Salmon fishing on the New Rayann

By: Kirby Desha for The News Messenger
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It was a cold and foggy Wednesday morning as we eased out of Clipper Yacht harbor in Sausalito aboard the New Rayann. We passed under Golden Gate Bridge headed for the fishing grounds along the Marin Coast.

Rods and lead balls had been distributed and we took up our positions on the bow. Daughter Sabrina, Grandpa Willie Brusin and I had spent the night at my older daughter, Raina’s, place in Santa Rosa and the four of us made the early trip down to the harbor.

Our sleepy party was fortified with Dramamine, coffee, and donuts. Although weather called for mild conditions with 2-3-foot swells, the cold was a shock to the system after leaving the 100-plus degrees valley heat the day before.

After a short ride, we reached out destination and Captain Johnny Atkinson set up a troll along with a dozen other boats, all of us looking to hook into some fresh Chinook salmon.

“Hook up” was the battle cry for each lucky angler and either Capt. Johnny or deckhand Brian would spring into action to unhook the rod and steer it toward the back of the boat. There, the fight would resume and where they could get a net under the fish.

Over and over, guys were hooking up.

My job was to get Willie a fish. Since he had gone below to warm up, he missed the first chance. Raina got one, although it was too small to keep.

On the second hook up, Johnny came over to unhook the rod while I yelled for Grandpa to come get this fish. He bagged a decent 5-pounder that went into the box. Next up was Sabrina, who naturally got the biggest of the day at 9 pounds.

Then we waited … .

Salmon fishing consist of a few minutes of frenzied action followed by several hours of staring out into space trying to keep focused on the rods without getting seasick. As the day progressed, I finally got one and we started the round all over again.

We all took turns going below when things were slow. But just when it seemed all the fish had gone, another round of furious activity would start up again.

In the afternoon, we were treated to an amazing whale show and even had a few dolphins cruise past us. We had many “short bites,” meaning a fish would strike the bait without getting hooked.

Deckhand Brian kept up a continuous supply of his awesome rigged anchovies.

Both Brian and Johnny have an unnatural ability to see the slightest bite and will jump out at the first sign of a hook up. I am sure they did not believe we would sit there staring at a rod and not notice a fish hitting it!

I caught my second one by default, when no one else was around to grab the rod.

The total catch was 34 fish for 19 anglers, an outstanding day. Our six fish, after being cleaned, weighed 30 pounds.

Tired but happy, we got the fish on ice and headed home.