Poke Pole Debut and Monster MFE, San Mateo Co Coast June 23.

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Poke Pole Debut and Monster MFE, San Mateo Co Coast June 23.

Post by giantbrookie » Mon Jul 01, 2019 11:30 am

Taking advantage of low surf (forecast at 1-2' for the area) and a relatively low tide (+0.2 feet) at a reasonable time of day (930 am), my son Lee and I headed off to a jetty on the San Mateo Co. coast. After hiking to a promising position, we set up to do normal fishing on outer side but then went to try out a single poke pole which Lee had expertly constructed from a saltwater rod with a broken tip. This was baited with a chunk of market shrimp on a 1/0 Gamakatsu hook. Lee began poke poling at about 910. I tried a few placements and handed the pole back to Lee; I had been hit in only one of my placements (with bait stripped). I then tried a few normal rod and reel placements (with some strikes and strips but no fish). Lee quickly sleuthed out how to identify prime holes and placements. He had quite a few hits but no fish, and was considering going to normal rod and feel fishing, but he stuck with it. Then, at about 1030, he revisited a hole that I had a strike in earlier. I had come back to see how Lee was doing then planned to leave for (regular) fishing, but Lee said I should stay and watch because he had a feeling he was going to hook something nice on his next placement. I watched and within seconds of his putting the pole in, it started getting knocked. I was viewing his pole from off to the side through a different viewport in the boulders but I could clearly see the periodic sharp knocks-- a very different reaction than the slower ebb and flow buffeting from wave pull through the rocks. After a few of these, Lee said "I've got one" and pulled his pole out of the hole. We might have expected a more average first monkey faced eel, but instead his first one was very long and very beefy. Lee scrambled out onto the mud/sand flats below the rocks so as to have a secure place to unhook the fish without fear of losing it. I couldn't find my tape measure, so I did a ballpark estimate of the length using my hand span and estimated it was between 25 and 27". Clearly a top end monkey faced eel, but a full appreciation of its size did not come until I photographed Lee holding the fish. Whoa, what a monster!
0306bigMFE.jpg
0309MFEinbucket.jpg

Lee's hot streak continued for perhaps another hour, with lots of knocks and bait strips. Lee would get hit and stripped repeatedly in one hole, but eventually he'd hook a fish. He lost a really nice MFE of >20" that flopped off his hook as he pulled it from the hole. He caught a 16" and then a 15" MFE, a small (8") grassy rockfish, and a very large rock crab. Only the big MFE and 16-incher were kept. At home Lee filleted the eels, after we confirmed the length of the monster with a tape measure at 26".
2255MFEsBeforeFilleting.jpg
Only the 26-incher was needed for the meal for the family of four. With their comparatively short head, relatively short abdominal cavity and minimal tail, the amount of meat from an MFE is amazing: the fillets were 22" long!
2256MFEfillets.jpg
The fillets were chunked and breaded with panko, then oven baked and served with yummy miso soup that Lee also made. The big eel had so much meat that there were actually leftover pieces which were snacks the next day. That is the most meat off of a single fish we've ever seen, be it one we've caught or something we've bought at a supermarket or fish counter. The next weekend, we bought a huge (4.7 lb) rockfish at a market but the resulting fillets were nowhere near as much meat as that eel. He cooked the fillets from the 16" MFE with butter and avocado "Fishermen's Life Style" for lunch the next day. Delicious. Quite a poke poling debut, but a difficult act to follow, just as Lee's 22" cabezon plus family PRs on kelp greenling and striped surf perch of 14" apiece on same day in April of 2017 has not been equaled since. That won't keep us from trying, though.
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Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;






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c9h13no3
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Re: Poke Pole Debut and Monster MFE, San Mateo Co Coast June 23.

Post by c9h13no3 » Mon Jul 01, 2019 11:39 am

That's pretty awesome, had no idea that kind of fishing was in my backyard. Course, I'm a terrible fisherman, so I doubt I could do half as well :P
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Re: Poke Pole Debut and Monster MFE, San Mateo Co Coast June 23.

Post by TahoeJeff » Mon Jul 01, 2019 11:49 am

That is a monster MFE!
And Matts butter and avo style is a great way to go.
His "Fisherman's Life" videos are very informative, without spot burning.
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Re: Poke Pole Debut and Monster MFE, San Mateo Co Coast June 23.

Post by windknot » Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:09 pm

Nice! Never thought to fish for much less eat these eels, but your post just made it look incredibly appealing.
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Re: Poke Pole Debut and Monster MFE, San Mateo Co Coast June 23.

Post by SSSdave » Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:25 pm

gb, impressive. I haven't fished that jetty for a couple decades and usually just lost hardware in snags haha like someone tossed in some nylon nets.

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Re: Poke Pole Debut and Monster MFE, San Mateo Co Coast June 23.

Post by robertseeburger » Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:14 am

Didn't know you could get these in San Mateo County.. wow.. looks like fun..

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Re: Poke Pole Debut and Monster MFE, San Mateo Co Coast June 23.

Post by jeremiahkim » Sun Sep 15, 2019 5:22 pm

That is a monster MFE. I first learned of the MFE from the YouTuber "Outdoor Chef Life" who is a sushi chef and does the catch and cook style videos similar to Fishermans Life. He has prepared it a number of interesting ways. But beyond that channel, haven't seen/heard many catching to keep.

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