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Posts Tagged ‘Chinook’


Today started out with a good helping of slop and I am now sitting in my recliner, computer in my lap, cup of french roast next to me on the table, and I figured now was as good a time as any to tell you how I came to be known as the Salmon Fishing Queen…

It was very early in the morning one Saturday, 4:30 a.m., and I had been invited to join a group to go salmon fishing. We were to meet at the Fisherman’s Wharf pier in San Francisco and head off to the Wacky Jacky. It was a cold morning, so I dressed in layers. The first layer had to be the thermal underwear! By the time I was layered up, I felt like the kid in “The Christmas Story,” although I could get my arms down!

Before leaving the house I took the required Dramamine to avoid any possibility of sea sickness. Off I went to San Francisco. This was my first ocean fishing trip, and my first time out on the Pacific Ocean! I was excited and a bit scared too. I was going to be fishing with a bunch of seasoned fishermen so I felt a bit in awe to have been invited.

Captain Jacky Douglas of the “Wacky Jacky” took us out. We were headed to the Farallon Islands which is a group of islands 27 miles west of San Francisco.

Farallon Islands - Photo by Jan Roletto

While that seems pretty close, it took us about two hours to get out there. We would be “mooching” I was told. Mooching is where you cut the engine back on the boat and drift.

There we were in sight of the Farallon’s, colder than heck, and everyone had their rods at the ready. I was told to take 50 pulls on my line which would take my hook and bait down about 50 feet. Then I set my rod into the holder and clipped it in. You do this so if you get a bite you do not lose your rod. My position on the boat was mid ship and on the port side close to the cabin. If you are looking to the front of the boat, known as the bow, I was on the left. The right side is known as the starboard side.

I was so cold, and there was a bit of a breeze and lots of fog, so I was standing by the entry way to the cabin and I started to dance around to get myself warmed up a bit. I drew a bit of attention from everyone, and they all wanted to know what the heck I was doing. I replied that I was doing the salmon dance and that I was calling the fish. Laughter ensued and then the reels started to sing as the fish started to hit! The three fellows at the back of the boat all turned their attention to their rods as the fish struck. Then my reel started to sing, and I had to jump into action!

I was not prepared for the weight of the fish as I reeled in my catch. It was slow going as the fish was fighting me. Up he came and the deck hand came over with a gaff to haul my fish into the boat. What a beauty! A tag was added to my fish, and my number was 4. They give you a number so you know which fish are yours by the end of the trip as they are all dumped into a bin.

Pacific Coast Salmon - Chinook - a male

Things quieted down after ten fish were brought in. I started to dance again. And again, the fish came! Needless to say, every time that I danced to warm up the lines started singing! What a thrill! By the end of the trip I had caught three, ranging from seven pounds to the biggest at ten pounds. My third fish, the seven pounder, went to someone who only caught one as the limit was two per person. It was during the group photo at the end of the trip that I was given front and center honors and I was dubbed the salmon fishing queen!

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