Punta Colonet, roughly 112 miles south of San Diego, is the fishing destination of choice right now. I had the good fortune to fish a 1.5-day trip this last weekend with Eclipse Sportfishing there. Fishing with us in the same general area was The Chief and the Pacific Queen.
I’ve been excited about the trip for months now. Last year’s trip was a highlight in a year of highlight fishing. As a result, I spent a lot of time thinking about what I needed to bring.
I took a really heavy bag.
The trip was a success, despite the weather we encountered down there. Our boat ended up with 118 yellowtail, 60 rockfish, and 26 lingcod for 26 anglers. My personal tally was 8 yellows and 2 lings (plus a couple bones and some random bottom dwellers), so I was really pleased with the outcome.
I’m one of those guys who typically brings too much gear, not wanting to need something I know I have and curse myself for leaving it home. That said, I didn’t need to bring everything I did. In an effort to help your back from breaking (and to save some storage space on the boats), here’s what you need to bring now for a successful trip…
3 Rigs: 2 Jig, 1 Bait
One area where I did show some restraint was only bringing 3 setups – 2 vertical jigging/yoyo rigs and 1 bait stick. Perfect call. For the jig setups, I had one reel with 80-pound braid and the other with 65, pretty much to the brim. I topped both with 50-pound mono, but having the heavier one with 80 left open the possibility of going 60 if needed. I went 65-pound braid to a swivel on the 3rd setup and used 40 mono on the bait setup. Again, tying up the swivel left a ton of flexibility to just change out the short leader to another line class if required.
Heavy Jigs and More Heavy Jigs
Here’s where I showed zero restraint. I brought one tray of just Salas 6x heavies. Another one of 7x’s, Tady 4/0’s and some smaller sizes like CP105’s and 6x Jr’s. Then I brought a lot of heavy rockfish/lingcod oriented jigs, including a whole tray of Shimano Lucanus jigs. Then to top it all off, Jimyjigs USA hooked me up with a sampler pack of their vertical jigs to use on the trip.
I ended up using 2 jigs for the trip.
I rigged one jigging setup with the Jimyjigs Rudo in the 300-gram size Fire tiger pattern. and the other going traditional with my go to mint/white 7X heavy. The current was really ripping, so the heavier the better this weekend. I’d bring a few smaller jigs just in case, but 1 tray…two max of jigs should be ample.
I brought two 16’s and a 20-ounce. Not enough weight. We went on the eve of the full moon, so the current was pretty strong. I believe the current created by the moon phase really activated yellowtail bite, but it made getting down to the bottom and enjoying the good rockfishing down there a major challenge. I lost my 20 and one of the 16’s and was looking for a way to add more weight. I jerry rigged my remaining 16 and attached it with a split ring to a 12 for a total of 28-ounces and couldn’t hold bottom. My buddy, Tim Shiau, had these Slim Jim style weights and said the slimmer profile really helped getting him down in the zone. He ended up with a couple beautiful, big reds, so you may want to find some of those.
Hopefully, if you get down to Colonet this month or next, the conditions are a little more friendly for you. You will be prepared though if you have this gear either way.