Autumn in Newport Harbor

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It never rains in Southern California. Really?

Last week put a damper on Newport Harbor boating. I guess it has to happen eventually and I believe this is once again an example of how spoiled we are with our year-round boating environment.

Boaters can be a hearty bunch when one lives in different locations. Ten days ago we observed sailors cruising in 50 degree high temperatures and 30-mile-an-hour winds in Bellingham, Washington. While that wind for most sailors can provide a pleasurable adventure, I would guess without a regatta most local sailors would stay at the marina in 50 degree highs.

The last couple of weeks, autumn fishing conditions are the norm. Davey’s Locker fish counts were above average for Rockfish, Halibut and Sheephead. Water temperatures have dropped to the seasonal norm. Remember we also have year round fish in our harbor, but please follow California Fish and Game rules for keeping your catch.

Speaking of fishing, I wanted to pass along something I was told 40 years ago by commercial swordfisherman, Bob Hitt, when I started in that trade. If you see a fish undersize, pass it up or if caught return it so it can become an adult and reproduce. This pattern will ensure and guarantee the species will survive.

I recently observed a photo of a swordfish under 60 pounds caught on rod and reel. This baby never was able to reproduce to ensure species replenishment. It made me queasy. We need to practice logical fishing to ensure our children and grandchildren share in what we enjoy.

I noticed the first couple of weekends in November there were two or more harbor sailboat regattas in ideal So Cal summer-like weather conditions which I have not covered but will seek to report better in the future.

Regatta schedules slow this time of year as the Holidays kick in.

Two or three times in the last 30 years an El Niño has provided an abundance of tropical rain and blustery winds. While the weather forecasters flip-flopped several times about the “El,” we were in such a condition this summer with warm water conditions and the best fishing for Tuna, Wahoo and Dorado that I’ve seen locally in my lifetime. This has caused me to conclude we have El Niño conditions. Soooo, we may be in for lots of rain and hopefully an end to our hundred year drought conditions. I hope so, although those conditions could put a damper on our fair weather style boating.

I thought Newport boaters would be interested in the protected marina fees Judy’s cousin pays in Birch Bay, north of Bellingham. Her husband said he paid $22 a foot. Wow! I said we pay $30 and up. Yep, he mentioned, it’s really a bargain, $22 a foot, per year. Oops—I said we pay our fee monthly.

Sea Ya ‘Round the Waterfront,

Skipper Steve

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