When weather conditions and other factors forced the cancellation of a 2.5 day Bait Wraps sponsored trip scheduled on the Eclipse, Captain Mark Gillette was kind enough to move our trip to a 1.5 day trip already scheduled on the Commander, out of Long Beach sportfishing. Fortunately we were able to fill that trip.
Danny and I got to the landing early and had calamari, while the boat ran out to get fuel and bait.
Captain Steve Kugler welcomed everyone on board, went over safety features of the boat, our game plan, and tackle set up recommendations. We’d be headed for San Clemente Island in search of yellowtail and calico bass. After that Danny and I drew sack numbers and gave each of the passengers a Bait Wraps jig. As a bonus, if the jackpot fish was caught on a Bait Wraps jig, they would get to order another $100 worth of jigs directly from Rich Whitaker.
Ed served trays of sliced meat and cheese with crackers as we headed out. It was a little rough heading out, but conditions were nice around the island.
We anchored in the cove, with most of the rest of the fleet around us, I think. Ed was serving breakfast already when I got up, huevos rancheros! It was really good! And right about the time I’d finished scarfing it down, the fish started biting.
Unfortunately for our jigs, today the yellowtail were in the mood for live sardines, and couldn’t be enticed into biting iron. I stuck with my jig for a while, but with fish hitting the deck around me all hooked on sardines, I gave up and switched to live bait.
We had a steady pick at them for a couple of hours, that slowly dwindled. Boats around us gave up and left. We stuck it out for a few more fish, and made an hour long run to the 9.
We picked away at them there, too. Several drifts produced some nice quality calico bass, most of them released.
Ed made us some great burgers for lunch, with pepper cheese, bacon, peanut butter and jelly, with French fries.
Later in the day Captain Steve moved next to island to find a calm place to stop for dinner. Metering alongside the island, though, he found no signs of fish to stop on. He finally settled on a spot to anchor for dinner… Ed made a wonderful dish, of barbeque chicken over rice, with grilled red pepper and green beans, salad, and a chilled corn and black bean salsa. The dessert was absolutely amazing! Cheesecake over a grilled piece of cinnamon bread, drizzled with caramel and balsamic vinegar!
I hear the ride in was rough… I just zonked out and slept the whole way in.
All around it was a great trip! We ended up with 50-something on the yellowtail, the jackpot yellowtail went just ounces under 30 pounds, on bait, so no winner on the extra jigs. The average yellowtail was probably something around 15 pounds. And a few rock fish and some monster sized sheephead in the mix as well.
I fished with Mike Pritchard on the old International Star about 7 years ago and have been dying to get out on the Tribute since he got that up and running. Unfortunately with this trip falling during the Del Mar Fred Hall show, Captain Mike wasn’t with us, but we were in good hands…!
Another long run to San Diego in heavy traffic, Danny and I got to the landing and found several friends on other boats. A number of the Seaforth boats were on their way out, with various destinations.
The Tribute was slated to run offshore. We checked in at the landing office, where we got both our sack number and bunk assignment. It’s always nice to get that out of the way, it creates less panic when boarding all the passengers if there’s not that mad rush for a bunk. We boarded and settled in. There were chili cheese dogs offered as we were leaving.
Captain Jake Hensley called everyone to the back deck for a safety meeting before we left, and introduce the rest of the crew. Our second Captain Jason Zenor, crew Brandon Sawyer, Sean Allen, and Shane Chapman, and we had Jesse Sawyer in the galley.
The trip was slated to return to Cortez bank, where they had been scoring well on the yellowtail, and picking off a few Bluefin as well. Wind late in the week put a damper on that, water was turned, cold, and green on the Cortez, we’d be heading for Tanner bank in the morning, and making an exploration of the Butterfly bank in the afternoon. Shane gave us a brief rundown of the best setups for the yellowtail at Tanner, primarily caught on yoyo irons, and Bluefin; most had been hooked on 15 pound fluorocarbon, smaller hooks, #1 or 1/0, and a very lively sardine.
They had already made the trip to the bait dock, so we were off and running early (but subsequently delayed with a return to the dock… someone forgot their California fishing license…)
Danny and split a chili dog, and I geared up and turned in.
When I got up at o’dark thirty we had troll lines out. As it got light we did a few turns over Tanner metering for fish, pulled in the troll lines, and started hooking a few on our first drift. I put my first yellowtail on the boat right at 7:00 AM, with four other fish on that first long drift.
More drifts, tough fishing in less than ideal weather conditions. There were lots of pulled hooks, a lot could probably be blamed on swell and a rolling boat.
We spent the morning at the bank, as promised. Resetting a number of times, and hanging a few all morning, we ended up there with 27 yellowtail, 5 bonito, and 80-some rock fish. Fishing my same Bait Wrap white squid jig all day, I went 5 for 6 on the yellows, with one lost at gaff due to angler error, and one big bonito.
We spent the afternoon offshore. Saw a few signs of tuna, turned on a couple of meter marks. Bluefin were doing a good job of being Bluefin, and running, scattering, or sinking out as we approached.
The food was great, what I had of it. My daughter had the flu all week and I was feeling less than fabulous. Dinner was pork roast, mashed potatoes, fresh broccoli with cheese and a nice salad, with chocolate cake for dessert… I was feeling better by that time and inhaled it… It was Wonderful!!
All around a very good trip considering the poor weather. The afternoon was decent, the wind came down and it ended up being a decent ride, but the damage was done and spotting fish in white cap conditions was tough. The crew was on top of us when we had a fish hooked to minimize tangles and give us the best chance of landing the fish that were hooked.
Ironically, JP was taken by one of the big bonito…. Deservingly to a guy that had a run of bad luck, with two reels that failed on him!
I’d been on the boat before it became the Tribute, a lot of work has been put into it. Galley seats are comfortable, new cushions in the bunkroom, and the bathrooms nicely redone, and it looks great!
I’d never done a trip to Colonet, so I jumped on a chance to get out on the Eclipse for a trip planned to that area.
Packed and ready to go, I checked on-line one more time and found I had a message from Chris Dunn… the Fishing Weatherman. Our personalized weather report for the weekend called for light wind… and rain. Great. I added my rain suit to my backpack and threw it in my car.
Danny and I drove down to Seaforth Landing and parked right in front of the entrance. (Parking at Seaforth is FREE, and always plenty of room.) Sharla arrived and checked us in, confirmed our reserved bunks, and we were on board and ready to go ahead of the 6:00 PM departure time.
We rigged up some, and finished after the safety speech and game plan. Our crew was Captain Mark Gillette, second Captain Adam Williams, with Steve and Ryan (“Chewie”), with Jason in the galley. There was lasagna, brought down by one of the passengers, that was wonderful!!
We loaded bait and I was off to bed and up early in the morning to start fishing. The first drift produced first a large bonito and some big reds, and then the yellowtail started biting full speed. Initial losses were high, but once we got in the rhythm the fish started coming over the rail! First stop was for 15 yellows, all 20-25 pound fish!
As soon as the bite fizzled, Captain Mark was on the move and looking again. One stop after another, each producing 15-20 fish. We didn’t sit long if the fish didn’t bite, or if they slowed up.
Around 10 AM it started to sprinkle, just as Chris had predicted. Then it started to pour! A few of us had rain gear. I thought the jacket would be enough, but the rain soaked my Fishworks pants, gluing them to my legs, and the water ran down from there into my boots. I ended up with ½ inch of water them!! Fortunately the weather was relatively warm, being wet wasn’t a huge issue. Rain was pretty steady until around 3:00, then finally stopped. My pants dried in 20 minutes, but my boots were wet for the rest of the trip. Through it all, the fish just kept coming!
The only way to describe the day was EPIC! With near limits all the way around the first day, Captain Mark was at a loss of what to do the second day.
At night sitting on anchor with the squid lights out, the boat was surrounded with red crabs so thick the sea was clouded with red. Huge numbers of crabs had been around us all day, and the fish were stuffed with them!
We headed back up the coast drifting some high spots for shallow water rock fish, but amazingly, we couldn’t seem to avoid more schools of big yellowtail! Full limits of yellows were quickly finished off, and we had to release the yellows that were hooked, while one spot produce nearly wide open ling cod for a short while! No more rain, but a bit more wind, made some of the drifts a bit challenging but with a little more weight it was still totally fishable.
It was truly an amazing trip! Captain Mark said he had never seen that quality of fishing in this area, and the quality of fish rivalled Cedros! The crew was on top of it the whole time, gaffing, bleeding and tagging fish. We had a wonderful group of anglers who worked together and got the job done!
I can’t imagine how you could top a trip like this!
Jason was in the galley serving some awesome meals, including a dinner of fresh yellowtail that was delicious, steak dinner another night, and even pancakes on the morning we returned to the dock!
Fish count for 24 passengers was limits of yellowtail, most of them 20-28 pounds with a few into the 30’s, and 90-some lings with plenty of rock fish to go along with it. Most of the yellowtail were caught on jigs, with fishing this good, color didn’t seem to be a factor. The lings were mostly on sardines, but a few of those bit the jigs as well.
Just an incredible trip… and home in time to watch the Superbowl!
Thanks to Captain Mark Gillette and the crew of the Eclipse! I can’t wait to do it again!!
Danny and I pulled together a few great sponsors for giveaways on this trip…
Yellowfin catches had fizzled, although the dorado were still full speed, if you could find the right paddy… and a few wahoo here and there. The forecast of high winds told me it was going to be an uncomfortable trip… and slow fishing.
The forecasters lied!
We loaded and left with 33 passengers on the 90 foot Chief. Jeff gave a safety speech and a run down on the plans after we left the bait dock loaded with what looked like some beautiful sardines. Danny and I had a gift bag for every passenger (hand towel, finger tape, head lamp) and then a raffle including a nice Tiburon rod, 6 pairs of “Bomber” floating sunglasses, 12 Bait Wrap jigs, and two passes for lobster fishing on the Gail Force!
Overnight was a little lumpy, but by morning it really seemed to be coming down. We started trolling and quickly hooked up! Dorado on the troll, a couple more hooked on bait with one landed. (I had a “special” prize for the first bait fish….)
Off again, and before long we hit a paddy that bit… with what I hadn’t expected: Yellowfin! Wide screaming open for a couple of drifts until we had limits!
Wind up, and look for something else. And within minutes again, we were pulling dorado like crazy! No “neck ties”, all really nice fish! And a huge surprise…. Wahoo!! We hooked a total of four on the boat, two of them were landed, both on megabaits. A third and last drift on that paddy yielded not a single bite, but we had 70 of them on the boat already! It was only a little after 10…
Lunchtime came and went. We wandered looking for more dorado, but now the ocean was like a lifeless desert. Couple of jig stops on bonito. Some late afternoon yellowtail, sashimi afternoon appetizer before an awesome steak dinner!
Morning we were closer to the Coronados looking here and there for yellows. We found a few spots that gave some up, and picked away for 54 of them, and close to home, called it a day and had dinner while we rolled to the dock late Sunday night!
Thank you Captain Chris Randal and the crew of the Chief for an amazing, incredible trip! What a way to end the season!
ISWAC (Inland Saltwater Angling Club) had a trip scheduled on the first weekend in October again this year. I’d gone the last two years and both trips were epic… this one did not disappoint!!
We boarded 17 anglers on Friday night, and headed out. With a load of really nice sardines from the bait dock, we were off.
Our captain was not the usual, we had “Skinny”, with Moses as second. On deck was Rick and Fernando, with Ana in the galley.
We’d be heading off shore, looking for a huge paddy that had been fished by the group before, expect to be there in the morning. Everyone should be rigged and ready to go, because they expected the fishing to be full speed as soon as we found it.
Up early and troll rods out… no biters on the troll, and we quickly heard “Wind in the trollers” when the promised paddy was located. We pulled up and everyone was immediately bit!! Crazy in the stern, I ran to the bow with a sardine, threw out and within seconds was bit. The crew was gaffing like crazy in the stern when I yelled for a gaff in the bow. My first tuna was the biggest of the trip, at a little over 16 pounds.
It was crazy nuts for less than an hour… other boats pulled in, then more, and more. The bite quickly fizzled, but we put close to 60 yellowfin on the boat, plus a few dorado! In the mayhem, Danny landed one over 26 pounds! Ana had been spiking, bleeding and tagging fish as fast as she could, and when we took off to look for more paddies, she was off to the galley to make breakfast sandwiches for everyone.
I’d just finished mine when we found another paddy, and within minutes we were all bent again.
When that fizzled, we found a paddy jugged with dorado and loaded up on those.
Lunch was pastrami sandwiches, dinner a delicious tri-tip with home fried potatoes and steamed broccoli, and carrot cake for dessert.
Breakfast sandwiches, and we scratched around for limits of yellowfin and dorado, then ran to the beach to look for yellowtail. We only had a couple of hours to fish, “Skinny” found us a meter mark on a high spot. Danny hooked and landed a yellowtail on a Bait Wrap 6X Junior with a white squid print, and Jim caught one on a sardine. I had a mint green yo-yo that produced nothing. Switched to a blue and chrome. Danny landed another one on that Bait Wrap, and I finally got bit! It wasn’t pulling hard enough… barracuda.. released. Danny was taking a breather from the two yellows he’d already landed and told me to try his outfit with the Bait Wrap still tied on. I dropped it, and wound up a few cranks. Nothing. Dropped, wound up. Still nothing. Dropped again. “This isn’t working for me…” I started winding, and got bit!! After a brief struggle, I had my yellowtail on the boat, too!
No more biters, and it was time to head for home.
Ana made burgers for lunch, and after that I took a long nap. Got up just in time for late afternoon snack: Veggie plate, cheese and crackers, and spicy tuna rolls! Yum!!
Everyone went home with limits of yellowfin, limits of dorado… and three of us who got lucky went home with the four yellowtail we caught at the end of the trip.
Record heat in Southern California this week conspired to make everyone miserable, and make me almost appreciate my air conditioned office job.
So I was thrilled when we got a late invite from Captain Joey Helgren to join a charter group on the Electra for a light load.
After an easy drive to Oceanside (school’s back in – less traffic?), Danny and I grabbed a couple of appetizer plates at Joes Crab Shack. Then we unloaded our gear and I parked in the lot across the street. It was my first time using that lot. It’s huge, nicely laid out, and very well lit. I scored a spot right next to handicapped area, so it was a quick walk back.
(Note that the exit to the parking lot drops you off back by the freeway on ramp, and it’s around the block the long way (several left turns) back to Helgren’s if you’re picking people up again.)
We got our gear on the boat and I picked a bunk close to the doors. There’s no A/C and it was warm down there! All the other passengers boarded and signed in, and we rolled away from the dock with only 19 anglers.
The Oceanside 95 had just come in with over 200 fish from a 2-day, and we headed out to the same area they had fished off of San Clemente Island. Loaded with some nicer looking sardines, we headed out in windy conditions and pretty rough seas, knowing at least it would be downhill all the way back Saturday afternoon.
The sun rose on less than ideal conditions. We trolled around all morning, stopped on a few meter marks, a couple of jig strikes.
By late morning we had just 4 or 5 yellowfin, and a few rat yellows that were too beat up from troll jigs to throw back.
Captain Joey had a line on a spot closer to home where a friend had done well on nice tuna on Friday, so we worked our way back that way through the afternoon, stopping occasionally on a vacant paddy or chasing a spot of birds. It was a long ride with no bites. Even arriving at our destination, there was no signs of life, and no more fish.
Less than ideal conditions all day made for a very slow day. It was an eclectic group that made for some interesting conversations and a lot of novice and first time anglers that would have made a small group on such a large boat a fun experience if the fish had cooperated.
I rode to Oceanside with Danny and his brother Charlie. The way the traffic has been, the shorter ride than all the way to San Diego was a nice change. Riding instead of driving was nice, too!
The close lot was full. Charlie dropped us and our gear and parked in the lot across the street. I’ve never seen it, so no idea how big it is or the conditions, but it took him a while to get back, so I’m guessing it’s a big lot.
The Black Pearl came in from a two-day, Captain Joey Helgren came off the Electra and said the fishing had been a little slow. We had heard rumors that there was a bait shortage. Joey said there was plenty on the Electra that he could pass off to our boat if the receiver was short. The Oceanside 95 arrived a few minutes later and unloaded. Captain Rick Slavkin came down and talked to Joey back on the Electra while the fish was passed out and boat cleaned, and we loaded up a little after 8:30, and rolled away a little after 9:00. At the bait dock we picked up a load of large anchovies, and a little smaller sized sardines, while Captain Rick went over safety and tackle recommendations in the galley.
I rigged up, and went to sleep.
I woke up to hear the engines slow up. By the time I made it up on deck we were already stopped on a drift, and we were rolling pretty good. There was a lot of wind on Saturday, and offshore Sunday morning was rough! Captain Rick called “wind them up” before I even got a rod… We’d picked up two troll fish to stop the boat, but nothing on bait. Second troll team was up, and in a few minutes we had another jig stop, one jig fish, one on bait, then rolling again.
The weather came down through the day, bit by bit, but the damage had been done. Choppy conditions made it hard to spot kelps, it was late afternoon by the time it laid down enough to be able to see much of them at all.
We had a couple of drifts for a dozen or so fish each. Several other smaller stops. We were fishing in the 371 area. All of the fish were caught on tern birds except one by a small kelp (probably a 10 foot stringer wrapped in a circle) and one around a hammerhead shark. Most of the fish were caught on bait, a couple on Megabaits. It seemed most people were fishing 30#, but I didn’t get bit until I dropped to 25#.
We ended up with 43 yellowfin and 1 dorado.
Weather conditions made for a little slower fishing, but Captain Rick did a great job putting us on some fish anyway, and the crew was right there to help with tangles and gaff our fish. We had a relatively light load, only 31 people on a 95 foot boat! I’m hoping we can do this again before the season ends!
A little about the boat:
All the bunks on the Oceanside 95 are in staterooms, anything from 9 bunks in the bow stateroom, to a couple of smaller ones with 3 bunks. Most of them had 6 bunks.
The air conditioning works really good… so much so I needed a blanket, and wished I’d had a sweatshirt. I think most of the guys were pretty comfortable. The bunks are covered in a tweed fabric, which is nice because you don’t feel like you need a sheet, or you’re going to slide off. There’s nothing worse on a warm night than sleeping directly on a vinyl covered mattress…!
Stairs from the center of the galley split and one set go to the aft staterooms, another to the forward ones. There are two spacious heads off the galley, one with a large shower area.
The galley seats probably 20 at a time comfortably. There’s a long bench across the back of the house with a padded seat and tables in front of them where another 8 or so people can sit. It’s usually in the shade, so it’s a nice place to get off your feet for a while on a sunny day.
Hand wells around the bait tank are easy to get to, and a good size to be able to easily grab a bait. They’re relatively dry and only spilled over in deep swells.
Fish are stored in gunny sacks, and tagged and dropped in the hold between bites.
Another long drive in heavy traffic to San Diego. The rain didn’t help. Danny and I arrived Saturday afternoon to find the main parking lot at H&M full. We unloaded our gear, and I left Danny to keep an eye on it while I went to park in the overflow lot. Two cars pulled in ahead of me, and after going up and down the first two aisles, I got that sick feeling… what if the lot is full? Coming down the last aisle, there were two spots remaining. Phew! I took the bigger looking spot… which in this lot I can barely fit my small SUV into, and went to pay. Done with that challenge, I wondered if I’d locked my car. I went back to find two vehicles poised by the last spot, in a heated argument. I pushed the lock button and tiptoed away!
We dropped our gear in line behind two other guys waiting; Ron and Rick, who agreed to watch our stuff while we grabbed a bite at Mitch’s. Shrimp tacos and fried calamari! Then back in line. Captain Scott McDaniels oversaw an orderly loading of passengers, we stowed our gear, and pulled away.
I heard talk among the crew about being short one deck hand. One of them took off down the dock and came back a few minutes later and introduced Tim to Gavin, the second captain. I listened in amazement as Gavin asked Tim if he’d ever decked before. “No.” Ever been on an overnight boat? “No.” “Well, listen, do what you’re told, and don’t talk back. You’ll do fine.” With that, we were off.
The crew had started loading bait. Nice sardines, what a relief to see those! Deckhands Bobby and Roman showed Tim how to load bait, and within a few minutes, he seemed to be fitting right into it. Captain Scott went over safety and emergency procedures, and turned it over to Roman to give one of the most informative (and entertaining!) tackle/fishing seminars I’ve ever seen on a boat. So many boats and crews seem to be skipping that part about casting at the end of the group of anglers and the tuna shuffle. There’s always someone who doesn’t know this stuff, and probably a few that forgot. It only took a couple of stops before everyone was following along and except for an occasional reminder to step left or step right.
I turned in for the night, and woke up to hear the engines slow up. We didn’t start the actual troll rotation for a while. Breakfast came and went. We stopped on a few small kelps for 2-3 yellowfin, and the morning dragged by. Shortly before lunch, Captain Scott slowed up on a meter mark and told us to fish 30-40# here. It was a long drift that we hooked and landed 3 bluefin, from 60 something to the largest 115#! I was disappointed I didn’t get one.
Back on the troll, a stop here and there. We had one nice long drift for nearly 100 yellowfin, 10-15 pound class for the most part. A couple of kelps went nearly wide open on small yellowtail, mostly around 8 pounds with a few probably pushing 15-18. The day ended with roast chicken legs and thighs, rice, and veggies with a garden salad. And homemade apple pie with ice cream!!
Next morning started with troll rotation backwards. (To keep us from getting bored, I guess!) Although we left with massive quantities of bait, we seemed to be going through it quickly, talk of taking it a little slower on the chumming was heard among the crew.
We travelled along, hitting a few spots for a few fish, and finally one stop (meter mark, I think) that had a good bite of yellowfin for a pretty long drift. This was a little better grade of fish than the first day, most 15 pounds and up, with a few pushing toward 25. After a couple on bait, and a steady bite, I grabbed my jig stick and cast a few times. Nothing. Then noticed the fish boiling closer to the boat, I just dropped the green megabait I was fishing a few feet in front of me and let it sink. Then it stopped! Reel in gear, wind… Fresh one! I landed that yellowfin, immediately dropped it again, and hooked a second one! The bite died out, and we were back on the move.
Late afternoon, with the wind coming up, Captain Scott called he was metering another school of bigger fish! We pulled up on it and set to drift. A few nicer yellowfin were landed, and one angler hooked into a bigger fish. After a half hour or so battling his catch, he got it close enough to get a look at it. It was a big blue shark. His disappointment was obvious. The fish eventually broke off.
The crew put up a kite at some point in the drift. The bite was slow, a few people stopped to watch. I was just standing around, most people had bait out on a long soak. Roman on the bait tank pointed out a pair of dorado cruising along a ways out from the boat. I grabbed the best looking sardine I could find in the handwell and cast out… in seconds I was bit. The fish took a long run before I got some line back on it from the corner of the stern. When it was 25 feet or so from the boat, it turned for the bow. With everyone on a long soak, it was easy to run up under everyone to the bow… and over Danny, pulling pretty much straight up and down on a big Bluefin that had been hooked on the kite! I went on with my dorado around the bow and back the other side toward the stern. Roman gaffed it in the corner of the stern, but as soon as its head came out of the water, it flipped off the gaff. (Always put your reel in freespool as soon as your fish is gaffed…!) The fish took off, leaving a trail of blood, and seemingly not much worse for the wear! In a few minutes it was back to the stern, Roman gaffed it again, and this time it made it on the boat! Still very alive, they threw it straight in the kill box… Danny was just coming back from the bow with his big Bluefin.
Ironic. We had been talking, and I wanted a big Bluefin, Danny really wanted a dorado. My little scale put his Bluefin right at around 40 pounds, my dorado at 17.5. While I was fighting the bull, his girlfriend was following him the whole time. When Roman gaffed it the first time one of the other guys threw out a sardine and hooked and landed her just before I got mine on the boat.
Running around that area a bit more, and trolling out of it toward home, took us about to the end of the second day.
Dinner was a roast tri tip, that was fabulous! Served with baked potato and salad, ice cream topped it off nicely.
Our novice deckhand did an incredible job! The crew really took him under their wing an taught him the ins and outs. Passengers were very patient with him learning to gaff on their fish, and although it was a little stressful sometimes waiting for him to hit it, I never saw him loose a fish. Some of the passengers with boat experience gave him tips on how to gaff, and how to throw chum. (I had no idea there was a specific way to throw a sardine!) There was a knife on the bait tank by the staple guns, and I explained to him the importance of bleeding fish before throwing them in the kill box. I don’t know about everyone else’s, but he bled every one of my fish after that! When the fishing was a little slower, one of the passengers handed off a tuna for him to land, and they made him eat the heart. He seemed to pick everything up really quick, and I hope he sticks with it. They worked him hard, but at the end of the trip he said he’d had fun.
We ended up with 270 something yellowfin, 11 bluefin up to 115 pounds, 50 some yellowtail, and 2 big dorado.
While a majority of the fish were caught on bait, Megabaits worked very well. I tried a few colors, all of mine (probably half of my fish) were caught on a light green and silver 3.5 ounce, with a siwash hook. Also, in spite of the size of the sardines, lighter line was key. I fished mostly 25# line, with a 20# fluorocarbon leader, and 2/0 ringed thin wire circle hooks. I ended up with 11 yellowfin and the one dorado.
It turned out to be a great trip, with a good group of anglers! Always a pleasure fishing on the Real Sea Adventure 80! Can’t wait to do it again!!