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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.

Lunch, served by Tyler
Lunch, served by Tyler

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!


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.

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!

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.


La Paz, BCS, Mexico – Tailhunters International – September 30 through October 9

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.On time!

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.Ready to board

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.

The sunset from Tailhunter's
The sunset from Tailhunter’s

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.

Our gang with Jonathan and Jillene
Our gang with Jonathan and Jillene

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

Rooster fish
Rooster fish

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.Guide Eric and Captain Dave

Monday: No fishing today. We’d seen advertisements for snorkeling with whale sharks and had asked Jonathan Our Guideabout 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!Whale shark

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.Snorkeling with Whale Sharks

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.Sunrise

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.Trigger fish

We trolled back toward the coast for dorado, without a single strike. Danny asked Fabio if there was a place we could

Jacks on the beach
Jacks on the beach

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.

Captain Mundo, the "Rooster King"
Captain Mundo, the “Rooster King”

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!Rooster

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.Needlefish

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!!Bonito

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!!


Chief 2.5 Day – October 17-20, 2014 – Awesome End to Our Offshore Season! Limits YFT, dorado, yellowtail… and WAHOO!

Wahoo on the Chief
The crew shows off Wahoo on the Chief

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!

First Fish
First Fish

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!

His First yellowtail
His First yellowtail

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 Pacific Dawn – October 4-5, 2014 – Third Annual Blood Bath!

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.

Kelp Paddy
The Magic Kelp Paddy

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.

Danny's Jackpot Dorado
Danny’s Jackpot Dorado went a little over 26 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 Sandwich while on the Troll

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!

Dorado and Yellowtail
One of the Dorado and three of the four Yellowtail

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.

Awesome, as always, on the Pacific Dawn.

Gold Flecked Mahi-Mahi

17 1/2 pound dorado
17 1/2 pound dorado

Whether called Mahi-mahi, as it is called in Hawaii, or by its Mexican name, Dorado, this hard fighting fish is renowned as being the fastest growing fish in the ocean.  Prized for its firm, moist flesh, it also boasts a slightly sweet taste, which is well complimented in this recipe by a sprinkling of brown sugar, and contrasted by bright colored vegetables and a bit of spice reminiscent of the Mexican Baja.

Plan for approximately 25 minutes for preparation, and have some chips and salsa or guacamole on hand to snack on while your fish bakes for 20 minutes.  Serve with a little steamed rice on side.

Makes 4 servings.


4 mahi-mahi fillets, 5-6 ounces each
1 lime
1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon ground oregano (or 1/2 teaspoon fresh, chopped)
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (or 2 cloves, thinly sliced)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup diced fresh tomato
1 small red onion, thin slided in rings
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 anaheim pepper, seeded and thin sliced in rings
1 tablespoon brown sugar


Heat over to 400 degrees.

Lightly spray a shallow baking dish with “Pam”, arrange the fillets in the dish.

Squeeze lime and lemon juice over fish, and season with the next four ingredients.

Layer on top: cilantro, tomato, onion, and chilis.   Sprinkle with brown sugar.

Bake 20 minutes, uncovered. Fork tested fish should be flakey.