by MIKE PEETERS, VETERAN HUNT PROGRAM COORDINATOR
Captain Todd Magaline and the crew of the Blue Runner were packed, stacked and ready to sail for an early morning salmon run on June 28 with 20 veterans from the California Waterfowl Veteran Hunt Program.
As always, 5:30 a.m. came early, but like all veterans, everyone was stacked at the dock at the time of departure. Early reports of salmon catches were good and the anchovies smelled fresh as we made our way under the Golden Gate Bridge, pushed through the choppy seas, and readied the lines for the waiting salmon.
Jellyfish were overabundant at the first spot where the bite was hot the day prior, so we quickly reeled in the lines and set sail for the secondary spot. Once on site, two-pound lead balls were cast overboard and quickly the sound of “FISH ON!” was heard from the back of the boat.
As the net swayed in anticipation of the scoop, it sounded like an NFL training camp……” Move, move, move to the back of the boat … square those hips to the rail … keep your shoulders straight … plant those feet … and for gosh sake keep that rod tip up … AND REEL!”
Finally, the first salmon was aboard, one of the biggest fish of the day, and we were back to doing salmon drills with the other 19 veterans.
One after another, we baited, cranked and landed salmon. By the end of the trip, we had almost a full limit for the 20 veterans on board.
Congratulations to Cyril Taylor for arriving on time, making this trip and catching what turned out to be the biggest fish of the day – a nearly 16 pound whopper. John Lear was the fastest to limit, and lucky for him, because after the second fish he retired to the lower deck and attempted to get his sea legs back underneath him.
Finally, the wind came up, the chop turned to whitecaps and Captain Todd pointed the boat toward the Golden Gate bridge and a return to the shores of Sausalito.
Fish were weighed, measured, and iced. Pictures were taken and posted for loved ones to admire. And, finally, the ride back home through rush-hour traffic completed a great day on the ocean.