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The Catalina Islander
Avalon, California
March 8, 2013     The Catalina Islander
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March 8, 2013

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With Capt. John King Time of My Life Afishinados has just begun year 11 in the charter business. We have had some good years and some great years, but I would be lying if I did not admit that fish- ing has become more difficult in the span of the last 10 years. Sadly, I look at some of our pic- tures from previous charters and wonder if this year will bring us more of the glory fish that every angler strives to catch. And then, I got the most incred- ible surprise from a recent charter and remember that fishing in and of itself is still a great way to spend time on the water. I had a group of five adults and three kids charter Catallac for a half-day of sightseeing and fish- ing. This is a pretty small group to be chartering a boat that can car- ry 49 passengers, but the woman making the arrangements said, "Money is not a problem, we want a boat we can enjoy as a group." I told her she had come to the right place since Catallac is the only boat in Avalon Harbor that is set up and legal to fish with more than six customers. What I did not tell her is that I was worried. If I spent the kind of money that these folks spent chartering me, I would have very ,high expectations even if the trip was scheduled in February when nearly every fish- ery is either closed or in hiberna- tion. We picked up the group at the break of noon (kids do not get up 'The fight was epic. The fish dashed about and made a number of runs and then darted under the boat .... We all gasped at the size of the leopard shark attached to this customer's line.' -Capt. John King early these days) and headed for the backside of Catalina Island since they had requested to visit Little Harbor. Westin two of the kids and two of the adults were in slumber mode and not feeling great. "Oh, boy," I thought, "Let's hope we can tuck in to Little Harbor and catch something." We finally came into the protection of Little Harbor and since we were the only boat there, we set up right in the middle of the bay. It was a beautiful set- ting on a gorgeous Feb- ruary afternoon with the sun shin- ing bright. As the group broke out their lunches, Lance and I started chum- ming and setting out lines. Since we had a very inexperi- John King Columnist 50 feet to the rod, but this time our customer stepped up and set the hook nicely. The fish took off and made a beeline for the shore. We figured it to be a big bat,ray, but there were-a few odd moments where the fish had some serious change of directions, so, not likely a ray. The customer was winding against the drag, which is never a useful technique. However, with a bit of coach- ing, he learned that the rod moves the fish and the reel collects the line. You cannot grind in a fish on a light-spinning reel. enced set of anglers on board, we The fight was epic. The fish dashed about and made a number of runs and then darted under the boat. With a bit of luck it came to col- or ~ind we all gasped at the size of the leopard shark attached to this customer--s line. It was a real monster and very game. Lance was able to get our big net under enough of the animal to A leopard shark cruises quietly in daytime waters. Public domain photo lift him to the deck and get a good hold on him so the fish would not As we passed Church Rock I took to making rounds, changing hurt itself or our customers. was hopeful, baits and trying to get something I could not count how many The swell was minimal and the to bite. pictures were taken of that shark winds were calm. Lance got the first bite and it as the beautiful coloration showed We came upon a huge school of had all the signs of a halibut. Still very nicely in the late afternoon dolphins and sea lions, which is al- he handed off the rod to one of sun. ways a big hit for our customers, the youngsters, who successfully We gently put the animal back The view of dolphins just below brought a nice angel shark to the into the water and the group spon- the surface from the twin bows of boat. Very exciting stuff, taneously applauded as it swam a catamaran is as good as it gets. Catallac is a big boat for two to away. Time to head home. We were also lucky to see a couple fish, so there were a few bites that The ride back from Little Har- of grey whales just off Salta Verde. we just did not get to in time. bor to Avalon is always nicer than We continued on into the typicglly As I was casting from the bow, I the ride there. building afternoon wind asad svczell. ~ noticed a.rod tip bend in the stern. The dolphins swam in and vis- By the time that we rourJded l~en It took a few seconds to sprint the ited us again, but this time we were 'We gently put the animal back into the water and the group spontaneously applauded." -Capt. John King head!ng home. As we pulled into Aval0niand just before landing at the Green Pier, the leopard shark angler met me on the bridge and said, "I had the time of my life, I do not remember having a better time on the water. I needed that. Thank you !" As Lance and I were washing down Catallac, I told him what the customer had said; amazing that one leopard shark could turn a nice day into "the time of his life." You gotta love the surprises that mother ocean delivers you ev- ery once in a while. Capt. John King is the own- er and founder of Afishinados Charter. Contact him at (310) 510-2440 or (323) 447-4669. The Santa Catalina Island Com- pany recently began new construc- tion on the interior of the Atwater Arcade. For the next two-three months, the Island Company needs to close off the Sumner Avenue entry to the Arcade to allow the contractor to complete the tenant improvements on the east side of the building: Access from the Metropole side will remain available. In addition to providing spaces Letter departures have been in the areas defined vision of the Island so we this new vision. of conservation, education and may all become better acquainted While the Conservancy owns From page 3 scientific research, with them. and is responsible for ecologi- for science, education and ecologi- That does trouble me since When we drafted our new long- cally managing the majority of the cal restoration of the Conservancy these losses have included some aage plans for the Conservancy Island, it is always best to have the back in the '90sand spoke against extremely capable people in the in the mid-1990s and they were understanding and support of the it. primary mission areas oftheorga- approvedbytheBoardofDirectors, residents here who are often the I have never worked directly nization, we made them available in print first line of communication our with Ann Muscat, and therefore Without such institutional at the library and Conservancy visitors have with the Island. cannot comment from experience memory and continuity, progress office, on our new web site and about her "management style" is often slowed significantly. I discussed them in several meet- Dr. Bill Bushing as it has been referred to. I do hope the Conservancy will see fit ings open to the public. Avalon know that the majority of the staff to publish the plans for their newly I hope the same will occur with for several new tenants, the Island Company will make improvements to the common areas including new flooring, lighting and paint. As' the Islander reported last week, when the work is done, it won't be the arcade anymore. Island Company CEO and Pres- ident Randall Herrel said the for- mer arcade would now be called the Shops'a~t Atwater. "We ai:e renovating and adding neff shops to the Atwater Hotel," said Herrel. Harrel said the Atwater Hotel, the B!uewater Grill and the planned 2014 construction of a new spa at E1Encanto were three of the Island Company's current projects. Staying connected with Catalina ust got a lot easier. 310.510.0250 310.510.8957fx 4 i Friday, March 8, 2013 THE CATALINA ISLANDER