Another jaunt down to southern California we went 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, even though it’s LA county….I really don’t like big cities, pollution, litter or crime, unfortunately you can’t choose where the relatives live. I really do enjoy the ocean, even if I have to choke on the smog and watch for syringes on the serf. 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 a video game when I was young, ever in my life really, my games were all encompassed with outside. When I was about 4 we lived in Morrow Bay, California (don’t be quick to judge, it was only a year of my life and I will always be Montana born and North Idaho raised). My Mom had a child care business that she ran from home and I was always surrounded by other crazy kids to explore with. 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?
November 18th 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 B-day 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 LA county crap, 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 islands 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, outside his establishment when I was out having a smoke. I told him our predicament and he was a savior by introducing me to the saltiest charter captain I’ve ever met. Rodger sat at the bar drinking a local crap can beer (of course), in all reality if he had a martini in front of him I probably would have turned around. Bill introduced us, and Rodger barely turned his head from his can and with one eye and no words expressed with that look “yeah, tourist…” I started in on explaining our plan of shwacking on Bonito with our fly rods, it being Allison’s birthday and never had landed anything out of the salt 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 are in my life!
Stay tuned for Part 2
Until next time my friends, Fish On!