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June surf fishing

by Sam Bishop

We had a great turn out of ten fly fishermen on Saturday June 6. Almost everyone caught fish. This was way better than the month before when we were skunked! Here were the attendees, and it is always great to see those who show up so often. We were talking about getting up very early to go fishing and Greg Smith said “Once you get out here it is beautiful!”.

Greg Smith and Lance Boling from the Salinas Club, Mark Coor guest, Scott Kitayama, Jeff Zischke, Dennis Robbins “Newbie” to our club, Robert Eberle (the master catcher), Adam Altoff,  Scott Councilman, Sam Bishop

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Notes from site 29:

by K. Murdock, V/P

Notes of Fish Master, Kevin Murdock (Dock), from mysterious site #29 (O’Neill Forebay):

Fish Master Log Date Nov 3: Our beloved Stosh, bowing to the frailties of mortal life, was unable to host our November fish out to San Lois Reservoir. I agreed to stand in for him, as long as no organizing was to be involved.

When I arrived Wednesday afternoon, Elaine & John Cook had already been camping since Tuesday. They’d had some success amongst the weed patches around the islands. They also had thoughtfully placed a tablecloth and wood box at site 29, assuring it would be available for my arrival. I sat up camp (1) and returned to Aptos to pick up the mighty pokey-mon. (My 12ft. tin boat). (2)

FM Log Date Nov 4: Early Thursday morning Cooper and I launched the boat. Thank goodness I’d had the boat tagged the last time I’d fished on the lake. It had rained Wednesday evening, and my boat was full of water. No way would they have allowed me to launch.

We fished for naught for a couple of hours. That’s when I determined to find Elaine, for she is quite frequently in the close company of fish. I was right. I found her between the first and second Islands, firmly stuck to a Striper. With her in my sight, I quickly hooked and landed a couple of schoolies. I would offer this to all of our newbies on fish outs: keep Elaine in sight and you’ll probably find fish. It’s worked for John for ages. Indeed, he’d caught a couple that morning.

I moored the Pokey-man near our camp and had lunch with Pete, a new returning club member. He towed a gorgeous Air Stream in (3) and asked where to park so as not to impinge on any view-shed. I opined that the air-stream enhanced any view I might have.

After lunch, I motored to the north-west side of the fore bay where I found a dozen tubers and Kayakers from a neighboring fishing club. The name escapes me for the moment. (Don’t be alarmed, that happens on a regular basis). They were scratching out a fish here and there when Cooper decided he could catch a pelican. (4) That was the first of his three jumps into the drink.

The laughter of the other club’s members were still ringing in my ears when I decided to explore the great wall area. Near the south east corner, I finally located some fish on my 30 year old garage sale hummingbird. They were in 25’ water depth, holding at nearly 20’. There was a current pushing my boat from east to west, so I posted up current, about 40’from the wall and cast directly towards the wall. I counted down quite a while as I drifted over the fish, & then began a slow strip. I got a strong grab and had the fish on long enough to try to get it on the reel, with devastating consequences. Over the next hour I repeated this process several times. Eventually, after omitting the part where I tried to put the fish on the reel. I landed two smaller fish. (5)

Thursday evening the wind died enough to have a lovely campfire, and the four of us enjoyed a lively conversation as we took turns fussing over Cooper. Elaine shared her vast San Lois Intel with us. (Greatly appreciated!)

FM Log Date Nov 5: Friday Morning I woke early to find Yogi launching his u-boat. Still dark-thirty. A couple of cups of coffee later I launched and hustled to meet Jerry at the Rock Wall (6) by the old boat launch.  I arrived in the vicinity just as the sun rose, and promptly caught a small striper. I found Jerry shortly after he had released one of his own. Jerry caught a couple more over the next hour. Ospreys and bald eagles were my entertainment.

I returned to camp for brunch and was helped to shore by another new club member, Jeff. Pete treated us to a spread of bacon & eggs, whilst I whipped up a batch of Bloody Mary’s. Tim Loomis and a friend I haven’t met yet launched at about that time. Good Luck to ya!

Yogi returned after having caught a few. Probably just getting warmed up for his upcoming tuna trip.

Thought I’d take a quick nap. Two hours later, Elaine & John pulled out of the water. Elaine had landed 8 or 10 fish that morning, & John a few more, including one he described as a nice 20 plus inches, with a huge head. I envisioned Bruce Bocce’s head on a striped bass.

Tim Loomis returned with tales of the biggest striper he had ever landed in this body of water. He estimated 6+ lbs., or about twice the size of the biggest fish I had caught that day. Tim caught his on the Delta smelt pattern. In fact, that’s the only fly I used on the trip, and others echoed that sentiment.

Jeff and Pete had also each caught fish that day.

FM Log Date Nov 6: Saturday found Pete and myself on our own. We fished separately, scratching up a fish here and there. The wind chased me off the water early. Too windy for a fire, Pete and I retired to our respective campers to stay warm. A book for me, a movie for Pete. Early to sleep.

That pretty well sums it up. Fair fishing for many, great for a few. A pretty good fish out.

Enjoy the resource while you can, future dam construction will make this place much more difficult to get to, for quite some time.

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Sons (and Daughters) of the beaches

by Surf organizer Sam

Dateline 4 September 2021 (Labor Day Weekend)


Well before the hordes of surfers, dog walkers, runners and “sit on the beachers” arrived, there were 14 members and guests of Santa Cruz Fly Fishers hitting the beach with their fly rods. Turns out the fish were simply not ready to resist this massive, unexpected attack. They gave up quickly to Elaine Cook, with four catches right away, then there was Amy Terra with her band of sisters and brothers from Lodi. She is President of the Delta Fly Fishers and immediately had at least three perch and more later. I think everyone had hook-ups and fish in hand, but with that many folks fishing, they were spread out half a mile, so I couldn’t check everyone.

Here are those who signed in (Note the various towns) : Tommy Polito, Adam Altoff (Castro Valley), Elaine Cook, Jeff Zischke, Amy Terra (plus 3 from Lodi), Randy Saar (Pacific Grove), Dena Mason, Justin Ice, Matt Jockers, Cecilia Stipes,  Scott Kitayama, Gene Boylin, Dominic Martinez (Los Banos), and Sam Bishop. For the names that are missing, it is your fault for not signing the attendance sheet:.

I hope we see even more of you next month. See “Gearing Up” for details.

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August fly fishing the surf

by Sam Bishop, Surf "Fishmaster"

Rio Del Mar had a low tide, low waves and a flat beach for the seven club members on the August 7 surf fish-out. Flat beaches with little “structure” are common later in the summer. That all changes when the winter storms come in.

Jeff Gose, Kirk Mathew, Justin Ice, Scott Councilman, Tommy Polito, John Davis joined me at 6 am.  Some fish were caught, but it seemed like all the surf perch were born only a few weeks earlier! Then there were a couple of Sculpin in the mix too.

In the pictures, note Tommy and his hand made basket. Notice the close-up of the “Sharpie” pens he used to minimize tangling! Other pictures include Justin, Jeff, Kirk. I think I missed John and Scott.


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Traveling the West

by Elaine Cook

When last I wrote we had been fishing the Firehole River in Yellowstone National Park in mid June. Many road miles and tested waters since then. Low warm waters, heat, “Hoot Owl” restrictions, and smoke have dominated. All of which has lead to poor fishing. There have been a handful of special days that we reflect back on as great memorable fishing. There was adult damsel fishing that produced many, many 16″ to 19″ Rainbows and Cutthroats in a lake east of Yellowstone. A small county park pond, full of small large mouth bass that readily responded to a popper. If we caught one we caught a 100. That was just outside the town of Sheridan Wy. A little further south, another bass water in a local reservoir. Numbers were not the result, but searching them out in a forest of reeds and getting explosive takes that produced really large big mouths was truly exciting. Went back a couple weeks later and we couldn’t produce the same results. To escape the heat we took a gravel/dirt road into the mountains. There had been rain a couple days before and the night we arrived. That made the river look like chocolate milk. Waiting patiently for 2 days payed off. So many large Cutthroats brought to net in the wilderness. Of course all on dry flies. And lastly, we forked up the bucks and hired guides to take us onto a beautiful priviate  stream in ranch land at the base of the Big Horn mountains. Grass hoppers were everywhere and guess what the large, plentiful Cutthroats did with an artificial fly that resembled the insect! We are now road weary and will thankfully be home by the time you read this. Elaine and John and part of the time Kathy

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Surf Fishout, July 3, 2021

by Mark Traugott

Dennis Rosario, Tommy Polito, Matt Jockers

Seven of us rose before dawn to celebrate the arrival of the July 4 weekend. We found our way to Manresa State Beach despite the morning mist and heavy overcast. The only fireworks involved were in the fact that everyone caught fish, with honors for the largest going to Tommy Polito, as pictured above. The group included regulars Jeff Gose and Scott Kitayama as well as the club’s newest member, Matt Jockers. Dennis Rosario, James Davis, and myself rounded out the group. No one has been able to figure out where all the stripers have gone this year, but the perch have been very cooperative, and getting pushed round by the waves is a great way to start your day. Come join us for our monthly surf fishouts!

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Fishing the Firehole River in Yellowstone Park

by Elaine Cook

If you have never fished the Firehole, it’s fun to know that the stream has many geysers that drain into it which makes the water warm year round. Our annual trek brings us here to catch Browns and rainbows that average 9″ to 12″ and some up to 15″. This year found the water warmer than usual and only the 1st day produced fish. When the water reaches 70 degrees the fish turn off and fishing is highly discouraged. In the photo, you can see where we fished right across from a major outflow from one of the geysers and the fish readily came up for dry flies.

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Lake Almanor for the Hex hatch

Went to Lake Almanor for the first time to try out the Hex hatch with club members Bob G, Cecilia  and Darla.   Sharing the ride makes the time go faster and the trip cheaper.  Took a lesson from Tim Loomis the first evening who really helped to understand how to fish the lake and where to fish.   Others that were up  at the lake during the hatch included Kevin M, Yog, and John D.   Picture is Bob G with one of two nice trout he caught during the hatch.  The others in our group didn’t fare as well.

As of late July, the Dixie fire continues to spread and the west shore of Lake Almanor where we stayed have been evacuated.  Let’s hope that the fire gets contained, the people are safe, and we can fish the Hex hatch there for years to come.

(Pictures by Tim Loomis and Darla Lews)

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The Registers enjoying the Trinity Alps

We just finished up a week at Coffee Creek in the Trinity Alps.  Mostly rainbow planters in the creeks, unless you hike in deeper. Then it is the occasional 8-inch rainbow or brook.  On a 100F day, the family traveled up to Kangaroo Lake (6,000ft) with our float tubes and raft.  Again, mostly planters, but about 20 degrees cooler at that elevation. Here is a picture of some of the family heading out into Kangaroo with their gear. Kangaroo is in the middle of nowhere, but  it is handicap accessible.

  • John & Kim Register
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Wild surf and fun fishing!

by Sam Bishop, Surf "Fishmaster"

Dateline 5 June 2021, 0530 hours:

It was a wild surf this morning at Palm Beach! 11 loyal members showed up at dawn ready to do battle with the wild surf, sea lions and barred perch. Their skills produced 20 – 25 or so  barred perch. A rather large sea lion patrolled the area regularly and I suspect that is why no one caught a Striper. Next month we fish Manresa.

Our group: Judy Johnson, Aaron Reisman, Todd Goudberg, Jeff Gose, Mark Traugott, Robert Eberle, John Davis, Joe Clark, Sean Hyslop, Kirk Mathew and yours truly, Sam Bishop

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A great time surf fishing!

by Sam Bishop

Wow, what a great turnout for our surf fly fishing today, May 8, 2021! I think everyone but me (!) caught fish on this glorious spring day. It was a mid-flood tide, which is arguably the best time to fish the surf and the waves were breaking perfectly for us.
Attendees were Elaine Cook, Scott Kitayama, John Davis, Jerry McKeon, Doug Hessel, Jeff Slaboden, Kirk Mathew, Judy Johnson, Aaron Reismer, Jeff Gose Robert Eberle, Kevin McClish and Sam Bishop.
Next club surf outing is June 5 at Manresa. More info elsewhere under Gearing Up.

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Joshua Wilkens fishing the Yuba with his dad

Me and my dad took a guided trip on the Yuba drifting near Timbuctoo. Caught a few trout and a few steelhead. On a size 8 yellowish stimulator, a few on smaller nymphs copper johns and my all time favorite nymph, Hogan’s S & M. We saw March browns hatch and pinkies I learned about I guess there are really salmon pink mayfly looking things. I enjoyed swinging as per always and caught some on a belly ache minnow fly which opposed to a bead head or dumbbell eyes the weight is a scud weight tied to belly.
Our guide was Chuck Ragan who was awesome. Chuck turned out to be best friends with Hogan Brown who is the creator of my ‘go to’ fly, Hogan’s S & M.

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Dan Eaton’s most valuable catch at the Forebay!

On the SCFF annual O’Neil Forebay Striper fishout last October, Jeff Slaboden lost his fly rod and reel that fell off his float tube somewhere out in this body of water. He was bummed out.

While fishing the O’Neil Forebay on February 21at, Dan Eaton hooked and landed a fly rod near the towers. Being a good guy, he posted the news on Google Groups asking if anyone in the club had lost it.

As Jeff says “The odds of getting a lost rod back from the waters of San Luis reservoir are 1 in 100 million. What a great club we have with a very generous group of people.”

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Surf Fishout, October 11, 2020

by by Fishmaster Mark Traugott

Masked and socially distanced fishermen prepare to brave the surf.

We had a good turnout for the final surf fishout of the year at Palm Beach in Watsonville. Nine members hit the beach around sunrise: Sam Bishop, Elaine Cook, Gary Cramton, Bob Garborino, Scott Kitayama, Matt Maurin, the father-and-son duo of Steve and Joshua Wilkens, and myself. The fish were not overly cooperative, but it was possible to land the occasional surf perch. The proof is that Matt, one of our newest members, hooked and landed his first ever surf fish on a fly. Congratulations, Matt! Scott got the “exotic catch award” for landing a guitarfish (which I had to google, never having seen one in person.) Striped bass were, unfortunately, a no-show yet again. If you weren’t able to attend on October 11, you may want to get out to one of our State Beaches in the next few weeks, before the surf builds, the winter storms begin, and the fly-fishing focus shifts to steelhead. You can’t beat the brisk morning weather, the bright sunshine, the healthy exercise you get resisting the crashing waves, and the chance of fooling a fish.

Personal Best for Mark Traugott

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We hit the Beach Labor Day Weekend

by Fishmaster Sam Bishop

This 2020 Labor Day weekend was due to be the hottest on record, that is the temperature of course, but unfortunately the catching was cold for the six of us that met on such a beautiful morning at Manresa Beach. The beaches were closed to people sunbathing or lounging, but open to us who were participating in “Water Activities”. Scott Kitayama caught one “Guitar Fish” and no one else even had a fish tug at a fly. Pictured left to right are Scott Kitayama, Bob Garbarino and Michael Sherwood. Not pictured are Jeff Slaboden, Gary Cramton and Sam Bishop.

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Oroville with Ryan Mathew

by Sam Bishop

Remember the great presentation last meeting on fishing top-water for Bass on Lake Oroville? Well I was fascinated, so I picked up Jerry Greer, my long time business partner and avid spin fisherman in Modesto, then we flew through horrible smoke to Oroville. Oroville was much more clear than the area from about  Sacramento south, at least that day and the next.

We flew up on a Wednesday afternoon, arriving at 4 pm. Ryan picked us up with his bass boat in tow and we went straight to the lake where we fished until dead dark. I caught at least a dozen spotted bass and one smallmouth bass. Well I am not real educated on the type and identification of bass, but Ryan said that smallmouth was the largest that has been landed on his boat. So the picture of that smallmouth is attached. Didn’t look all that big to me though.

So here is another interesting revelation. Ryan, if you remember, talked about “float flies”. I didn’t know what that meant (and I doubt anyone else on the Zoom meeting did either) until we were on the water and I said let’s do that too. Lo and behold it was just an indicator/bobber, with a # 4 or #6 weighted jig hook! I had to laugh, remembering that I was in our club a year or so, afraid to show my ignorance by asking what they were talking about when they talked about an “indicator”. Heck, it just a bobber. So was this, but shaped different!

Well I am making fun of it, but it was very effective. In fact the next morning at 5 am we met Ryan at our motel and launched the boat as twilight was barely breaking. I fished the top-water poppers for over an hour with no luck, then went to the “float fly”. It worked quite well and I got at least another ten fish until we stopped at 11 am and headed back to the launch ramp, then the airport.

BTW, the flies out caught the spinner lures big time both days. Ryan even mentioned that was unusual. I was surprised too, because Jerry had great  top-water gear lures. I still would not bet serious money on catching bass on a fly rod over lures on a spinning rod.

The flight back was not particularly pleasant, with smoke extending up thousands of feet. Due to the terrible visibility, I had to make instrument approaches to Modesto to drop of Jerry, then another coming in to Watsonville. I was back to home base 24 hours after leaving with a wonderful fishing adventure stored permanently in my memory.

Thanks Jim Black for arranging that presentation. I would never have known about fishing that lake without it.

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Surf Fishout, July 11, 2020

by Mark Traugott

Nine intrepid surf casters, tired of home confinement, dragged themselves out of bed early to meet at Palm Beach in Watsonville. The roster included Adam Althoff, Ralph Berman, Sam Bishop, Elaine Cook, Gary Cramton, Jeff Gose, Scott Kitayama, Jeff Slaboden, and Mark Traugott. We started under a solid bank of fog and even a few drops of precipitation, but soon we were fanning out along the beach. The surf was moderate, and the fish were not overly cooperative. Of the folks I heard from, Adam, who drove all the way from Castro Valley, was rewarded with a couple of perch, while Scott landed a personal-best 13-incher (see photo). My only fish was a jack smelt (at least I think that’s what Elaine is holding in the attached photo – let me know if I am wrong.) By the time we quit, around 9 AM, the sun was out, and we were happy enough to return to our social isolation after a pleasant morning of playing in the surf.

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We Hit the Beach!

by Fishmaster for the Day - Sam


While the rest of the world slept (or sheltered in place), nine members of the Santa Cruz Fly Fishermen hit the beach (Manresa Beach, to be exact) at 05:30 am on Saturday, June 6, to chase the elusive sea creatures. We were so spread out, I couldn’t check with everyone before I left, but at least 15 perch had briefly come to hand before they were released. What a beautiful day it was too. So y’all come on out with us in July! (See Gearing Up for details.)

Pictured left to right, the early arrivals: Joe Clark, Peter Putt, Tom Hogye, Mark Traugott, Scott Kitayama, Judy Johnson.

Not pictured, Ralph Berman, Robert Eberle, Sam Bishop

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Kelsey Lake ( near Snelling Ca. ) May 7th and 8th

by Elaine and John Cook

First heard about this large bass lake from Jim Black, thanks Jim. Being a private lake we thought it might be a place where we could effectively accomplish social distancing and indeed that was the case. Booking is easy over phone and on line while Al Smatsky provided us with lots of great information. $100/day/fisherman, camping $25/night. It took us 3 hours to get there but we are slow behind the wheel. Now to the nitty gritty. Although we didn’t land many fish the quality was remarkable. Fat 17-22 inches beauties that fought like heck. Too bad it was a full moon and there had been a bass tournament 4 days prior. We did land ALL on poppers and that was the only method we used. Believe it or not, John caught the big ones. The bass habitat with lily pads was impressive and then there was a rock wall. We were also impressed with the camping area that was all grassed in under large trees making it easy to tolerate the heat. We are anxious to return, and will.

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by by Pat Steele

Bahamas – March 5-18:Pat and John Steele

This trip was a weird one, from beginning to end.  The first glitch came when I got the notice to check in.  I did so, and obtained my boarding pass.  I tried to get John’s pass as well, but he was not listed as a passenger on the same locator number, which was odd.  No matter what search criteria I used, I could not find John.  John finally resorted to calling the airline, and to his dismay, he was not ticketed, so after spending all afternoon on the phone, he finally managed to get a last-minute ticket.

We got the same flight, although not seated together, and arrived in Atlanta, spent the night as planned, and flew out to Georgetown Exuma the following morning.

We picked up a small car at the airport.  We noted several scratches on the right front door of the vehicle.  We stopped by a deli to get some lunch provisions, and when we came back out to the car, we noticed a big dent on the same side of the car as the scratches.  John was afraid we would be held accountable for the dent, but it was rusty and had obviously happened before we rented the car.  A lady saw us walking around the car, fretting, and came out.  She offered to call the car rental place to tell them about the dent, as she was related to the owner of the rental agency.  She squared things up with them, and we went on our way.

Tom Pelikan and Noelle Nichols had gotten to Exuma several days before us, and they reported they had had a good day’s fishing, so we anticipated something similar.  That was not to be.  The weather was so windy our guide, Drex Rolle, called us to cancel our first day’s fishing.  We spent the first three days hunkered down, waiting for conditions to improve.  We finally got to go out, John went up to bat first.   Try as he might, he couldn’t seem to work line out or get any distance on his casts.  Drex coached him, and finally took the rod to demonstrate, much to John’s chagrin.  Drex caught a mangrove on his back cast, wiggled the line to get it loose, only to have the tip section come off the end of the rod.  He carefully retrieved the rod tip, and discovered it had fractured right above the ferrule.  Fortunately, we had my Orvis Helios II, which John used for the rest of the day.  I only got up briefly all day.  I think John got two fish, tagged a few more but did not land them.  It was a pretty scanty day.

The next time we went out a couple of days later, I caught a good-sized bone fish on my second cast.  We thought, hoo, boy, it’s going to be a great day if this keeps up!  It didn’t.  John didn’t score until after lunch.  There were the few schoolies after that, but nothing to write home about.

We had a third day out, but again, the fishing was not that productive.  Tom and Noelle had to leave before we were to depart, so John offered to take them to the airport.  After dropping them off, he went over to the car rental agency to thank them for being so nice about the dent.  No good deed goes unpunished.  He backed into a post behind the car and put a sizable dent in the bumper!

We spent the rest of our time resting, reading, and watching the COVID-19 crisis unfold.  We were worried we wouldn’t be able get back into the USA.  It came time for us to try to fly home.  We got back out to the airport, checked the car in and John settled the bumper issue with the rental agency.  We got in line to check in.  John suddenly discovered he did not have his passport!  He ran back across the street to the car rental agency to look for it.  I got out of line and piled our bags in the corner.  I waited, almost in tears, not knowing what he was doing.  He was gone for almost an hour, and his phone was left in my bag, so I had no idea what was going on.  He finally came running back in, having found the passport back at our bungalow, on the bathroom floor.  We checked in, and got aboard, and flew in to Atlanta.  We were supposed to fly out to LAX and then on to SJC after clearing customs.  We got aboard a nice, cushy 777, but they couldn’t start the starboard engine.  They fiddled with it for over an hour before pushing us back to the gate and making us get off.  The time for our connections had long since lapsed, so we had to rebook with the gate agents.  They couldn’t get us home that same night, so they gave us hotel vouchers, and booked us on a morning flight straight through to SJC.

We stayed in the airport Westin in Atlanta.  We left instructions for a wakeup call for 6 AM.  Not only did they not call, the room clock had not been reset for EDT, so when we did arise, we only had 30 minutes to jump on the shuttle and get ourselves over to the airport, go through TSA, and get on the westbound flight.  It was eerie.  We were on a 737, and counting us, there were only 20 passengers on the flight.

This isn’t so much an article about fishing as it is a caveat for anyone planning any trips in the near future.  We can’t fault the good people of Exuma, they took very good care of us, fed us well, and did their level best to make our vacation enjoyable.  Nobody has control on fishing, nature or a pandemic.  All we can do is cope, use good sense, wash our hands, stay home and pray this latest crisis resolves itself.  For now, we are just happy to be home, safe and well!