07.15.11 - 07.17.11 - Amigo - Yellowtail

Discussion in 'Southern California Offshore Fishing Reports' started by Odium, Jul 18, 2011.

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  1. Odium

    It's that time again; the first of two annual charters on the Amigo. Thursday night, I packed up the car. Friday morning, I stuck a scopace transderm patch behind my ear. Throughout the day at work on Friday, I was constantly checking the clock. As soon as 4PM rolled around, I was out of the building and driving down to Newport Landing.

    I was the first to arrive but not 10 minutes had passed before I was greeted by some of the other charter members. We did the usual shuffle of watching gear while others unloaded their stuff. Before we knew it, it was 7PM and everyone was getting hungry.

    A couple of the guys went to eat at the Newport Landing Restaurant, while the rest of us had packed food or bought pizza, corndogs, and other stuff.

    Fellow angler and new charter member Kristofer showing us how to eat a corndog. . .

    Cheese fries and ketchup

    Around 8:30, Captain Mike Thompson called us down to load the boat and told us the battle plan. We were headed down to Cortez banks for the first day and dropping back to San Clemente to end the trip.

    Yoyos were the ticket for most of the boats out there, so that's what we rigged up with.

    I rigged up two sliders on my 20 and 25# setups, a mint and white Salas 6x Jr. on my 30#, and a King's Knife Jig on my 40#.

    After everyone was signed in, we pulled away from the dock and headed for the bait receiver.

    We loaded up a whole tank full of squid and another tank of anchovies and sardines.

    A couple of us were messing around at the receiver tossing plastics or chovies. I flylined one of the squids on a size 1 gorilla light owner. The plastics were pulling out a bass here and there.

    My squid drifted out a bit away from the boat and I was just about to retrieve and recast next to the receiver when I got a tap tap. bump, thump, SLAM. I put my reel in gear lifted the rod waiting for it to load up. As it loaded up, I put two quick cranks in to set the hook and slowly worked the fish in.

    To my surprise, it turned out to be a baby White Sea Bass. I would have taken a better picture but I didn't want to keept it out of the water any longer than was needed.

    Minutes later, Hakaveli got nailed by something much much larger than my baby WSB. His fish ran him from the stern up to the bow and back down to the stern again.

    After fighting the fish for about 10 minutes on 12# test, we finally discovered it was a bat ray.

    The ray was safely released just as we finished loading bait; and that was my queue to hit my bunk. . .

    Woke up around 5:45AM and the boat was still on the move. It was a bit cloudy out and the seas weren't exactly flat. . .


    We traveled for another 30 minutes or so before we pulled along side another handful of boats. Some were from the Los Angeles area but the rest were part of the San Diego Fleet. As we motored around for a spot to anchor on, we noticed a few bendos on the other boats.

    Most of the guys broke out their yoyo rigs as soon as the anchor was dropped. I went for my knife jig just to changes things up. About three minutes into the fishing, we have our first hook up on a salas or sumo yoyo iron. I keep working with the knife jig, but the rocks down below decided they wanted my knife jig.

    I broke off my 40# rig and went for my 30# setup with the mint and white salas 6x jr. I had switched out all of my trebles on the yoyos for Aki Twist Owners. Most of the stern was already crowded so I headed towards the bow to yoyo. I only got to work the yoyo for about 6 drops before getting bumped. As I dropped the yoyo back down for a rebite, I told the new angler next to me to drop his yoyo back down too. I hit bottom and got two retrieves in before I got picked up. I got about 10 good cranks on the yellow before it woke up and tore line off me. Fortunately, he didnt gain enough line to run me into the rocks. As I was sporting my bendo, new angler David got picked up as well. Our fish must have been talking to each other because they boat darted down to the stern at the same time. I yelled out, "HOT RAIL!" as we both chased our fish down. David and I both ended up at the starboard stern corner pointed in opposite directions.

    I worked my fish and gained about 20 cranks before he got pissed off and ran me back up the rail. I was back in the same spot where I had hooked him and was slowly grinding him out when my line went slack. -FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF- I cranked my line back in assess the damage. No knicks, frays, or curly q.

    I ran back to my tackle box and tore off about 10 yards of line before tying on a blue and white salas 6x jr.

    As I finished tying up, David had landed his fish and there were more than a couple of bendos around the boat.

    I went back up the rail again to where I originally got picked up. As I started yoyoing, I heard commotion from the bow.

    As I looked over, it was Hakaveli hooked up on a yellow.

    I ducked under his fish and kept yoyoing. Taking pictures as I sank out my yoyo.

    About five minutes later, everyone had boated or dumped their yellows and it was quiet on deck again. I kept working my yoyo about 15 cranks off the bottom then dropping it back down again. I was the only one working the yoyo towards the bow so I just kept concentrating on fishing. During one of my drops, I got bumped on the way down. I tossed my reel in gear and put in five medium fast cranks. I felt some tension after my last crank, so I lifted my rod just a tad and it fully loaded up. I was sporting my second bendo of the trip. I only got about 30 seconds of fight out of this fish before he ran me into the rocks.

    Captain Mike Thompson was looking out from the wheelhouse just behind my shoulder as I retrieved my line in shame. I checked the line again but there were no signs of frays or knicks. Mike took a look at the line and said it looked flattened out. He mentioned that some of the yellows actually slam into rocks rather than just swimming next to them. Whatever the case may be, Yellows 2 - Odium 0. . .

    I was so focused on my fish, that I didn't realize we had another flurry bite going on. I think I spotted about 4 or so bendos. New angler David had his second yellow hooked up

    I went back to the rod racks and upgraded to my 40# rig for my scrambled egg salas 6x jr. Following through as I did with all my previous jigs, I tied my last salas on using a double San Diego knot. As I finished rigging, I heard a thud on the deck. I looked over and saw David with a big smile on his face. He had two in the bag now. . .

    We fished for the next 10 minutes or so with little action; mostly rockfish or whatever non-exotics that were biting at the bottom. The silence was broken when we heard "FRESH ONE!" We looked around the rail to see who it was, it was Angler David hooked up once again. Now that is some beginners luck. . .

    This fish was coming up much faster than any of the other yellows but it was still pulling drag every now and then. When David finally got it to color, we saw it was a larger model Bonito.

    As the action slowed, some of the guys on board opted for dropper loops with smaller hooks. We saw a big mix of fish come over the rails; rockfish, sculpin, sheeps, perch, etc.

    Captain Mike decided to pull anchor and make a quick move to the north. We took the short break for a photo session.

    Seeing as how David had now landed his first yellow, we asked the deckhands to pull out the heart for David to eat.

    David's all smiles after one or two chews.

    But then comes the realization that the heart in his mouth is pretty freaking big.

    David makes a break for the rail, but he encounters 8 anglers yelling at him! DON'T SPIT IT OUT! CHEW IT!! SWALLOW!! DOOOO IT!!! DON't WUSS OUT!! CHEW THAT HEART!!

    Like a trooper, David stood his ground and kept chewing in between sips of gatorade.

    Ahhh, a slight smile as he's gotten most of the heart down.

    Good job David!

    Good Job Hak!


    David with his Yellows and Bonito.

    Chartermaster Marc with his yellow.

    Angler Antoine

    Had to snap a shot of the deck before it was scrubbed clean.

    As we dropped anchor, we saw the other sportboats follow us over and within minutes they were anchored around us as well.

    Everyone was armed with yoyos as we finally pulled tight on the anchor. But the Yoyos slowly got put back on the rod racks as the next 10 minutes had passed. A couple of us were stubborn and stuck to the yoyos.

    We were spread out quite this time around and Angler Gabe next to me hooked up on the right kind. I immediately asked him where he got hit. He said mid column, so that's where I put my yoyo. Less than two minutes later, I got picked up. And less than 40 seconds after that, my line was limp. . . W T F. . . Yellows 3 - Odium 0. . . Checked my line again, no frays. It just looked flattened out where the break occured.

    I was now out of Salas 6x Jrs. . . but I still had a few heavier irons in the bag. I decided to ditch the double San Diego Knot for a single. I tied on a yellow and green Tady AA and went back to yoyoing.

    Throughout the next 30 mins, the other anglers were pulling up various fish from the bottom but we didn't hook up anymore exotics.

    Hakaveli with a nice sheep.

    Gabe with his yellow.

    Good job you guys!

    As a few anglers started to relax, I heard Hakaveli scream out "FRESH ONE!"

    Angler David was sporting a bendo around the same time as well.

    Whatever Hak had hooked into was BIG. It ran him around the boat and he was resting wherever he could.


    Turns out David's bendo was a nice goat.

    This spot was holding some pretty fat whitefish as well.

    About 25 minutes into Hak's fight, he was parked in the port stern corner. By now the fish had already made five or six LOOOOOOONG RUNS on him. Each time the fish would run, Hak would lose just a little more color in his face, hahaha. I decided to record just a little bit of his fight.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o039kFepBFc <- In case the BB Code doesn't work. . .

    About five minutes after my video, Hak's mystery fish popped off. He was able to retrieve all of his tackle, but no fish came along with it. We all figured it was a monster Black Sea Bass. Good job Hak for fighting it so long on 30# line.

    Once that was over and done with, Captain Mike said he was going to park us on his whitefish hole to fill up the sacks before dropping back to San Clemente. He told us we had a strict time limit of one hour, so we better fish hard. I remember this spot from last year, so I didn't even think about pulling out my camera during that portion of the fishing.

    I had rigged up double dropper loops on my 25# setup, but I was losing 1 hook or my weight after three or four drops. I soon upgraded to 30# and I suffered much fewer tackle casualties.

    I'm 99% sure the deckhands hated Mike Thompson at this point because they had ZERO rest. Anglers were pulling doubles over every couple of seconds.

    Whitefish carnage!

    After we filled up the sacks, captain Mike said we were in for the long haul to San Clemente. Hopefully we would make it to the island for the late afternoon/evening bite. I dropped into my bunk for the long ride to the island, I was woken up about 15 minutes away from the island. It was looking pretty late into the evening, apparently the weather slowed us down quite a bit. A few of us still dropped lines into the water, but I think most of the guys were starving by now.

    Quick shot of a bloody moon.

    Dinner Salad

    Deckhand/Galley Cook Ichiro/Churro/Saba sure does grill up some mean steaks.


    Sorry the picture really isn't that good, but the steak was damn good!

    Deckhand Connor and Mike Thompson were both on deck cleaning up all the whitefish we had caught earlier.

    As the evening went by, we heard some choppers pass by over our heads. Although we couldn't see anything besides the blinking lights, we could tell these were some BIG ASS helicopters. They circled around a bit, headed towards the island, and coasted back and forth. We were all speculating on what was going on when we started to hear gunfire and saw tracers being shot at the island. OHHH CRAP, military exercises. I was able to snap a very short clip of tracers being shot.

    Warning: Sound quality sucks, all you really hear is a bunch of wind.

    Day 2

    I woke up around 4:30 and snuck into the galley as quietly as I could.

    Tossed on my boots then crept out on deck only to find three other early birds already on deck.

    We only had about 20 minutes of silent fishing before the others started to wake up.

    This was our morning's scenary.

    I don't recall anything being pulled out of the water on this spot.

    The scopace transderm patch had been working pretty well considering all the rocking we had the day before. I felt so good I was able to eat breakfast on the second day.

    I wasn't able to finish my steak the night before due to massive snacking. So I had it bagged up and Saba was kind enough to make me a steak breakfast burrito out of it.

    Now that's some good eats.

    Hak's breakfast sandwich.

    Mike pulled anchor about 20 mins after everyone had woken up and parked us along a huge kelp line about 10 minutes away and we started to pick away at the bass. As we were picking away at the bass, one of the anglers on board hooks into something bigggg and it drags him from the stern to the bow in about four seconds flat. We all figured it was a homeguard, so everyone is flinging out whatever they can into the water. I lose sight of the angler for the next 10 minutes or so trying to hook into an exotic along this spot.

    The next person to go bendo is Hakaveli.

    He's hooked into a smaller homeguard and works it to the boat pretty quickly. Mike Thompson is standing at the ready with the gaff.

    Just as Hak is about to lay the fish flat, a big ass seal shows up and spooks the yellow. The yellow makes a run and gets caught around the anchor line. Before Hak is able to hand the rod off to Saba, the line breaks. Minutes later off in the distance, we saw the seal ripping the yellow apart. Where's that 800 lb mako shark when you need it?

    I had almost forgotten about our other angler who was hooked up on that big fish. I went to check the other rail to see if he was still on. Sure enough, he was. He had probably been fighting the fish for about 45 minutes now and you could tell that he was beat. He was barely able to grip his brand new CalStar 800XL; half the time, he was using his elbow to keep the rod in place. He fought the fish for another 8 minutes or so before finally seeing color on it.

    The mystery fish was a monster Black Sea Bass. The deckhands were saying it was probably +250 lbs. Pretty damn impressive on an 800xl and SX 30# combo.

    The BSB still had quite a bit of fight left in it and it wasn't as gassed or bloated as others I've seen. The crew worked insanely quick to make sure the sea bass was released safely.

    Mike and Saba were both moving the fish and trying to point the BSB's head down. While that was going on, Second Captain Tom was rigging up one of the spare anchors to safely sink the bass back down. All the while, Deckhand Connor was stripping down to jump into the water to help the sea bass if needed. Fortunately, all the extra meaures were not needed. Mike and Saba were able to position the fishes' head down as it started one of it's kicking frenzies. One, two, three, four, five kicks of its tail and the seabass was swimming back down under its own power.

    After that, Mike decided to check another kelp bed just a short way away from where we were.

    It was a pretty rough ride.

    Mike's gamble didn't pay off so we took a long trek to the front side of the island. We pulled up on a promising bed of kelp and started fishing away at the bass.

    Greg the mailman with a nice calico.

    Erik with a nice calico on the plastic.

    Hakaveli with a fat bull calico.

    We worked this spot till the current died on us. Mike moved us up the coast another 20 minutes or so and we parked up on our last stop of the day.

    We had a steady pick on the calicos and sheeps. But every now and then, we would see a breezing or free swimming yellow. We kept casting at them without much luck. Then wouldn't you know it, Hak gets hooked up.


    Hak made short work of the yellow on 25#.

    We all kept fishing and tossing at the yellows as we saw them. The next to hang a yellow was RJ. I think he was picked up last minute by a swimmer under the boat. It was a smaller model yellow but it still put up a decent fight. He got it up to the boat and bounced it on deck has a seal came around to see what all the commotion was.

    Grats RJ on your first Yellow! Now do you know what time it is?

    That's right, heart chomping time!


    Hak hooked up on another yellow, but I wasn't able to get any pictures because I was focused on fishing.

    Minutes after his yellow is landed, this angler gets hooked up on a massive bendo on his ultra lite setup. He was dragged all around the boat by his fish.

    Meanwhile, I stayed put on the stern casting out squids on my 20# slider rig. Hak and I have been casting just to the outside of the kelp, hoping to hook up the breezing yellows. Sure enough, I get picked up and its no bass bite. Line starts to peel off me and I give it a good three count before setting the hook. As I set the hook, the fish gets pissed and starts ripping line off me. I see the kelp pretty close by, so I walk up the rail a bit and try to angle the fish away.

    No such luck, the yellow keeps peeling line off me and eventually kelps me. I slack off just a bit, hoping he will swim out. I hold firm for about 30 seconds or so before slacking off again. Still nothing, the bastard won't swim out. Third time is a charm right? Slack off again, still nothing. MOther F'er, GTFO out of the kelp! Saba asks to try it out, so I had over the rod. He slacks off the fish and takes a few pumps at it, but the line pops and now I'm 0 - 4 on yellows. . .

    Meanwhile, the guy on the ultra lite comes back down the rail with his fish.

    But it turned out to be a bat ray.

    Mike pats me on the shoulder and says, "Sometimes it just not meant to be." Then he heads up to the wheelhouse and lets us know thats all the time we have for fishing.

    Hak's yellows.

    And now to drown myself in munchies over the lost fish. Actually, its just a tradition on this charter to bring out whatever specialty grub you have available at the end of the trip.

    We had all sorts of meats, smoked salmon, smoked clams/oysters, chips of ever flavor, all the candy you could eat; an absolute nightmare for anyone on a diet hahaha.



    Most of us grubbed out so much on the munchies we couldn't even finish up what we ordered from the galley. This was quite possibly the best pattymelt I ever had. Probably because there was a fried egg inside. . .

    After ingesting about 8,000 calories, I headed for my bunk for the ride back home.

    Woke up about 10 minutes before entering the harbor. Hello Newport!

    Hello Newport Landing!

    Even though I farmed four yellows. . . I still had a great time on the water with the guys. Now I'm contemplating if I should take a break or go for a revenge trip. . .

    Till next time, tight lines!
  2. JeffM

    That took a while to read but nice post and pictures. That lee-side fishin is my idea of fun... I'm headed out there this weekend and hope the weather holds
  3. wawent

    Great report...this is how it's supposed to be.
  4. harddrive

    Very Nice report Odium. Sounds like a fun trip.
  5. LovemyMako

    Very detailed fish report and a good read thumbs up! Sucks you couldn't stick it to a yellow but it happens bro...NEXT TIME!!!!
  6. wetdreams

    Great write-up. Sounds like you guys had a blast.
  7. Trayscool

    Great report, I love reading your reports. the pictures are awesome
  8. Cast Gold



    Now we need to work on your auto-release techniques.
  9. Sherm

    Great report......but the first pic of the dude with the corn dog is a little disturbing.
  10. thefishkiller

    I just about didnt read this report after seeing the first pic, Thanks for an awesome read and the non cornjob photos.
  11. svue

    Nice Odium, at least this time you didn't get sick.
    I fished two yeard ago at the cortez, and also manage to farm 6 yellow at gaffs, beats me, sometime it's just not your day.

    When you fish the Yoyo, don't be afraid to go 50# or more... The fish don't care about the line size when you are yoyoing.
    I do a lot of jigging for yellowtail, and I sometime use 100lbs leader, to put the grind on them. In new zealand, we were using 130lbs, to keep those tail out of the rocks.

    Cortez is a magical place, maybe I should make a trip soon.
  12. Pecoy

    Congrats on your trip. Ive been stationed on that island for almost 3 years and have yet to land in Yellow in Pyramid cove. At least you guys did.
  13. MKUHN138

    Nice report. How long do those fish sit in the bags?
  14. Red Tuna

    Great report...I enjoyed reading that. Funny stuff about the yt hearts....
  15. gspot

    That was an awsome report. I loved the naration and the pics. bummer on the 0 - 4 though. Like we say on my boat "sometimes chicken, sometimes feathers". You'll get them next time. Looks like a great bunch of guys to fish with. Looking forward to your next report. PS: Ditto on the 50# test on yoyo.
  16. spike

    EPIC!!!!!!!!!!!! Just EPIC, from the fishing to the thread! Thank you for an awesome thread, wish you had better success.
  17. ErikD

    Thanks for a great post. I always enjoy reading your reports (on this site and others); they're always so detailed and I learn from your techniques.

    Btw, what brand of mono were you using? And was it old line?
  18. Sun Tzu

    Great report and pics. Thanks
  19. AZTunaBaron

    Looks/sounds like you've got an excellent charter group. Better luck for you next time. BTW, what is your final estimation on what kept happening to your line?
  20. Tunaslam

    A very fun looking trip. way to go guys!