|Rain with a chance of quackers
The rain came just in time for the duck opener. Many nimroders have already tuned up their gear, cleaned the guns and fed the dogs. At daybreak, the sky will go quackers - we hope.
Wednesday would have been a good day in a wet, windy duck blind. Bad weather is the mantra for calling in ducks. Good luck to you who brave the storms and set your decoys in the dark.
There are only two weekends left in the B zone. I am heading up to Eureka to hunt the coastal mountains. My Friend Jed Douglas has yet to bag his first buck, I am in hopes that this will be the weekend; I want to be there when he makes the shot. Every trip is exciting, every shot carries the promise of a good deer, yet there is something special about that first one.
The weather should also help the wild boar. Once the ground begins to soften, they get busy with their piggy snouts, tearing up the country. A few weeks of good rooting and chewing acorns will get them plumped up and ready for the BBQ.
The big story is striped bass are on the bite. Some are being landed in the over-30 inches category, a good size for Chinese style steamed bass, fillets or baked in foil with onions and savory spices.
Tuna seem to be waiting for a change in the weather as much as we are. Keep in touch with the commercial boats and read the web postings.
Halibut are still being taken at the mouth of Tomales Bay. Most of the fish are small, some have been down right dangerous. Boating a big flat “butt” that is three feet across can turn into a wrestling match right quick. For some reason, they don’t want to be in a boat and will pound everything, including the man in the boat, to get out.
Abalone are still being taken in good numbers, the storms will put a dent in the diving. A week or so in between storms is all it takes for the ocean to fall clear. I would like to punch a few abalone tally tickets before the end of November.
The rain should bring us solidly into the fall season. Boletaceae, golden chanterelle and other early mushrooms should be coming up next week. Beware of the deadly amanita, it too likes the early rains.
Bill Hanson is a Sonoma County native and a lifelong sportsman. He is past president of the Sonoma County Mycological Association.