Sunday, May 26, 2013

Tough Day off the Coast of San Simeon, California.

         I woke up Sunday morning at three-thirty to get to the coast at sunrise. It has been a few weeks since I last went fishing, so I was pretty excited despite the weather forecast. I picked up Willy from his house in Paso Robles and loaded his yak on top of mine in the bed of my truck and we were on out way. We got to the beach just after the sun came up, and got on the water with no trouble. I lost two fish close to the boat before I caught my first rockfish, a small gopher. The fish that were biting were just barely nibbling at it; there were many short strikes all around.

      We met up with Sideroad form CCKF at the kelp beds, he managed a keeper ling and a brown rockfish for the day. I caught two and lost at least three close enough that I saw them. I am not sure I even had them hooked the way they were biting. I think Willy, who managed six rockfish and a thirteen inch cabazon, did so well because he used a jigging iron tipped with a treble hook. Nibbling that thing means a hook in the face. I threw my second gopher back because I figured there would be more. Funny thing was all my hits came on swimbaits, and the raw squid went untouched. When fish aren't hitting squid, fishing is tough. By eight-thirty we were getting blown all over the place. We moved into the more protected area and got blown around until noon with nothing to show. With the way the wind was I couldn't really take any pictures earlier in the day, so I took a bunch in the protected water.
This is the point that protects the beach from the big surf. 
Willy showing how to fight the wind in style. 
A view not a lot of people get of San Simeon Pier. 
Willy crossing under San Simeon Pier. 
There were lots of people on the beach for Memorial Day. 

Willy making his landing. 

     Despite the rough day, gusty winds, and lack of fish it was great to get out. I think I understand what people say about the full moon and low tide having a negative impact on the fishing first hand. I ended up with only two small fillets, but I only lost two rigs so it was not a total wash. 

Thanks for reading, 



Friday, May 24, 2013

Guest Blogger: Jenny G. On Blood Suckers.

I was approached by someone who wanted to write a piece on how to prevent tick and mosquito bites.  I couldn't pass the opportunity of getting more information on stopping these pests from ruining my time with how frequently as they annoy and feast on me when I am out on the water.

They live to do one thing... Suck. 
"The start of fishing season anywhere in the country is a beautiful, fun time of year. However, it usually coincides with mosquito and tick season. Slapping and hitting away mosquitoes and picking off and checking for ticks isn't really conducive to a relaxing or, hopefully, exciting day of fishing. Not only do they cause annoyance, but also transmit diseases like West Nile virus and Lyme disease. With just a few steps you can make your fishing experience much more pest free. 

Since mosquitoes breed in calm or standing water, your fishing spot has the potential to become a hotbed of mosquito activity, especially at dawn and dusk. It is tough to completely protect yourself from mosquito bites, but there are some quality products on the market right now that can make it much easier. DEET has long been popular for mosquito control, but dousing yourself in chemicals and then sitting in the sun can mean sweating your protection right off. However, it is still an extremely effective mosquito repellent, especially if you plan on camping, too. The more layers of clothing you wear will also give you greater protection. Hats, long sleeves, etc., can all deter mosquitoes from even trying to feed. It also is great for sun protection. However, it can be hard to layer in summer weather.

They can be anywhere.
There are products, like Tick Block, that you apply directly to your clothing that soaks right into the fabric and work to repel mosquitoes (and ticks!) using permethrin, one of the most widely used and effective pesticides that has a very low toxicity to people (See here). The best part of this type of repellent is that it lasts through several washes. It works best on cotton, cotton blends, or leather. They can be applied to synthetic fabrics, like nylon, but may not last as long.  Remember your pets: If you plan on bringing your dog along, don’t forget that he might need protection too! The diseases mosquitoes pass on to you can affect him as well and there are repellent formulas made especially for pets.

Empty and full.
Ticks are slightly trickier to repel because they’re not as obvious as mosquitoes. The most important thing to keep in mind any time you’re around woody or bushy areas is to check yourself thoroughly for ticks when you get home. Diseases or infection are usually transmitted if the tick is left attached for 24-36 hours, so it is crucial to check for these daily. The steps mentioned above for mosquitoes also help in tick repellents. Again, don’t forget your dogs! Check    them very well daily; ticks can make animals very sick." 

Jenny G.

"Jenny is a writer living in the Midwest who loves to write to help people improve their outdoor experiences by providing information and tips for gardening, home improvement, and anything to do with nature. When not writing, you can usually find her doing something creative; especially cooking, baking, or convincing her father-in-law to take her fishing--even though she won't touch the fish."

Thank you Jenny for the information, even if it just saves me from getting a few bites it was well worth it. Stay safe from the bugs on this Memorial Day weekend while we remember our fallen service members. 

For information on being a guest blogger email me at

Thanks for reading, 


Saturday, May 18, 2013

How to Broil Whole Cabazon.

Sixteen inch long Cabazon caught off Cambria, California
    If are fishing on the west coast and you hook something that pulled like a freight train for it's size and has a face that only a mother could love--you caught yourself a cabazon. The cabazon is a bottom fish found off the Pacific coast from Mexico to Alaska from just off the shore to over 250 feet deep. In Spanish, Cabazon means 'big headed' or 'stubborn, which is a good description of this giant member of the sculpin family. If their looks weren't enough, they also are armed with poisonous spines. The poison is not going to kill you, but you are going to be in pain for a while if you get stuck. 
Cut slashes in the meat to speed up cooking and get seasoning in deep

     This guy hit a small swim bait, but they are often caught on: squid, anchovies, cod flies, octopus and just about anything that happens to get in front of their faces. For their size, even a small cabazon can put up a great fight. They just keep their heads down, and do not give up. Once your fish is in the boat or on shore you have a decision to make. To get to it's firm, yet slightly oily, delicious white meat you must figure out how you want to clean it. Filleting the cabazon like a rockfish or perch will leave large pin bones deep in the meat. Plus cutting through the thick bones will quickly dull your knife. You could use the bones as a guide to cut off 4 fillets, but that is better for larger fish. I chose to leave mine whole with the skin on; a good choice if you want to deep fry the fish or broil it whole. I just gutted the fish and set it on ice until I got home. After the trip it got rinsed off the put in a brine of with sugar and salt until it was almost ready for the oven. 
Too bad cooking didn't do anything for his looks...
      About an hour before dinner I pulled the fish out to bring its internal temperature up a bit so I wouldn't have to cook it as long. I cut slits in the sides to help get my seasonings in deep, and to help it cook a little more even. For seasonings I used: Kosher salt, pepper, Old Bay, Garlic Salt, and dried chives. I turned my ovens broiler on high and slid in the fish. after about six minutes I flake checked it with a fork (this is where I wish I added a little aluminum foil to the top to protect it). It was not quite done enough so I let it go for four more minutes. The meat was flaky white, yet still moist. 
Dinner is served
      This is a fish that really benefits from leaving its head on, because its cheeks are too large tasty to leave behind. You can see the muscle bulging out of the skin in the photo above, and it makes sense; most of what cabazon eat are crab and mollusks like abalone. this tough food means big cheek muscles, don't miss out on that. Then just flake the meat off the skeleton, you will want every little bit. I just added a little fresh green onion and served it up with mixed greens and rice. If you are serving someone who is squeamish around whole fish hiding in foil might be the way to hide its ugliness under foil. 

        If you end up with one of these ugly fish on the end of your lines I hope you will look forward to giving it a chance under the broiler. I know a few people who prefer it to lingcod, halibut, or even salmon. 

       One word of caution about the roe, it is poisonous. No caviar from these guys. A buddy of mine named Bobby told me about an incident where cabazon caviar was served at a get together. He said it was better than any caviar he had ever eaten--until he went to the emergency room. 

Thanks for reading, 



Wednesday, May 15, 2013

More From Opening Weekend: Campfires and Fixing Guitars.

Joe in action mode
       Things have been busier than usual due to finals, but that is behind me now, so I can focus a little more energy on my other projects (at least for the next few weeks). I had suck a blast on the two day camping trip we took at San Simeon State Park I have to share it, so here is some more form the opening weekend.

       My buddy Ryan took some pretty awesome footage on the water. Blogger is giving me problems embedding this video, so I will just have to give you the link.

       The man holding that lingcod in the first few seconds is Joe Koenig, a gifted musician, proud father and all around nice guy. Here is some video of Joe. Sitting around the campfire listening to this guy belt out tunes made the night. Joe's music is full of passion and soul. It is the type of music that people stop and listen to no matter what their taste. So as we sat around the campfire digesting fresh caught we were allowed to get sucked into Joe's world... Until he broke a guitar string. Unluckily for us he did not have any on him, so we did what guys like us do.  We tried to rig it back up.
Crimping the Gibby

Not an easy task, because there was only two wraps around the post, and we did not want to damage his beautiful late nineteen-sixties Gibson acoustic. Justin (one of our fellow kayak anglers) brought out some crimps and wire leader. The problem was each time I would crimp the string would stretch when I tried to tune it, I could only get about three steps below a G. It was a lost cause. The small crowd that gathered to hear Joe disappeared and a few of us stuck around to talk into the night.

     This is not something you can do on the internet, or at home. Meeting up with like minded individuals in nature around a campfire. It is a type of therapy you can not get from any physician. I was less stressed than I had been in months after being around these people and enjoying the scenery. Nothing centers me more than sitting out on the ocean and feeling so small, but combining that with the amazing people I have met through this sport and it amplifies the effects.

     If you are interested in joining in the madness visit and join, the next event will be the Cambria Slam-down on 21 September 2013. Joe will be there playing his tunes, good food will be eaten, and there are bound to be a lot of laughs. Hope to see you there.

Thanks for reading,


Joes site:

Cambria Slam Down Facebook Event:

Check him out. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Central Coast Rockfish Opening Weekend: Lots of Fish Caught off Leffingwell Landing

First picture of the day, the flash was turned off...
         It has been a hectic week between work, traveling to and from the coast, work, pool problems, school work, and other things popping up everywhere. The article I wrote several weeks ago was published on Kayak Angler Magazine's website, and hopefully I will have a little more to write for the next issue as well. None of that could keep me away from the ocean though. Rockfish season had been closed since January and it was just too long. I split a campsite with my buddy Derrick at San Simeon State Park, splitting the fees is a great way to save some cash for fuel.
    Derrick was running the CCKF Opening Day Rockfish Tournament off Cambria, California, and we were pumped. I did not fall asleep until well after one in the morning, and even then I awoke several times with dreams of hooking big fish and floating in that salty water. I awoke well before my 0515 alarm, so I used the restroom, got organized  and squeezed into my wet suit. I had everything staged so I would just have to back the truck down the ramp, unload the kayak, and drive it back to park it. I was on the water at dawn. To my horror my fishfinder was not working, I checked the battery and fuse, but it was no use. So I had to rely on kelp, feel, and other people's fishfinders to know if I was in the rocks or not. First fish was a small kelp rockfish that hit my swimbait. Two more casts and I had a nice 26 inch lingcod on my Green and blue Swankx Swimbait. 

This guy liked his baits moving
Another one for the Swankx
The Canary Rock fish are making a good comeback.
I got two dogfish, this is the smaller one, by the time I was done untangling the larger one I caught later on it was his time to go
Got this nice frying pan sized flounder while jigging between two reefs
You are going to see this tasty cabezon later, if you know what I mea
Paddling in to Leffingwell Landing in Cambria, California 
        We had over twenty people enter the tournament, and it was nice meeting all the people I met on the water. We had a close call with two whales, they got to about 70 yards away from us before they submerged. While that does not sound like it is close, when two huge whales get near your kayak, you start looking for escape routes. A few seals came near me, but lucky for me they were not brave enough to steal my catch. Perfect weather all day long, no one got eaten by anything, and I don't even think anyone ate it on the landing that day the surf was so mild. The winning lingcod was 16 lbs 7 oz, and the winning rockfish was 5 lbs 4 oz. I was not even close but I had a nice heavy stringer, got to spend some time on the water, and feel fish pull me around for a while. California's central coast is a wonderful, beautiful place that has a feeling unlike anywhere else I have been to in this great country. I am so grateful to be a part of this community of kayak anglers, and take part in these events. Thanks you Jeff, Derrick, Bobby, Joe, Will, Perry, Bob, Mike, Jeff (Seaweed), adn everybody at Central Coast Kayak Fishing and Norcal Kayak Anglers. You all rock.

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Kayak Angler Article

I wrote an article about using a handheld VHF radio for Kayak Angler Magazine and they just published it online. 

Check it out HERE. 

Thanks fir reading,