Tag Archives: Helgren’s Sportfishing

DSCN9363

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!!

On the Bait Wraps jig

San Clemente Island Yellowtail on the Oceanside 95 – 3/26/16

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.

oceanside 95We 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.

My First Fish of the Day
My First Fish of the Day

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.

Danny's yellowtail
Danny’s yellowtail

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.

Photo Bombed!!
Photo Bombed!!

 

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!

 

Electra (Reviewed 9/13/14)

Statistics:

Electra's huge bow area
Electra’s huge bow area

Size: 75’ x 22’

Capacity: 35 people

Electra Bunkroom
Electra Bunkroom

Bunks: 35 (in open berthing) – approximately 70” long and rather narrow.

Galley: Seats about 20 (12 indoors and 8 outdoors on a sun deck).

Heads: 2 (one with a shower). Heads are forward and accessed by walking up the rail outside the house near the bow.

Electra Galley
Electra Galley

Landing: Helgren’s Sportfishing

Address: 315 Harbor Drive South, Oceanside, CA

Contact: (760) 722-2133

Parking: Free. Large public lot across the street.

Some details and additional information:

Hand wells around the bait tank are easy to get to, and a good size to be able to easily grab a bait. They do tend to splash over in rougher conditions, so you don’t want to be standing beside then when the boat rolls.

Electra outdoor seating
Electra outdoor seating

There are two stairways from the back deck into the bunkroom. The center bunks are open, two side by side, with a low board between them. Outside bunks are the same size.

The heads are large. One of them is equipped with a shower. There’s plenty of room to change, but the shower is exposed to the entire room. Bring a plastic bag to store your clothes while you shower.

Fish are stored in gunny sacks, and tagged and dropped in the hold between bites.

 

Electra – Oceanside – September 13, 2014 – Overnight, escape the HEAT!

Record heat in Southern California this week conspired to make everyone miserable, and make me almost appreciate my air conditioned office job.

Electra 9-13-2014
Electra 9-13-2014

So I was thrilled when we got a late invite from Captain Joey Helgren to join a charter group on the Electra for a light load.

After an easy drive to Oceanside (school’s back in – less traffic?), Danny and I grabbed a couple of appetizer plates at Joes Crab Shack. Then we unloaded our gear and I parked in the lot across the street. It was my first time using that lot. It’s huge, nicely laid out, and very well lit. I scored a spot right next to handicapped area, so it was a quick walk back.

(Note that the exit to the parking lot drops you off back by the freeway on ramp, and it’s around the block the long way (several left turns) back to Helgren’s if you’re picking people up again.)

We got our gear on the boat and I picked a bunk close to the doors. There’s no A/C and it was warm down there! All the other passengers boarded and signed in, and we rolled away from the dock with only 19 anglers.

The Oceanside 95 had just come in with over 200 fish from a 2-day, and we headed out to the same area they had fished off of San Clemente Island. Loaded with some nicer looking sardines, we headed out in windy conditions and pretty rough seas, knowing at least it would be downhill all the way back Saturday afternoon.

Trolling at sunrise on the Electra
Trolling at sunrise on the Electra

The sun rose on less than ideal conditions. We trolled around all morning, stopped on a few meter marks, a couple of jig strikes.

By late morning we had just 4 or 5 yellowfin, and a few rat yellows that were too beat up from troll jigs to throw back.

Yellowfin on the Electra
Yellowfin on the Electra

Captain Joey had a line on a spot closer to home where a friend had done well on nice tuna on Friday, so we worked our way back that way through the afternoon, stopping occasionally on a vacant paddy or chasing a spot of birds. It was a long ride with no bites. Even arriving at our destination, there was no signs of life, and no more fish.

Deckhand in training
Deckhand in training

Less than ideal conditions all day made for a very slow day. It was an eclectic group that made for some interesting conversations and a lot of novice and first time anglers that would have made a small group on such a large boat a fun experience if the fish had cooperated.

Hengren’s Sportfishing – Oceanside, CA (Reviewed 9/12/14)

Landing:  Helgren’s Sportfishing

Location:  315 Harbor Drive, Oceanside, California

Contact Number:  (760) 722-2133

Helgren's Office - Tara
Helgren’s Office – Tara

Web Site:  http://www.helgrensportfishing.com/

Boats:

  • Electra                       (75′, sleeps 35)
  • Oceanside 95        (95′, up to 80 passengers, sleeps 35)
  • Sea Trek                   (60′, up to 39 passengers)
  • Sea Star                    (60′, up to 40 passengers)
  • Aries
  • Black Pearl

Parking:  Free parking is available across the street.

Helgren's Sportfishing Office
Helgren’s Sportfishing Office, minimal amount of tackle for sale.

Tackle Store:  No, a very minimal amount of tackle is for sale in the landing office.  Make sure you have everything you need.

Rental Gear:  Available.  Ask when you make your reservation.

Additional Information:

For most trips, you’ll check in at the landing office.

Space is limited for parking close by in a two hour lot.  If you are alone, make sure that you can handle all of your own gear alone, as it is quite a walk from the parking lot to the boarding area.

Tara is in the process of updating Helgren’s website.  A calendar of available trips is up, and on-line booking for trips should be available very soon!!

 

 

 

Oceanside 95 (Reviewed 9/7/14)

Nine person stateroom in the bow
Nine person stateroom in the bow

Statistics:

Boat’s Size: 95′ x 25′

Capacity (Coast Guard Approved): 80 people

Bunks: 35 (in 3 to 9 person air conditioned staterooms) – Most bunks are approximately 73″ long, and are generously wide.

Staterooms:  Doors that close, some hooks on the walls, but no extra storage shelves or drawers, and no sinks.

Oceanside 95 Galley
Oceanside 95 Galley, seating for 20

Galley: Seats about 20

Heads: 2 restrooms (one with a shower). Access is from interior of galley.

Landing: Helgren’s Sportfishing

Oceanside 95 "Head"
Oceanside 95 Shower in the restroom.

Address: 315 Harbor Drive South, Oceanside, CA

Contact: (760) 722-2133

Parking: Free. Large public lot across the street.

 Some details and additional information:

All the bunks on the Oceanside 95 are in staterooms, anything from 9 bunks in the bow stateroom, to a couple of smaller ones with 3 bunks. Most of them had 6 bunks.   Most of bunks are around 73″ long, and generously wide.  The bunks are covered with a soft tweed fabric, which is nicer than the vinyl covering on a hot day, and also don’t leave you with that feeling you’re going to slide off onto the floor in rough seas!

The air conditioning works really good… so much so I needed a blanket, and wished I’d had a sweatshirt. I think most of the guys were pretty comfortable.

Stairs from the center of the galley split and one set go to the aft staterooms, another to the forward ones. There are two spacious heads off the galley, one with a large shower area.  The shower is seperated from the toilet by a short wall, and there is plenty of counter space away from the shower to set your dry clothes, so you don’t have to worry about your clothes getting wet.  The next person into the head also does not have to come in to find a wet seat!

The galley seats 20 at a time comfortably. There’s a long bench across the back of the house (outside) with a padded seat and tables in front of them where another 8 or so people can sit. It’s usually in the shade, so it’s a nice place to get off your feet for a while on a sunny day.

Hand wells around the bait tank are easy to get to, and a good size to be able to easily grab a bait. They’re relatively dry and only spilled over in deep swells.

Fish are stored in gunny sacks, and tagged and dropped in the hold between bites.

Oceanside 95 – August 17, 2014 – Overnight for a few Yellowfin

My Yellowfin - Yes, I got one twoo
My Yellowfin – Yes, I got one twoo

I rode to Oceanside with Danny and his brother Charlie. The way the traffic has been, the shorter ride than all the way to San Diego was a nice change. Riding instead of driving was nice, too!

 

The close lot was full. Charlie dropped us and our gear and parked in the lot across the street. I’ve never seen it, so no idea how big it is or the conditions, but it took him a while to get back, so I’m guessing it’s a big lot.

 

Captain of the Oceanside 95, Rick Slavkin
Captain of the Oceanside 95, Rick Slavkin

The Black Pearl came in from a two-day, Captain Joey Helgren came off the Electra and said the fishing had been a little slow. We had heard rumors that there was a bait shortage. Joey said there was plenty on the Electra that he could pass off to our boat if the receiver was short. The Oceanside 95 arrived a few minutes later and unloaded. Captain Rick Slavkin came down and talked to Joey back on the Electra while the fish was passed out and boat cleaned, and we loaded up a little after 8:30, and rolled away a little after 9:00. At the bait dock we picked up a load of large anchovies, and a little smaller sized sardines, while Captain Rick went over safety and tackle recommendations in the galley.

 

I rigged up, and went to sleep.

 

Crowded... not really!
Crowded… not really!

I woke up to hear the engines slow up. By the time I made it up on deck we were already stopped on a drift, and we were rolling pretty good. There was a lot of wind on Saturday, and offshore Sunday morning was rough! Captain Rick called “wind them up” before I even got a rod… We’d picked up two troll fish to stop the boat, but nothing on bait. Second troll team was up, and in a few minutes we had another jig stop, one jig fish, one on bait, then rolling again.

Yellowfin

The weather came down through the day, bit by bit, but the damage had been done. Choppy conditions made it hard to spot kelps, it was late afternoon by the time it laid down enough to be able to see much of them at all.

 

We had a couple of drifts for a dozen or so fish each. Several other smaller stops. We were fishing in the 371 area. All of the fish were caught on tern birds except one by a small kelp (probably a 10 foot stringer wrapped in a circle) and one around a hammerhead shark. Most of the fish were caught on bait, a couple on Megabaits. It seemed most people were fishing 30#, but I didn’t get bit until I dropped to 25#.

 

We ended up with 43 yellowfin and 1 dorado.

Charlie's first Tuna!
Charlie’s first Tuna!

 

Weather conditions made for a little slower fishing, but Captain Rick did a great job putting us on some fish anyway, and the crew was right there to help with tangles and gaff our fish. We had a relatively light load, only 31 people on a 95 foot boat! I’m hoping we can do this again before the season ends!

 A little about the boat:

 

 

Yellowfin

Three person stateroom
Three person stateroom

 

All the bunks on the Oceanside 95 are in staterooms, anything from 9 bunks in the bow stateroom, to a couple of smaller ones with 3 bunks. Most of them had 6 bunks.

 

The air conditioning works really good… so much so I needed a blanket, and wished I’d had a sweatshirt. I think most of the guys were pretty comfortable. The bunks are covered in a tweed fabric, which is nice because you don’t feel like you need a sheet, or you’re going to slide off. There’s nothing worse on a warm night than sleeping directly on a vinyl covered mattress…!

 

Nine person stateroom in the bow
Nine person stateroom in the bow

Stairs from the center of the galley split and one set go to the aft staterooms, another to the forward ones. There are two spacious heads off the galley, one with a large shower area.

 

The galley seats probably 20 at a time comfortably. There’s a long bench across the back of the house with a padded seat and tables in front of them where another 8 or so people can sit. It’s usually in the shade, so it’s a nice place to get off your feet for a while on a sunny day.

 

Hand wells around the bait tank are easy to get to, and a good size to be able to easily grab a bait. They’re relatively dry and only spilled over in deep swells.

 

Fish are stored in gunny sacks, and tagged and dropped in the hold between bites.