Catalinas Superb Fighter: The "Sudden" Yellowtail a Fish of Great Beauty and Courage.; Story of a Stout Fisherwoman Who Waited and Conquered at Last., Daily Racing Form, 1919-03-24


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CATALINAS SUPERB FIGHTER The Sudden Yellowtail a Fish of Great Beauty and Courage CourageStory Story of a Stont Plsherwoiuan Vho AV Ite l ami Conanereil at Once upon a time all that I knew about yellowtail was that no matter what other varieties of fish the Los Angeles markets did not have during the summer season they always did have plenty of yellowtail And that it smelled badly indeed when being cooked so was a most excellent tiling to avoid in a bungalow kitchen writes May H Hosford in Forest and Stream StreamAfter After a while I dimly realized that it was the catching and not the eating of this fish that was the reason for its popularity and presently I was aware that oven some of the most confirmed of my trout fishing friends made annual pil ¬ grimages to Santa Catalhta for yellowtail just as religiously as they did to the Sespe or the San Gabriel for their freshwater loves lovesFinally Finally I found myself a more or less permanent resident of the famous little Magic Isle that lias its raison detre in fishing and fishermen and as it is as bad to live at Santa Cataliua and not regulate ones rising ups and sitting downs by the whims of the finny children of Xeptune as it is to live in Hollywood and not lx able to tell the visiting tourist whether the movie queen in the passing Packard is Lillian Gish or only a directors favor ¬ ite extra it behooved me to think of yellowtail in other terms than fries and chowders chowdersAfter After much diligent study I fjometimes feel as if I know less now than when I started in For even my original premises have had to be altered Yel ¬ lowtail are not always available in summer and they have no more odor than the most delicate of sole if cooked within a reasonable period of time after their demise But at any rate I have con ¬ firmed the hearsay evidence of Ilici fascination of catching them THRILL OF FIRST YELLOWTAIL FIGHT FIGHTI I dont suppose I shall ever live to be old enough to forget the thrill of my own first battle with one We were rockbass fishing at Ship Rock just opposite the isthmus and the June wind blew through the draw with a January chill Long swells lifted the kelp and surged into creamy foam about tho cliff cliffThe The Captain was spearing tiny blue perch to use as live bait and I was having a glorious time catching sixpound bass with them Even a six IRiund bass puts up a tiring fight for a novice on tho delicate sixounce rod and ninethread line of the regulation light tackle outfits and there was almost more of dismay than joy in my heart when my reel gave tongue as the Hue streamed off in a wonderful run end the Captain shouted Thats a yellowtail Strike him hard And look out for the kelp kelpT T struck and fortune was with me for tho hook held and my first battle was on onIt It hardly seems possible that that fish Weighed only twenty nounds Two hundred Vras more like it froni the way he fought I lifted and reeled and lifted and reeled and the line that had rim out by yards came in by quarter inches Sweat one does not perspire in a caseOf that sort began to take tu curl out of my Ifair and in spite of the wind I wished my sweater were with the boys in the trenches trenchesThe The Captains encouragements and advices came over my shoulder shoulderYoure Youre doing splendidly Nearly half yolir line in already Take it easy Dont work so hard Let the fish tire himself instead of you doing it all Heel a little slower as your rod goes down Lift your rod more evenly you jork it too much Youre getting along like a veteran veteranAnd And then the fish turned tail and ran away not only with all my retrieved line but a hundred feet or so that was at first undisturbed I was sure I had said goodby to him forever and stood there dully holding tho rod and not atteinpting to save him in any way wayA A CUNNING FIGHTER AND HIS TRICKS Hold him Hold him yelled the Captain Dont give him any slack Reel reel like the devil or hes a goner sure sureAutomatically Automatically I reeled I felt rather dazed The line came in easily easilyIve dejectlyXo Ive lest him I said dejectly Xo you havent Xotyct but you will If you dont get a taut line on him himBefore Before the Captain had finished speaking I felt a slight twitch Then the Hue straightened and the rod bent He was still on onFor For about seven years I stood in the stern of that swaying boat lifting on the swells the salt water from the line dripping on my clothes and making my fingers slip on the reel my hands and arms growing more and more numb teeth gritted eyes set sweat stinging my forehead iutolerably mind a dumb blank with only some unaccountable instinct keeping me at the fight I heard the Cap ¬ tains voice from an immense distance distanceIn In the beginning of the eighth year there was a sudden swirl of the water in front of me a glint of yellow fins and then the wire leader came in sight I was half consciously aware that the Cap ¬ tain was leaning over the coaming gaff in one hand and the other outstretched for the leader leaderHe He didnt get it For the fish was off again This time I could have cried from discouragement if I had been of the crying temperament As it was my righteous indignation was aroused No fish could treat me like that and not suffer for it Indeed not notFrom From my present heights of experience I know that he could and that it was only luck that saved him for Vmol but fortunately my ignorance at that time fell under the category of that which is blissful blissfulAt At any rate I went to the fight with my dander up I lifted and reeled took and gave held the rod witli a grip that made my knuckles stand out like splashes of white paint against the brown of my hands took the jigging of the fish and ulti ¬ mately retrieved the elusive leader leaderThe The Captain lifted him aboard Delicate shadiiigs of color were rippling over the iridescent body faint rose amber a tinge of jade and palest blue Tn fins anil tail were brililaut with guld Never will I catch a more beautiful fish for never again will it be my first firstI I could not near to have so much loveliness hidden in the dark of tho fish tank so 1 hung over it gloating My yellowtail My own fish caught with my own strength and skill Cant you nil look back through the years and see yourselves at such a time timePRIDE PRIDE ABOUT FIRST FISH CAUGHT CAUGHTI I remember watching the umiles of amusement that passed oyer the faces of the restaurant diners at one of Avalons cafes when an angler still in his fishing clothes entered with a huge bundle under him arm took a table called a waiter had a chair placed well out to the aisle opened the bundle and exposed a thirtypound yellowtail Carefully ho made a nest of the paper more carefully still he placed the fish in it moved the chair a little studied the lighting effect moved it again and then sat down He looked at thr fish from that angle rose again and made infinitesimal readjust ¬ ment and then accepted the menu card from the waiting servitor servitorDuring During the interim between the giving of his order and its arrival lie moved the chair three times Then he sat quietly and looked at that fisli as most men look at the face of their beloved Yes belovedYes it was his first yellowtail And I remem ¬ bered my own fish that day at Ship Bock and stopped on my way out to congratulate him on his catch catchSince Since then I have had the good fortune to land a number of these splendid fighters Practice lias in ¬ creased my skill but nothing could better my luck In fact when I hook fight and lose my yellowtail with the frequency that marks this fish as one extremely difficult to land I sometimes wonder if the results would not be more gratifying if I wero to return to the beginners luck that was with me in my first battle and forget the wisdom I have acquired in the more skillful use of my tackle But like the days of our youth that time is gone forever foreverHowever However all the interest in and enjoyment of yellowtail does not come from catching them Tiiev are like the roses that bid fair to smother our California gardens in springtime Ono cannot pick more than a fraction of the gorgeous blossoms or smell them or even give more than a passing glance to a great many of them But one can enjoy seeing them knowing they are there watching for their coming and noting their gradual disappearance disappearanceHOW HOW THE YELLOWTAIL FIRST COMES COMESSo So with the yellowtail Along in January when one gets a thrill of spring when a fisherman comes in with the news Yellowtail at Whites Landing I saw quite a number pass under the boat Tin word spreads and all ones angling friends grpet one with Did you hoar about the yellowtnllV Su and so saw them at Whites WhitesPresently Presently some one else sees them at Soa Hofk or Gallahers or in any one of the numerous iovos on the lee of Catalina They are loafing along resting from their migratory journey up the coast and baitsThen interested not at all in hooks or baits Then they work to ihe surface and oh calm days when the sea is like a mirror and so crystal clear that one can see to marvelous depths we stand on the bow of the launch and watch the gentle ap ¬ proach of a great school schoolA A slight ripple marks the advance and tho water shows brown in certain lights Glints of gohl flecked sea as tails or fins project above tile surface Generally the formation is like that of wild geese in their long flights a triangular body of fish advancing evenly slowly and unswervingly They unswervinglyThey come quite close to the boat We can easily discern the individual fish see the placid movements of tail and fins catch the flash of creamy ellles under the dark backs and marvel at the methodical ease of their progress Unless tilt boat is directly in front of them thev pass us with apparently not so much as a glance If wo bar their wiiy they sink without commotion are Inst ta us for some minutes and then come serenely to the surface again several hundred feet away If the boatman is skillful and there is no one else about to disturb or frighten the fish one can often circle and watch them for an hour or more Halts can be trailed just in front or directly through the school They cause neither alarm nor interest On rare occasions one of tho tailenders will give a halfhearted strike at the shining artificiality Perhaps artificialityPerhaps all the young and foolish fish are rele ¬ gated to the bottom of the class But none is quite foolish enough to actually book Vhich is mad ¬ dening indeed to the person who cannot see a fish without wanting to catch it Personally I would not break up the serene and perfect formation of one of those cool schools of surfacing yellowtail by the rudeness of a fight for the biggest record of the lot lotFISH FISH IN PLENTY FOR BIG CATCHES CATCHESPerhaps Perhaps a month after the first news of the yellowtail conies the first catch The schools are gradually beginning to feed With increasing fre ¬ quency they are seen thrashing about on the surface the water a swirl of golden fins But ho who gets a strike is lucky indeed indeedThe The pleasant spring days slip by The island lies in the sun a dreamland of gentle green hills and brilliant cliffs of rose and amber and blue black The drowsy waves sing softly about its feet and myriads of birds find shelter along its shores Air and water are vivid with life and on the hills the quail are calling to their mates matesStill Still the yellowtail are quiescent Barraconda and mackerel are giving anglers busy sport white sea bass are beginning to appear and the coast is alive with bait Except for an occasional fluke strike the bigger beauties refuse to be attracted Talk on the Boatmens Pier at Avalon is rife concerning them but talk makes no catches catchesDiscouragement Discouragement begins to creep in Nothing doing with the yellowtail this season is the opinion of the majority But it does not last long For without warning except to the one or two of those who have insight into much that is hidden to the casual observant an afternoon comes where the fish open up when thej tear the water into a snowy froth and leap high into the air perform a thousand mad antics on the surface toss bait twenty feet above them and bite and bite and bite biteAt At last the boat of one of those who excel in tho understanding1 of the signs that the sea gives comes in with its catch With entirely justifiable pride it draws up at the pier The fish tank is uncovered A yellowtail is docked The crowd that is always on hand to watch the unloading of the afternoon catches murmurs Another big one is swung to the float Kxcitemcnt grows growsTwo Two yellowtail What do you know about that everyone exclaims to his neighbor v A third fish comes to view The boatman bends over the tank again A fourth The voices of the crowd are high pitched by this time and there is considerable jostling for advantageous viewpoints Five six seven There must be legerdemain about that tank Surely no one angler could be so for ¬ tunate tunateEight Eight great fish lie on tho dock And still the boatman reaches into the tank The angler stands by honest pride glowing on his tired and sunburned face faceThe The ninth yellowtail swings into view The crowd is quiet now too tense for mere words The boat ¬ man rests for a moment It takes strength to dock thirtypounders Then he leans far down his arm disappears for a few seconds his shoulder muscles ripple under the soft brown shirt and when he straightens again lie lifts the tenth fish ashore

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Local Identifier: drf1919032401_6_4
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