Tag Archives: Bluefin

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Tribute Sportfishing, Seaforth Landing – July 15-16, 2017

 

Jackpot Day One
Danny’s Yellowtail – Jackpot Day One

This was a Soft Steel USA sponsored trip. 

Danny and I weathered a typically nasty drive down to San Diego, nearly 4 hours to go 127 miles.

The trip was schedule for 9:00 PM departure.  We check in at the office and grabbed dinner at the small “Seaforth Grill”.  Kit is wonderful and always takes good care of us, and remembered us from our last trip late June.

Breakfast
Breakfast
Lunch, served by Tyler
Lunch, served by Tyler
Dinner
Dinner

We got our gear out of the car, chatted with other anglers, and boarded around 8:30.  We got our geared stowed, and rigged up for the morning.  The plan for day one was to run down the beach for offshore yellowtail.

Captain David Burnside
Captain David Burnside

Crew was Captain David Burnside, with second Captain Sean.  In the galley was Kyle, with Victor lending a hand both there and on deck, and Robert and Tyler also on deck.  We had a light load, only 13 passengers!

Yellowfin
Yellowfin
Dorado
Dorado

The engines slowed at around 5:30 as we stopped on our first kelp paddy.  I was just grabbing a rod when I saw Danny hook a fish and ran back down for my camera.  (Probably a mistake, I missed our best catch of the day.)  Danny landed what would be day one JP, a yellowtail weighed in at 29 pounds.  The rest of the day was spent filling in our limits of yellowtail, with one 21 pound yellowfin on the troll.

Catch of Day 1
Catch of Day 1

I ordered a burrito for breakfast, but told him I didn’t want the tortilla, just put it in a bowl.  What I got was fabulous!!  Potatoes with cheese, egg over easy on top, bacon and a huge slab of avocado!!  Lunch was just as good – fettuccini with a white sauce and grilled chicken.  Dinner was a nice roasted rare and juicy tri-tip!  Very impressed with the food!

So there we were at the end of the day, discussing what to do tomorrow.  Captain David had settled on heading back up north to fish where some of the big Bluefin had been biting.  Heavy outfit should be ready with either a bait rig with a torpedo on a rubber band, or jig.  Flat falls were working well for them, but be sure to have a very heavy leader so as not to get chewed off immediately.

Kyle, Tyler, Robert & Victor
Kyle, Tyler, Robert & Victor
Tyler with the first Bluefin, 125#
Tyler with the first Bluefin, 125#

Up early again as the engines slowed.  We stopped on a few meter marks but no one would play.  The kite was put up with a “yummy flyer”… a large heavily rigged rubber flying fish, that would be bounced on the surface under a kite.  The baited Seeker rod had an Okuma 30W, 150# spectra, 130# Soft Steel mono, and the flyer was on a 400# leader.  As only one can be used at a time, we were put on rotation teams of three.  So first up was numbers 1 through 3, for 30 minutes, then the next three.

Yummy Flyer
Yummy Flyer
My turn on the fish
My turn on the fish
Danny with the fish near the boat
Danny with the fish near the boat

Hours dragged by.  We got our first bite at around 11 AM, and the team landed a Bluefin that taped out at 127 pounds.  A second one was hooked 30 minutes later, but lost.

Oscar fighting our fish
Oscar fighting our fish

Our turn came around again; me, Danny, and Oscar.  Only a few minutes into our turn, we were bit.  Oscar and I wound in troll lines we’d had our, while the crew brought the rod down from the sun deck.  A clip, that holds the troll line under the kite line, usually releases automatically.  In this case, it did not.  I thought based on that we had a smaller fish, but when they brought the clip and kite down to reach the spectra had melted a groove into the clip!  When the slack was taken in from the main line, the fight began.  Danny, Oscar and I took turns pulling on the fish, and let the crew in on the rotation as well.  From stern to bow, after half an hour fight, the huge fish came into deep color, rounded the bow, broke the surface, and took another short run.  Another agonizing 5 minutes, with Robert manning a push pole to keep the line from rubbing on the hull, Captain Dave and Tyler put gaffs in the fish.  Robert swapped the push poll for another gaff, and they dragged the fish to the open passenger gate and dragged it up through there.

Gaffed...
Gaffed…
Taping the fish
Taping the fish

We taped it at 258 pounds!  (Taping is a formula using length and girth measurements to calculate the weight of a fish.)

The kite went back up, shortly another 125 pound class fish was hooked and landed.  The kite went back up, but that was it, out of time, we called it a day to head back as the Tribute had another trip going out Sunday night.

Our youngest angler on a big bluefin
Our youngest angler on a big bluefin
Father and son team
Father and son team

Food today was awesome again!  French toast and eggs with bacon for breakfast, burgers for lunch, and pork roast for dinner was served shortly after we called it a day.

The three Bluefin were filleted and divided up evenly between the passengers.  With no bait fish caught, the passengers agreed to give the second day’s jackpot to the crew.

Thanks go to the crew of the Tribute, and to Tony Garza of Soft Steel USA for sponsoring this trip.

Awesome fishing, and for Danny, Oscar and me, likely the fish of lifetime!

Bluefin
Our 258# Bluefin

Soft Steel USA is sponsoring another two day trip with Tribute Sportfishing,  booked through Seaforth Landing, on Friday, September 22.  Space is available, but don’t wait!  This prime of the season trip will probably fill up early.

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Oceanside 95 – Overnight Offshore April 22, 2017

The drive to Oceanside isn’t nearly as bad as going all the way to San Diego.  There had been some early season activity on bluefin, so Danny and I decided to take a run and see if we could get in on it.

Guys in the bucket hunting.
Guys in the bucket hunting.

The bite had been mostly 25-30 pound fish.  We had geared up for that and heard at the last minute what they had been seeing was more in the 60 to 100 pound range, so I added a 50 pound outfit to my arsenal.

We left early and had a pretty easy drive down.  We were the first ones there, grabbed some fish and chips and waited to board.

We were heading to Mexico.  After everyone was on board and signed in (full boat), licenses checked or paid for, we headed to the bait receiver. Captain Rick gave a brief safety speech, introduced the crew, and went over the game plan.  We’d head pretty far south, and slowly work out way back through the day.  Have some lighter outfits to flyline, something heavier, at least 40 but preferably 50-60, with a flat fall, sniper, or bait hook and 2-3 ounce sinker on a rubber band to fish for the bigger fish at gray light or in meter marks.

Danny Lynch on troll rotation.
Danny Lynch on troll rotation.

With that, we were on our way.  Conditions  were a little lumpy on the way out, but definitely improving by morning.  The engines slowed at around 5:30, trollers out, the hunt was on.

Long day — Slow fishing.  Danny and I ordered breakfast plates, and returned to the deck to wait and watch.

Paddies were empty.  Metered fish scattered at the sound of the boat.  We finally found a paddy near noon that bit… and produced two tiny yellowtail.

Cheeseburger and a beer
Cheeseburger and a beer

We ordered lunch…  Doug cooked a patty melt for Danny and a cheeseburger for me.  Boat burgers are always awesome!

Patty melt and a Coke
Patty melt and a Coke

More trolling, the Captain Rick was on the PA telling everyone to “Get Ready!!”  Off the bow we could see in the middle of calm waters, heavy ripples pushed up from a huge mass of fish below the surface.

As we got closer, they vanished, only to pop up again a little ways ahead of us again.  This time Rick tried to run around the other side of them, only to have them vanish again.  The crew threw bait, we chased them several times, only to have them vanish and pop up again somewhere else.

Two nice bluefin
Two nice bluefin

Nothing hooked in all of the activity seen.  Bluefin being bluefin.

More trolling, more searching.  We slowed up on a meter mark, the crew threw bait, we lined up along the rail, shuffling along.  Finally, one biter, then a second!  The fish took the anglers up and down the rail several times…  Wraps and tangles were quickly untangled with the help of crew following both anglers at all times.  Eventually both fish were landed.  But no more than those two were hooked….

By the time those two were boated, it was time to head for home.  We trolled for a little longer before Captain Rick gave the word to pull in the troll lines.

Danny and I split a quesadilla, wrapped our gear, and I went down to sleep the rest of the way in.

Thanks again to Captain Rick and the crew of the Oceanside 95.  A slow day of fishing, but certainly not to any lack of trying.  I can’t wait to do it again!!

Sea Adventure 80 2 1/2 Day Trip – August 2-5, 2014 – Lotsa Tuna!

My first fish of the trip, yellowfin tuna.
My first fish of the trip, yellowfin tuna.

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.

Sunrise on Sunday
Sunrise on Sunday

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.

Three big bluefin, up to 115#
Three big bluefin, up to 115#

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!!

Sunday night chicken dinner
Sunday night chicken dinner

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.

Rain... and a Rainbow
Rain… and a Rainbow

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.

The highlight of the trip for us was landing these two nice fish
The highlight of the trip for us was landing these two nice fish

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.

What worked:

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!!