Tag Archives: Yellowfin

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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.

Sunset

Chief 2.5 Day – July 21-24, 2016

My first Yellowtail of the Day
My first Yellowtail of the Day

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…

Dolphin pod
Dolphin pod

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.

Day One's catch
Day One’s catch

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.

Three amigos
Three amigos

 

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!

Gaffing Danny's tuna
Gaffing Danny’s tuna

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.

The catch on Day Two
The catch on Day Two

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
Dinner

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!!

Conditions

Pacific Quest to Cortez Bank September 12-13, 2015

It’s always fun to fish with Captain Greg Obymako… He posted up a

Danny with his first small yellowfin
Danny Lynch with his first small yellowfin

weekend trip in mid-September on the Pacific Quest and I saw some friends who said they were going, so Danny and I booked a couple of spots on it as well. Good thing! The trip filled up really fast!

Dave's big yellowfin
Dave’s big yellowfin

So I snuck out of work early on Friday and we ran down to the landing. Got a parking spot and went to make the rounds looking for some other friends heading out that night. Then off to Mitch’s for a mixed seafood platter… all the good stuff! Calamari, beer battered cod, crab cake, shrimp… yum! And a local craft beer on the side! Finished that off and found Stew Suenaga and his friend Dave watching a dock cart of their stuff and ran and got ours out of my car. Mike Blackburn was also among the group, and a few other people waiting around. There were lots of boats going out tonight. Lots of people to chat with. Good fun already, and we weren’t even on the boat yet!

Mike fighting his fish
Mike fighting his fish

Captain Greg came in with his group from a two day. They’d lost a nice wahoo at gaff, but had decent trip out of it anyway. Greg promised to have the boat turned around quickly and get on our way. Didn’t take long at all to unload, load the galley, and get us on board!

Along with Captain Oby, we had second Captain Cal, Jeff running galley as well as working deck, and Jake on deck with him. Jeff gave us the rundown on the way to the bait dock. We’d be fishing US waters, heading to Cortez where there’d been some good scores in the last couple of days on better grade yellowfin. We loaded up on big sardines, both bait tanks and the slammer, and we were on our way!

Captain Greg assisting
Captain Greg assisting

Up in the morning and still on our way to the bank, breakfast burritos were served before we made it the rest of the way. First few stops were a couple of smaller grade yellowfin (8-10#) and massive quantities of skipjack and bonito, that rushed every bait that hit the water. Jeff on deck suggested trying chunks of sardine, but the skippies eventually went for that as well. Then I tried a flat fall and they murdered that. After releasing a couple of skipjack off of that, on a third drop they rushed it and I think one of them bit the line. I watched my $20 jig sink away, with the skipjack following and snapping at it until it sank out of site.

Mike with his big yellowfin
Mike with his big yellowfin

Greg had had it with the skipjack and made a move.

My yellowfin, first of 5
My yellowfin, first of 5

We stopped on a dolphin school and hooked up 4-5 large ones. Only two yellowfin made it to the boat, Mike and his friend Dave. Think these were 50-60 pound class.

Danny with a nicer grade of fish
Danny with a nicer grade of fish
We landed these two at about the same time
We landed these two at about the same time

We drove around for quite a while, chased some bird schools and had burgers for lunch. I grabbed a nap, and got up when we stopped again on a pod of dolphin, for no biters. We finally stopped on a spot of fish that started to bite late afternoon. Greg said they were bigger fish, I landed one on 40# but then couldn’t get bit, so I dropped to 30# and started nailing them! We had a steady pick at them for a couple of hours until it started getting dark. We put probably 30 of these 25-30# fish on the boat.   I ended up with 5 of them. One guy was still hanging a bigger fish in the bow when the bite fizzled. Greg said there were no fish on the meter, and they chased this guy’s fish around for a bit while Jeff started serving a spaghetti dinner. He eventually broke it off.

Jeff, taking a break from Galley and Deck duty
Jeff, taking a break from Galley and Deck duty

We started the next morning at San Clemente Island for yellowtail. The bite had been early morning. Greg metered a school in gray light, but they weren’t biting. We ran around a few other boats out there as the sun came up, but never found the school again or any biting fish. Greg’s not one to wait around, we left and headed offshore to look for paddies.

Stew and Jeff crossing lines
Stew and Jeff crossing lines

Shortly after we started trolling, Stew hooked up on the troll and landed a nice big yellowfin. Unfortunately there were none of his friends in the neighborhood who wanted to play.

It was a wasteland out there. Very few paddies, almost no birds. We found one paddy packed with 12” yellowtail, another with some even smaller. One of them through the tiny yellows you could see a couple of dorado cruising around, but they could not be coaxed into biting.

Greg rigged up the trollers for wahoo. We’d been running them an hour or so when one of them suddenly went limp. The marauder was gone, wire leader shredded. No one heard a sound. Had we gotten bit and snapped off that quickly?

We arrived back at the dock, tired and sunburned. It had been clear and sunny all weekend. Hot!

Awesome fun trip!   We ended up with 39 yellowfin, 62 skipjack (many more released), 6 yellowtail, and 15 bonito.

Thanks Greg and the crew of the Pacific Quest! I love this big little boat!! There’s always plenty of room with the loads limited to only 12 passengers! I have some great trips on this boat, and this was another one! I can’t wait until they move back up to Long Beach, I hope to get some fall, winter, or spring trips with them before they move back down south for the next year’s tuna season!

45# yellowfin landed by Danny Lynch

Dominator 2-Day Offshore June 6 & 7, 2015

The take...
The take…

Danny Lynch’s longtime friend Wayne Carr is running trips on the Dominator, so we decided to go on a two-day weekend trip that was on the schedule. Rich Whitaker offered to sponsor a raffle for us, so we had a few jigs to give away to help in promoting the trip.

We ended up with a load of only 14, an awesome number on a boat that size! We got on with our gear and picked out bunks… all of them are pretty much double bunk size, so plenty of room to stretch out and put your stuff away!

Our crew, led by Captain Wayne Carr, included second Captain Kerim Hussainy, JJ in the galley, and Alex and Jake on deck. They loaded up with some awesome looking sardines and a tank of anchovies for chum. We were plugged and ready to do battle! The game plan was to fish offshore Mexican waters for yellowfin and yellowtail, and then hit some areas in US waters for Bluefin.

The weather was up a little, but not unfishable. We started trolling early Saturday morning in light winds and a bit of white cap. It was not the calm weather that had been forecasted. Kelps were few and far between, and the chop certainly made them more challenging to spot. One of the first ones in the morning yielded a few small yellowtail. Another one a single decent sized yellowtail and a few smaller ones.

My biggest yellowtail of the trip
My biggest yellowtail of the trip

Then the kelps became more and more scarce. Tuna fishing became, well…. Like tuna fishing. Long troll rotations, naps… breakfast and lunch passed into afternoon for a stop on a meter mark and one more nice yellowtail. And more trolling….

Dinner was cooking and releasing an awesome smell…. Lasagna…! I was up in the wheel house with Danny and Wayne. Danny was just saying this was about the time when Wayne usually pulled a rabbit out of the hat… when the sonar made an odd noise. Red spots on the sonar screen, and Wayne yelling on the PA to throw bait was enough to send me out of the wheelhouse and down the ladder to grab a rod. Everyone was grabbing for bait, hooking, and tossing them behind the boat. Three hook ups, one broke off quickly. Danny was overheard saying he was under geared, and line peeled off.

Angler
An angler fighting one of two yellowfin landed on the trip
Danny Lynch
Danny Lynch pulling on the biggest yellowfin of the trip.

One fish hit the deck after 10 minutes or so, 25 pounds or so. But Danny’s on 30 pound line was taking a bit longer. For a while, it seemed like it could have been stuck to the bottom, and line put on the reel was quickly taken back. The sharing sort that he is, he handed it off to me to take a breather, and when he was ready took it back… twice. Checking timestamps on the photos, the battle went on for nearly 30 minutes, but Danny landed his yellowfin, running 45 or so. (Still in Mexico, we were all relieved to see these fish were not Bluefin.)

Lasagna dinner was

Danny's big tuna
Danny’s big tuna

awesome, then off to bed.

Morning came, with long trolls. No kelps to speak of and the water was a dirty green. Flocks of birds and schools of mammals produced nothing…. chicken fajitas for lunch was our mid-day excitement.  A meter mark produced a single yellowtail.

One of the two better grade yellowtail
One of the two better grade yellowtail

Dinner was served late afternoon, chicken parmesan with garlic bread. After a long day, we returned to the dock with the two nice yellowfin, two decent sized yellowtail with a handful of small ones, and some more released.

Lots of fun anyway. 6 people walked away with a Bait Wraps jig.

Big thanks to a professional crew who were there to help with every fish hooked, big or small. I can’t wait to get out and fish with Captain Wayne again, and hopefully the fish will be a little more cooperative next time too!

Rolling home
Rolling home

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!

Dorado
Dorado

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!

Ahi Poke – with Avocado and Cucumber

Poke is a wonderful to transform some of you fresh tuna into a wonderful summer appetizer!  Here’s one of my favorite recipes!

 

1/2 pound sashimi grade tuna, diced

Poke!
Poke!

1/3 cup diced cucumber (I like the Japanese cucumbers for this!)

1/2 avocado, diced

3 tablespoons chopped green onion

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 teaspoons toasted* sesame seeds (use half black, half white)

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Ingredients
Ingredients

1 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

1/3 cup soy sauce

 

Optional additions:

Tobiko (flying fish roe)

Green Shiso, minced

 

In a medium bowl, combine the tuna, cucumber, green onion, red pepper flakes and sesame seeds.

In a small bowl, blend the lemon juice, sesame oil and soy sauce. Pour over the tuna mixture, and stir.

Add the avocado, and gently fold in, so as not to mash the avocado.

Once chilled, serve with toasted bread or your favorite crackers. Baked won-ton chips are also wonderful with this!

 

* To toast sesame seeds, heat a dry skillet over medium heat, add sesame seeds. Stir and cook until toasted and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.

 

 

 

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
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.

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.

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.

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!!