Steve's Tolman Project 81th page...

May 13th, 2008

Happy Birthday to me. I turned half a century today. Some days I feel that ancient and more and other days I feel 27. Funny thing how time flies. One minute I'm 27, playing drums in a punk band in local bars in Florida, then my Dad ups and gets Cancer and dies, and the next minute I'm his age when he kicked the bucket. What's up with that?

Today I celebrate not only my birthday but also my fourth anniversary of starting treatment for Stage one Non-Hodgekins Lymphoma, Large Diffuse B Cell. I was lucky in that it was caught early. Chances for cure are much better at Stage one than at Stage 4. Why do I mention this history in public? Well, I think that if others who have this disease stumble upon my posting, and see that there's a chance of cure, then they will have increased hope and desire to keep on keeping on. And at any rate, I've passed my last round of blood tests and PET/CT scan though it was a bit dicey for a few weeks after an initial semi-annual CT scan showed an enlarged lymph node. We all breathed a sigh of relief when the second set of results came back negative. Cancer is tough on the person who gets it, but it's probably every bit as hard for those supporting loved ones.

To celebrate my birthday I took off work and went fishing. It was a busy morning trying to get things ready for the boat wetting, and there were still all of the normal things to do that we do on a Tuesday morning. Kids needed to be fed, and Eleanor taken to pre-school, and Henry taken to day care. Eleanor asked if I'd take her to school, and for a minute I balked, not wanting to delay my trip to the water, but I thought about it, and decided that life is too short to not spend time with your kids, even if it is only a ten minute ride to school. Henry wanted to go for the ride also, and so I loaded them both up, and we set off for school. Was a good decision. it allowed me a little time on my birthday, to reflect on how lucky a fellow I am. I could barely keep my eyes off them in the rear view mirror. The 5 1/2 year old Eleanor and almost 2 year old Henry were cute as buttons and in a good mood. Put me in an even better mood.

Dropped off Eleanor, and Henry and I headed home. Arrived just in time for Rebecca to swap keys and the car so she could drop off Henry and head to work. She took off with Henry and I got back to hooking up the boat to the truck. Made one last inventory of stuff on the boat, and mentally went over my checklist for proper and safe trailering, and headed off to the bait shop.

Picked up a bag of popsickle anchovies and just for the heck of it, a box of squid. Got a soda, bottle of Gatorade, and water, and a couple of 10oz torpedo sinkers for Halibut rigs. Then I pulled up to a Taco Truck and ordered a Super Carnitas Buritto. It was huge.

giant buritto

Headed to the Vallejo launch ramp and launched the boat into a high tide. It's easy to launch and retrieve here at high tide, but beware of low tide. The day before (two days off work, and two days of boating!!!! Nirvana!) I got stuck in the mud on my way back in to the dock. The North Lane and two docks are unusable at low tide and the other lane and dock are almost unusable even an hour before dead low tide. If it's a minus tide then you'd best wait before attempting to launch or dock.

Headed out to the Napa River and then to San Pablo Bay. I made a beeline to Berkeley and had a wonderful ride all the way there. Was about a one foot chop, but the Jumbo was happy running at 30mph plus the whole way. It just skimmed over top of the chop. And I made quick time to Berkeley.

Headed to the mud flats where the Halibut hang out and I trolled a popsickle for a couple hours. I had one scratched bait, and take down, and that was it. No fish. Oh well. I didn't actually get to the flats til after 10am and well after the tide change. I heard folks did catch some Halibut just before the top of the tide, and then it slowed down.

After a couple hours I headed over to Paradise which is over by San Rafael/Marin County, and where the majority of the fleet was. I immediately started marking lots of bait in twenty feet of water and as I settled in trolling I saw a commercial boat land a legal Halibut. Good sign, but alas that did me no good. I experimented the rest of the day with trolling speeds and rigs and weights but never did get another bite. Was ok, though because it was a beautiful day on the water, and the Jumbo performed flawlessly. Was a total joy.

More to come...