Fish Sniffer Digital Edition Issue 3703 Jan 18-Feb 2 2018 - Page 32

30 Jan 18 - Feb 2, 2018 SALTWATER VOL.37 • ISS. 03 Diamond Back Domination With Captain Chris Smith! T here are very few things in life each of us have to bring us to a place of calm and peace. Fishing does that for me. To be able to step onto boat or bank and cast a line in the ever-present quest to conquer our own individuality and strength is a pastime that everyone needs, yet not all receive. I recently played out such an opportunity with Chris Smith aboard the Defiant. It was a lazy afternoon in Martinez, the sun was shining, and a light breeze played with the flags overlooking the marina. I took a deep breath inhaling the sights and sounds around me. Bells chiming and motors revving danced in my ears and the smell of the fresh air and remnants of adventures gone by tickled my senses. My heart took a leap, it was time, time for that rare opportunity that many pursue yet few walk away from triumphantly. I was about to step onto a boat and embark on a quest for the elusive dinosaur of the Delta, a keeper size white sturgeon. First things first. When it comes to fishing, you’ve got to make sure you have not only the proper tackle, but the proper bait as well. Capt. Chris of Captain Hook Sportfishing assured me that he had acquired a beautiful load of eel from Big Red Worm Bait Company and the only thing we needed to add to it was some grass shrimp from the local bait shop there at the marina. We brought a quarter pound of those dancing beauties, jumped on the boat and after the preliminary safety check, shoved off. I love the utter freedom and joy that comes from gliding out of a harbor, getting those humming motors on step. There we were, gliding past the chaos of the North Bay freeways, the stresses of life, and nothing stood between us and total solitude, but the open water. The Defiant is a great six pack boat and especially well-suited to sturgeon fishing. The wide-open deck lends itself to the room needed when setting the hook on sturgeon and being a catamaran means there is no need to worry about waves and weather. As we streamed under the bridge and past the old Mothball Fleet I couldn’t help but take a moment of silence in thanks to those who both served and serve this country, I think about what an honor it would be to have those brave, men and women alongside me to experience what an amazing day that awaited. We traveled past the Mothball Fleet and up to the upper reaches Fish Sniffer Field Editor Sarah Louise holds up the big keeper sturgeon that she was certain she was going to lose of Suisun Bay where Captain Chris invested when it got tangle in the Defiant’s prop. Photo courtesy of CAPTAIN CHRIS SMITH, Happy Hooker Sportfishing. some time to meter around searching for to lay enough line on the deck to buy us sought after creature is toying with the that perfect mark, the some time and then cuts the line and pulls bait. distinctive marks of feeding sturgeon. it back through the prop. All this time “Looks like a striper bite,” Captain After several minutes of roaming I have a sturgeon tugging on the other Chris announced. around at slightly more than an idle he end through my hands, I just knew it was My instinct to grab the rod and set the perked up and pointed excitedly at the hook like there’s no tomorrow is put at bay going to shake the hook any moment. screen. “See that?! That’s a sturgeon!” Captain Chris makes quick work of with his calm reminder that the eel will I looked at the screen of the sonar unit splicing the line back together. stay on the hook and patience will in fact and sure enough there it was, the arch “Reel fast!” he commands and I start be a virtue. shaped return of a sturgeon holding tight to reel like my life depends on it. I don’t His words proved to be true. Not more to the bottom. He dropped the anchor and believe there’s a chance that my fish is than five minutes passed and another rod I started to get excited. still on the line, but it is. After several goes off. This time there’s no doubt that Captain Chris had four of his Phoenix it’s a sturgeon. It was that slow steady take moments of cranking hard I feel the Abyss 807 rental rods out as we both have down that sturgeon anglers dream about… sweet tug of life on the other end. I keep our two rod stamps. Chris uses great care cranking and I know we’re so close to The hook set, the adrenaline, the bliss of a and attention in maintain and setting up getting my fish in the boat, then boom! heavy fish at the end of the line. his rental gear, leaving as little as possible Another rod goes off and Chris drives the As I fight my fish a rare occurrence to chance. takes place, a second sturgeon hits another hook home. Since we didn’t bother with salmon We had what many would call a line. Now we’re in a battle that we weren’t roe on this trip every rod had a healthy fairytale day. I landed my fish while Chris prepared for. Two sturgeon on two portion of eel as well as several grass put his rod in a rod holder. Chris netted different lines and no one to man a net. shrimp pinned on the hook to make it my fish and then proceeded to crank in his Chris pulls in his sturgeon…just under appealing to whatever might be swimming own keeper, which I netted. the minimum size. He makes quick work past our rigs. I can’t even begin to describe the thrill of releasing the fish and dropping a fresh Chris launched each line out sailing cluster of bait down while I’m still battling of having two of these mythical creatures over the water and they land with a sitting on