|I slept in today; didn't get out of bed until almost 9:00 a.m. I made breakfast, checked the tide and decided that I'd go out around 10:30, top of the tide and fish the out-going.|
The fishing was actually pretty good compared to the last couple of days. Remember I said the tides were better this week.
I ran the SJ, working flats and weed edges. There was a bazillion small fish busting bait and roaming the flats and grass beds. I had landed 10 or so dinks to a few 3- and 4-pounders. I eventually got to one of my favorite big fish spots and I got lucky and nailed a bright 12-pounder (lucky number) that pulled like a demon, taking all my running line plus some backing.
I Boga'd the fish, and let it hang on the grip in the water until it was ready for release. I was fishing alone today (something I really enjoy doing) so I was only able to take a shot of the fish in the water. The wide angle lens makes it look smaller than it really was - honest.
About a half hour or so after I let that fish go, and working another weed bank, I heard a boat hauling ass across the SJ, heading west. My back was to the boat when I heard a horrendous bang and scrapping sound. Without looking I knew what had happened. The boat went hard aground on Jerry Neuburger's rock berm. Jerry knows that berm intimately - right Jerry...
I could hear someone shouting for help, in a huge state of panic. It sounded like a woman. I was about a half mile away on the opposite bank. I called the Coast Guard on my radio, gave them the details and said I would go to the boat and stand by; and would take them off if the boat was going to sink. It was hung up on the rock pile but the tide was coming in which meant it could float off and that would not have been good - not if the hull had been breached.
When I got there I learned two people were aboard, the woman who was driving and a young man in his 20s. The gal had a deep cut on her leg and the boat was taking on water so fast the bilge pump couldn't handle it. They were bailing like mad.
I told them I had notified the CG and that a CG boat and Vessel Assist was on the way. I got them calmed down and told the I would stand by; and if they wanted, I would take them off the boat. They declined.
The CG asked me to ask them to put on their PDFs. The woman didn't hesitate but the guy didn't want to. I finally convinced him it was the best thing to do.
It took about a half hour for Captain Phil of Vessel Assist to arrive and get a couple of pumps on board. The bow was about a foot from going under when he got there.
The CG boat took the woman and guy to get medical help and Captain Phil secured the boat and got it pumped out and side-tied for the side tow back to Bethel Island.
That berm is a nasty sucker and is only about a foot below the surface at low tide and not much deeper at high tide. A word of advice: if you don't know the Delta well - don't cross any opening between islands if you don't know for sure the water is deep enough to cross it safely.
I don't know why that particular rock pile is not marked with a buoy.
Anyhow, I ended up with about 25 or so fish, 8 of them legal size with a few 3- to 5-pounders and the 12-pounder in the mix. I even caught a few small ones on top.
It was an interesting and fun day and I'm glad I was around to give those folks a hand. There wasn't another boat around and they would have definitely sank if VA hadn't showed up when they did.
Be careful out there!
[click here to display pictures]