A Date with the Happy Hooker

happyhooker[w]Usually when my alarm goes off on a Sunday at 2:30 am, somewhere there’s a duck or goose, deer or pig that’s about to become part of my food chain. This time was a little different. With a little luck, seafood would be added to the menu at our house.

The light was already on in the bathroom when I got up, another way this particular morning was different. Usually it’s just me and the dog padding around the dark and silent house. This trip, my fiancée Danielle was joining me, with a sad-eyed pup being told she’d be staying behind. An hour later, makeup and mascara applied, Danielle was ready to leave on her first ever fishing trip and – having run a wet comb through my hair – so was I. Another two hours and we were at the Berkeley Marina for our adventure with Capt. Jim Smith and the Happy Hooker Sport Fishing crew.

Pass_under_goldengate[w]

I’m a hunter, not a fisherman. I went fly fishing once. I’ve gone ocean fishing twice. So I don’t really know the drill. On one of the deep sea trips, rain and spray had soaked my brother and I in the only clothes we’d brought, and neither of us will ever forget how frozen-cold and miserable we were on the four hour ride back to land. So I did know to get Danielle and I a couple of slickers (matching yellow ones, no comments please), waterproof pants, and plenty of warm layers. What I hadn’t considered however, was what the boat’s motion might do to her, since I don’t get seasick. I had assumed we’d just be cruising around the bay, but when we headed out toward the foggy Golden Gate bridge, and then under it and out into the ocean, I thought uh-oh. Next time, our gear will include a Scopolamine patch for Danielle, though in her case I don’t think there will be a next time.

Chugging along up the rocky Pacific coastline, we finally came to a stop. Baited up and lines out, it wasn’t long before guys started reeling in fish. Danielle quickly got the hang of letting line out until the weight hit bottom, and probably could’ve mastered baiting her own hook, too. But since she’d forgotten to leave her engagement ring at home, the thought of slippery bait fish getting near a ring finger dangling over the side of boat in the ocean had me saying here honey, let me bait your hook every time.

Dani_fishing_rocks[w]

Then we started to catch fish, too. Danielle reeled in a nice little Black Rock Cod, the first of many she caught that morning. We even simultaneously reeled in twin Ling Cod – normally huge fish, these two were babies and we dropped them back in the green swells. We stayed in that spot a little while, then moved to several others until everyone on the Happy Hooker had their limit of 10 cod. I was glad when the captain steered the boat back in through the mouth of the bay, partly for calmer waters for Danielle, but also because that’s where the Striped Bass and Halibut would be – my real targets of the trip.

neil_striper[w]

The Striper fishing wasn’t quite as game on as the cod catch, but I managed to reel in two. Both were sizable fish, though no threat to the 78-lb striped bass sold at a San Francisco fish market in 1910 or the official California record holder, a 67 1/2 lb striper caught in O’Neill Forebay in ’92. I can also say I did catch a halibut, though it didn’t make the size limit and went the way of the baby Ling Cod, back into the bay. I’ll have to put my halibut recipes back in the folder, for now, but I am looking forward to doing something special and delicious with the bass.

I know that elusive halibut will make me venture out again with the Happy Hooker. So put some pounds on, little halibut. I’m coming back for you.

 

 

~ by zenhunter on June 5, 2014.

6 Responses to “A Date with the Happy Hooker”

  1. Yeah, fishing is definitely different from hunting! but quite fun too if done right!

  2. Fishing and hunting are two of the activities that I love most. These activities are so rewarding and they allow bonding with loved-ones too.

  3. Howdy Neil!

    This Happy Hookers adventure got my wheels turning! Like you, while I’ve been hunting most of my life, it was only until last year that I got into fishing in the Bay Area (mainly catfishing at Lake Temescal and Del Valle Reservoir). As a total newbie to the sport, I know that I had a pretty hard time overcoming the learning curve but was so rewarded in the end as next to nothing is more relaxing!

    Cheers,
    Cameron Johnson

  4. […] “https://zenhunting.com/2014/06/05/a-date-with-the-happy-hooker/” This entry was tagged Date, Happy, Hooker. Bookmark the […]

  5. Excellent post! We will be linking to this great article on our website.
    Keep up the great writing.

  6. I do enjoy fishing but it can never be the same as hunting. =)

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