Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas Day on the Ocean.

          My seventeen year old brother in law was coming down to California from upstate New York and my wife and I wanted to give him a trip he wouldn't forget. Getting him on the open ocean was the first thing that came to my mind. I had the safety gear and Jeff, a member of my local fishing forum, hooked us up with a kayak and paddle. We were all set to go out with another member on the forum and his brother in law out of Leffingwell. Lucky/unlucky for us my brother in law's flight was delayed due to winter storms. He came in on the 24th so the plan changed. If you want to read the other guy's report, and I suggest you do, click here. We got him a one day licence rather easily on line and we were good to go out of Cayucos on Christmas day.
  Jesse, my brother in law, had some good experience kayak fishing out of a kayak on lake Champlain but had never surf launched. I kept all the gear in my kayak just in case he dumped, but he did great. The outgoing tide and the wind blowing from the beach made for an easy launch.  
He ad one wobble but made it past the surf zone like a champ. We got on the water and the wind picked up blowing at least fifteen knots straight out to the open sea from the beach. It made fishing very tough because before the bait dropped the twenty feet to the bottom we were blown ten to fifteen feet away. The only way to get good contact with the bottom was to wrap our legs in the kelp which was flimsy and looked like new growth. Normally the kelp is at least an inch to two thick, but this stuff was about half as thick as usual. The wind even blew hard enough to break the strands of kelp we had wrapped around our legs. It really limits the amount of area one can effectively fish with such strong wind.   
We managed several small cabezon and rockfish while being blown around the ocean like toy boats. I kept us inshore working our way north along the coast fishing the shallow kelp we could get a hold on and keep us in one place. I didn't know how much longer the wind would be blowing us out to sea so I was not willing to venture into deep water with my wife's baby brother in tow.  
Even the seagulls and cormorants chose not to fish in this wind. At about eleven thirty the tide stopped running out and remarkably the wind switched directions. We ventured out a little bit and started getting a lot of hits. I caught a baby octopus and cut it in half for bait. I gave one half to Jesse and told him this was going to get him bit. He wasn't too sure about the bait as he paddled off to a small kelp bed.  
He dropped the rig and as soon as it hit bottom his pole doubled over.
It was awesome seeing the excitement in his face as he pulled this ugly fish up form the bottom of the ocean. A seventeen inch cabezon. Right after he caught that fish the tide started running in the the wind started blowing in. We stopped feeling the bites and only managed a few more short fish. We decided to go by the buoy and check out the area around it for structure. 
As we got near the thousand pound sea lions they started changing the tone of their calls and looking at us. Right about the time I snapped this picture and decided to move back to the beach four of them jumped in the water and started swimming at us. That is when I realized I made a mistake. Won't be getting near sea lions again soon. We got the the beach and made successful beach landings. 
What a great way to spend a day. I am so glad I got to get my brother in law on the water, glad he got some fish, and most of all glad we made it back to my wife and son safely. I filleted the fish when we got home and we had panko crusted rock fish with lemon and pepper cooked in butter for supper; a wonderful Christmas dinner with family. 

Thanks for reading and I hope you all had a merry Christmas.



  1. The ocean is beautiful out here, just cold. Used to fish out of Long Beach Harbor with my brother. Caught a lot of barracuda.

    1. The water temp at the surface was around 55. Not bad for December for this midwestern implant.

  2. Gosh what I would do to have 55* water. Unfortunately I am stuck in Kansas which seems to be a fisherman's purgatory: lakes have ice but its not thick enough to ice fish because it keeps warming but never gets warm long enough to ice out. Sorry I ramble: what I really meant to note was those cabezon are pretty cool looking man, do they put up a fight?

    1. I used to have to deal with that dance the freezing ice played in Illinois myself. Those Cabezon fight like their lives are on the line. They actually eat abalone so you can imagine how strong they are.


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