Sturgeon are a crazy, prehistoric-looking fish. Their hard, bony sideplates (aka diamonds) make them somewhat resemble an alligator. Not a lot is known about these fish, as they live quiet lives in dirty, brackish water feeding on the offerings of the muddy bottom.

Recently, I had the opportunity to learn firsthand about these awesome fish when I traveled to San Rafael, California to fish with salmon and sturgeon guide Captain Sean Daugherty. Apparently, I’m not the only one who has enjoyed this little-known fishery this month. In this article from the Marin Independent Journal, reporter Alastair Bland recounts Daugherty’s further exploits in San Pablo Bay.

brown-sturgeonFishing, some will say, is a test of patience. The pastime can build character and it is not always supposed to be easy. Fishing may involve more watching of birds, marine mammals, traffic on a bridge and waves on the water than it might of interacting with fish.

Fishermen expect to be skunked at times, which makes the successful days all the more notable and gives meaning to “big fish” stories. All this tends to be especially true of sturgeon fishing, which can require a dozen or more slow and tedious hours of watching the rod tip before it dips toward the water — a bite!

But in the early days of 2014, sturgeon fishing has been unusually productive. San Rafael fisherman Ken Brown, along with his 15-year-old son — also named Ken — spent three days fishing together during the younger Brown’s holiday vacation. The teenager caught a fish per trip, including two sturgeon as big as an angler can reasonably expect to catch in San Pablo Bay. One was an ideal — and legal — size to bring home and share at the table with his mother in Fair Oaks. One was the size of a man. One was even bigger.

Photo credits: SoCal Salty (top), Marin Independent Journal (above)