Mothball Fleet Sturgeon

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Dated: 11th March 2003
Location: USA/California /San Francisco Bay Area/Suisun-Delta
From our Suisun-Delta Fishing Correspondent Bob Fisher
Mothball Fleet SturgeonMothball Fleet Sturgeon
Being new to the USA and to Sturgeon fishing I read newspaper articles and magazines about the subject and studied the Sturgeon rigs that were available in Tackle Stores. I purchased one and used it as a base example for the rigs that I make for myself today. I also relied on fishing reports from Capt. Steve Talmadge of 'Flash Fishing' that were relayed to me via Johnny and Squid. We heard that they were on at the Mothball Fleet, also known as the Reserve Fleet - rows and rows of retired US Navy warships including the infamous USS IOWA.

First off we stopped in Vallejo and purchased live ghost shrimp and grass shrimp from the bait shop shortly after they opened. After these were wrapped in newspaper and placed on ice in a small Igloo 'Playmate' cooler We travelled on 780 to the public boat ramp at Benecia where we launched Sportfish I, my 17' 1965 Silverline Runabout.

It was a short run up the Carquinez Strait and under the Benecia Bridge to the barges. Squid and Johnny were already there but they hadn't experienced any action yet. As we approached them my Lowrance X65 showed some good fish markings near the bottom in about 30' of water so we headed further up, dropped the anchor and drifted back to where the fish were.

After a couple of hours Squid and Johnny pulled anchor and took off back to Benecia. I guess they were on the other side of the bridge when my rod bent down with a solid hit. I picked up the rod and set the hooks. The twenty pound monofilament line peeled of the Shimano TLD 10. This was my first Sturgeon and Tim graciously recorded all of the action on camera. It was an outgoing tide and the fish headed down towards the bridges but I was able to stop it and turn him around. The little lever-drag Shimano performed beautifully and at no time during the fight did I have any cause for concern. Eventually we got him boatside but the first attempt with the snare failed and the fish took off again. Five minutes later we had him back to the boat and were successful this time.

Back at home that evening he weighed in at 65lbs and measured 65 inches in length. If you factor in dehydration my first Sturgeon was probably a couple of pounds heavier than that. Not a bad effort for a self taught newcomer to the area. ...Bob Fisher