After putting the boat back in shape we made plans for a quick delivery to Cabo. The amount of work was staggering. The crew included myself, Eliseo Herrera, Erik Carmack (the captain from Shannon Rose) and Kyle Kritz. I had invited some others to go but they couldn’t make the trip. Bummer, they blew it!
All the subcontractors came together and did whatever was needed to make it happen. Many thanks to John Gumb Yacht Management, Shelter Island Boatyard, Pacific Edge and Viking Marine for going above and beyond to help me out.
We arrived in Ensenada at daylight, fueled the boat (85 cents a gallon cheaper than San Diego) and cleared into Mexico along with importing the boat. With all the hassles and new regulations, it was the only thing that made sense. It is also way easier to import the boat in Ensenada than Cabo.
We departed Ensenada at 11 a.m. running at 10 knots.
That put us at San Benitos at daylight, perfect timing for some yellowtail action.
We weren’t really super set up for fishing as all of our gear from the yellow boat was in a bodega in Cabo. We just had a hodgepodge of whatever I could piece together. After taking turns on watches all night we turned the corner at Benitos and it was bird school city. At first it was hard to get through the jumbo calico bass to catch a yellowtail. Many of these were in the 6- to 8-pound class. The catch over the first hour was probably half calicos and half yellows. Then the fish moved off the kelp line and onto the structure. It was straight sonar fishing (we still have the good CH 37 sonar on this boat). We caught all we wanted with doubles, triples and quads. All of the fish landed on the Yo-Yo were a nice grade, weighing more than 20 pounds.
We still didn’t have any bait on the boat as we departed to Turtle Bay for fuel. On the way by Cedros we thought we would slide in and sonar around looking for macks. Couldn’t find any in the stock zones so we slid up to a couple of kelps and started throwing some swimbaits for calicos. As we were approaching one of the kelps I saw some sardines flipping so we threw out the sabiki rigs and started loading up the tank. It turned out to be a mix of 5-inch sardines and 4- to 6-inch greenies. We caught a few hundred and took off for Turtle Bay. I was wishing they were bigger but felt good about having anything on the boat.
Just as we pulled off the kelp line I picked up the glasses and saw all these huge bird schools close to Natividad. We cruised over and the yellowtail fishing was even more sick than Benitos. There was maybe 10 bird schools up at any given time with fish crashing everywhere in between. It was maybe a two-square-mile area. I wish we had some surface iron on the boat. It would’ve been stupid. I had a couple imitation mega baits that I grabbed in Ensenada. They were bit instantly but the hooks kept straightening out. So we were fishing heavy 6Xs like surface iron. What a blast.
We pulled into Turtle Bay and fueled with our old friend on the Anna Belle. We tried to make some bait there and failed miserably, oh well, we got some 5-inchers. Departed Turtle and prepared to drive all night. About 11 p.m. during Erik’s watch we were off Asuncion Island and the port motor surged a couple of times, sputtered and died.
Why does that always happen at night? No warning. Filters looked great but the electric prime pump on that motor doesn’t work. So we start cracking fittings and bleeding the system using the hand pump on the motor. After about 15 minutes we got her fired up and were off. Hasn’t even hiccupped since, WTF?
Water was cold at the top of the ridge but we gave the wahoo a good old-fashioned try. If they weren’t gonna bite on the troll I would have no way of knowing whether they were there or not. The good transducer on the boat was nonfunctional, and I wasn’t that tuned up with the sonar yet so I was just connecting all the dots on the plotter and hoping… for naught.
Just as we are pulling off the 9 heading to the drop-off outside the 13 where we were going to start looking for swords, I saw a sleeper up in the shallows. We go about a half mile and see a couple of jumpers — hmm. We had gotten some fishing dope reporting good marlin fishing about 40 miles below here that was about five days old. I didn’t really want to goof up my plan of looking for swords as we slid down into the marlin area, but you know the old saying: “Never leave fish to find fish.” So I turned around.
We started out with two bridge teasers and two trolling rods with hooks in em. It was almost straight sonar fishing. To say it was good would be a huge understatement.
After the first couple of hours we quit trolling with the rods and went just with the two bridge teasers. These were way bigger than the average striped marlin you see in Mexico, with several fish over 200 pounds. I don’t think there was a single fish under 120. That is some of my favorite fishing — where you get super aggressive with the boat. Great practice for when it matters.
I think we raised like 60 fish in six hours, released 22 and broke off a bunch that we didn’t use any leaders on, just straight 40-pound. Kyle had never been on a boat with a sonar before. After about the sixth sonar mark, standing in the cockpit he looks over at Erik and says, “Why doesn’t he turn the boat more? Every time he turns the boat we get bit.”
We were a little tough on Kyle, trying to get him to tap out. He hung pretty tough but we finally got him.
We tried a bunch of other stuff on the way down and caught maybe another 20 marlin in two days. No wahoo, no tuna and only a couple of dorado.
We had spectacular weather, good food, fun fishing and the boat mostly ran well. I would have to rate it as one of my favorite trips ever, top five!