Location: Where Common Sense Presides
Had some live ghost shrimp left over yesterday, so I thought I'd check out the perch action in the Bay. Pretty sad. The migratory barred and redtail species didn't make much of an appearance these past few months. In fact, ghost shrimp as bait has been something of a disappointment on the east side of the Bay. Couldn't tell you why. One season it's a go-to bait for perch, striped bass, flounder, and sturgeon--though that species is off-limits now until 3/15--and the next season I might as well be using power bait in saltwater. Crabs didn't mind munching my ghosties, though.
University Avenue was stopped dead in the Berkeley Marina. One lane open and that was occupied by a flatbed carrying the new rest room building for the South Cove project. The trailer threaded the narrow road and tried not to hit rubberneckers and bums. The new rest room is part of a $1.5 million project by the City Of Berkeley. The area across the street from the baitshop, aka South Cove, is now teeming with bulldozers and dump trucks. You can expect delays for a month or more.
Ironically, there is still no nearby facility in the section from Skates to His Lordships. So the area reeks of urine. I still smile (ruefully) when I see the four picnic tables adjacent to the rockwall. Very pleasant, but right now you'd lose your lunch while trying to eat it. There should be at least a port-o-san next to the pier.
I couldn't stay long, maybe three casts, before the odor made me leave.
Fort Baker is usually a skunk buster. I got there around 11:00, last two hours of the outgoing tide. First cast with a standard surf rig and a single #2 bait holder on 3 oz. Pretty heavy for me, but the current was strong, pulling hard from right to left. I'd hoped to dropshot some shrimp and catch rubberlipped perch, but that was out fo the question. My rig never settled. A white perch smacked it on the fly. My experience with white perch is the same as with walleyed perch: if they're around, that's probably all I'll catch. There might be other species, but these greedy fish beat everyone else to the bait. That, and not wanting to put 6oz of lead out (for ghost shrimp bait), changed my focus. I poke poled for the next couple hours, taking 20-minute breaks to pitch swimbaits or sabikis (not a strike).
I've had easier poking. Some days are like a spring popping out of a reel during a DIY repair. Sucks. Ken and Mav were talking about aging and agility on jetties and rockwalls. I'm lucky I didn't fall in, or worse. Balance was a novelty. I also dropped my leader spool between the rocks and took an eternity to hand wind the line around a cork. Saved most of it before the spool snagged, but I was not a happy camper.
Ghost shrimp is not a effective as squid for poking. But it's not too shabby. I pulled up a nice cabezon that almost got the tape measure out. Then I worked some crevices, tubes, and kelpy apertures for a monkeyface eel sandwich. A lot of no shows, and then one hole in particular was lively. Wise, too. Had the telltale grab-and-tug many times and was robbed blind or broken off. (I use mono leader because it can break.) Might have fed a family of hungry blennies. Finally yanked out a smallish mfe, maybe 20 inches, ideal size since I'm the only one who eats these in my house. Good place to quit.
Fort Baker was packed but the jetty was sparse, and there was no one on the pier. Not one dab or smelt fisherman.
Think I'll scampi the fish and fold a homemade corn tortilla around it.