Thursday, August 13, 2009

Warming Up

The Inland Valleys are warming up again, Mother Nature's acting just like she should in mid-August.

I spent some time this afternoon at work on my buddy's boat, "SturgeUrge" We're going to launch SturgeUrge onto San Francisco Bay Friday morning and spend the day chasing those delicious flatfish, California Halibut...and Beatin' The Heat!

San Francisco is famous for it's Summer Weather...the Mark Twain attribution: "The coldest winter I ever saw was the summer I spent in San Francisco", has not yet been verified, but millions believe he said it, wrote it, and lived it...especially after riding a San Francisco Cable Car in August. Ghostly white legs clad in Bermuda Shorts help those beliefs become indelible.

The SF Bay and the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta sit astride the "Great Natural Air Conditioner" The phrase "Nature's Air Conditioner" gets worn out every summer in these parts by almost every Local WeatherCaster droning thru their Weather Sound-Bite Minutes on TV and Radio.

It's a simple machine really...the Great Central Valley heats up during the day...that heat rises...creating the "Thermal Low". Out on the foggy coast, colder denser air is sinking, and acts like a "High Pressure Area" compared to the rising Valley air east of the Delta. Then the wind begins to blow from "High" to "Low"

The Golden Gate is where the combined Sacramento and San Joaquin River System waters find their way thru the Bays and Delta and into the Pacific Ocean. In the Summer the magnificent Golden Gate funnels the afternoon winds right through San Francisco Bay, towards the Upper Bays...San Pablo Bay and Suisun Bay, and on into the Delta and Valley beyond.

The San Andreas Fault opened the Coast Range...right beneath the Golden Gate Bridge... creating the huge estuarine nursery system so enjoyed by spawning Herring, California Halibut, Striped Bass, Juvenile Dungeness Crabs and several non-game species.

Back at "The Weather Center" there's usually another cliche uttered near the end of the forecast..."Nature abhors a vacuum, so the wind will begin to blow..." This boilerplate is repeated hourly, day in, and day out, beginning in mid-April and playing like the antique "stuck record" 'till the "Rainy Season" begins come October or November. This vacuum deal seems to me a misnomer, but it rolls off the tongue better than the alternatives, I guess.

The Weather Cliche is the reason Local Weather Reporters all start gushing every fall, when they can finally turn off their Auto-Pilots, re-engage their hearts and brains, and start enjoying their careers again!

The other things to recommend the Machine are the nice cool days spent boating on the Bay! Escape from the Inland Valleys' heat is just part of the fun out on the Bay. Sailing is really popular here, there are reliable winds all summer long...and they really get going just about quitting time for regular Daytime Worker Bees!

Halibut fishermen enjoy the cool, but need to work around the wind. The LazyBones Method is "Drift Fishing" that is drifting a bait right at the bottom, propelled only by the Tidal a Perfect World! The LBM is the extra nice way to fish because it's quiet, slow-paced and relaxing, and there's no engine fumes like you get when you're slow-trolling...
(the Commercial Fisherman's preferred hook & line halibut method)

Tides are the Bay Angler's best friend...tidal currents carry the prey (bait) to our prey (Halibut Dinner) Halibut are usually thought of as "Ambush Hunters" who conceal themselves in the soft bottom, and wait 'till the prey drifts by, and whammo-dinner!

The wind complicates "The Drift" like nobody's business...the best you can hope for is wind and current working your drift together-like a team. This happens once in a Blue Moon. We settle for what we can get, or barring that, we hunt around the Bay trying to "stay outta the wind" so we can enjoy another productive drift.

A quick glance at the Tide Calendar for Friday, shows the day to have "Halibut Tides" that is, gentle changes from High Tide to Low Tide. This means slower Tidal Currents, which means the water won't be as roiled-up, and will stay cleaner so the sight hunting Halibut have a better chance to see our baits.

Tides cycle with the Moon and Big Tides alternate weeks with Halibut Tides...Bay Area Fishermen call Big Tides: Sturgeon Tides. It's a cool thing if you get to fish every week. This week week, Halibut...variety, the spice of life.

My Fishing Buddy (AKA SturgeUrge) is the only person I don't work with who enjoys Sundays and Mondays as their Days Off. This has been working for us for 20+ years...Summers we're fishing on the Bay and Ocean, alternating with Sierra Camping and Trout Fishing. Winters, SturgeUrge skis my Mountain alternating with me Sturgeon Fishing Suisun Bay on his's a racket, I tell ya, a racket!

What you ask does any of this have to do with CorduroyPlanet? Nothing really...I just needed to think "Cool Thoughts" after pondering Heat and Warming all week! I'm going to muse on Snowcat Heaters soon enough, but I'm already half-baked...Iced Coffee couldn't cut it this afternoon...this space will heat up soon enough.

1 comment:

  1. I know those Bay Area blows well. Where I grew up (a few miles from the SturgeUrge compound) the wind comes howling over the Berkeley hills, slams into and over SturgeUrge ridge and from thence through a saddle back ridge to the west of my childhood home. If it is going to blow anywhere, it will blow there. The SturgeUrge compound is fairly protected, nestled down on the east side of SturgeUrge ridge, but my folk's home always gets the full blast. Good for extreme kite flying, but that's about it.