First off, a quick fishing report… Cabo is still biting, and it's what I would consider very good fishing. On Bad Company we have fished nine days now and released 47 striped marlin and two sailfish while primarily hunting for swordfish. We spotted 10 swordfish, baited seven of them, had six bites and caught three. Some of my friends are targeting yellowfin tuna and doing well on the 80- to 220-pound fish. Cowboy, with Capt. Kevin Bohannon, was probably the hot-dogger on the tuna. We also anchored one night and caught grouper, pargo and cabrillo. We have caught yellows and amberjack as well. Pretty much everything we have tried to fish for has bit for us.
Ya know I still get nervous this time of year. My heart rate quickens. For so long, my operations consisted of something like this — work December through March doing all the necessary boat projects, modifications and preventive maintenance. Work on all the tackle and gear. Then do a couple of shakedown trips, fishing white sea bass to make sure that everything was tight. Some years, I did makeovers and shakedowns on two different boats, in two different areas. In May and June, we would begin to fish for swordfish, sea bass, albacore, dorado and tuna until the swordfish price dropped in September, when the East Coast longline fish showed up in the markets. Then we'd roll into the tournaments in late September and October. To end the season, we would split and head down to Mag Bay, leaving right after my son's birthday on November 2, and be gone until just before Christmas.
Around May 1, I would start watching the sea-surface temperature charts from Ocean Imaging, looking for that first push of water as the California counter current starts to beat up on the California current in the spring. The California currents in the bight are some of the most complex currents on earth. We used to study these charts for hours and got quite good at reading them. It was a challenge to figure out where the fish were coming from and where they were going. Was the current going to push more up the beach or come in from the outside? Was it going to hit the east end of Clemente and split and go up the back then roll around the west end, or stay East of the Island like it did last year? I always hated those years.
I really doubt we will have that kind of season this year and actually have high hopes for the season. So many factors influence the currents making it impossible for anyone to forecast what kind of season it will be. I always just went fishing…
"As soon as I saw a good push of water or got some dope about albacore, we were off looking for swordfish. Basically if some albacore showed, the swords were within one block (60 miles) in some direction of them."
May and June were great months on the Mirage operation. After the white sea bass opener on June 15, we had a night crew and a daytime crew. It consisted of Jeremy Smith, Ryan Burr, Billy Seiler (one of the best sea bass fisherman I know) and myself. We would typically look for swords on the way to the islands, catch squid after we got there and anchor up on the sea bass. Many, many nights while we were anchored up in total darkness, with all four of us hooked up, we could watch the albacore fleet going by close enough to see the people on the bridge. No one knew the fish were there for several years. Then we got busted by one of the boats and it was over.