Current conditions on the Bay and Delta are grim, too high and too muddy for anglers. The bait and tackle shops are advising fishermen to stay by the fire and tune up their tackle boxes. When the mud finally washes out, maybe by early next week, fishing will pick up. The ocean commercial boats are sneaking back out, for now the ocean is calm, at least more so than during the last round of storms.
On the hunting front the big story is wild boar, go, kill and eat the devils. Those who are willing to brave the soggy back country are bagging boar. Mushroom season is in full swing; it is time to beat the bushes for tasty fungi.
Raccoons are too cute, the little robbers are such a joy to watch, unless you are their victim. One story is how the homeowner awoke to some noise and found a family of raccoon’s making grilled cheese sandwiches in his kitchen. When pressed the mother coon said, “You are out of dog food, we are hungry!” Maybe a bigger dog?
A rental at the beautiful Sea Ranch one weekend came with a resident family of raccoons. As darkness fell a mother and three kittens sauntered onto the deck looking for a hand-out. Check that! Demanding a hand-out, when I answered the door she was growling at me as if to say, “Don’t just stand there, get us something to eat!” The little ones were very small so I cut up some apples and put some salted peanuts on the plate and scooted it out the door. She and the kits were on it, snapping and growling at one another which is the nature of raccoons. I was tempted to stick my arm out and snatch a baby to hold when I remembered a friend who gave in to that same mistake. He had to get several stitches in his arm, not so bad when the kit and grabbed bit his hand, but Mrs. Coon jumped his arm, wrapped him in a ‘bear’ hug and started gnawing on him. The coons stayed on the deck and the people stayed inside to admire the little bandits through the glass.
A rental at Sea Ranch is one of the north coasts’ most precious secrets, be sure to plan a few days there. Winter on our coast is special, the ocean is majestic the salt air so clean, fresh and cold it hurts good to breath. Trees and coastal under-story growth are super green, the beaches polished by stormy seas are a delight to see. The best food and shopping are just across the Gualala River in the little town of the same name, a short hop out of our county. Gone are the tourist shops and glitz of the Mendocino coast a few hours north. The rental fees tend to be less at Sea Ranch than in the vicinity of the towns of Mendocino and Fort Bragg. For those who are not prepared to stay over, there are public access spots in Sea Ranch and near the mouth of the Gualala River.
The next time you are looking at a California map, check out the trench about two miles in from the ocean. Slap a ruler on that trench and line it up with Tomales Bay. What will jump out at you is the San Andreas Fault, it goes out to sea at Bodega Head, then makes landfall again on the peninsula. This fault is why the Gualala River flows south to north, one of the few rivers in our state to do so.
Bill Hanson is a Sonoma County native and a lifelong sportsman. He is the former president of the Sonoma County Mycological Association. Look for his column in The Community Voice each week.