Last night we traversed the channel between San Pedro and Santa Catalina Island
, a 26 mile journey if one believe's the 1960's Four Freshmen song. It is actually 26 miles from Newport Beach and 19.5 miles from Fish Harbor on Terminal Island, our departure point.
We began to light a good mark on the fathometer off of Two Harbors. Squid looks like a haze of golden dots laying on top of the red bottom. Sardines and mackerel mark in red free floating mid-water balls. Squid have a very small or non-existant air bladder which is the unit in a finfish which shows up on the fathometer as a mark. Thousands of sardines in a school constitute a red looking ball.
The squid lights use 1500 Watt bulbs to illuminate the surface and draw up the squid. On this evening the squid wouldn't budge. Steve thought that the finfish in the vicinity scared the squid and kept them low. We continued west along the north shore of Catalina Island bucking a four foot NW chop. Not much on the meter. Around the West End the sardines and mackerel began to mark. We held up off of Cat Harbor over a huge area of finfish. Steve and Paul jigged on the school with the results indicating spanish mackerel. Two pilot whales skirted the lighted area around the boat and the mackerel dove to the bottom. It was on to the next school.
We found massive schools of sardines from China Point to Church Rock on the outside of Catalina. At one time you could count a dozen 100 ton schools on the sonar. The fathometer confirmed the scope of the sardine schools. The schools were too deep for the net we had onboard so we mainly marked the general area for further scrutiny on other nights.
The sun rose on the return to Terminal Island where the container ships load and unload all around our dock. I sauteed a smattering of spanish mackerel with scrambled eggs and toast, and we dined with the sun in our face and the journey to Catalina at our back.
Two nets are done and the third one will go on the dock Monday. Steve works on the refrigeration project and I on small maintenance chores. A boat is a work list in progress.