John Firebaugh

     Wong way again
Used a banana for bait.

I have only Saturday off, working 6 days a week. Couldn't get anyone to go out due to crappy weather. Big swells, mixed swell, wind. I tried to launch Saturday anyway, and couldn't even clear Mission Bay Jetty, the swells wind and whitecaps were so bad. With a 24 foot boat, I might have tried it, but my little river sled is not very seaworthy.

Eric Friedrickson said it is like a piece of plywood with an outboard motor attached. Sadly, this is true. She is like a terrier dog, and doesn't fear, but I do.

I came back in and dove inside Mission Bay to look for Halibut. Fishermen harassed me, then the lifeguard with an attitude, in his hot shit milspec inflatable. So I got a little exercise for an hour.

Sunday, I had to work, and it was supposed to be a long day at the MRI magnet. As it happened, the first client was an indigent nut case feigning claustrophobia. The rest of the clients cancelled. So I was off at noon, and plotting WSB diving, before that. Couldn't get anyone to go, so I went solo, (again), launching at 1600 hrs. A guy in a very seaworthy deep vee was pulling his boat out as I was launching my pathetic Barbie. He said the ocean was way rough. Oh joy. I had driven over an hour, checking out La Jolla Cove, and then Torrey Pines beach on the way home from work,to pick up boat, and I was convinced the ocean was not as ugly as Saturday. I would just have to launch, and make the twenty minute run back out to the Jetty mouth again to see.

Well, I got to the maw, and she was doable. There were very substantial short period swells coming in, mixed swell, and wind chop, to be careful. But I was hoping La Jolla would be magically better. So, donned in all my foul weather gear, and float coat, and lucky sexy curved banana, I motored at a slow 8 knots the five miles to La Jolla. She was exceedingly nasty. There was a brief SPF4 encounter. Sphincter Pucker Factor 4, (out of 10). I was a mile offshore and about three miles north of Mission Bay Jetty when an 8 foot rogue wave threatened to capsize. I got over that, and decided to stay the offshore route around the kelp beds for the next few miles. I could see Bird Rock and Boomers steaming up a wicked froth.

I got to La Jolla kelp around 1700, and other than the disconcerting, short steep swell, it was pretty nice, and the water had a pretty blue hue. Pretty dark too. I insinkeratored to the middle of the kelp bed, a bit south of the usual suspect. I could see a couple of flagged dive boats out on the Northwest corner on the deep side, almost a 1/2 mile away. Foolishly, I dove the mid kelp. It was prime with good bait, but dark, hazy, 10 to 15 ft viz. After an hour of flogging, I decided to chat with the divers on the outside, and to see if the viz was better. It was significantly better,

I moved down a little south of where they had been out of respect for territory. There wasn't much daylight left for hunting, but the viz was significantly better, and the bait was thick. Even this late with little sunlight angle, I had twenty feet of gorgeous viz, and plenty of smelt. I hunted for a while, and almost gave up. I hunted a little more, and started hanging still on the nearly horizontal kelp stalks, quietly surrounded by schools of smelt. It felt good. It felt right. I felt like the main entree.

On the blessed dive, I was down about 25 ft looking all around 360, and just happened to look down into the dark underworld, when to my surprise, a handsome Yellowtail was swimming about 15 feet below, and in front of me, not in any particular hurry. I admired the thing for a second, and thought the logical thing would be to shoot it. It was too far away. The fish wondered why this fat pathetic creature was trying to get closer, turned to see Ono Wong steel heading his way. I know the shot was too far away. I was sure, I had stupidly missed. At first nothing happened. Then my shooting line had a lot of tension, and was wrapped around my Sheri Daye loading tab hoop. Oh shit. Got that undone, and I saw the orgasmic sight of the red bungee tail pop out of the popper.

Oh boy, a Yellowtail in big water, with a Dodo and a kelp carrot. Shit, better start looking for the Karrot, and unlashing the Carter float. I am about to pop my Carter float Cherry. Hot Damn. This fish is too powerful without the old Riffe Float. CF ensued, dragging Mr. Dodo under some kelp stalks, got the carrot, gun, float....... Whoopee, float stopped that baby. Clipped gun to float and Carrot. I couldn't believe first of all, that I had made another long shot on a Yellow Tail too far away. Mr. Wong's Ono magic. Now I couldn't believe my good luck again, that the fish ran shallow. I didn't know if the shot was secure, so played the fish very tenderly, letting him wrap in the kelp and working him up slowly, because he had kicked my ass, and I didn't want to dive down like a man and untangle it. I was going to scream like a little girl if Mr. White Shark came by to play, because my gun was over there, and the boat was waaay over there. I was still the main entree as far as I was concerned. Tired the fish more than myself, so dove down, grabbed the tail, and brought it up. Ten minutes of forgetting where the brain was, and untangling my CF of shooting lines, float line and shit. Swam it to the boat, drove over and picked up the Carter Float, gun and Carrot. Hot Damn another Kingie in the Kingie bag. Thanks Seamus. 48" long, and 33 lbs with banana in the Barbie. Motored back through the maw at darkness. Otto, kindly took a patio shot. Frikin old man must think he's hot shit or sumpin

In San Carlos,

Even a blind hog finds an acorn once in a while. I got the biggest fish, 31.4 lb and won the Tournament.

Wong Ono, tip cable, 5/16" shaft. Amazing toy.

Aloha, John Firebaugh

Time in Hawai'i: