Category Archives: Editor’s Blog

Another Selfie Screwup With A Critter

What part of these guys don't want to be a part of your stupid selfie don't you understand? GARY STOTZ/U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE)

What part of these guys don’t want to be a part of your stupid selfie don’t you understand? GARY STOTZ/U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE)


OK, this taking selfies with animals around – see the buffalo that gored an Instagram-loving tourist in Yellowstone – has gotten a little absurd, especially when you apparently decide it’s cool stupid   to pick one up so you can snap your smartphone.

From ABC-10 in San Diego:

A local man who was nearly killed while trying to take a selfie with a rattlesnake racked up a whopping $150,000 hospital bill.
Doctors depleted the anti-venom stash at two different hospitals to treat Todd Fassler, who as it turns out once had a pet rattlesnake of his own. He sent us video he says shows him setting his snake free.
What a world.

Quest To Change California Fishing License Purchasing Regulations




From the California Sportfishing League:

Today, the California Sportfishing League announced that the California Sportfishing Stimulus Act of 2015 (SB 345) may not advance in the California State Assembly this year, unless a key provision of the legislation is reintroduced.

In June, Senate Bill 345 passed the State Senate by a unanimous vote, but without a key provision that would replace California’s calendar-based fishing license system with one that is valid for a full 12 months from the date of purchase. The provision aimed to provide greater value to one the costliest fishing licenses in the country.

The decision by Senate Appropriations Committee to gut a key provision of the legislation angered anglers concerned with the State’s failure to recognize and provide solutions to an unprecedented decline in fishing participation.  While the legislation enjoyed unprecedented support from associations representing anglers, tourism, small business and local government, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife was the lone opponent.


“The fact that California is facing an unprecedented decline in fishing license sales is an ominous sign that anglers find fishing too expensive and less accessible than in years past,” said Marko Mlikotin, CSL’s executive director. “Yet, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife continues to defend the status quo and has failed to engage the angling community in reversing a dangerous trend. Unfortunately, this failure of leadership will undermine the amount of revenue generated from fishing license sales that fund fishery management plans, fish hatcheries and conservation programs. Absent meaningful reform, fishing license sales face a death spiral.”

Sharing this disappointment, SB 345’s author remains committed to advancing meaningful reforms that have been successful in other states, even if it means reintroducing the legislation next year.

“California’s fishing license structure makes no sense and must be updated to include a system that meshes with the seasonal ebbs and flows of California’s fishing industry; which means replacing the calendar year license with a 12-consecutive month license. This point is underscored when we move into the fall and the number of fishing licenses purchased trickles down to nothing; while the fishing remains great in many areas of the state,” said the bill’s author, Senator Tom Berryhill of Twain Hart. “I am committed to working with the Fish and Game Commission, the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the legislature to craft a fishing license structure that will bring revenue back to the state and anglers back to the water.  License sales in California have been on a straight decline for 35 years. We cannot let bureaucrats, clinging to an antiquated system, continue to block progress.”




In March of 2015, the California Sportfishing League released a study that concluded that the number of annual fishing license sales has decline over 55% since 1980, and at a rate of over 35,000 a year. The decline threatens critical hatchery and habitat restoration programs funded by fishing license sales, and federal grants that are awarded based by the number of fishing licenses sold.

Senate Bill 345, sponsored by the California Sportfishing League and introduced by Senator Tom Berryhill (R-Twain Harte) and Assembly Member Frank Bigelow (R-O’Neals). The legislation is supported by one of the largest and most diverse coalitions, including anglers, business, labor, local government and tourism.  For more information about SB345 and to view a supporter list of over of 25 associations, visit CSL’s website or click here.

Recreational fishing contributes over $4.9 billion in economic activity each year, supporting jobs and communities dependent on it for outdoor recreation and tourism.

The California Sportfishing League (CSL) is a nonprofit coalition of fresh and saltwater anglers, and small business owners devoted to protecting access to recreational fishing.

To learn more visit or @CASportfishing on Twitter.





Collins Lake Summer Bite Is On


Our friends at Collins Lake posted this fishing report:

Although catfish dominated this week, there were trout, bass, and bluegill caught as well.


Keanu Perez

Keanu Perez

Keanu Perez caught his trout off the dock using worms.


Spencer Frank's trout

Spencer Frank’s trout

Spencer Frank landed a 2-pound and a 3-pound. trout using a Rapala lure and trolling near the dam.

Katie Ulrich from Bakersfield caught a huge 4-pound, 4-ounce bass from the dock using a live crawdad!

Brianna Balfour and bluegill

Brianna Balfour and bluegill

Little Brianna Balfour hooked a bunch of bluegill using worms from the dock.  The same worked for Charlie and Dwain; they also used worms to hook their bluegill from the dock.

Troy's monster cat

Troy’s monster cat

Troy from San Jose hooked the biggest catfish this week, a 16-pound, 12-ounce monster!  He was down by the dam fishing near the first buoy and he chose anchovies as bait!

Belle and Joe and a stringer of catfish

Belle and Joe and a stringer of catfish

Joe and Belle hooked a 4-pound, 12-ounce catfish near the bridge from their boat; they used anchovies too.  Kylie from Woodland used blood bait from shore and hooked a nice catfish.

Debra with a Collins cat

Debra with a Collins cat


Debra Erkson fished with worms near the dam and hooked her cat.

The McCaleb sisters

The McCaleb sisters

Makayla and Haley McCaleb from Oroville fished in Elmer’s Cove with worms and a bobber and landed their catfish.  Chad, Charlie and Carson fished in front of their camp and hooked two catfish, their biggest weighed 5 pounds.

 Xavier from Antioch fished with anchovies in Elmer’s Cove and hooked a 5-pound. cat one night and a 6-pound, 4-ouncer another night.

Collins Lake info: or 1-800-286-0576

Opponents Of Blue Creek Closures Vent


Klamath River. (CDFW)

Klamath River. (CDFW)

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s decision to close a portion of Blue Creek off the Klamath River to recreational king salmon fishing has triggered some backlash.

The Triplicate  newspaper of Crescent City covered last week’s  public forum hosted by the Yurok Tribe, which proposed the closure that the CDFW agreed to.

Here’s a portion of what went on:

Fishers and Del Norte County supervisors criticized the commission for closing the Blue Creek confluence without due notice to make complaints. By the time supervisors Chris Howard and Gerry Hemmingsen marched their board’s grievances to a June 10 Fish and Game Commission meeting in Mammoth Lakes, the decision had already been made to establish a no-fishing buffer zone near the mouth of Blue Creek, between a half mile downstream of the creek to 500 feet above it until mid-September. After that, until the end of the year, the restricted area will be reduced to 500 feet above and below.

Hemmingsen maintained Monday that in addition to the potential impacts on the county’s economy if guides aren’t able to pull out fish where they reside, he also objects to “the process” that led to the closure.

“This was kind of a push-through deal,” he said.

In June, the commission advised the Board of Supervisors to follow pertinent issues more closely to avoid being surprised by policy changes. On Monday, Friends of Del Norte Don Gillespie called out the Board of Supervisors for spending taxpayer money on a too-late, 10-hour trek to Mammoth Lakes, when they could have spoken up earlier. Hemmingsen told the Triplicate last month, however, that the supervisors had written letters to the commission on the issue without hearing a response. …

Executive Director Troy Fletcher, who facilitated Monday’s meeting, said the Yurok Tribe has been striving to address the Klamath’s dwindling fishery for years now, and the closure at Blue Creek is, in part, a result of that.

Having recommended to the Fish and Game Commission a policy that disallows catch and release fishing at the mouth of Blue Creek as well as at the mouth of the Klamath, the commission opted to close the creek’s confluence completely, since the state requires that all wild steelhead that are caught be released.

It’s well documented that anadromous fish don’t take kindly to warm water, and this was the basis for the tribe’s recommendation.

Throngs of cold-water fish congregate in the thermal refugia at the mouth of Blue Creek, the first cool-water haven salmonids meet, some 17 miles up the main stem, after heading inland from the chilly Pacific Ocean.

That makes for prime fishing at this spot, particularly in exceptionally hot and dry years, and the fact that it’s an important refuge for fish is indisputable, Yurok Fisheries Program Manager Dave Hillemeier addressed the group.

“You know that because you know where the fish are,” he said. …


Mike Coopman, of Mike Coopman’s Guide Service, said he appreciated the open dialogue at the meeting, but he still wanted to see specific numbers pertaining to the mortalities at Blue Creek. It’s possible the stress the fish suffered when hooked could be alleviated, he suggested, if the they were released in the cooler water.  

“I’m going to tell you, the mortality rate is not what people were projecting — I can see the bottom of that river just like anybody else. I landed 75 fish a day in my boat alone at Blue Creek last year,” Mick Thomas of Lunker Fish Trips attested. “The whole bottom of the river would be lined with fish.

Clearly, this was never going to make everyone happy, so with the king salmon season on the Klamath opening on Aug. 1, expect the friction to linger.

Obsessed With Snapper In Baja

Baja 1 Baja 2


Editor’s note: The following appears in the July issue of California Sportsman:

Photos and Text By Tim E. Hovey

I first met my friend John Smith at the back of an organic chemistry class while we were both in college. He was easy to spot in the early-morning class, dressed in his pressed ROTC uniform. He’d walk in a few minutes late, weave his way to the back of the class, take a seat and promptly fall asleep.

Within months of our first meeting, John and I were traveling the roads of Baja California and fishing for science. At the end of that first year we were both part of an elite fishing group that flew down to La Paz to catch specimens for research projects. For a couple of college students who loved to fish, it was a trip of a lifetime.

Baja 5

THE FIRST MORNING of the trip, we gathered at the beach of Los Arenas and climbed into our assigned pangas. We fished hard for three days and enjoyed every single minute. We caught species we had never even seen before and landed a handful of game fish. It was during this fishing trip to La Paz that we first encountered the pargo.

The name pargo is a general description given to describe several species of snapper inhabiting the Gulf of California. While there are over a half-dozen different species of true snapper that anglers can catch in Baja, the two giants that probably garner the most attention are the dogtooth snapper and the mullet snapper.

At the end of our first day of fishing, while most were offloading dorado and tuna, John and I were drawn to a boat at the edge of the fleet. The captain had tossed two large fish in the sand near the shore. The bright reddish-brown fish were strikingly different in appearance than the other game fish. The smaller of the two was a 30-pound dogtooth snapper. The fish was over 3 feet long, dark red with shades of brown and a mouthful of large canine teeth. The side of the fish was scarred up, the result of having lost the battle to escape to the rocks.

The second species in the fillet pile was larger than the dogtooth and was an indescribable shade of red. It had huge yellow eyes, scales the size of a silver dollar and a tail wider than a broom. This was a mullet snapper, and John and I were fascinated.

When you come to such an amazing angling location as La Paz, you most certainly want to tangle with the more popular game fish that cruise the Sea of Cortez.

During the drive back to the hotel, fishermen talked of catching dorado, tuna, sailfish and marlin. While I listened to stories of who caught what, all I could think about were the two red fish lying in the sand.

As the trips to Baja piled up, John and I started to learn just how tough these two species of snapper were to catch. The mullet snapper has incredible eyesight and shies away from larger hooks and thicker line. During peak times of the year, huge schools of this species will gather and tease fishermen as they rise to the surface in huge red balls – only to shun most offerings – and then sink below the surface and disappear. I called them the red ghosts.

The dogtooth snapper uses brute strength, savage teeth and rocky caves to elude fishermen. Often hooked on trolled live baits, they’ll grab the lure with an explosive surface take.

In the seconds that follow, the hooked dogtooth snapper will head for the rocky caves to escape. Unprepared anglers unable to overcome the strength of the escaping fish will be left with dashed hopes and frayed lines. To John and I, these two species definitely represented the highest angling challenge of Baja.

Baja 4

IN 2008, WE planned a trip to La Paz to fish the azure blue waters off the coast of Los Arenas. We booked a three-day fishing package and arrived with high hopes. Unfortunately, the first two days of fishing were extremely slow. We searched the usually very fishy waters around Cerralvo Island and fished hard those first two days, only to return to the beach with empty fish boxes.

On day three, we headed to the offshore island to catch bait. Once the hold was full, John and I decided that we should try trolling for dog snapper. Ending the trip by chasing the big red monster of the gulf was fine with me.

We rigged up the large trolling rigs, baited them with whole ladyfish and dropped the bait behind the boat. The captain guided the panga around the perimeter of the island in about 60 feet of water. Liquid shadows and large dark shapes were visible in the clear water below. We were in the right place, with the right bait, and we were ready.

After two passes with no action, the captain was swinging wide for a third pass when a large and violent splash erupted behind the boat. Less than a second later, John’s rod bent sharply, and even though the drag was tightened down, the reel began to scream.

John realized that the next few seconds would decide who won this battle. He grabbed the rod, leaned back hard and squeezed the reel to slow the escaping line. Seeing the strike, the captain simultaneously pointed the panga toward open ocean, assisting in fighting the fish with the boat.

For the first minute, it was a stalemate. The fish’s enormous tail pulled hard against the drag, the rod and John. No line was given and none was retrieved. And then the battle turned. John grabbed the handle and took three quick turns, gaining a few feet. The captain again gunned the panga for open water and John gained a few more feet.

With the fish tiring and the jagged rocks out of play, John fought the large red fish back to the boat. With one last lift, John’s first and last fish of the trip came to gaff. You likely could’ve heard our celebration back at the launching beach, 7 miles away.

During the fight, we had drifted off the island and we were just about to run back in to troll our last big bait, but then the red ghosts appeared. A large red cloud rose to the surface about 40 yards away. I grabbed my 30-pound outfit, already rigged with a small bait hook, put on one of the smaller baits and tossed my rig into the center of the cloud.

At first, absolutely nothing happened. The small baitfish darted around and then began to dive, looking for cover. I was watching the line as it twitched and then began to move. I let several seconds pass as line peeled off my reel. I then locked it up and set the hook.

Despite living in the same environment, the hardest part about catching a mullet snapper is getting them to bite. They rarely try to escape into the rocks and if you can fool their incredible eyesight and keep them hooked, the battle can tip in the angler’s favor.

As soon as the fish felt steel, the red cloud dispersed. The hooked snapper took off and peeled line off for 45 seconds before easing up. I could feel him thumping his broom-like tail trying to escape. I kept the pressure on, but with every line gain, the fish would take double that back as he headed for deeper water. The captain looked at me and said, “Grande pargo!”

We were now a mile from the island, and even though the school had been less than a foot from the surface when the snapper took my bait, none of us had seen the hooked fish. My rod continued the rhythmic thumping as the snapper kept fighting. All I could think of was a hook that could easily fit on a dime was the only thing connecting me to this fish.

I finally began gaining line and could feel that the fight was about over. John looked over the side and saw the large snapper on its side 20 feet below.

“Dang, that’s a nice one!”

With a final pull, my first and last fish of the trip, a huge mullet snapper, was gaffed and heaved over the side.

Baja 6

AFTER A FEW photos, the bright red snapper was added to the fish box alongside John’s beast. We fished hard that last day, but the two red fish were all we caught.

That didn’t matter to us. Back on shore, we walked the sand beach among the other pangas to see what others had caught. It was clear that the last few days on the gulf had been slow.

Back at our boat, two other captains were admiring our catch of the day. A few years earlier, John and I had been on this same beach when we first encountered the red giant. After a few trips, we finally figured out the techniques and caught two nice specimens of pargo ourselves.

I love fishing the Sea of Cortez. I’ve caught all the popular big game species available over the years, but photos of John and I with our large red fish remain some of my favorites. To share a boat with a good friend and fish the pristine waters of Baja will forever be some of my fondest memories. CS



Lake Del Valle Update

Tim Wood of Livermore with a 5-pound catfish caught on anchovies in Heron Cove.

Tim Wood of Livermore with a 5-pound catfish caught on anchovies in Heron Cove.

Friend of the blog Dan Hollis of Rocky Mountain Recreation Company provides this update on Lake Del Valle, in the east Bay Area:

The heat has picked back up into the high 90s and is estimated to reach over 100 this weekend.  The water temp is still a wonderful 75 degrees on the surface, perfect for swimming and relaxing in the water.  Fishing was slow but not dead this week.  Catfish are starting to show up in Heron Bay and by the Dam.  Jerkbaits are starting to pull fish on the points where the fish are staging waiting to ambush prey.  Baby shad are coming up to the surface but, the stripes are not boiling on them yet surprisingly.
     Coming up here in the fall the stripers will be easiest to spot and catch as they breach the surface chasing shad.  Little jerkbaits and topwater baits such as spooks, popper, pencil poppers and wake baits will produce major fish in the fall and winter months.  Largemouth and smallmouth will come on the bite in lake summer into the fall as well and can be caught on alot of the same baits as the stripes. 
Molly Mallory landed this 5-pound catfish at Lake Del Valle.

Molly Malloy landed this 5-pound catfish at Lake Del Valle.

The only thing I would do different is throw a frog on the weed mats for largies!  Just a heads up to all the hikers and the bank fisherman whom like walking down the east side trail, I will be closed shortly due to construction so come up and fish while you can!  Boat rentals will still be available through all phases of the construction project.  Good luck to all of you on your search for THE BIG ONE!

For more information on Lake Del Valle, call (925) 449-5201.



Sac, Feather River Salmon Opening Day Looms

Photos courtesy of MSJ Guide Service

Photos courtesy of MSJ Guide Service


The water levels may be a concern for the upcoming king salmon season, but veteran Yuba City/Marysville guide Manuel Saldana Jr. of MSJ Guide Service told me felt good about a good season on his home rivers, the Feather and Sacramento. The latter seems like more a sure bet with the smaller Feather River taking more of a brunt of the state’s drought woes. The inland river fishing for kings opens this Thursday, July 16, and the following report appears in the July issue of California Sportsman:

By Chris Cocoles

Yes, California is in a drought. Yes, the Sacramento and Feather Rivers, two prime king salmon waterways, have been affected by the conditions. No, some Central Valley fishing guides aren’t in a panic over it.

“We’re predicting to have a good run, just like last year or even better,” says Yuba City-based fishing guide Manuel Saldana, Jr., of MSJ Guide Service (; 530-301-7455).

The season for fall Chinook begins on July 16, and a run of about 652,000 kings are expected into the Sacramento River. Of course, water levels in both the Sacramento and Saldana’s preferred fishery, the Feather, is always a topic of discussion as California’s ongoing drought saga heads into another summer and fall of king salmon fishing.

“It’s still good,” Saldana says of the pending conditions. “Everyone’s nervous. There’s one thing that we tell people about salmon, ‘They will come up (the rivers).’ Even if there is really shallow water, and they won’t just stay out there. They proved it last year when I was navigating in half the water and these salmon had enough water to get through. They will come up in the Feather and the Sacramento.”

Saldana will improvise if need be and travel further north as the salmon heading back from the ocean seek out cooler water. He emphasized that while another species he targets regularly, Delta striped bass, will turn around and head back after they spawn, the kings are, of course, on a one-way trip from saltwater to freshwater.

“Salmon go in one direction: up. And that’s it. They don’t hit a place like Colusa and say, ‘We’re going to spawn and come back.’ Fall and winter fish – they just keep heading up and spawn and die.”

But the big X-factor – as it usually is with kings – is what the water temperatures will be like as summer progresses. And this is a drought-related concern, though not the crisis that it could be made out to be. Last year, the Feather’s temps got a little higher than most guides would like.

“But as soon as that water got into the 50s, at 57, 58, it got better and better and better,” Saldana says. “They just started jumping into the nets. I went on that run in mid-October and into November.”

What a successful season can boil down to, Saldana says, is being open to changing your approach on a year-to-year basis. Scents and techniques that worked one season may not be the flavor of the month with lower and warmer water.

“You had to be a little more stealthy. The water was lower; the salmon could see you and feel the boat. So you really had to change your tactics and key in on certain points in the river,” Saldana says. “I’ve seen them when I’ve been side-drifting and it’s super shallow; they go right around you. We were using that technique in the Feather and we just had to change it up. You just have to look at your area, the river and its structures and figure out where they’re going to be and where your opportunities will be best.”


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Saldana has been fishing these waters for a while now, and he expects the 2015 run to have a similar pattern as last year: a late push of kings. A surge hit the Feather River, providing a lot of fish caught well into November.

In a normal year, the Feather gets fished first with the likelihood that some remaining springers will get caught, before he moves to
the Sacramento.

“I saw some fish in the Feather and went to scout it out a little bit and said, ‘They’re here and there are more coming.’ So I just stuck to it and started working at it,” Saldana says. “Then all of a sudden I got in a FlatFish bite and the water temperature dropped. I had enough water to navigate. And they just kept coming. I have the exact same feeling we’re going to do it again.”

So what about the early part of the season? In July and August, he’ll likely fish around Chico in the Sacramento River, and around the July 16 opener, he plans to fish the Feather River’s Thermalito Afterbay outlet below Oroville Dam in search of springers.

Those first couple days can be the best in that setting since there’s been no fishing pressure “until the fish get wise,” he says.

Just don’t expect to be pulling in limits after a short time on either of the rivers.

“In July and August, fish will start trickling up. Early in the year, what happens is you might not get as big a quantity of fish, but you’ll get the quality on early trips,” Saldana says. “A lot of times you’ll get what we call the little silver bullets; those early ones are nice and clean. Later on, you’ll get more numbers.”




When Saldana fishes the rivers early before the sun comes up, he’ll go with an old king salmon staple of back-bouncing sardine-wrapped FlatFish. But when the sun comes up, he’ll switch to roe, either back-bouncing it vertically in holes, boondogging it, or a newer technique of using a bobber and spinning the roe.

“You get less hangups when bobber fishing,” Saldana says. “It allows you to kind of stay off the fish instead of going over them.”

When fishing more of the evening hours, roe is used first and then he’ll switch to his FlatFish setups.

Whatever the tactics, Saldana figures the run will get better later. And he urges to not get too stressed out about the fear of empty rivers void of prized kings.

“That’s one thing about those fish; they will come up and do their thing,” Saldana says. “If you give them a little bit of water, they’ll get through … The only way the salmon are not going to be there is, literally, if there is no water, virtually none.”


Staying Safe Amid SoCal Coyote Encounters

Several incidents with coyotes in Southern California prompted a warning from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to use caution and common sense. (USFWS)

Several incidents with coyotes in Southern California prompted a warning from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to use caution and common sense. (USFWS)

Several incidents around Southern California with coyotes prompted the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to issue the following release:

Due to a recent increase in the number of human/coyote incidents in Southern California, residents should be particularly vigilant in watching their children and pets when outdoors.

In the past month, there have been four incidents in Irvine where young children were either bitten or scratched by a coyote, resulting in minor injuries.

“These incidents highlight the importance of communities working together to eliminate sources of food that may attract wildlife to neighborhoods,” said Capt. Rebecca Hartman, of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Law Enforcement Division. “When coyotes are fed, either intentionally or unintentionally by food being left out, they can become a public safety threat.”

CDFW volunteers have been conducting outreach and distributing wildlife information to residents in Irvine and trappers have been deployed to locate and humanely euthanize coyotes in the area where the incidents have occurred.

During the warm summer months, particularly from March through August, coyotes are very active. They are raising their young and are in an almost constant search for food.

Coyotes are highly adaptable and often live in close proximity to populated areas where food and water sources are abundant. They usually fear humans and avoid interactions; however, if they begin to associate humans with food, they lose their natural fear and can become bold and aggressive.

Coyote Safety Tips
• Keep a close eye on small children when outdoors.
• Keep small pets inside particularly at dawn and dusk when coyotes are most active.
• Keep pets on a leash when walking.
• Keep pet food and water dishes inside.
• Secure food and trash at all times and remove all sources of water.
• Pick up fallen fruit and keep compost piles tightly sealed.
• Sweep up fallen birdseed, which can attracts mice and rats, a common food source for coyotes.
• Remove brush, wood piles and debris where coyotes can find cover and where rodents are abundant.
• Install motion-activated lighting or sprinklers.
• If a coyote approaches or acts aggressively, throw rocks, make noise, look big, and pick up small children and pets. Do not turn your back to the animal.
• If a coyote is frequently seen around schoolyards or playgrounds or is acting aggressively, contact your local animal control or CDFW.
• If a coyote attacks, call 911.

There has been only one recorded fatality in California from a coyote attack (a 3-year-old girl in 1981). Coyote attacks are relatively rare and the mere presence of a coyote does not constitute a public safety threat. However, in areas where coyotes are highly visible and active, caution is advised.

For more information on living responsibly with wildlife, visit


An American Birthday Bash

Photo by Chris Cocoles (baseball fan)

Photo by Chris Cocoles (baseball fan)


Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Chevrolet! 

The younger kids probably don’t know what the in the name of James Madison am I talking about? But if you’re a forty-something (or more) like me you remember that catchy jingle that was a 1970s’ ode to the good ol’ USA. Most of my family probably would consider the Mount Rushmore of Americana faves as football (me and two sisters do love baseball though), chicken, vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce and definitely FORD! But I digress, and here are a few thoughts as we celebrate our nation’s 239th birthday:

1. Today is the first of California’s Free Fishing Days (the other coming on Sept. 5), so take your son or daughter or gather a few buddies who don’t fish much and wet a line somewhere. There is water in this state and there are plenty of trout, catfish, bass and others that swim hungry for a meal.

2. Grill whatever you damn well please today. But make sure you do throw a few hot dogs (as the commercial implored us to) on the barbie. I know I’ll make sure to indulge on a couple over the course of the holiday weekend.

3. Take some time on Sunday to watch the final of the Women’s World Cup with team USA against Japan in a rematch of a classic 2011 final. I’m not the biggest soccer fan either, but these ladies work just as hard as your baseball-playing Dodgers, Angels, Giants, Padres and this editor’s Athletics and deserve your full attention with the championship of the planet at stake in Vancouver.

4. Stating the obvious here, but please be careful around the grill and with both not drinking and driving (duh) but also safely shooting off your fireworks. Yes, we have water but our state is full of scorched earth. Too many wildfires and burning homes are born out of carelessness.

5. Remember the struggles of our Founding Fathers to create this powerful but flawed nation, plus all of the patriots who fought to preserve the Declaration of Independence.

Enjoy the party, and save me a piece of apple pie!