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.
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.
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.
We ordered lunch… Doug cooked a patty melt for Danny and a cheeseburger for me. Boat burgers are always awesome!
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.
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!!
I saw my friend David Han had a charter on the Fortune for a Saturday and contacted him for a spot immediately. The Fortune runs out of 22nd Street Landing in San Pedro during the early part of the year, and I always enjoy riding that boat.
I spent an hour or so baking cookies Thursday night; pumpkin and white chocolate chip, and chocolate chip. Danny
had been talking to Greg Obymako, on the squid boat Pacific Carnage. They’d probably be providing squid for us Friday night, if we were lucky, so I packed an extra box for Greg.
The trip was booked with an earlier departure, 8:00 PM. I arrived at about 7:00 to find about half the load already there waiting. No space in the adjacent lot, so I parked in a temporary spot and left my gear in the care of the guys already waiting while I parked my car across the street. Everyone arrived, we boarded and were on our way out a little after 8:00.
We had Captain Bob at the wheel, with second Captain Gump. Grant and Axel were on deck, with Julio in the galley. After a safety speech, Captain Bob discussed the game plan and rigging suggestions. We weren’t sworn to secrecy, so I’m guessing it’s safe to say now we were on our way to Santa Barbara Island to fish yellowtail, with, indeed, a planned stop at Catalina for squid. Dropper loop or sliding sinker for squid in the morning, and slider for squid or flylined sardines suggested for late morning and afternoon. I rigged up and entrusted Greg’s cookies with Grant, and went to bed.
I got up as soon as the engines slowed at around 4:30, and was on deck ready when the anchor dropped in the dark. We’d settled in and started fishing when more boats started to appear through the fog. The Thurnderbird was first, just off our stern, and the Pacific Star a few minutes later anchored just on the other side of them.
Just as gray light was creeping in, we got our first bite, and Dean Okamura landed the first yellowtail of the day on a dropper loop. Several more were landed, and we ended up with 7, I think, before it got fully light out, almost all on a dropper loop.
The bite died out as it came fully light out. There was zero current, not much going on at all. Captain Bob had the crew pull anchor, and we were off looking around. I ordered a breakfast sandwich while we were on the move.
Next stop, we drifted over a spot several times, with one or two bites on the yellowtail on each drift. Flylined sardines were the best shot at them here. I hooked and landed one on the second drift, hooked and lost one in the rocks a few drifts later.
That eventually stopped producing and we moved again. We were fishing too deep for rock fish, so a few incidental catches had to be released.
I ordered a cheeseburger for lunch. Burgers were hand made from ground beef, not the frozen patties, and was excellent! I was stuffed!
For our final stop, Captain Bob moved us into a shallower area where we could keep rock fish. I finished a sardine for a while hoping to find one more marauding yellowtail with no luck, then remembered I’d gotten some Ahi squid sabiki’s at the Fred Hall show, tied one on with an 8 oz weight, and caught a nice chucklehead on the very first drop with it!
And that was it! At around 2:30, Captain Bob called it a day, and headed back. On the trip in, Julio served up some spicy chicken wings with dressing and raw vegetables.
All around a great trip! We ended up with 21 yellowtail, I think, one ling cod, and plenty of rock fish in the end to top that off. The weather was beautiful, other than a bit of a bumpy ride on the way out. As always, the crew was awesome, and right there to help whenever you needed them.
– Special thanks to Will Yip, for allowing me to use a few of his photos in my report!
Danny and I have become regular attendees at the Angler Chronicles Taco Tuesday events at Michael’s Sports Bar. A few months ago, Danny won a pass for a day and a half on the Pacific Queen, so we picked a weekend trip during what we hoped would be good yellowtail fishing.
We left Torrance around 1:00 on Friday afternoon. It would be the first trip on the Pacific Queen for both of us. The weather forecast looked ok, at least there was no rain forecasted for Saturday. Still, the drive down to San Diego was probably close to one of the worst I have had. However, on a brighter note, we arrived to find the
parking lot nearly empty, and parked right in front of Fisherman’s Landing.
We checked in, finding all of the staterooms full and only top and bottom bunks available. With possibility of rough seas, we both settled for bottom bunks, and went to Mitch’s to grab a bite to eat. Their mixed seafood plate is a favorite to share; with lots of fried calamari, shrimp, fish, French fries, and a crab cake, it’s plenty for both of us.
We got our gear out of the car and got in line at the top of the landing. The boat came in from fueling and getting bait, and we loaded right around the 6:00 time promised in the landing office.
We had help loading gear with lots of familiar faces in the crew, in spite of it being our first time on this boat; Captains Gavin and Bobby, and Johnny in the galley. We signed in and encountered something I found a bit unusual, the Pacific Queen no longer does a jackpot. After the safety briefing and trip plans, we rigged up and I went to bed.
I was freezing most of the night. I woke up at grey light and came out in a heavy jacket and sweatshirt, but the jacket went quickly back downstairs. We had relatively light winds, and it wasn’t nearly as cold as it had been at night. We’d gone about 120 south, past Colenet, and seemed to be in very good company, with 8-10 of the other San Diego boats already around us. We’ll pulled up the first drift and quickly started hooking a few fish.
The first few drifts were pretty chaotic, with horrific tangles on every hooked fish. That did seem to improve some over time, as the anglers began to settle in, the crew reminding everyone to keep their lines in front of them… Each drift would produce a few fish, when the bit died, Gavin quickly reset the boat, and so it went most of the day. No real crazy bites, more of a steady pick.
The winds slowly increased during the day. In the morning yo-yo irons definitely worked better. There didn’t seem to be any particular color that was any better; I saw fish landed on just about any color. Danny got a nice one on a Pacific Lures 7 ounce SR Model in Dorado Image.
As the day wore on, bait seemed to be somewhat more successful; a heavy sliding sinker or torpedo on a rubber band. I caught a yellowtail around 18 pounds on a sardine with a 2 ounce sliding sinker on 30 pound Soft Steel Ultra mono. A few fish were even caught on the surface, but staying higher up also put you in the zone that some big bonito were hanging around occasionally.
Although rock fishing was in the plans for the afternoon, that was foregone for windy conditions and a raging current.
We ended up with something between 50-60 yellowtail.
The food was awesome! Johnny had an egg mix ready for burritos for breakfast, but would make a plate for anyone who’d rather have that. Lunch was Caesar chicken wraps that were paired with a wonderful pasta salad, and dinner was slow roasted beef with mashed potatoes and gravy that was hot and very satisfying in the chilly night. Conditions had continued to deteriorate. As soon as dinner was over, I went to bed.
After a long day of fishing, I slept like a rock. (Other than waking up a couple of times hearing a passenger than was having a bit of a rough night… eeww….) We were back to the landing, unloaded, and on the road before 8:00 AM for a much quicker trip home.
Thank you to the crew of the Pacific Queen, for really staying on top of things, helping with tangles and gaffing, bleeding and tagging fish!
Also thanks to Heather Bodnar, for procuring a pass for the raffle!!
Danny and I spent a lot of time talking to Jonathan and Jillene at the Fred Hall Show, and decided to book a fall trip with his brother Charlie.
We picked some potential dates and sent them to Jonathan. From their list of hotels, and with some input again from Jonathan, we picked a hotel. We had three days to fish, so he suggested one day at La Paz, one day at Las Arenas / Muertos Bay, and leave a third day to decide when we got there. We agreed and Jonathan took care of the rest. When our dates were set, we booked our flights.
We left on Friday, September 30th. Flights were uneventful and arrived on time. From the moment we picked up our bags, EVERYTHING was taken care of for us.
Jorge picked up the three of us and loaded our bags into a luxurious van. We set out down the toll road, and stopped at a market along the way for drinks. Charlie got a soda, I got a beer, and Danny was looking for chocolate milk. None at the store we went to. He settled for a strawberry flavored milk drink and we were back on our way. Jill met us in the lobby of La Concha hotel and helped us get settled in our room.
We grabbed a cab into town to have dinner at Tailhunters. The food was awesome! Jonathan came up and had a shot of tequila with us, then we went back to our hotel with instructions to meeting in the hotel lobby the next morning.
Saturday: We arrived in the lobby for our first day of fishing. Jonathan and Jillene were there with hot coffee, and packages of breakfast and lunch for each boat (and several bottles and boxes of chocolate milk for Danny!). Danny and I fished with Chito, Charlie with Bolie. We caught bonito early morning to be used as bait, and had great dorado fishing most of the day, both on the troll and fishing cut bonito. Most of the dorado were pretty small, but we scratched out a limit of decent sized fish to have processed to bring home. Danny and I brought light spinning outfits that we had a ball catching bonito on, and Danny hooked one small dorado on his as well.
Sunday: Day two we went over the hill to fish Muertos Bay. A little earlier, Jonathan and Jill were again there to greet us in the lobby. With breakfast and lunch in hand, we boarded a van full of other guests. I got ahold of my friend James “Hawk” Davis to share one panga with me, Charlie and Danny fished the other. Fishing had been even slower in Muertos Bay than La Paz. I told my captain, Victor, that we wanted to fish for rooster fish, so we drove around to Las Arenas to catch ladyfish for bait (I wished I’d have brought my spinning outfit, Victor did all the catching on ladyfish for us). They were reluctant, we
ended up with 3 baits, and set out to troll the shoreline for roosters.
Needlefish destroyed one of my baits. But a long slow troll with another one produced the fish we were looking for! I landed an estimated 40 pound rooster! We trolled around a little more for no more biters, and headed in to call it a day. Hawk went home, the rest of us shared stories in the van on the way back to La Paz.
Monday: No fishing today. We’d seen advertisements for snorkeling with whale sharks and had asked Jonathan about it. He arranged for us to do that today, and told us to be in the lobby in the morning to be picked up by a van from the local marina. So when we got to the lobby, the driver was there waiting for us. A short trip to a beautiful marina, and we were fitted with masks and fins. Note, actually FITTED with masks. They had a variety of styles, and took the time to make sure each of us had one that fit properly so it wouldn’t leak!
With a guide and a driver, we boarded a panga style boat for our trip out. We searched the La Paz bay for nearly two hours, while the guide assured us they’d find them, we were beginning to wonder. There were several boats out looking for them, and one finally stopped and put people in the water. We eased into the area with them, donned our gear, and slid into the water.
The boats all carry licenses to do this, and the guides instructed us that it is illegal to touch the animals, and kept close watch on their passengers to make sure they didn’t. The first one we found quickly scooted away, but we moved to another spot where we were in the company of six of them at one point. We were told these were juveniles, “only” 15-20 feet in length. They seemed nearly unaware that we were there, feeding in a nearly vertical posture, sucking in huge mouthfuls of water to filter out krill, and expelling water through their gills.
We hung around watching them for an hour or so in the warm tropical waters, then got back in the boat to head back to the marina.
Tuesday: Charlie’s last day, we all shared a panga in La Paz. Fishing was slow, but Chito worked hard to find us a few fish… we got a few more dorado to keep, and released most of them. We kept one large fillet that Charlie and I took to the restaurant in La Concha, and they prepared a platter of fish for us; deep fried, grilled with garlic butter, and fajita style for tacos.
Wednesday: We checked out of the hotel, and Charlie went home. Danny and I drove to Hawk’s house in La Ventana and settled in. Hawk had arranged for us to fish with Fabio on Thursday, and he stopped by Hawk’s house in the afternoon to discuss plans for the day. Danny and I went down to the beach and fished a little in the surf and had fun catching a variety of little fish. We rigged what we’d need, had dinner, and turned in for the night.
Thursday: Up early, and down the block to the beach the pangas launch from. Fabio was already there. We loaded our gear in the dark and headed out. This was the first day we had wind. We tried to run out to the northern end of Isla Ceralvo to troll for wahoo, but the conditions were very rough. We came back in along the island out of the wind and trolled along there. No bites, no fish spotted. We caught a few baits again to fish for roosters and trolled along the sandy side of the island. One bite was likely a rooster, but didn’t get hooked. Eventually the baits were ruined by marauding needlefish.
We trolled back toward the coast for dorado, without a single strike. Danny asked Fabio if there was a place we could
fish for smaller fish with our spinning outfits, and he took us to a reef area along the beach. We had a ball catching small jacks, a cabrilla, trigger fish, needle fish, and finally told him we’d had enough and headed in.
Friday was a day off. We slept in and went back to where the boats launched with our light gear to fish in the surf in the hour or so leading up to high tide. The bite was non-stop, catching and releasing the same variety of fish we’d caught with Fabio the prior day. Back at Hawk’s house, he arranged for us to fish with Mundo, the Rooster King, the next day.
Saturday: Up early again to drive back over to Muertos Bay. Mundo arrived shortly after us, launched, and we were off. We fished for jacks for bait in the bay, but they were reluctant and the puffer fish were relentless. I caught two jacks for bait right away, and Mundo did not hesitate to give Danny a hard time about me outfishing them!
We moved to a rocky outcropping to the south and found schools of the small jacks puddling on the surface. Danny and I had a ball catching the little fish on our spinning outfits, and we ended up with plenty of them. We were having so much fun with them we were tempted to have Mundo stay and fish those, but we were off.
Trolling baits up and down that shore, we got a few bites on needle fish, but no roosters. It was getting around 1:00, Mundo told us to wind them in and took off toward the launch area. We thought we were done, but he zoomed right by and up the beach the other way toward Las Arenas. We put out baits again and within a few minutes, Danny hooked up the right kind, and landed a 20 pound rooster.
We trolled around some more. Danny hooked something else we thought was another rooster, but Mundo said it was a needlefish. Usually they seemed to let go of the bait after a bit, but this one held on. Danny got it to the boat and Mundo grabbed it to unhook it. He could barely get his hand around it, and the thing must have been over 5 feet long!!
It was getting late; we were down to our last few baits. We trolled around a bit more, and finally told Mundo to call it a day.
Sunday: Its over already! We packed up in the morning and headed to Tailhunters. Our van to take us to the airport was noon, we left earlier to have one more meal at Tailhunters…. Cheeseburgers in paradise. Jonathan had our frozen fish there, so we loaded that up with some shrimp we bought in Las Arenas (shrimp season just opened!) and boarded our van for the scenic trip back to the airport. After a beer and a snack, we boarded for the flight home.
Back in California, we sailed through customs (they didn’t even ask to look in the cooler), got a cab outside the terminal, and headed home.
Absolutely wonderful trip! No hitches, no problems… Jonathan and Jillene were there to help with anything and everything. Their planning and coordination was what REALLY made this an awesome trip! We can’t wait to do it again!!
The weather forecast looked good (yeah, they’re wrong sometimes!) when we packed up for the drive to San Diego Thursday afternoon. We stopped for a quick visit with Jason at the BD Offices, and arrived a little later than we’d hoped. The “LOT FULL” sign was out, but we pulled in to offload our gear, then I was going to go look for a place to park. We got lucky… a couple of the day boats were just unloading and we got a spot in the main lot anyway.
Checked in at the office, and the boat was mostly loaded already. Fortunately, it was a relatively light load… only 22! Still plenty of space for our tackle bag and rods! Danny ran to Mitch’s for take-out, but the line was hopelessly long, so he got us a burger and fries from Jack in the Box.
With everyone loaded, off to the bait dock for some medium sized very lively looking sardines. The plan was to do some paddy hopping Friday, then head to the area off Ensenada Saturday where there had been some yellowfin caught the last few days. After rigging all my rods, there was pizza in the galley, then I turned in for the night.
I got up when the engines slowed to start trolling, but it was only minutes before we made a stop on our first paddy. After two or three of them, we found one that was holding a few fish. We hooked several on that paddy, put three on the boat. Mine was the second of those. We ran up on the paddy again for nothing. Several more paddies, a few holding… by 8:30 we had 15 fish on the boat. Three of them were mine! They weren’t particularly line shy; I was fishing 30#. But they were picky about the sardines…
The weather was rough in the morning, and only got worse. Those 15 only made it up to 25 through the rest of the day, plus two yellowfin on the troll. Jackpot fish was 29#. All the fish were good sized, we ran into one paddy that was holding some really small fish, and Captain Chris left as soon as we got a good look at them.
Dinner was carnitas tacos with black beans, rice, and handmade tortilla chips. You could smell that pork roast in the pressure cooker all afternoon… it smelled awesome!!
Day two; I got up again when I heard the engines slow to trolling speed. The wind was howling. By mid-morning the conditions were worse than uncomfortable… it was pretty bad. We trolled all morning for not a bite, stopped on a couple of meter marks but the fish were gone before we even got set up to drift. I had lunch and went to take a nap.
The engines slowed, and I debated getting up. The boat was rolling severely once it was set into a drift, but I got up anyway, fearing I would miss something. Wind was blowing across the tops of the waves and spraying everyone on the rail, hand wells dumped water on anyone standing next to them. Captain Chris said the fish were down 60 to 80 feet… and we had no torpedo sinkers in our bag. I mooched a 3 oz from the crew, found a stray rubber band on the floor (these need to be added back to our tackle bag!)… and cast off the stern. I’d just turned the corner when I felt a slight tug. Then nothing. A second later, the fish came back around and grabbed the bait again. Rough seas and 20# line, I wondered if I’d get it to the boat! Robert (one of the deckhands) stood behind me and made sure I didn’t fall over backwards, and we managed to get the fish on the boat!
That was it for a long time. The day dragged, with no jig stops and an occasional stop on a meter mark of vanishing fish. A huge pod of dolphins held no fish, or if it did they wouldn’t bite.
Finally, late afternoon we stopped again. The weather was coming down and just as it seemed Captain Chris was ready to give up on a school of yellowfin, they started to bite, and bit for close to an hour. Not a wide open bite by any means, but we ended up with 30 of them.
Dinner was bacon topped meat loaf with a cob of corn, salad and mashed potatoes. Comfort food, after a rough day…
We were back at the dock just past sunrise, offloaded and on our way before 7:00 AM Sunday morning.
We ended up with 25 yellowtail, and I think around 30 yellowfin, for 22 anglers, in spite of tough conditions. Captain Chris has a great crew on the Chief who worked together well. Fun trip, I can’t wait to go again!!
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!
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!
Good sunglasses are an essential piece of equipment that every angler should have, however sorting through the list of features can be daunting.
In the market for a new pair, I knew I wanted:
Protection from UVA and UVB rays
Why? Frequent exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun contributes to eye diseases, including cataracts, growths that can lead to cancer, and macular degeneration.
Why? Light waves are reflected off of water (or any shiny surface) in a horizontal pattern, which creates a blinding glare and can result in eye strain. Polarized lenses contain filters that block horizontal light waves. Removing that glare can also help with everything from spotting paddies offshore to being able to see structure under the water, and identify where an underwater kelp line runs.
Recommendations are generally grey (or “smoke”) for bright offshore conditions, and brown for overcast conditions. For all around saltwater fishing, brown works in most conditions.
Wrap Around Style
Why? This semi-round frame style allows a panorama view of your surroundings, offering greater peripheral vision, while providing additional protection from exposure to UV rays from the sides, essential elements for those of us spending a lot of time in sun.
I had the opportunity to “test drive” a pair of Bomber Sunglasses, and the Butter-Bombs I picked satisfied all of the features listed above.
For me, the biggest problem with wrap around style glasses is that they always seem to fit too close to my eyes, and my eyelashes brush against the lenses. It’s not really uncomfortable, but it’s annoying. This was the first pair I’ve found that I did NOT have this problem with!
I found these glasses to be very comfortable. The lenses block 100% of UVA and UVB rays. The wrap around style prevents light and damaging rays from coming in from the side, top and bottom, and also minimizes the effect of the wind, both of which can be irritating on your eyes. Plus they have a few extra features that I wasn’t looking for (features vary by models):
Bomber Floating Sunglasses include patented foam linings that not only make these glasses float, but also provides for a snug fit and extra comfort for longer wear.
It’s been a warm season. Glasses that fit snug to your face and sweaty conditions can conspire to make glasses fog and impair your view. These lenses are specially treated to resist fogging.
While I don’t plan to get hit in the face with anything, it could be a nice feature with jig fishermen around! Better yet, if you work in an environment that requires safety glasses, Bomber Eyewear’s safety glass is impact tested, OSHA approved and meet ANSI Z87+ standards.
All in all, these are a great pair of sunglasses, and at a great price!