Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Last boardfising at Swamis

With the Marine Life Protection Areas kicking on January 1, 2012 in I decided I HAD to paddle out for one last boardfishing session on New Years Eve. I needed a few photos to show my son Max when he's 20, "This was the last day Swamis was open for hook and line fishing." Perhaps by then there may be some new regs that allow for alternative year closures so we can still enjoy the area every 2 or 3 years...perhaps.

The area has been fishing well all year. My friend Ty either surfs, fishes or both almost every morning. He was regularly getting 20-40 fish...calico and sand bass in the 2-4lb range with 5-7lbrs not uncommon and even pulled up and released 3 40-50lb black sea bass (probably the same one I'm guessing). Calvin from Boardfisher nailed three thresher sharks from the area this summer and of course the party boats did their usual pillaging all season as well.

I put the word out about the final paddle out and, well, no takers. Clearly the holidays and everyone's busy schedules kept them away so Conway and I loaded up and paddled out. Surf had picked up and was running head high and slightly overhead sets but luckily that is the beauty of Swamis...an easy channel to help you get out past the breakers without getting swamped.

The thick clearing fog was actually pretty neat to paddle into...a little ominous with random lobster boats appearing out of the fog. Here's Conway on his way out...

Fishing was actually fairly slow with very little tidal movement but as the fog continued to clear the day turned into a gorgeous sunny day. Here's Conway chillaxin' in the kelp...

I managed a beautiful calico in the thick of the kelp with a lead head and swim bait...

As the tide peaked and water movement came to a dead halt we picked up and decided to head out to look for whales and other marine life. About half a mile south and another quarter mile paddle west we found what we were looking for...spy-hopping grey whales. Unfortunately they were still another half mile away so photos just don't do it justice. We just sat and watched as the gorgeous beasts played offshore launching themselves out of the water and landing with a huge splash and a wave of their tail as they sunk below the surface only to repeat it over and over for about 15 minutes. It was quite the spectacular site and although I wished we were closer it was something I've been wanting to see for years on my stand up paddleboard.

As the seas calmed and the whales continued their migrations to the warm waters of the Sea of Cortez we paddled back to Swamis for a few more minutes and a few last casts. I dropped a big ol' swim bait to the bottom and bounced it along the bottom hoping to hit something on the head when I got the tug I was waiting for...well, a little tug. Then more tugs...and my line went tight. Super stoked to end my illustrious 2011 fishing season at Swamis with a nice fish I reeled this nice sand bass in. It was our nanny's birthday and she jokingly requested a fish for her present as we walked out the door earlier that morning...this bass was for her. I normally CPR (catch, photo and release) my fish but seeing as this area would be closed indefinitely I figured it was ok to take this one home.

I was sad as I paddled in but remembered that hopefully some day Max, Conway and I will paddle out here and be able to catch big calico, white seabass and halibut out in my favorite kelp. If not, I have a lot of good stories to tell Max when he grows up...and a few photos too!

Not sure where my next boardfishing adventure will happen but trust me...there will be more! I hope everyone had a great New Years!

Happy 2012 fishing everyone!