Sunday, September 15, 2013

Paddling Anchor Bay

 I recently returned from a trip up the coast where I was treated to some of the most beautiful scenery in the state. Anchor Bay is located about 5 miles north of Gualala.

We arrived at Anchor Bay Campground Wednesday afternoon and the weather was unbelievably beautiful. The seas were calm and barely a breeze blew. We stayed in the Crows Nest which is a little cabin on a cliff overlooking the bay. I couldn't wait to get on the water and start exploring but not having much experience on the ocean kept me onshore until some friends arrived who had paddled and dived this area for many years.

The following morning brought the same conditions as the previous day and my friend and I launched from "chicken cove" which is a couple hundred yards north of the beach in front of the campground. Many brave souls attempt to launch directly in front of the campground which provides great entertainment for campers because few succeed and most launches end in spectacular fails. It's actually quite humorous to see how fast the word spreads through camp that someone is preparing to launch. It doesn't matter if people are eating breakfast or dinner, everyone grabs their plates and heads to the beach for a show. What's really cool is that when people fail there's always someone there to help gather lost items that weren't lashed down.

"Chicken Cove" provides a safe launch with gentle swells lapping the shore and no serious breakers. We launched around 10 a.m. with low tide predicted at 10:20. Tim brought his fishing gear and let me borrow a couple of jigs to try my hand at ocean fishing. We paddled a little over a half mile out towards Fish Rock and Tim dropped his line on the edge of a bed of kelp. Within 30 seconds he had a fish on the line. He pulled in a nice blacksmith also know as a "blackie". I continued to watch Tim catch two more "blackie" until I finally decided it was time for me to give it a try. I dropped my line outside of another bed of kelp but I had issues getting my line to the bottom because I didn't have enough weight. After fixing that issue I tried again but no bites for me. Tim wasn't having any luck either so we moved to another location to no avail. I ended up snagging my line and had to cut it loose. I really didn't have the proper rod and reel for saltwater fishing but it was fun to try. I paddled around the area for awhile longer while he continued fishing. It was great being on the water on such a beautiful day!

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