A Trip to California’s North Coast and its Piers, Oct. 2, 2015 (Day 2)

Early morning at the Trinidad Pier

Although the main impetus for this trip, as well as most of the trips to the Humboldt-Del Norte coast, has been on fishing—i.e., fishing the piers or helping manage the Trinidad Youth Fishing Derby,  the number of sights along the trail inevitably call for stops to enjoy the nature of the area. This would prove true again this year as redwoods, coastal scenes, elk, and other attractions demanded a stop.

[Warning, this particular blog may be more of a travel log than a simple fishing blog.]

Day 2 — An early morning call came from “Big Rich” a former student and long-time Pier Fishing in California follower. “I’m in Eureka, I came up to help out at the derby.” We decided to meet for breakfast and then he said he would like to fish with me prior to the derby, even if that meant heading up to Crescent City.

Soon after, we were at Trinidad testing out the action. Unfortunately it was slow but I managed a few fish and, as always, I enjoyed the beauty of the pier and its natural environment.

“Big Rich”

It was chilly and a little windy so I brought the sweatshirt and a coat

The pier’s left side is close to a cliff and all rocky

This  rocky area usually produce some greenling, kelp greenling and rock greenling; this trip it produced a kelp greenling.

The tide was a little low

This rock is just out from the pier on the right side and one of my favorite places to fish

A bait dropped down by the rock produced this nice striped perch

After two and a half hours of fishing, and only three fish, two striped perch and the kelp greenling, I decided it was time to move on to Crescent City. We stopped fishing and headed north. I told Rich I would meet up with him at Klamath since I figured I would be stopping a few times  for some pictures.

I stopped in Orick near where there are typically some elk, but I didn’t see the large animals. However, who doesn’t like little old red school houses?

The old Stone Lagoon School House

The next stop was at Stone Lagoon

A beautiful area but Crescent City and its two piers were still beckoning

I met up with Rich at Klamath and he said, “did you see the elk” and I said no. He said they were bedded down left of the school house. Duh! Good thing I’m not a hunter.

At Crescent City we checked into a motel and then headed over to Citizen’s Dock where I almost always catch an interesting mix of fish. It would prove true again.

Looking across the harbor toward the “B” Street Pier and the lighthouse

The marina has been totally rebuilt following the tsunami (tidal wave) of 2011 that destroyed the docks and pilings in the harbor, sank 16 boats, and damaged the breakers around the banks of the basin. In response, it was decided to build the West Coast’s first harbor truly able to withstand severe tsunamis (those expected to hit once every 50 years). A $38.2 million dollar reconstruction ensued and it looks great today.

Another angler was fishing in the area I normally fish but he soon left and soon after, we began to  fish in the same spot.

Over the years this inner section of Citizens Dock has proven to be the best place on the pier for fish. Luckily that proved true once again since new signs indicated that anglers could no longer fish further out on the pier. In years past I had moved around the pier, always being careful to stay out of the way of workers, but apparently those days are over.

As usual there was a steady mix of small fish—different types of rockfish, small cabezon, and one lone greenling.

Brown rockfish

Kelp greenling

A baby cabezon

Interestingly, every few minutes the water would turn almost black and huge shoals of anchovies would barrel their way through the water. Eventually I decided to Sabiki-up a few for fresh bait (or live bait) and pulled in a few. Surprisingly, on the last cast I was intending to make, something looked a little different and it turned out to be a small Pacific mackerel. It was the first of the species I had caught north of San Francisco (though I had seen one the prior year at the Trinidad Kids Derby). I’ve caught them from California’s southernmost pier, the Imperial Beach Pier that sits almost next to the Mexican border, and now at Citizens Dock, roughly 20 miles from the Oregon border.

It was a juvenile mackerel, and pretty small, but it was still a mackerel

Two hours of fishing produced 12 northern anchovies, 6 cabezon, 5 copper rockfish, 3 blue rockfish, 2 brown rockfish, 1 kelp greenling and 1 Pacific mackerel but after two hours the wind had come up and made it nearly impossible to fish. We decided to call it quits, break for a rest, and then head over to the Chart House Restaurant for an early dinner. Hopefully the wind would die down and we could then proceed over to the “B” Street Pier for some night-time fishing. We wanted to see if there were any sharks, rays or skates. But it was not to be. Our dinner was delicious but upon exiting the restaurant we found the wind to be a howling and it obviously would be too windy to fish. Rich headed back to his motel room while I headed over to the pier to take a few late afternoon pictures.

Looking down the Crescent City beach near the restaurant

The “B” Street Pier

I decided to walk out on the jetty to take some pictures of the pier from different angles — but I was careful to watch the waves and where I was walking

The winds didn’t decrease. In fact, they increased to 40-50 miles per hour with occasional gusts topping 60 miles per hour. The Battery Point Lighthouse sits seaward near the entrance to the jetty and is accessible during low tide. This night the wind-churned waves attacked the shore and made access impossible. Then, while walking back on the jetty the winds grabbed and carried away my favorite hat. It was futile to even consider going fishing in such conditions. No, as the sun gently dove into the sea I knew it was time to head back to my motel.

The sharks and rays would have to wait for another night.

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