Epic Sturgeon Fishing on Napa River
After seemingly endless rains I finally decided to go out and fish last Friday. It was a clear day, but when I got to my boat launch on Napa River there was a LOT of debris floating around on an outgoing tide. Huge logs, tires, you name it.
Deciding not to risk my beloved Catch Happy HQ boat, I've set up for bank fishing at Napa Sea Ranch. After 3 hours and 0 bites, the tide was slackening and turning. I decided it was safe enough to launch the boat.
I had a decent sturgeon rig setup with me, a Medium Action 8.0 Ft Okuma Rockaway rod paired up with a fantastic Daiwa Eliminator 5000 reel spooled up with a 40 lbs PowerPro braid line. I rarely fish with anything stronger than the 40-pound test line.
However, my brother decided to join me after work and I had to set up my backup rod for him. Luckily I always carry my trusty TFO Traveler 7' 3-piece medium-fast rod paired up with Okuma ABF 55b Baitrunner Reel spooled up with 20lbs yellow PowerPro braid. The TFO isn't cheap, but it comes with a nice hard travel case, which matters when you have to check in your bags and trust your equipment to airport baggage handlers. Outside of this, there is nothing special about this setup, except that I fished it around the world and thus trusted it absolutely. The TFO and ABF 55b weren't designed to pick a fight with a 60 lbs pre-historic monster. Nonetheless, it had no choice this evening.
As you probably saw on Youtube, or guessed, the TFO backup rod is the one that got bit and the fight was on. My brother Paul did a fantastic job managing the fish, while I ran around moving everything out of the way, and freeing up the line when it got into the motors or tangled up with a sock. Mostly though, I was just waving my arms around, unable to contain the excitement. I waited two years, collecting information, watching videos, and talking to anyone who would talk to me about Sturgeon fishing tactics. I even went on a couple of guided trips and returned empty-handed. Sturgeon eluded me.
We spent hours floating around the river, attempting to mark fish. As soon as we saw more than one, we'd anchor 30-50 feet upstream from the marks and cast our rods right on top of them. We had a few uncommitted bites, but the 4th place we anchored held 4 fish, with more coming in once we anchored up. We got hooked up within 10 minutes of anchoring and the fight was on.
I've caught salmon, halibut, lingcod, giant carp, catfish, a 528 lbs Blue Marlin in Honolulu, and much more. Yet nothing compares to fighting this 60 lbs prehistoric monster with my brother in 20 ft. of water with light gear and no proper net, right in my backyard.
Hope you enjoy the video and get inspired to get on the water no matter the outcome. (If I posted all the videos of my failed attempts, I'd be at negative 800 subscribers :)).
Tight lines my friends.