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Saturday, February 16 , 2019, 6:01 am | Fair 50º


Captain’s Log: Sharing a Seafaring Adventure with Kids Is Good for Everyone

A whole bunch of us — more than 20 people in all — chartered the Stardust, presumably for Shaun Vague’s birthday, but really it was for the sake of pure adventure with the kids. The trip was arranged by Shaun’s wife, Capt. Tiffany Vague (my daughter, and Shaun is my son-in-law).

Stardust, which operates out of Sea Landing in the Santa Barbara Harbor, is a great boat for adventure, because the crew is top drawer. Capt. Dane Johnston was at the helm. Sal, Kyle and Rafael were the capable and affable crew members who seemed to be everywhere, helping everyone, all at once.

Kyle even kept the galley pumping out piping hot boat burgers all the while. Nothing is better than a boat burger to happy and hungry fisherfolk.

The passenger list was almost half made up of kids, and their dads came along, too. It was perfect because dads and kids got to fish together, and there was a whole lotta great interaction and instruction going on. Yup, those kids taught their dads everything they needed to know about fishing. Well, OK, maybe it was the other way around — but not entirely!

We ran way up the coast to points off of Tajiguas and Hollister Ranch, where we found challenging fishing conditions in the form of a raging uphill current. We tied on heavier weights, Capt. Dane did some masterful boat handling and the fish came up nicely. It was a healthy and tasty mix of lingcod, red snapper, copper rockfish, blue rockfish, bocaccio and olive rockfish.

The jackpot winning fish went about 20 pounds. The winner must be kept a secret, but he was gracious enough to give the jackpot money to the crew as a tip. That crew deserved it.

With so many kids along, all between about 8 and 12 years old, they never got bored. Lots of time was spent fishing with their dads, and when the boat was moving, they all had each other for entertainment and camaraderie.

On the long ride up the coast and back down the coast, we were frequently joined by dolphins that rode the bow and stern waves or frolicked nearby while our fisherfolk cheered them on. Everyone had an absolute blast. I highly recommend high adventures like this for groups of friends, families and organizations. It brings people together, builds skills and a sense of accomplishments, and it puts some mighty healthy meals on the table.

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

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