of the Salmon!
Wacky Jackie Fishing Report
"This is a great season, a
fantastic season to be fishing by the Farallone Islands! The counts
of salmon returning up the rivers have topped 800,000. Attracted by
notable ocean upwellings, plus all the rain washing excellent salmon
food to sea has contributed to an increased salmon run for 2003 in
our offshore waters," Jackie Douglas, owner or Wacky Jackie,
Boats have been returning with
full to half limit counts of salmon plus rock and bottom fish since
the season opened April 12, 2003. The first two days, no boats could
get out due to the storms. Like the start of this yearís crab
season, as soon as the fishermen could get out, they were greeted
with exceptional success. The sea lions are taking a small share
from the bounty of the boats but they are not yet in large numbers.
Take a page from the crab seasonĖtoss in your line while the fish
are here. Salmon season is open until November 9th, but it is not
recommended to hang back cutting bait. Go fish!
Jackie said, "Call up your
favorite skipper and they will arrange everything. The cost for
pole, license, weights (they drop off when a fish hits the line) and
the boat ride is around $90 for the day. Hot coffee is available to
warm up on as the boats head out at 6a.m. I recommend bringing a
sack lunch, drinks (no hard liquor) and prepare for a variety of
weather. Your captains knows weather Ė we all live by it. The
captains are more tuned into the weather than TV forecasters. If a
front is likely to roll in during your scheduled outing, creating
hazardous conditions near the Farallones, the fishermen and ladies
are given two choices, a rain check, or for the hardy, go fishing
for halibut in the San Francisco Bay. Fishing in a storm in an open
boat on the Bay is a challenge but they are catching halibut between
7 and 30 lbs primarily off Berkeley flats."
"So far this season, the
ladies have been kicking it. They are so fun to watch. They keep
each other going, jumping all around when they haul one in. They
learn fast and get so excited they truly have a great time fishing.
I love my fishermen too and mixed groups are great but ladies as a
group really have fun fishing," said Jackie. She has been
taking people fishing for 30 years in the ocean and Bay. As captain,
Jackie has taken more than 80,000 people out to catch primarily
salmon from April to November, some years working 150 days straight.
It all started at age 35 when Jackie went fishing on a charter boat
with her husband. She caught a bite size flounder and got hooked on
fishing. After becoming a regular aboard the San Francisco charter
boats, Al Spadaro was selling his boat in 1973 and talked her into
buying it. In her 40s with four daughters, Jackie took a leap. She
and her husband George managed to get a loan and business license,
then Mom when to sea and George managed the home front.
"I love the ocean and all its
rhythms and experiences," she often says. I shared a moment
when a 30 lb halibut smacked my boat so hard I thought Iíd hit a
buoy, only to realize Iíd disturbed it sunning as it swam away.
Jackie recalled that off Stinson she had a Great White do the same
thing. I only had big fish scales on my hull. I wondered what
happened to her vessel, Wacky Jackie. When asked to fill in
that tale she laughed and suggested, "Come out fishing. I have
lots of stories to share." She is recognized as an informative
naturalist, describing sea birds, marine life, and unusual
occurrences on the ocean to her fishing passengers.
Asked the indelicate question of
her age, Jackie said in her young, vibrant voice, "Iíll be 75
in October!" and giggled. Commenting that she did not sound
like many 75 year olds in her telephone interview, she went on to
say, "When people ask, I feel embarrassed because I feel so
happy in what Iím doing. I donít feel 75 because I really love
what I do. Iím sure that makes a big difference." She sent me
a recent picture taken for a plaque for Lincoln High Schoolís
"Wall of Fame" for life-time achievements along with
classmates like Don Pitts, a radio personality, and John Burton,
president of the State Senate and former Congressman. Seeing the
picture, anyone can see why Jackie was the Queen of the 49erís at
Kezar Stadium in her senior year at Lincoln High in 1946. It has
been said that God doesnít take days away for time spent messing
around in boats. Jackie is living proof of that.
If fishing for salmon strikes you
as fun, there are many fine and interesting captains listed in the
phone book for San Francisco, Sausalito, San Rafael, Berkeley, and
Emeryville. Jackieís red and white 50í boat Wacky Jackie can
take 18 on weekdays and 22 on weekends. To fish with Jackie, call to
make reservations at (415) 586-9800.