I was looking for a weekend trip and totally struck out. Everything was booked. I did find that the Triton was running some open party trips mid-week. I was itching to get out while they’re biting, and secured Monday off, then booked a spot for that day.
Sunday was sweltering in my house, so I decided to forego the cookies I usually baked for the crew of this boat. First question from Mikie and Captain Bryan when we boarded at o’dark-thirty… Sorry guys…
So we had Captain Bryan Holton at the wheel, Mikie and Jack on deck, Jeff cooking, and 27 optimistic anglers rigging up. We hit the bait barge for some nice sardines, waited for the boat to finish a set to get some anchovies, and off to the Horseshoe area to look of those yellowtail that had been biting.
Two anchor sets produced nothing, but it was barely light out. I had a breakfast burrito and tossed a sardine out at our third anchor stop (on the 105). Charlie was standing next to me and hooked up first. He’d been dragged almost to the bow when I hooked up too. I felt some drag on the line… darn thing had found the one small patch of kelp we were near. Jeff was on deck out of the galley and strummed a short session of “Guitar Hero” on my line and coaxed the fish out of the kelp and I was off and chasing it toward the bow. In the meantime, Charlie had lost his fish. Jeff gaffed my yellowtail just under the wheelhouse. Capt. Bryan leaned out the window… “Lady Luck is on the boards!”
Tagged and bled and in the trash can… I threw out another sardine and waited. Several more hook ups put two more fish on the boat, with a couple more lost. I got bit again, another trip to the bow, another fish on the boat. I had two fish tagged by 7:15.
It was a slow and steady pick. We’d hang 3-4 in waves, land a couple. Charlie got bit again and landed a nice yellowtail.
By 9:30 the bite was pretty much wrapping up. I landed my fifth, putting the total for the boat at 18. Capt. Bryan was on deck when I walked by with that last one, and asked if I’d had enough yet. “Yeah, let’s go fish for sandbass!” He just shook his head…. 20 minutes later I pulled up a fat sandbass! By 10:00 the yellowtail bite was completely over, and we had a total of 20 yellowtail.
We made a couple of moves, and anchored on the middle grounds just around 11:00. We’d been sitting just a few minutes and the barracuda started biting. They went pretty wide open. With jigs flying I opted to stay in the galley and order lunch. As good as the burgers smelled, when Jeff said he could whip up some bacon fried rice I went for that, and a cold beer!
The sardines were about gone. Capt. Bryan stopped a couple more spots and the crew threw the small anchovies. I tried a few surface irons, tossed a mega-bait. No one was catching much of anything. At 2:30 we ran over to hand some anchovy off to the Southern Cal, then the crew pulled the fish up and started filleting. We got back to the dock a little after 4:00.
In the end, the key for the catch today was a long soak and a lively bait. The sea lions were a problem all day, racing around grabbing hooked baits and chasing the chovy thrown for chum. (Fortunately they seemed to have no interest in our hooked fish!) Most of my fish bit a long ways from the boat, and we had light current, so a long cast past the sea lions and a strong bait that would swim a long ways from the boat were key.
Thanks again to the Captain and crew of the Triton! Nice day with beautiful weather.