Pig Hunting in Central California

I’ve hunted wild pigs in California before with the first hunt ending within 15 minutes after quickly spotting and shooting a good quality pig (a little over 200 pounds), but I figure the Hunting Gods will require me to do additional work this time around as they won’t be so lenient to me like the Fishing Gods have this year. Then again, I might get lucky on this pig hunt but always, it’s better that I put in some extra time of target practice with my trusty 30-06 (caliber) hunting rifle to ensure the accuracy of my flying bullets. I wanted to be extra sure that I would hit my target if I spotted a good-sized wild pig.

And guess what?

The Hunting Gods have provided again!

Of course, there was a bit of work required meaning that my guide and I had to drive around looking around in these wide-open spaces…

Herd of pigs feeding sunny hunting cali california paso robles central

Because of the cold morning, these pigs were feeding in the sun to get warm. It took awhile to find these pigs and they immediately got spooked and ran away once they saw my guide and I coming up on them.

wild pigs running fleeing escaping escape fugaz cerdo salvaje cazar caceria

And like all wild animals, they get scared at the sight of humans so they’ll run for it. There was one point where I had a shot but they kept running so fast, that it wasn’t worth it.

But within 2.5 hours, I was done. With just one shot, the bullet found its true aim and the pig was done. Time to get some baby back ribs and lots of sausage!

Successful pig hunt aftermath euro european pig species hunting california outdoors

After following the herd of pigs and then going ahead of them in order to cut them off, I got a great chance to take my shot at one of the pigs. I quickly set up and let one stand broadside until I slowly pulled the trigger. The pigs run but this one eventually dropped and now I have wild pig meat!



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Fishing and Crabbing combo trip out of the San Francisco Bay Area

Dungeness Crab season is here! And I have to say that Dungeness is probably the best tasting crab out there out of all the crab species! By steaming them to a nice red color, they have the plumpest and juiciest crab meat of them all. And that’s why I was out there to go on a crab boat to get my fill, my limit!

Yes, you can buy Dungeness Crab at the supermarket or at certain marina piers but I prefer to do the fishing/crabbing combos. Get a 2-for-1 special out of this arrangement which is wayyyyy cheaper as well. As of this writing in 2019, Dungeness Crab was selling at about $19-20 per pound meaning that 1 crab would cost about $25-30. The daily Dungeness Crab limit in California is 10 crabs per person so I’m basically catching about $250-300 of Crab!

As for the fishing aspect of it… it was kind of a huge letdown after all the other previous great fishing that I’ve done. To me, I looked at the rockfishing as more of practice than anything else. And then again, something can always take your hook like this fish here…

vermilion red rock fish snapper

I caught this big Vermilion Rockfish out of nowhere before the crabbing started.

Tip: The best time to go crabbing is BEFORE the commercial crab season starts which makes the crabbing a lot easier and quicker to get limits even on party boats. Otherwise, you might be out there longer than expected. Dungeness Crab season is usually November – May; Dungeness Crab is best when caught during the early months of the season (November, December, January) because the crabs tend to fatten up during the winter months. But in my opinion, best is November – early December. The later months can produce crabs but the problem is that by April-May, the crabs are not as meaty. Summer time is when the crabs begin preparations for spawning which means they begin molting as well which explains their less-than-ideal-meat-ratio compared to the winter months.


Queen of Hearts fishing boat


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San Jose Sharks, the NHL’s playoff perennial chokers vs the visiting Edmonton Oilers

I’ve been to a few San Jose Sharks hockey games before but generally when I go, I usually go to see the other team play because they are far better than the always-choking-in-the-playoffs-San Jose Sharks. All the Sharks fans, especially the local ones, always go crazy about their “team” doing well during the regular season but in the end during the playoffs, the team can never get the final job done. There are many, many records, stories, and tales of how they had the best regular season record only to lose in the first round! The best memory that I have of the “Sharks” was when the team was up 3 games to none in a playoffs series against the Los Angeles Kings… only to lose the next 4 games and get reverse-swept! Oh, and by the way, that Kings team went on to win the Stanley Cup! That showed what kind of team the Kings were!

SAP center outside night time game san jose hp pavilion shark tank

This is what the SAP Center looks like outside during game night.

SAP center hockey rink indoors

And this is what the SAP Center looks like inside. It’s primarily a hockey arena but it does concerts and a long time ago, there was some basketball played there as well.

I have a feeling that these Sharks won’t win a title anytime soon (or even possibly forever?) as they are cursed. And don’t think that the Sharks is a bad name for a team because it’s not. There is another Sharks team, the Cologne Sharks (Kölner Haie) of the German Hockey League (Deutsche Eishockey Liga) that is also a hockey team but on the European continent and they’ve WON championships before! The name is not cursed, just the San Jose Sharks…

So off to the so-called “Shark Tank” as they call the SAP Center in San Jose which I went in order to watch the visiting Edmonton Oilers. People might be wondering why did I go to an Oilers game? It was because they have an ultra-talent in Connor McDavid, a top flight center-forward for the Oilers. That’s right! I went to the Sharks game just to watch the OTHER TEAM play as I’ve stated previously before.

things to do in bay area san francisco san jose hockey nhl ice spectator sports sharks fun stuff tourist tourism travel in-game stadium arena indoors indoor teal blue white colors playing style 2019-20 season 19-20 sitting down fan watching edmonton oilers visiting team

I had front row seats to an Oilers-Sharks game meaning that I had great views of the Oilers players. The view was great during the warm-ups but during the game, the players and coaches will block your view…. a LOT.

things to do in bay area san francisco san jose hockey nhl ice spectator sports sharks fun stuff tourist tourism travel in-game stadium arena indoors indoor teal blue white colors playing style 2019-20 season 19-20 sitting down fan watching edmonton oilers visiting team

With the exception of Nygaal, both Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid are the superstars on the Oilers team. They both play together and are extremely talented which will likely make them a long-lasting duo for years to come.

Connor McDavid getting ready to play

Connor McDavid getting ready to play once the referee drops the puck.

Even though at the time, the Oilers were in first place of the division, the Sharks came out blasting away goals by scoring the first four! The Oilers did score one eventually but in the end, the lead built up was too much. And that’s one thing that I’ve noticed about the Sharks – they have to have a lead or a nice sizeable one otherwise, the other team will come back to win it like a lot of teams have done in the playoffs to beat the Sharks.

Fight during Oilers-Sharks game

There was a fight that broke out during the game after Connor McDavid got hit in the knee to which one of the Oilers players (Brandon Manning) got into a huge fight and then penalized big time. That’s what happens when a teammate believes that their superstar player was “targeted” so he’s trying to protect him by fighting the aggressor.

So if you’re in the SF Bay Area, this is one of the things that you can do easily if you want to watch ice hockey. And when the San Jose Sharks aren’t doing well like they are in this season, Sharks tickets are not hard to obtain particularly (even at the box office, not from ticket resellers) when they’re playing a team that is not considered that great i.e. the Oilers (even with an ultra talent like Conor McDavid).

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Los Angeles Lakers vs Miami Heat in the Staples Center, Los Angeles, California

I’ve been to Lakers games in the past when they had the Championship Lakers of Shaq and Kobe and then Kobe version 2 (after Shaq left and then new stars came in: Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, etc.) but now I get to see the post-Kobe era of the next wave of Lakers superstars in Anthony Davis and LeBron James! With Kobe’s retirement several years ago, it was sad to see the Black Mama (Kobe’s nickname) go off into the sunset to finalize retre but I suppose it’s only fitting to see Father Time eventually be the victor over us frail, fragile humans… with the exception of Lebron James who seems to be ageless for the time being. Thanks to his continued standing as one of the best players in basketball, the Lakers obtained through a trade: Anthony Davis! Known also as “AD” by his initials, he’s one of the best players in the NBA as well! So to pair LeBron with Anthony Davis gives the Lakers, one of the most famous basketball teams, become contenders in winning the NBA title again.

staples center front gate los angeles lakers clippers kings nba nhl things to do in los angeles lakers city of angels LA spectator sports fun stuff tourist tourism travel in-game stadium arena purple forum blue gold best team basketball nba

The world famous Staples Center in Los Angeles coupled with the close-by LA Live. With Los Angeles being known as an entertainment venue thanks to Hollywood and the film industry, the Staples Center and LA Live have added even more to that entertainment vibe. It’s definitely worth to walk around and see what’s going on.

The Miami Heat team has been one in transition ever since LeBron James left the Heat after winning 2 NBA titles in Miami. The same could be said about the Los Angeles Lakers who has been trying to get an identity ever since Kobe retired. But now… the Lakers are threatening to be amazing again thanks to the power duo of LeBron James (who joined last season) and Anthony Davis (who got traded to the team). Both players were exceptional in my presence at the Staples Center, home arena for several teams: the Lakers, the Clippers (another NBA team), and the Kings (NHL / Hockey).

So if you’re in Los Angeles, aka LA, aka the City of Angels, then this is one of those things that you have to do: catch a Lakers game at the Staples Center. The city has embraced the team and the team has embraced the city that even the other professional sports teams based in Los Angeles have a hard time trying to get the fans in LA to support them such as the NFL implants of the Rams and Chargers. So even if the other teams such as the Dodgers (baseball), LAFC (football), Angels (baseball), Kings (hockey) do well, I still think it’s a Lakers town.

Kyle Kuzma warm-up practice threes 3s three pointer shot jumper jacking the rock lakers la los angeles staples center heat game

Like with any sporting event, go there early to avoid the traffic and enjoy the view of the players warming up. You get a rare glimpse of what they are paid to do day-in, day-out. Here, you have Kyle Kuzma, one of the younger Lakers players practicing his three-point shot.

In this game, it close during the first 2-3 quarters of the game. Both the Lakers and Miami Heat were battling it out with the score being close with the Lakers initially leading and then later traded leads with the Heat several times. What was interesting was that the Miami Heat started playing a 2-3 zone defense which slowed down the Lakers offense and players. Eventually, the Lakers figured it out by putting Anthony Davis near the free throw line meaning either he would be wide open or he’d get double-teamed so a teammate would get wide open shots. As the Lakers got more and more used to the zone, the players pulled away in the fourth quarter with a sizeable lead that they never gave away. The Lakers were just too powerful with 2 giant superstars in both Lebron James and Anthony Davis understanding how to beat the zone and once they were in a favorable match-up where they had an advantage, both players would attract so much attention that teammates would be wide open. Adjustments are needed in the game of basketball in order to win.

lebron james passing to anthony davis forward lakers heat game 2019 staples center big crowd

Both players, Lebron James and Anthony Davis, played pick-and-roll plays well to where they could fake doing it and then just take off from there.

Goran Dragic waiting to check in and watches Lebron James driving dribbing to the basket for a dunk

My recommendation is to buy tickets as close to the action you can. That way, you are able to see the action up-close and see what make these guys top of the world. Don’t forget to look in the crowd as well – several celebrities were in. For example, Dwyane Wade, former Miami Heat player and good friend of Lebron James, was sitting near the Miami Heat bench.

Note: When going to games in LA, ensure that you leave very early. You just don’t know how bad traffic will be as even being 1 mile (1.6 km) away might take 1 hour to drive there! Public transportation is still what I’d call a work-in-progress as the subway still being worked on continuously to expand service all over Los Angeles so that’s another reason why you might want to leave early to go anywhere in Los Angeles. One idea is to use public transportation: light rail. You need to purchase a TAP card but like with London’s Oyster card, you place your card by the reader and it deduces an amount so it makes things easier to board without having to mess around with coins or money.

javale mcgee talking with anthony davis center forward lakers discussion strategizing power rebounds points

I thought that this was a funny moment as both Anthony Davis and Javale McGee talk about something during the game while Davis was about to shoot some free throws.

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Freshwater lake fishing in Phuket – Major League Monster Exotic Fish!

This is probably the grand finale of all the major fishing that I’ve done this year or even in the last 2-4 years. All those days that I went out to go fishing was just practice for the grand daddy of them all: all for this event of fishing this special lake in Thailand. And in this Thai lake are monster fish and I do mean monsters in this lake! Kind of like the Carp that I caught in the stocked lakes of England and Czech Republic but on complete steroids, this is a lake that has giant and exotic fish that break your rod and pull you into the water if you are not careful.

And the fish don’t just feed on bait, but rather they inhale and swallow it whole where the giants will make your arms go through an entire workout to make them suffer in agony and pain! But I was ready for this because I did my workouts, I did my fishing practice, tried to maintain a good diet so I did my part of preparation. It’s just time for me to deliver. No failures are allowed like that occurred in Scotland and Slovenia. It’s a first time success this time around! The fishing gods have to shine brightly upon me. I hope… I pray… because  it’s time with all the successes and failures involved in my journey that it’s finally time to go win the Super Bowl of fishing by catching some real giant monsters.

dreams come coming true achievement of dream lifelong always wanted to do this in nature harmony happy bliss true exciting happiness single lonewolf solo pirate adventurer spent good money on good fun games in total happy euphoria childfree childless by design going my way in Southeastern Asia guided overcoming burdens obstacles 30+ year old dude man male having the time of his life freshwater lake pond stocked big fish unreal adventure fishing in Thailand

I arrived in the afternoon to this lake doing a quick tour to see where I’d be fishing. I later found out that this 10 acre lake was 4-5 meters deep and all man-made! What’s also surprising was that there were all kinds of exotic fish with some of them REALLY big!

4 rods rodholder fishing bait big fishes exotic amazing thailand inland

With my guide helping me out, I had 4 fishing rods to get my fishing underway!

Initially, I caught a bunch of catfish, carp, and some odd fish.

Phractocephalus hemioliopterus, is a pimelodid (long-whiskered) catfish game fish south southern american

My first fish of the day! An Amazon Redtail Catfish. There are plentiful numbers of these fish as I caught a bunch of them and they are fun to catch!

giant barb Siamese giant carp Catlocarpio siamensis กระโห้ largest species of cyprinid in the world Indochina fish species migatory

For some reason, a lot of these fish don’t want their picture taken with the fisherman. Oh well, I still held onto this Siamese Carp (Giant Barb) despite the whipping of the tail in attempt to squirm out of my hands.

Osteochilus vittatus cyprinid fish from Southeast Asia hard-lipped barb silver sharkminnow Indochina fish species

I had no idea what this fish was. Even my guide had no idea that he had to go get the identification poster to see what it was. Initially, I thought it was a Black Carp but with its red eyes, I found out that it was a Bony-lipped Barb and this one was actually trophy world record-like size! Amazing what you can catch in this lake!

Hemibagrus wyckioides largest Bagrid catfish in Asia Mekong species of catfish (order Siluriformes) of the family Bagridae.

As the sun started to fall, I caught more Redtail Catfish but this one was a different one – Asian Redtail Catfish. A bit longer and slimmer than the Amazon Redtail Catfish, the Asian-version was still fun to catch.

And then! The Fishing Gods have responded in FULL FORCE with their wrath! “Here’s a 120 kilogram Mekong Catfish, Wisherman!”

Mekong giant catfish រីរាជ ปลาบึก cá tra dầu (order Siluriformes) in the shark catfish family (Pangasiidae)Pangasianodon gigas Grey to white in colour and lacking stripes conservation endangered threatened world's biggest freshwater fish

And then it happened… I hooked onto a fish that I initially thought was another Redtail Catfish but bigger. Once it started taking line and line again, I knew that I had something REALLY big. After several minutes of watching, my guide then told me that I had a Mekong Catfish on. One of the biggest freshwater fish in the world, this was the hardest fish I had ever fought. Unlike being on a boat where a fish can take line and then you can reel in the slack with the boat going towards the fish, I was on stationary ground – I can’t move other than my legs! After over serious 1 hour fight where I was in pain and misery all over my body, I finally won – my guide and other staff came in to help me net this enormous 120+ kilogram (over 264 pound) fish. What a fight. What a fish. This fish was now my biggest fish of my fishing career!

Overall, the first day was 11 out of 15 fish landed with 6 Amazon Redtail Catfish, 2 Asian Redtail Catfish, 1 Siamese Carp, 1 Bony-lipped Barb (world record trophy size), and 1 Mekong Giant Catfish at 120 kg – breaking my previous personal best record of 110 kg! If the fishing was this good, what will the next day bring???

Well, the second day started off as a slow one… I didn’t think that this day would be productive after hearing about several other fishermen showing up all at once so I knew that it wouldn’t result in catch after catch like the previous day. So after catching the first fish of the day, another Amazon Redtail Catfish, to eliminate the “blank,” it was about an hour and half when something exciting hit. Initially, I thought it was another Redtail Catfish and then my guide said the keyword, “Arapaima!” And then he went to blow those 3 sweet whistle blasts signaling that I had an Arapaima! After several minutes of fighting and careful direction, the fish was in the special net, the second time used in 16 hours! And another epic fish within 16 hours of each other! Yessss!

paiche pirarucu large species of bonytongue south american aquarium fish americano sud

After about 10 minutes, I landed this 80+ kilogram fish! They fight well but because they breathe actual air, they tire out quickly. It was still an epic fish especially 15-16 hours prior to this fish was my Mekong Catfish!

catch release arapaima

And here’s my guide safely releasing the Arapaima so it can be caught again in the future.

The rest of the day was pretty slow after the Arapaima. I think it was a few hours before I finally catch another fish. And the next two were some weird ones that I’ve never seen in the flesh.

Atractosteus spatula ray-finned euryhaline fish related to the bowfin in the infraclass Holostei primitive fish fossil fish fossils broad snouts and long, sharp teeth

I had trouble trying to get this “primitive” fish to pose for me. Alligator Gar have these nasty sharp teeth that I had to wear gloves to hold the fish properly.

Alligator Gar didn't want its picture taken

And of course, even with gloves on, the Alligator Gar made its escape out of my hands. I was going to release the living “fossil fish” anyways but a little too early though.

Colossoma macropomum Serrasalmidae black pacu, black-finned pacu, giant pacu, cachama, gamitana south american fish characin

Now this was a fish that I had never seen nor heard of before: a Tambaqui! A South American fish that eats nuts and fruits somehow it came for the bait consisting mostly of grain, rice, and other wheats.

So overall on this second day was 5 out of 10 fish landed with 2 Amazon Redtail Catfish, 1 Alligator Gar, 1 Tambaqui, and 1 Arapaima weighing in over 80 kg! For some reason, other people were having problems as well on this day catching fish. Two Italians had a string of bad luck ranging from a broken rod, lost fish, no hookups, etc. They were across the lake from me and got a great view of me hooking up 5 fish including that Arapaima!

However, the last day was a slow day that everyone on the lake didn’t get much action. In fact, I didn’t get any bites in the morning at all until about 1-2 PM when I got a few bites and then finally, at last I caught something. The first being a bigger Siamese Carp!

Jumbo sized Siamese Carp

I could barely hold this huge Siamese Carp but I was happy to take that “blank” off releasing the pressure to catch something

vundu catfish picture on shoulder of man human lake

Again, like with the Alligator Gar, this fish didn’t want its picture taken.

Heterobranchus longifilis large airbreathing catfish solomon fish, tsuni, mazunda, sampa, cur, lenda, or certa

After giving it a few “shhh”s, I was able to calm the fish down to where I could pose with it. This is a Vundu Catfish and gosh, was this fish super slimy!

Striped Catfish Southern striped Raphael, talking catfish, chocolate doradid, chocolate catfish or thorny catfish

Usually Striped Catfish have long horizontal black lines across its body but this one didn’t have any. I guess it must be a baby still meaning that these fish can get really big! This was my last fish of the day along with an Asian Redtail Catfish to finish my day with a Double!

So last day’s count was 4 out of 6 fish landed with 1 Siamese Carp, 1 Vundu Catfish, 1 Striped Catfish and 1 Asian Redtail Catfish.

Overall, the fishing was extremely great! Especially when I hooked and landed two epic fish in both the Mekong Giant Catfish and the Arapaima. I would definitely go again because there are a lot of fish species in this lake that I still haven’t caught yet!

Tip: You should be on a long-term workout program before you go to this lake or any other lake with absolute monster fish. It’s just not worth going there to hook a huge fish only to completely give up because you got tired! I’ve had my share of large, heavy fish meaning going the distance of 30+ minutes! So be ready for a fight, you might go from a 20 pound (almost 10 kilograms) fish to over 200 pounds (almost 90 kilograms) fish! You just don’t know but you better be ready for them by ensuring that your body and muscles can go the distance, stamina-wise.

Tip: Don’t have high expectations that you will catch big fish every time, all time being at this place or fishing in general. It’s better to have low expectations that you’ll catch some fish but NOT giants. The giants are what I’d call unexpected, awesome surprises if you manage to land one such as my Mekong Catfish or my Arapaima! The thing about fishing is that you really don’t know what is out there until you cast the line out with bait and hook. And I wasn’t really thinking that I would catch an Arapaima or Mekong Catfish on my first time go at this lake (and within 15-16 hours of each other!). I just happened to have the right skills, experience, luck, and prayed to the Fishing Gods enough to make the opportunity happen! Everyone who comes to this lake is generally hyper-focused on catching an Arapaima but I was more into enjoying my time fishing.


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