|My first yellowtail and white seabass eluded me for at least three years of trying, chasing the fish counts and reports. And 19 years later so did the picture of the firsts from the Toronado that was somewhere, just had to be somewhere, in the archives. But after a little searching and scouring, I found the picture that I mailed in with a short description and was bummed to see only ran in what I now know is one column on newsprint (note the epic plaid shorts and awesome Ray Bans and boring caption):
A lot of trips and fish bleed together, but not this one. Not these. I ate the heart out of the yellowtail after some grizzled construction worker guy handed this yellowtail virgin no more — who he had to have realized was a 13-year-old at most — a King of Beers. It all still feels real familiar. Not it-happened-yesterday familiar, but familiar enough to get a warm fuzzy feeling in the back of the neck and taste the reason why I never like Bud.
The hot sun off the East End of Catalina, the wanting to puke off the port side after mid heart-filled gulp that was gagged down with what tasted like piss, the mid-channel stoke with the construction worked guy who binked two of the yellows and conspired to make me puke, the getting the fillets. And the smile that came with the gunny sack getting handed over with the fillet bags back at Long Beach Sportfishing. It's a feeling I don't think I could ever get again.
The memories are there, as is the desire... although I thought the seabass was a little bigger :-).