I just wanted to share a few observations from the perspective of an experienced freshwater fisherman and boater spending his first season fishing on salt water. I thought that some of the old hands may find the perspective of a new guy amusing and some of the new guys may learn a thing or two. This winter I ran into a great deal on a 28’ Glasply boat that I just fell in love with. The learning curve was a little steep, but I got some help from a few old salts and now I feel fairly confident about my boat handling skills. I have found that quite a few other facets of enjoying the outdoors on saltwater surprised me. I decided to share some of the things that I learned with the folks on this forum. I have learned a lot here and just wanted to give a little back.
Eagles do in fact swim. I never would have believed it but last week right outside of Whittier I watched one of them do it. As we were coming back into harbor I saw a bald eagle swimming on the surface of the water. The people that I had taken out for the day started lobbying to come about and use a landing net to rescue the bird. My immediate response was that there wasn't a chance in hell that I was going to net a carnivorous predator and then try to wrestle it into submission on the deck of my boat. As we watched the eagle managed to struggle back into the air and circled around to make another try for a large dead cod floating on the surface. That stupid bird grabbed a fish twice his size, refused to let go, and promptly went beak first into the drink again. That was how I learned that eagles can swim, and that eagles are morons.
Shrimp may be the smartest thing in the ocean including dolphins, and otters. A shrimp’s brain is (depending on species) somewhere between the size of a grin of rice and a small pea. This is interesting because even with a brain the size of a grain of rice those ugly little bug eyed aliens are smarter then me. I’ve tried deep water, shallow water, long soaks, short soaks, commercial shrimp bait, hanging bait, mud bottoms, gravel bottoms, and rocky ledges (ok that last one was just a dumb idea, but if I hadn't tried I wouldn’t know). At almost every turn, those irritating pink bugs outsmarted and eluded me. What I can catch is starfish, I must have caught two hundred of the little round ones with squiggly arms. If anyone has a recipe for those let me know.
I would like to close with a few words on halibut. I have fished halibut on charters for many years, and until recently I considered myself to be good at it. Since buying my own boat I have learned things about them that I never would have guessed at. For example; Halibut have remarkable hearing, and the discipline of a veteran legionnaire. A halibut can stare drooling at a beautifully presented piece of herring for hours, waiting for the perfect moment to make his play. From four hundred feet below a boat a halibut can hear a sandwich being unwrapped. In that instant he can strike like the fist of an angry God, totally avoid the hook, and be swimming away with your bait in his belly while you are still looking for the little mayo packet. I have learned a lot so far this year. I think I have learned enough to believe that ignorance may actually be bliss. I am going to go back to reading other peoples posts for a while now, they clearly know more about this stuff than I do.