Just got off the third Bait Wraps sponsored trip on the Pacific Quest.
I scored a parking spot in the main lot, and took my gear down to the boat. 8:10 and only one other passenger ahead of me. Everyone else was there by 8:30 or so and we loaded and got settled in.
We checked in, and everyone got a free bait wraps yoyo “BB” jig…. and fresh baked cookies!
Captain Greg gave the safety speech and game plan. We had some squid already, and would not be stopping for fin bait. Saturday’s trip had stayed at Catalina, tonight we were heading to San Clemente, try to get some more squid in the dark, and set up to look for seabass at gray light.
We got to the island around 4 AM. I woke up when the engines slowed, but went back to sleep until I heard the anchor drop 30 minutes or so later. The squid were thick around the boat, and they guys were easily filling the tanks just with scoop nets. We fished a bit there, too, but not even a nibble.
When the tanks were sufficiently filled, we moved in closer to the island. Greg metered fish where we were sitting, but there was absolutely no interest in our hooked squid. We hung out in the cove until light, hooked a few very small yellowtail, most of those were released.
Bone chilling winds in the morning gave way to a sunny afternoon, but still quite breezy. We passed the day moving from one spot to another, catching fish pretty much all day… Just not any of the big seabass or yellowtail we would have liked to have seen.
A few of the guys fished the Bait Wraps jigs, catching a few nice bass on them, as well as a white fish. Ken fishing one in the bow had something follow it all the way up that Captain Greg thought at first was a nice sized yellowtail, but when it came into full view it was actually a big bat ray that followed it all the way to the boat and snagged a “wing” when it turned to head back down!
About mid-day we had a visit from the Department of Fish and Game. Two wardens boarded the boat, checked licenses, took a peek in the fish hold, and were on their way.
With nonstop action all day, we ended the trip 31 yellowtail, 57 calico bass, 14 whitefish, 7 sheephead and one blue perch (it was a big one!). Lots and lots of yellowtail and calicos released.
Back by popular demand, after the April Bait Wraps sponsored trip on the Pacific Quest, we set up two more; one in May and one in June.
After boarding and handing out jigs to everyone, Captain Greg came in and went over the game plan; we’d be going to Catalina to see if we could continue the recent seabass bite, look for some squid in the dark, fishing into gray light, then looking along the beaches for yellowtail or seabass. We had some squid left from the previous trip, so there would be no stop at the bait dock.
I slept for the ride out and got up around 2:00 AM. Most of the passengers were up, and one by one drifted back to bed with no biters. I went back to my bunk around 3:30.
I woke up again at around 5:15, still anchored in the same spot. I was debating whether to get up when the second captain came down and said it was gray light, we should be up in case there was a morning bite.
15 minutes later Matt came out and dropped a squid on a dropper loop and got bit immediately. He hadn’t been fighting it more than a minute and I was bit as well! We landed both fish, 25# class. But there were no more bites. When it got light, Captain Greg started hunting around the other beaches.
It was slow picking around all day. There were a few bat rays, a few bass, and some tiny white seabass released. Captain Greg said he knew where there was a hot bite of some really small yellowtail. We could go get in on that, or we could keep looking around. The consensus was, keep looking for some better grade of fish.
Late afternoon, perseverance paid off. Around 3:30 we anchored up by a few other boats and within a few minutes the yellowtail started to bite. Decent grade, maybe 8 to 10 pound range. We put 41 of these fish on the boat in just under an hour. Pretty much non-stop action, with the fish coming through in waves biting 3-4 people at a time.
So that’s about it! Great breakfast burritos and burgers from Geoffrey in the galley. And once again a really fun group of anglers. A stiff wind over night died down pretty well by morning, and not a bad trip home. And everyone got a new Bait Wraps Kraken surface jig to take with them.
Thanks again Greg and the crew of the Pacific Quest! I can’t wait to do this again. The next trip, Sunday June 5, is sold out.
The Pacific Quest will be running trips to the islands and offshore from Pierpoint in Long Beach through June. Remaining trips are selling out fast! They’ll move back down south July 1 for the tuna season. A complete schedule can be found on their web site:
Amid rumors of a decent yellowtail bite going on at San Clemente Island, and a great looking weekend weather forecast, Danny Lynch and I went in search of a Saturday trip over Easter weekend. We hadn’t fished with Captain Rick Slavkin on the Oceanside 95 since last season, so we booked a couple spots on an open party trip and started packing.
Danny and I drove down to Oceanside Friday afternoon, with a stop to pick up Danny’s friend Joey. We got to the landing, unloaded, and I parked in the lot across the street. We put our gear in line, signed in at the office, and got some fish and chips from one of the little local restaurants.
We got the word to board around 8:30, everyone checked in with license in hand (more on that later) and we were on our way. Capt. Rick gave the safety speech and talked about the plan for tomorrow. We’d be heading to San Clemente Island (of course). We loaded up with some nice looking sardines, but Captain Rick noted that most of the yellowtail had been caught on the iron. He recommended a setup for bait as well, just in case. The sardines were a mix of small and medium, the crew suggested 1 to 1/0 size hooks.
I rigged up for jig and for bait, and went to bed. I woke up in the middle of the night and it was quite bumpy… a few loud bangs made me almost want to get up and check our tackle bag on deck to see if it had fallen over.
I woke up to the smell of bacon and got up. We were surrounded by sportboats, probably at least 10 or 12, all shuffling around each other and drifting through a small area. Most of the passengers were fishing iron, I started off with that as well. With all the red crabs around I tried a Bait Wraps red squid. Rick was metering fish, but none were biting. Not much current or wind, I switched to a 6X Jr sized red squid. I ordered breakfast, and just as Doug came out of the galley with my plate I heard “We’ve got one hanging!” Doug offered to put my breakfast in the oven, and I ran back outside. Jolene Thompson was coming up from the stern to the bow, and I think everyone she passed asked “Bait or iron?” Bait. Everyone switched to bait. Jolene landed her fish (that first fish of the day took JP…) I did a few more drops on the iron, no one else got bit, so I went in and had my breakfast.
I switched to fishing a sardine. After a while a couple of fish were caught on iron, seemed mostly scrambled egg, so I tried a yellow jig. Nothing. Another was landed on a light green and white iron, so I switched to something closer, a white mackerel. Third drop and I was bit, and landed my first of the day!
The fish came in waves, with 2-3 people bit at a time, and one or two landed.
Somewhere mid-morning we were visited by fish and game, who checked all our sacks and our licenses. The wardens were very nice, laughed at our occasional jokes, handed one passenger a pen and told him to sign his license. (Very nice of him, as he could have just as easily issued him a citation for that.) When they left us (I think we were first), they made the rounds to the rest of the boats in the area, and then left.
Later Danny caught a nice yellowtail on a flylined mackerel, I switched back to bait for a few minutes (mostly to rest!) but as Captain Rick predicted, most of the fish were on iron.
I switched back to my jig and within a few minutes hooked and landed my second fish of the day.
We had a slow pick at the yellows all day. There was cut squid, and a few people took an occasional break to drop a piece of squid and pick up a few rock fish and whitefish.
With no trip on the books for Easter Sunday, Captain Rick stuck it out a little later than usual, but the yellowtail bite had drifted off to nothing. We called it a day and headed in with 20 yellowtail and a bunch of miscellaneous bottom fish.
Doug made tri-tip and offered sandwiches on the way in, with cole slaw and baked beans. Nice flat ride home. And we actually got back much earlier than I had expected.
We had a great group of anglers and a lot of fun! I met a lot of people in person that I’d only talked to previously on-line, and saw a few old friends as well. We had beautiful weather and a fun day on the Oceanside 95!
Danny Lynch’s longtime friend Wayne Carr is running trips on the Dominator, so we decided to go on a two-day weekend trip that was on the schedule. Rich Whitaker offered to sponsor a raffle for us, so we had a few jigs to give away to help in promoting the trip.
We ended up with a load of only 14, an awesome number on a boat that size! We got on with our gear and picked out bunks… all of them are pretty much double bunk size, so plenty of room to stretch out and put your stuff away!
Our crew, led by Captain Wayne Carr, included second Captain Kerim Hussainy, JJ in the galley, and Alex and Jake on deck. They loaded up with some awesome looking sardines and a tank of anchovies for chum. We were plugged and ready to do battle! The game plan was to fish offshore Mexican waters for yellowfin and yellowtail, and then hit some areas in US waters for Bluefin.
The weather was up a little, but not unfishable. We started trolling early Saturday morning in light winds and a bit of white cap. It was not the calm weather that had been forecasted. Kelps were few and far between, and the chop certainly made them more challenging to spot. One of the first ones in the morning yielded a few small yellowtail. Another one a single decent sized yellowtail and a few smaller ones.
Then the kelps became more and more scarce. Tuna fishing became, well…. Like tuna fishing. Long troll rotations, naps… breakfast and lunch passed into afternoon for a stop on a meter mark and one more nice yellowtail. And more trolling….
Dinner was cooking and releasing an awesome smell…. Lasagna…! I was up in the wheel house with Danny and Wayne. Danny was just saying this was about the time when Wayne usually pulled a rabbit out of the hat… when the sonar made an odd noise. Red spots on the sonar screen, and Wayne yelling on the PA to throw bait was enough to send me out of the wheelhouse and down the ladder to grab a rod. Everyone was grabbing for bait, hooking, and tossing them behind the boat. Three hook ups, one broke off quickly. Danny was overheard saying he was under geared, and line peeled off.
One fish hit the deck after 10 minutes or so, 25 pounds or so. But Danny’s on 30 pound line was taking a bit longer. For a while, it seemed like it could have been stuck to the bottom, and line put on the reel was quickly taken back. The sharing sort that he is, he handed it off to me to take a breather, and when he was ready took it back… twice. Checking timestamps on the photos, the battle went on for nearly 30 minutes, but Danny landed his yellowfin, running 45 or so. (Still in Mexico, we were all relieved to see these fish were not Bluefin.)
Lasagna dinner was
awesome, then off to bed.
Morning came, with long trolls. No kelps to speak of and the water was a dirty green. Flocks of birds and schools of mammals produced nothing…. chicken fajitas for lunch was our mid-day excitement. A meter mark produced a single yellowtail.
Dinner was served late afternoon, chicken parmesan with garlic bread. After a long day, we returned to the dock with the two nice yellowfin, two decent sized yellowtail with a handful of small ones, and some more released.
Lots of fun anyway. 6 people walked away with a Bait Wraps jig.
Big thanks to a professional crew who were there to help with every fish hooked, big or small. I can’t wait to get out and fish with Captain Wayne again, and hopefully the fish will be a little more cooperative next time too!
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!
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!