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Sunday, October 30, 2005
Settling In
The boys scouted the outer reaches of the Channel Islands last Sunday and settled for six tons of big squid off the gravel pit near Avalon. The squid appear in deep water off the south end of Catalina and rarely come up to the surface. Those fishermen with deep 30 F or 180 ft. deep, can hope to lure them up into their grasp with the bright lights of their partner lightboats. Steve was lucky to skim six tons off the top of one of these deep schools.
When you inspect a squid, and in this case, a California calimari, it would not seem that in its brainless looking anatomy one would attribute schooling, escaping, or intelligence in general to what looks like a jellyfish with tentacles. But school and escape they do much to a fisherman's consternation, and regularly at that. I have seen many a ton of squid ooze through a sea lion's bite mark in our net.
The remainder of the week revealed poor fishing.
Steve and the boys switched nets and wound our deep squid/sardine net onto the drum. This should give them an advantage today when the season opens at noon. The opening goes until noon on Friday. The process goes like this. The lightboat's job is to find an area of squid, anchor up on it, turn on their lights to attract as many squid as possible, and call the catcher boat as to their location. The catcher boat, in this case the Papa George, sets its net around the lightboat. Then the lightboat drives over the corkline and out of the net, and the catcher boat purses up the net to trap the squid. The Papa George crew drums the net over the stern, and the squid are trapped in the bunt end. A capsular pump drops into the bunt and the squid are pumped out of the net and into the hold. Refrigerated water keeps them cold until delivered.
We found that it's not 26 miles across the sea to Catalina, or from Catalina to Fish Harbor in the Port of LA to deliver our squid. Nevermind though, it is still a great old song: The Four Preps.

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