July 29, 2013

Gone Fishin’

Photo: The 'Wacky Jacky' fishing boat heads out on the water

July 23rd - 4 WBRC students had a wonderful opportunity to go on a fishing excursion through the WBRC Recreation Therapy Program.  This excursion on a sport fishing boat was donated by Post 564 of the American Legion, specifically so that the WBRC vets could go out and experience sport fishing in the Pacific.  After an early start and loading the van at 5 am, the group drove up to San Francisco to catch the boat.  It was amazing how empty Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco was at 6 am in the morning.  The group met up with some of the members of the American Legion, and we all climbed down the ladder to board the Wacky Jacky.  Captain Jacky explained the main goal was to make sure the WBRC Veterans had a chance to catch fish, so when there was a tug on the line, they would get first dibs on it.  And out we sailed, into the fog, under the Golden Gate via the shipping channel.  We could later tell when the fog burned off that the Golden Gate Bridge and coastline were in the far distance.

The water was really calm that day (the captain and crew remarked on how unusual that was), and also how many other fishing boats were out there, with the same purpose: to catch salmon.  The Wacky Jacky had fishing poles secured all around the boat and they used anchovies as bait.  Soon, the fish started biting, first one salmon, then another, until each student had caught a fish.  Not only that, each fish weighed well over 20 pounds! Then, the there was a lull again of over an hour and then another tug on the line and this one was a huge salmon, caught by one of the American Legion vets, and it was 30 pounds!!   Then all of a sudden, the fish stopped biting – the boat circled around for a couple of hours but no more bites. So all in all 6 huge fish caught! This was the first time fishing for one of the students, and they came back with a 20 pound fish – very impressive. 

As the fish were caught the crew would kill the fish with a whack on the head with a wooden mallet and  place them in a container that had continual sea water washing over them.  When we got into port, one of the crew members expertly filleted the salmon.  Some scraps were given to bystanders lined up on the pier to get scraps, so really nothing went to waste.  Pictures were taken of the guys with their fish, and it was a really impressive catch - even tourists took snaps of that – and each student got a T-shirt from Jacky to commemorate their trip.  All in all a fascinating experience fishing with the Wacky Jacky – and the next day, a salmon BBQ at WBRC with all the Veterans and Staff for lunch!

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