There’s no way to truly take advantage of this job and its hunting and fishing opps and stay married. And get any sleep. But in these next few days and weeks, I will push the envelope. For you readers, of course, Not for me. Yeah, right.
Now that I have the two hip surgeries behind me, which were perfectly timed around fishing, tournaments and weddings, I’m a little gimpy but none the worse for wear and tear after 60 years and a lot of running, surfing and marathons. Yes, I’m that old, and if you give it some perspective, I started here at WON 31 years ago, the year before the last, great El Niño of ’83 and 84. Ah, the good old days. Hell, I like the new ones. Better meds.
I’ve never been one to sit still. Four days after my latest replacement surgery I drove to work. The paper goes out every Monday. I want to be there. But, I also want to fish and hunt, and being on the sidelines is no damn fun. So I’m getting busy, starting today.
It’s 4:30 a.m. as I write this on Sunday before I head to Orange County to board a flight to Sitka, where a one-week “business” trip begins with a charter float plane trip to a remote lake. Not part of the WON trip I am hosting for 30 people at Kingfisher Lodge two days after I arrive.
I decided to take my own advice to folks who come up for ocean fishing, and am going for a little coastal lake fishing with lodge owner and longtime friend Seth Bone. There’s three of us on the trip tomorrow, and we’re bringing tackle, and a large handgun for bears. They scare the hell out of me, more than sharks off Manhattan Beach, I can tell you that. Sharks can’t run or climb, and I ain’t that fast a runner these days.
We rented a national forest cabin for the day, for $65 online, primarily because it comes with a boat. Seth is bringing the Dirty Harry handgun with a shoulder holster and the freshwater tackle. I’m pretty stoked about this trip, a bucket list item. When we get back, we have a party for the WON group and the lodge does its thing as the perfect host, and I just record the fun on my Canon camera and iPad. A short YouTube video is on the way on both trips.
So, after three days of amazing scenery and food and fishing for silvers, kings, rockfish, lings and halibut I head to Portland and then to the coast to troll downhill 100 miles for — get this — albacore, on Eat Me Lures owner John Boyer’s sleek Cabo 35. Been saying I’ll do it someday. When you hit 60 and have what Billy Crystal calls “procedures,” those somedays are todays.
Then it’s back to work next Monday to get the dove opener results and the paper out the door, and then the next Friday Saturday, the 5th and 6th my attention goes to the Yamaha/WON Dana Landing San Diego Open I direct (sign-ups are coming in fast now), maybe a skiff trip on my boat midweek, then a dove weekend at a local ranch with Bart Hall and a bunch of friends. Three weeks later is the Cedros Island trip I host each year (yeah!) then I finish prep for 9 days in Cabo for the WON Tuna Jackpot, in early November. We are, by the way, 40 percent ahead of our sign-ups at this time last year when we had 136 boats, our fourth straight increase. So, 150 teams this year!?
By now you’ve gathered that I’m either nuts or confident that my new hips will take the stress of five days of fishing and two days of dove hunting a month after surgery. No problem. Hip replacement is a blessing and I’m already riding my bike 20 miles a day, swimming and lifting. I’m ready to let the games begin. You folks had a head start, but I’ll get my licks in. Starting now.
Quick dove note: Reader confusion. After Jim, a reader, called the DFW office and was told that WON was wrong, that the limit is still TEN birds, I went ballistic. Know your regs, DFW guys! Okay, so the state dove limit is now 15 birds. The old DFW regs for 2013-14 are still up on the web confusing even some of the office personnel, obviously, and they have the limit as 10, but the new limits posted under the 2014-15 regs on the DFW site now show, correctly, 15 birds, 10 of which can be whitewing, max. Or 15 mourning dove, or whatever mix gets you to 15, and 45 max possession. Eurasian have no limit and no season starting Sept. 1. All year, all the time, all the birds you want, kicking off with the beginning of this year’s dove season.
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Pat McDonell is editor of WON, he can be reached at email@example.com.