Delta Rat Scrapbook - December 2019


Halloween is always a good time in the Delta. Literally, every yacht club or resort has a party on or around October 31st. Adam and Jule Farrow commandeered Joe Faso′s mansion for a big party. Guests were asked to bring beverages and food. The result was a feast of unimaginable magnitude. I′m confident that no one went hungry. Debi Wells provided one of her amazing cakes. She was also going around trying to force me to take a Jell-O shot. A great local band, After Dark, was playing all throughout the affair. I did not hear them take a break during the whole set. They covered some great songs from the Stones to Peter Frampton. If you just heard them, you′d swear the numbers were done by the original bands. There were a lot of couples dancing throughout the entire evening to the great music.

Many of the women I would say wore, well… exotic attire. Many of the fellows including yours truly wore their pirate uniforms. I keep mine in my hope chest, hoping for a chance to wear it. Doc Holliday and Big Nosed Kate looked like they just walked off the streets of Tombstone. Adam Farrow made a frightening Joker, and Jule Farrow wore her cowgirl garb. Blair Hake was right out of the Steampunk era.

Well, I guess Halloween kicks off the holiday season in the Delta, so there′ll be plenty of parties and change of watches coming up in the near future, as we enter into what passes for winter nowadays.

Stockton Yacht Club

In late August tropical storm Dorian struck the Bahamas with winds up to 185 miles per hour. There were 61 fatalities and 400 people are still missing at this writing. The islands suffered $7 billion in property losses. The category five storm was the most devastating storm to ever hit the islands. There was a reported storm surge of 20-feet+. Many homes were totally destroyed and most suffered severe damage.

The Stockton Yacht Club was in contact with the Nassau Yacht Club after the tragedy and offered to help out. The club has raised a few thousand dollars to help the brothers and sisters in Nassau. You can help out, call (209)-946-9259.

Stockton Yacht Club officers for 2020 are: Commodore - Christel Schneider, Vice Commodore - John Contreras, Rear Commodore - Terry McGregor. Directors - Roger D Beebe, Steve Salzman, Doug Waterhouse

A Trip To The Yard

October arrived and I made plans to take the ol′ Ranger to Ladd′s in Stockton for some needed maintenance. James Ferguson came over to Ox Bow to help me do an assessment and figure out what she needed before the haulout. He figured a few frames and planks would do the job. I was at Ox Bow at the crack of dawn and got underway as soon as it was light enough to see. I had an uneventful cruise to Ladd′s in Stockton. I passed through the Mokelumne River Bridge at about 0730 hours and a friend of mine, and local photographer as well as a bridge tender Demi Stuart took a couple of photos as I passed through. The second one is the cover of the November issue. A great shot with Mount Diablo in the background. I have it framed on my wall. The vertical clearance of my boat is about 12-feet so I can make it under the Mokelumne River Bridge in most cases without an opening. This day was no exception. I watched as I went under and cleared the structure by a good four inches. Somehow, I get a thrill seeing how close I can come to the bridge without hitting it. I always call ahead and ask the operator what the clearance is before I attempt to make the transit. I did sheer off my mast one time when I misjudged and hit about halfway through.

Steve Mannshardt saw the photo on social media, and inquired about the vapor coming out of the exhausts, concerned that the motors were overheating. They actually run cool, early on a chilly morning the vapor makes itself known. It was a beautiful trip down the Mokelumne, and up the San Joaquin. My favorite time on the river is early morning. Alan and his crew pulled the boat out soon after my arrival at the boatyard.

A great start it was, I got to Ladd′s at about 0930 hours and they had her out of the water by 1000. After a bottom wash and setting up jack stands, she was ready for repair. James noticed an irregularity on the port bottom. He pulled out the interior jointerwork, and found a few more frames that needed repair. He made some laminated sister frames and got them in quickly, while he kept the wood wet with a sprinkler system of his own design.

The Ladd′s crew replaced a few planks and frames on the starboard side, painted the bottom and put her back in the water. Jason said my bootstripe was pretty worn and offered to paint it. He suggested a darker blue and the result is much better looking than the previous version.

Jason Jones and Kristy Petrosh are in the process of taking over the marina. Alan and Patti Bloomfield, as well as Michelle Wagner and Tommy Gray have/are moving to Arizona (yes Arizona). Jason has 13 years of experience as a marine surveyor and several years experience managing boatyards, most recently the Marine Emporium on Bethel Island. It gave me a good feeling one day when I drove into the yard and saw Kristy caulking a hull, while Jason and another fellow were sitting nearby watching.

After the crew put her back in the water, we let her sit for 24 hours while the wood swelled up. It′s always encouraging to me when we put her in the water and the bilge pumps can handle the flow without needing an extra sump pump. Such was the case this time, and she did not take on a great amount of water. I used the time to put things back together in the interior and run the engines for a while. I came back early the next morning and once underway, I pulled into the fuel dock at Riverpoint Landing and took on some needed fuel. As I prepared to leave Buckley Cove, I saw a large ship coming up the San Joaquin River. I decided to heave to for a few minutes until she passed. Once I got going, I decided to take it easy and enjoy the day. I ran at about 1200 RPM, just enough to keep my generators charging. (Yes, I still have generators, not an alternator.) It was a great trip up the river. When I got to the Mokelumne River Bridge, I once again asked the tender what the clearance was. He said “about” twelve feet but if I needed an opening, they would have to clear some workmen off the bridge which would take a while. I decided to try it again without an opening, I pulled under and noticed I was closer than the last time. I gingerly moved forward and this time I cleared by about two inches. This is as close as I ever care to get, I don′t want to press my luck so will aim for a little more clearance in the future.

Rio Vista Bass Derby

The 72nd Annual Bass Derby on the weekend of October 11th through the 13th was a blast. I made it over on opening night. There was a high level of excitement among the vendors that I spoke with. A good friend of mine, Kathy Graham, had her booth selling mainly vintage handles for beer taps. I don′t know how she finds them all, but they are very popular and unique. I have one decorating my living room. Every year there are interesting products being sold. One booth was selling a contraption that would hermetically seal plastic bags with just a quick pull. It was called the Gripstix, a portable ziplock.

There was plenty of food, you could get a quarter pound jumbo corn dog, nachos, BBQed chicken or a number of other items. Beer and soft drinks were on tap naturally.

I hiked up Main Street to a storefront across the street from the fire station. Many local artists had set up a gallery for the weekend. Robbie Ann, Jake Kimbrell, and Gregory Mitchell were exhibiting along with several others. There′s a new art movement taking place in the Delta. Robbie Ann and Jake got the ball rolling last summer. Gregory, also known as the RV bridgeman has been creating local artworks for years, and specializes in photos of the Rio Vista Bridge and surrounding area. He started when he took a photo of the bridge with his phone and it was posted by a local TV station. There are a lot of great artists in the Delta. We just need to find more venues for them to show their works.

There were 338 adults and 52 youth anglers participating in the Derby. The weather could not have been better, warm with little wind and clear skies. The fish were biting and there was a full board for every class of fish.

Jolly Jay Sorensen filled me in on some of the details of the fishing part of the derby.

“Steve Cruz won first place in the adult striped bass division by catching a 29.75-inch striper, the closest fish to the target length of 30 inches. He won $3,000 for his efforts. Carlton King placed second in the striper division with a 29.65-inch fish, winning $1500. Jason Tenorio placed third with a 29.52-inch striper, taking home $1000.

“Charles Leon won first place in the adult sturgeon division by catching a 53.17-inch sturgeon, the closest entry to the 54-inch target length. He won $1,000. Tim Matthews placed second in the sturgeon division with a 52.95-inch diamondback, winning $500. Jason Gargill won third place with his 51.69-inch sturgeon, winning $250.

“The salmon division didn′t have a target length, so anglers competed for biggest fish in pounds. Ken Baccetti, President of the CSBA, Isleton Chapter, won first place with his 27.2-pound salmon caught while trolling the Sacramento River above Rio Vista, winning $1000. Darrin Cook placed second with a 24.64-pound salmon, winning $500. Jason Carlisle won third place with a 22.8-pound king, winning $250.

“The kids division of the event featured a striped bass and a catfish division. Kelsie Ellison captured first place in the bass category with a 23.93-inch striper, winning a bicycle and gift certificate. Wyatt Myers placed second with a 23.3-inch striped bass, while Leo Cheng finished third with a 23.89-inch fish. Emilio Martinez won first place in the catfish division with a 17.75-inch catfish, winning a $100 gift certificate from Sportsman′s Warehouse in Stockton.”


Since the demise of the Rio Vista River News Herald, a great source of fishing information in the form of Jay Sorensen′s weekly column has gone dry. Jay is still writing an abbreviated version for the Delta Chambers website and Facebook page and he has given me permission to offer some pertinent tips here. Likewise, the folks at Snug Harbor are a great source of information in the Steamboat Slough/Sacramento River area. From time to time I will forward some tips from these experts.

Here is some recent information from Jay on Big Sur Rockfish: The Kahuna out of Moss Landing made a light tackle, shallow water trip down the Big Sur Coast on Saturday, October 12, that produced great rockfish action. The total count for the trip was 10 copper rockfish, six lingcod, 215 assorted rockfish and 25 vermilion rockfish for 25 anglers. Information: 831/633-2564.

Jay also says the action is good in San Francisco Bay for halibut and striped bass. The striped bass are caught off the rock piles and the halibut are hanging out on the Berkeley Flats, Angel Island and the Alameda Rockwall. Drifting live anchovies for bait is working lately.

Davis Lake Rainbows: If you want to catch rainbow trout at Lake Davis, now′s the time to do it. The fish are a mixture of the 6,000 pounds of trout stocked in September, including 2,000 pounds of Eagle Lake strain trout, and holdovers.

“All methods of fishing are proving successful now, including bait fishing from shore, trolling and fly fishing,” said Jim Graham of J &J Grizzly Store and Camping Resort.

Perry′s Boat Harbor

I popped into Perry′s to see Joe Bevacqua who I had not spoken with for a while. He said it was two years but I thought it was two months. One of the things I was curious about was the beautiful yawl Ocean Queen V, which I had admired every time I drove by the resort. It has been missing from the harbor for a while. It ends up owner Dewey Hines took her back to the Bay and is engaging in some racing there.

Perry′s Boat Harbor is always improving under Joe′s guidance. The whole island is like a garden including a four-hole golf course, gazebo, and barbeque. There is even an onsite yacht broker and repair yard. I just wish Ocean Queen V would come back.

B&W Resort

Every fall B&W Resort has two great events. In late September they have a steamboat regatta. This event attracts steam powered boats from all over the West Coast. Some of them are old boats with old engines, some are newer boats with old engines, and some are newer boats with newer engines. I have a particular fascination of them. They do everything in slow motion. They′re really cool and the owners are definitely iconoclasts; they′re all happy to share their knowledge with passersby.

Nancy Timekeeper and her husband Pat Bradley live near B&W, and are always helping me out with photos when I cannot get to an event. They spend quite a bit of time cruising around Georgiana Slough and the lower Mokelumne River and get some great images.

Then, on the weekend of October 4-6th the Antique and Classic Boat Society cruises into B&W for a weekend. These are wooden runabouts, generally maintained in Bristol condition. Each one is a work of art. The party started with the Woodie Whoopie on Friday night then they spent the weekend exploring the Georgiana Slough, Mokelumne River and Potato Slough region of the Delta by boat.

There has been a lot of boat traffic on Georgiana Slough lately. Here is a photo of a tugboat pushing a barge load of riprap up the waterway. It was taken by local resident, Lynette Brydon, who is a friend of my correspondent Nancy Immekeppel. Nancy got several photos of the barge and tugboat but she liked Lynette′s better than her own.

Stockton Downtown Marina

Marina manager Chris Magro hosted a Delta Chambers mixer in October. The entire marina area complex is managed by SMG Corporation. The waterfront area is also known as the Stockton Waterfront Events Center. You can come by car or boat and enjoy ice hockey, a ball game, film at the Bob Hope Theater and some excellent restaurants, all within walking distance of the marina property. It is a great spot for a boat rendezvous, there is plenty of dockspace for at least 100 boats.

Three of the most knowledgeable Delta rats in the world came to the party. Bill Conner, Whitey Rasmussen and Jolly Jay Sorensen were all in attendance. Between them I think they may have more than 200 years of combined experience fishing and boating in the region. They have all been involved in fishing and water issues before most of us could spell Delta. Bill Conner, who is an amazing resource for historical Delta information shared with me a newsletter from 1977 from the San Joaquin County Marine Association. Bill Conner was president and Bill Ladd was Vice President. One of the things that was discussed was the need for a new Delta map. I think 1977 was about the time Hal Schell came out with his map. Bill thinks we should reactivate the San Joaquin County Marine Association to work on current issues.

The mixer was held at The Record Press Club which is on the third floor of the arena. This is a great spot for a party. You can look down into the arena where you have an outstanding view of McLeod Lake and the Stockton Channel. You can have cocktails and/or food service. There is a nearby bus depot and Amtrak depot. Also, the Stockton Airport is now offering service to Southern California and Las Vegas. I-5 runs just a few short blocks away. I′m thinking we need to schedule a big boating event here in the near future. Did I mention that there is plenty of lodging in the area too?

Eight Bells

Schatze Haws, staff commodore of the Stockton Yacht Club has passed away. Schatze was a wonderful person, and a good friend of Sue and I. She was commodore of the Stockton Yacht Club in 2004. She was loved by everyone in the club and always had a smile on her face. She was always a person that you could rely on, and served in other capacities around the club after her tenure as commodore.

Bob Light, the famous political cartoonist for the Rio Vista River News Herald had been in ill health for quite some time. He went into the hospital with an infection. He was in intensive care for several days and passed away soon after he was discharged.

Bob is already missed greatly. He was afraid of no one with his cartoons and frequently skewered government officials. We always told him that we feared he would be targeted for assassination. For defense he sometimes carried a shillelagh. It looked like a pool cue with an 8 Ball mounted on the end – a good club indeed. At some point, Bob revealed to me the stick had a firearm built in that was capable of shooting a .38 caliber pistol bullet.

Bob was loved throughout Rio Vista. If you ever went over to have lunch with him or walk the streets, almost every passerby would say hi to him. In restaurants they would serve him his special dishes. He passed at a young age after a lingering illness.

James Manley was killed in a motorcycle accident in late October. James was Trisha Meagher′s partner for the past decade or so. He was a good friend to many of us in the Delta and always had a smile on his face. James was a mechanical genius. He worked dredging the ship channels for years. He was the kind of person that no matter what you had that was broken, he would find a solution to repair it.

Bruce Kaspari, a friend of mine from high school and part of our motley crew of hot rodders and partiers has passed. After high school he joined the marines and became a machine gunner in Vietnam. After completing his military service, he had a 30-year career with the California Department of Justice. Bruce was one of those quiet good guys that showed concern for other folks and touched many lives in a positive way.

Irish Pennants

Don′t miss the Lynn Hahn Memorial Lighted Boat Parade on December 7th. There is a $25.00 entrance fee, all proceeds go to charity. Call 916/719-3541 for information. Prizes!

Getting around when I leave my boat in one spot and my vehicle in another has always been a challenge. Nowadays, I have my own personal transportation consultant. Cyndy Rivera lives on her boat at Ox Bow Marina and is available to give you a ride anywhere in the area for a reasonable fee. You can call her at: 916/534-5824.

Northern California has been hit with high winds and devastating wildfires. PG&E has been cutting electric power to customers, sometimes for days. People all over are pitching in to help those less fortunate. Just as I am about to hit enter and send this to the great editor in the sky, I learn that a wind driven fire in the Vallejo area has shut down I-80 and caused the evacuation of the California Maritime Academy. There were fires in Oakley and Bethel Island with considerable property damage but no fatalities that I know of. The roofs blew off of a couple of marinas and some boats suffered some damage.

We received late word that the King Island Bar & Grill restaurant is open again. Check it out at 1130 W. Eight Mile Road in Stockton. They are open for breakfast and dinner at this time and expect to open for lunch soon.

I ran into Mel Owen, skipper of the classic yacht Pat Pending. Mel was cruising around Belvedere on his bicycle and stopped to talk. He advises that Pat Pending was in the yard for some maintenance recently and is back in the water now. You will recall that Pat Pending, a 1929 Dreamboat built by Lake Union Drydock Company, has been in the Owen family since before World War II.

Most of us have dropped a phone into the drink at least once in our lives. Recently Bill Conner dropped his phone into a cup of coffee. You could say that was literally into the drink. Hopefully it would be easy to find in a coffee cup.

A great December event is the Diversity Mixer at the Haggin Museum in Stockton. It is on Thursday December 5th from 1700 to 1900. It is sponsored by the Greater Stockton Chamber, the Hispanic Chamber, the African American Chamber, Central Valley Asian Chamber and the Delta Chambers. There is always excellent ethnic food and some really great folks to talk to. It is a good opportunity to spend some time prowling the museum. The museum is an underappreciated asset in Stockton. There are beautiful art works, Native American artifacts, plenty on the history of Stockton including a Stephens Brothers boat not to mention the archives of the Stephens Brothers boat yard.

Meanwhile in San Diego, we hear the tale of two fellows that were fishing offshore in a 25-foot boat. They were returning to Shelter Island at night and set the autopilot for San Diego Bay. They both fell asleep and the boat made a perfect landing in a sea cave along the coast. The crew was rescued but the boat was a total loss and had to be removed from the cave in pieces. Moral – always have someone awake and on watch while you are underway. About 20 years ago some friends were making a nighttime trip to Catalina and set the autopilot. They fell asleep and ran aground about dawn on Catalina, destroying the boat. Luckily no one got hurt.

Ok, you got that new camera for Christmas. Please take a few minutes and set it for the highest quality setting possible. This will be at least 300 dots per inch and will be acceptable if you send me a photo. Sadly, every month I still get some killer photos that I can′t use because the resolution is too low.

Tell me what you got for Christmas! or 916/869-9141. H

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