Last winter we traveled to Southern California for the usual Christmas trip to visit Allison's family in Long Beach. It's always a pleasure to get out of the northwest just for a week or two to soak up the sun somewhere. And I really do enjoy the ocean, especially when I get to throw my line in. This trip was going to be a lot different when it came to bending some rods in the salt. We had a plan.
My infatuation with the ocean started at a very young age. I never owned video games when I was a kid (or ever in my life really!). My games were all encompassed with the outside. When I was about four we lived in Morrow Bay, California. My Mom had a child care business that she ran from home and I was always surrounded by other crazy kids to explore with. And that is exactly what we would do. On a daily basis Mom would take us all down to the beach in Morrow Bay and we would spend countless hours scouring the serf for anything and everything that was some kind of creature. I remember always thinking if there is this much washed up on the beach, then what is in this giant of an ocean?
Fast forward to November 18, 2015 when we booked our ferry to Avalon, Catalina Island. The thing about Catalina is they love birthdays! Being Allison's birthday she received the express ferry ride free and upon arrival to the island, all sorts of birthday deals when it came to lodging, dining, rentals and recreation. The ferry ride over 27 miles of ocean was pretty amazing because we were able to witness the water turn from that of the LA shoreline, to a deep turquoise blue. I've never been to Greece, but this is what Avalon reminded me of as we motored into the small quaint bay. As we stepped onto the island, we noticed the instant gratification of a healthy sea life in abundance. Bright orange Garibaldi and Calico Bass were picking at the rocks everywhere around the boats.
Downtown Avalon, Allison with rods in hand.
The plan was to get our lodging squared away and start researching for a craft. Any craft that could get us off the beach to chuck some Clouser Minnows to the on-time Bonito run 100 yards off the island's coast. I was contemplating building a raft out of driftwood if needed to make this plan happen! Luckily, I met the owner of a nice restaurant, Bill, and told him our predicament. He was a savior and introduced me to the saltiest charter captain I've ever met.
Roger sat at the bar drinking a beer. Bill introduced us. Roger barely turned his head from his beer; with one eye and no words he expressed that look of “yeah, tourist...” I started in on explaining our plan of shwacking on Bonito with our fly rods, it being Allison's birthday, and her never having landed anything out of the salt (until now) was my gift to her. He warmed up about 2% and said “give me your number and I'll call ya in the morning.” I rattled off my number and walked away with little to no confidence that he would actually call, let alone take us out. And that was the end of conversation... We finished the night in downtown Avalon, meeting many locals that weren't the nicest of folks due to us being “tourists,” and more birthday folks than I've ever been a part of in one general area in my life!
Stay tuned for Part 2!
Until next time my friends, Fish On!