Sunday, December 14, 2008

This week was busy so I only had a few minutes on Wednesday to collect bait. With a little luck I found a hot bed of sidewinder crabs. Next, with the advice of a homeless guy, I was pointed in the right direction to collect a few clams too. Hey, those guys that live under the overpass keep a sharp eye on the beach and can be a great help when looking for bait!

Left before sunrise for the beach Friday in hopes of catching an astronomical seven-foot tide and a few bites. Made it to the beach and was greeted by flat calm seas, no surf and a clear high tide. Everything looked perfect. Truly, the calm before the storm.

As a few raindrops pelted me I struggled to get bites. The lack of waves and the super high tide did everything it could to prevent any current. I first tried the clam for bait and after a few casts caught a nice opal eye near the rocks. My stomach was rumbling as it reminded me of Anderson’s pea soup!

After changing bait to sidewinders I hooked into a nice perch. As I got it near shore I could see it was the biggest walleye I’ve ever hooked—probably 14 inches—but not this time--bing, out pops the hook. On the next cast I hooked into this guy and after a short battle she came to shore—crab and all.

Caught just a few more perch but nothing else was biting. Probably because the tide swings were so great they couldn’t find their home.

Woke up Saturday to do “church” work by moving the clams out of the Talbert Outlet and into a protected area inside the marsh. Here they can reproduce and pour baby clams out the inlet and thus onto the sand in both directions up and down the beach.

A BIG thank you goes out to the 14 volunteers who helped us round up and move 1,396 Pacific Littleneck and Razor Clams into the estuary. Also, thank you to the Huntington Beach Wetland Conservancy for their guidance and cooperation on this project. These folks have done all of us surf fishermen a big service by doing this. The restored marsh that spans from the Santa Ana River to Beach Blvd. will be home to millions of fish and the soon-to-be dredged inlet will be their way to and from the ocean. Once the clams are in place a few days we'll be able to place anchor rocks near them to insure their survival. Here's one of the beds where clams were planted.

The estuary which will be flooded some time early next year is roughly 3 miles long and 1/4th mile wide. When doing sampling to determine where the clams would go we came across loads of ghost shrimp, crabs and a sand worm over two feet long! With so much bait and such a huge area of water there’s no doubt the Orange County coast is in store for some epic surf fishing!
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