Wednesday, January 17 , 2018, 4:20 am | Fair 48º


Captain’s Log: Salmon Season Opens with High Hopes

I’ve got a powerful hankerin’ for a fresh salmon dinner. Not as in healthy food store or meat market fresh. Not as in farmed fish fresh. I’m talking about a fish that was swimming wild in the sea just hours before dinner. That’s the kind of fish that delights the palate.

This Saturday, April 5, is the date that hundreds of boaters have had a circle around on our calendars, so that we can keep focused on salmon season. That is the opener. It will be amazing to see all the boats take to sea that morning.

A reporter once asked a tackle shop manager, “How many boats will be out on opening day?” The experienced manager smiled and replied, “All of them!”

Having breakfast at Moby Dick Restaurant on Stearns Wharf should be an interesting vantage point both mornings this weekend, if you are looking for some entertainment and want to watch the excitement in the harbor entrance. Every kind of boat will be out there chasing salmon. I’ll be out there myself, aboard my charter boat, WaveWalker.

The big question is, how good of a salmon season will this turn out to be? I’ll tell you this: Every time I think I begin to understand salmon, it means they are about to teach me a whole new lesson in humility. So, I’ll wait and see. One thing is for sure: I won't catch one without a line in the water. So I’ll keep trolling and hoping.

Thinking about catching one yourself? Just talk to nearly anyone you know who has a boat. That person is probably already tempted to go out. Just offer to pay for the gas and help wash up the boat. That is often all the incentive needed.

Other options do exist. Try one of our private charter services. Capt. Tony Vultaggio can be reached at 805.637.3425, and I can be reached at 805.964.2046.

Here are some of the basics you’ll need, besides a boat: a 6- to 8-foot 15-30-pound rod (or thereabouts), a conventional (baitcasting) reel filled with monofilament line, weight releases (or a downrigger), weights, dodgers or flashers, spoon lures, hoochies, baitholders (for anchovies, sardines or herring) and some thing to measure your catch to make sure it is legal.

For a synopsis of our regulations, click here and then click on our region to view the fishing regulations.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >