The One That Got Away

by Janet Koed

Photo Courtesy of The Sport Fishing Conservancy

For some folks, the thrill of sportfishing is in bringing home a 30” halibut to put on the dinner table. For others, the satisfaction comes from spending slow peaceful hours of hearing the water lapping against the shore and perfecting the cast. My husband once went fishing with a friend off the Santa Barbara pier. When I asked how it went, Bob answered that it was great. They didn’t catch a thing. In fact, they didn’t even use hooks or bait! They just wanted an excuse to go hang out together and “shoot the breeze” while catching a face-full of sunshine.

One of my favorite fishing moments was on my kayak at Scorpion Bay, Santa Cruz Island. I took my son’s small “Snoopy” pole and tackle out since it fit conveniently inside my small vessel. After dragging my “worm king” on the sandy bottom about 5 minutes, BAM! Something hit my line and started dragging me out to sea. My girlfriend grabbed my kayak, from hers, to keep me from drifting into the great beyond. I told her to let me go or the light line might break with the weight of us both. She paddled out with me. It didn’t take long for the fish to win this battle of strength. My Snoopy line snapped in acquiescence and the beast was gone. I thought that fish must have been a magnificent creature and I didn’t mind that she got away.

Since that time at Santa Cruz Island, a series of Marine Protected Areas have been established with the purpose of preserving species diversity and abundance. By protecting marine habitats and ecosystems that species rely on, this area at Scorpion Bay (and other sites around the Channel Islands) can now be enjoyed by snorkelers and scuba divers while fishing is allowed a short distance away. The thinking is that these MPAs will help maintain long term benefits for more productive and sustainable regional fisheries.

 “Recognizing that with privilege comes responsibility, the mission of the Sportfishing Conservancy is to empower sportsmen to fulfill and celebrate their commitment to their sport and to the real world conservation.” This nonprofit group promotes best practices such a catch -and-release and the use of barbless hooks. It is in this spirit that they are sponsoring a No Motor Tournament on September 12 to benefit Gaviota Coast Conservancy. The $20 entry fee for adults and additional raffle ticket sales will go to preserve our beautiful coastline between Coal Oil Point and Point Sal. Someone will go home with a new fishing kayak! And that’s not the only prize. Even if you’re not into the fishing, you can still register for a chance to win a prize and support Gaviota Coast Conservancy. The tournament takes place in Carpinteria.

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