|As always, for those who prefer the just watching the video, here's the link below.
I also wanted to thank Ken for allowing me to post links to my videos these last couple of years. I sincerely hope they help folks in a way that this forum has helped me over the years.
Inspired! That's what I've been feeling with all the new rockfishing reports coming in. I see a growing wave of people interested in foraging and catching one's dinner. Not too long ago I remember someone posting that they felt all those catch and cook videos were lying/misleading because they make catching fish from the rocks look really easy. Whelp, maybe we can address that within this little report.
Ms. Anchovy's brother and family wanted to try poke poling. As always we were more than happy to show them the ropes however the tides were less than optimal, low tide being around +0.1. Because they were bringing kids along, we couldn't head out to our normal hunting grounds so we opted to fish an area close to town that was pretty well known to hold a good number of cabezon.
One box of market squid, some slipping and sliding on the rocks and we were off. Ms. A's brother Don and his brother in law Nyia had brought some cane poles purchased from walmart as their poke poles. We offered them our backups but they were content to using their new shiny gear.
It was very tough to find a bite. The tide really was too high and the reef we were working was also too high off the seafloor. I spent almost an hour working for what ended up being an octopus that wouldn't come out of its lair.
What's worse was that the two new guys learned a quick lesson. Panfish cane poles are much too light for saltwater work without modification. Their first couple of bites broke the cane tips completely. I can't help but think much prime time was wasted as they repaired and reconfigured their rods to something more usable (cutting down the end worked). At one point it really looked like we were going to skunk until Ms. Anchovy brought up the first real fish of the day.
It was her first cabbie I think, only about 13.5" but it gave us hope. She ended up catching two more, all undersized. I was on the other end of the spectrum, no bites, no bites, no bites. I finally found the "perfect" hole and after a little tug of war game got a nice sized eel in the bag.
As I poked around some more I heard a shout come up from the other side of the reef. Nyia who had never been poke poling before was holding up a beautiful sculpin!
With those fish in the bucket we headed back to the family to enjoy some food. Ms. A took my eel and cooked it in a tomato based stew. *Note: Don't forget to slit the eel's throat, otherwise your fishwife might end up trying to fillet a very much alive eel... much to her (and the eel's) surprise.
Now back to videos vs. reality. Rockfishing from shore by its very nature is work. Tides have to be right, for our style of fishing we prefer negative tides. Location has to be good, for us fishing this spot that sees more fishermen than we are used to definitely saw a decrease in action. Some of the holes looked too good to be empty, but they were. Then comes tide + location, some spots hold fish during certain parts of the tide but seem to be empty for whatever reason at other tides. Gear: it takes trial and error for one to dial in the right gear. Too light and you'll break off a lot (like the brother in laws) too heavy and you might miss bites. To sum it up, we had a pretty mediocre day of catching, youtubers often only include the best parts of the day. Don't get discouraged if you skunk, it happens. Try to put as much of the odds in your favor, fish good tides, fish good locations, buy good tackle, tie perfect knots. Minimizing chance as much as possible is a really good way to start. Finally stay safe and give me a wave if you see us out there.