The ex-skipper gives a lesson in sport fishing
The purchase of the Tally Ho II charter boat came as a package deal: the boat, business and the bark of Captain Bob for training purposes, all for one price.
From left, Bob Ginocchio, former captain of the Tally Ho II, advises the boat’s new deckhand, Chris Sanders, and captain, Craig Strickhouer, the best way to land a salmon on Thursday. Del Norte Triplicate/Adam Spencer
On Thursday Bob Ginocchio, who owned and operated the Tally Ho for almost 20 years, recently took out Craig Strickhouser, the boat’s new captain/owner, and his crew to show them how you really troll for salmon.
Before they left, Ginocchio questioned the new crew’s eagerness to capitalize on the hot salmon bite outside the Crescent City Harbor.
“They’re thinking they can just hop into trolling for salmon,” he said with skepticism.
All that was missing was a reference to “these young whipper-snappers.”
It’s not like Strickhouser is new to the game. Before he started working for the state prison system, he spent 10 years as a captain for his own charter boat operation in Southern California, but he only targeted groundfish down there.
He’s spent the past two years helping on the Tally Ho as a deckhand, but Ginocchio gave up on taking clients out to hunt for salmon after the fishery took a plunge about 10 years ago.
“Because the salmon fishing is good right now, I told Bob he needs to teach me how to do it,” Strickhouser said. “It’s just the kind of training we need, too.”
And train he did. Ginocchio first showed the new Tally Ho crew the best way (his way) to rig the rods while preventing hooked fingers for clients. On Thursday, the recipe was dodgers, anchovies and hoochies trolled about 20 to 30 feet deep.
“Now all we need is a fish and we can get this rodeo started,” Ginocchio said after all lines were in the water.
The Tally Ho was among 40 other fishing boats that launched from Crescent City on Thursday to comb the area west of the second buoy (the red can) after word got out that the salmon were biting.
Bob Ginocchio demonstrates his way of fileting a salmon to the Tally Ho’s new deckhands Chris Sanders (left) and Ron Poole (right). Del Norte Triplicate/Adam Spencer
All day, Ginocchio rattled off commands to the crew:
“Don’t turn so damn sharp!”
“Fish on! Port side! No! Your other port side!”
“I oughtta bring my wife down and show you guys how to do it!”
Ginocchio claims his wife Goldie is one of the best deckhands the world has ever known.
When things get hectic on a fishing boat, like during the double hook-up (reeling in two salmon on two rods at the same time), sometimes the loud, harsh commands are just what the doctor ordered to kick fishing clients into gear. Any hesitation could mean a lost fish.
Before he became a charter captain, Ginocchio was captain of commercial salmon boats from 1983 to 1990 in Fort Bragg.
Then after a couple years building houses, he started working as a deckhand for the Tally Ho in Fort Bragg. When medical issues prevented the captain from passing the test for his skipper license, he offered to sell it to Ginocchio in 1993.
He started taking 14 clients at a time out fishing, taking two groups a day, for salmon, tuna and groundfish.
In 2000, he moved his operation up to Crescent City, but only the first two years here were good enough to warrant taking clients out for salmon.
Chris Hegnes of Englund Marine in the Crescent City Harbor said the last few days have been somewhat reminiscent of the old days of strong salmon fishing in Crescent City.
“It’s about as good as it gets,” Hegnes said. “Hopefully the predictions are right and we’ll have all these fish.”
Fishery managers predicted that 1.6 million salmon will be returning to spawn in the Klamath River. Presumably, they’re in the ocean right now, ready to be hooked.
Strickhouser figured with his previous charter fishing experience and a couple days out with Ginocchio, he should be able to take clients out for salmon as well as groundfish.
“Otherwise I got a cell phone and I got Bob on speed dial,” he said. The Tally Ho landed seven salmon ranging from 12 to 18 pounds in just under three hours Thursday.
Some fishermen have came back into the harbor with six salmon by 7 a.m. Hegnes said.
For Ginocchio, it’s time to turn his sights inland, as he is looking forward to dredging for gold in Oregon and other things he hasn’t been able to do in a long time.
“I’ve been pounding my knees on this deck for too many years,” he said.
For Strickhouser, entering into his new venture with a smooth transition from Ginocchio is much appreciated.
“This isn't even work compared to working at the prison,” he said.