enforcement boarding, but you can be prepared to make this a positive encounter.


In short, the two boating organizations cooperate in the matter and train the examiners who are, of course, volunteers.

Now as to the inspection sticker having an affect on USCG boardings....? ?About a decade ago, I was on a race committee boat going into the Long Beach harbor from Los Alamitos.? The USPS district was holding a sail race there.? ?Our squadron Education Officer was at the helm.? ?Dick had made a brag prior to starting the cruise, that tho the CG was in a boarding push they did not board boats flying a USPS ensign. *? ?The boat was flying that ensign at the stern, a race committee flag at the spreader, and a Alamitos Squadron burgee at the bow.

As we pulled out of the Alamitos channel into the harbor we saw a CG cutter sitting off the beach.? As we approached an inflatable ran out from the cutter and we were hailed and instructed to heave to and standby for boarding.? ?Four armed Guardsmen jumped about.? One remained in the inflatable.? ?One took a position standing behind Dick at the helm and stayed there.? One remain above and two ducked down into the cabin.? ?The inflatable pulled away from our boat about 50 feet off.? ? We were instructed to circle at minimum speed.

The boat underwent a safety inspection and (just incidentally of course) was thoroughly searched.? ?As we circled and the Guardsmen were rummaging about, us folks that had heard Dick's brag just grinned at him standing at the helm with his armed companion behind him.? ?Dick stared straight ahead expressionless.

The inspection found absolutely no violations to check off and the Guardsmen were getting a bit anxious.? ?One of them piped up, aha! there was no required copy of ColRegs on board!? ?Another alllowed as how the length of the boat did not require one.? ?A bit of an argument ensued and the bosun finally called the cutter.? The cutter said no ColReg copy was required.? ?Just as that was received, the boat owner came swarming up from the cabin with a copy of ColRegs.

Having struck out completely the USCG departed leaving us a report of safety violations with no violations on it.? ?We were now about an hour late to the race.? ?However, no explanations to the racers were needed.? They had all passed us in the clutches of the Coast Guard on the way out to the course.? ?On the course,? there were only a few snotty remarks about whether or not the Guard had found the owners supply of Mexican ditch weed on board.? ?



[* The USPS Ensign is hard to miss.? ?It is the same as the US Yacht ensign except that the stripes are blue and vertical and the canton is red.? ?Members can fly it from the starboard spreader or, in US waters, from the gaff or stern.]
 

Tom

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Thanks Carl. As I said, I just didn't know. Next time I see him, I'll ask a friend of ours who's a retired USCG Commander who flew search and rescue before being a Div Ops in charge of CGAux and the courtesy vessel inspections while still a USCG officer.

Understand that the sticker they put on your vessel doesn't automatically waive any right or intent to stop or board a vessel and didn't mean to imply that. But I heard on good authority that a local head honcho had issued instructions to his officers to take cognizance of the stickers when considering boarding for a safety inspection. Meanwhile, all bets are off since 9/11 and these guys are more vigilant than ever, but their focus is somewhat different.
 

Tom

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Carl Lundquist said:
And if your course is taught by a squadron or flotilla in the area, the instructors are likely to have Delta familiarity.

There is indeed a San Joaquin Delta Power Squadrons floatilla Carl. They have their own island (called "Power Squadron Island"), located off the San Joaquin channel near light 13 green, directly across the river from the Delta Yacht Club. Their web site is here. They usually have you boat in to the island on Friday for Saturday/Sunday classes. They even feed you all weekend and provide cocktails, when all boats are safely at the dock of course.

Here's a link to an arial shot of the island.
 

Tom

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There is indeed a San Joaquin Delta Power Squadrons floatilla Carl. They have their own island (called "Power Squadron Island"), located off the San Joaquin channel near light 13 green, directly across the river from the Delta Yacht Club. Their web site is here. They usually have you boat in to the island on Friday for Saturday/Sunday classes. They even feed you all weekend and provide cocktails, when all boats are safely at the dock of course.

Here's an arial shot of the island.
 

Carl L

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There is indeed a San Joaquin Delta Power Squadrons floatilla Carl. They have their own island (called "Power Squadron Island"), located off the San Joaquin channel near light 13 green, directly across the river from the Delta Yacht Club.

Oh jeez!  I am green with envy!  Great facility.  Good website too.    If I was boating in the Delta, I would sign up for that Squadron in a shot. 

We are definitely short on island down here in LA.
 

FX

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Thanks for the info Carl.  I have been meening to take one of those courses. 
I have also been putting off getting the boat inspected.  I have also heard that the authorities will sometimes look at other boats if yours has the CG sticker on it. 
 

FX

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BTW Tom, just how many boats do you have??!!  Sounds like you're living a tough life! ;)
 

Tom

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FX said:
BTW Tom, just how many boats do you have??!! Sounds like you're living a tough life! ;)

We are enjoying retirement. The fleet is a little smaller since I took the Boston Whaler out of the water to clean it and the captain stuck a for-sale sign on it. I hate getting rid of anything, but my other half is the exact opposite. I'm keeping my car in the garage so she doesn't sell it also.
 

FX

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Tom-  I'll be out at the power poles on Staurday.  Stop by if your in the area.  I'll be in the pontoon.
 

Tom

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FX if you mean Sat, Nov 5, we won't be on the water. We're playing Grandma and Grandpa this weekend.

BTW when we drove past that part of the Sacramento (Hwy 160 from the Antioch bridge to the Rio Vista bridge) on Wednesday, it was pretty rough out there due to wind waves. I took the bass boat out early Wednesday morning and didn't stay out too long for the same reason. So check the weather forecast before you leave. Right now the forecast for Rio Vista is saying sunshine, high 67F, winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph, which sounds like it might be a nice day for fishing, albeit a little cool.

Good luck and don't forget to take the camera and snap a photo of the big one.
 

FX

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Not worthy of posting a pic, but for me it was a good trip.  I caught 3 stripers and my buddy caught 1.  Didn't weigh them but the smallest was 19" and the largest was 28".  Caught some smaller ones as well.  Just after catching the 28" er, I had a bite which made my pole into a 'U' shape!  After about 10 minutes (or at least what seemed like that) I almost had this monster in the boat.  All I was thinking about was this was going to be the largest fish I have ever caught.
So my buddy is handing over the side of the boat with the net and we are just getting ready to bring this thing to the surface and.....yep, you guessed it, it broke free! :mad:
I never even got to see it.  :'(
Now I know where the 'ol saying "the one that got away" came from.  I'm still upset about it.
Also, a few posts back I asked Tom if he had ever been boarded by the Sheriff's Dept or other agency. Well Fish and Game was checking peoples fish as you took your boat out of the water at the dock.  They said they were checking to see if any of the fish were tagged????  My buddy thinks they were checking to make sure all the fish were legal.  Who knows.
 

Tom

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Sounds like a productive day fishing. Were you using shad?

FX said:
I had a bite which made my pole into a 'U' shape! After about 10 minutes ..... it broke free!

That's the kind of story that gives us fisherpeople a bad name  :)  My rule is, if it's not in the boat it doesn't count.

Fish and Game was checking peoples fish as you took your boat out of the water at the dock.

I forgot to tell you that they'll often do that. It's been a long time since we trailered a boat, so I'd forgotten about it until you mentioned it.
 
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