I wrote last week how among the opposing forces of offshore vs. bottom fishing, I chose to go bottom fishing. It’s a matter of personal preference. I’ve had my fill of tuna for the year and just want to do (and eat) something different as it applies to fishing.
That said, even if you decide to go in the opposite direction and fish offshore, the nature of what’s happening on the water seems to be in a state of flux.
For weeks now, you could get away with say 20/40/60# mono bait sticks and be done with your trip prep. Flylining a live bait was the name of the game. If you go out right now on an overnight trip, especially if leaving out of San Diego, you’re probably still safe if that was your quiver. However, if you decide to go longer or are heading out north of SD, you definitely want to consider some other presentations.
On The Yo!
The Pacific Queen returned from a successful day and a half trip yesterday morning. They had a change in the program for this trip and focused on yellowtail. Capt. Gavin Harbour found what he was looking for and the anglers on board capitalized with a big hit of 195 for 33. The grade of fish was excellent…all big fish from 20-35-pounds!
A variety of presentations were getting bit. The aforementioned flyline sardine was still a big player, but mid to lower water column presentations like the dropper loop and yo-yo jig were major factors to catching these fish. Pictured top is 805 captain and bon vivant, Pat O’Brien (aka Party Cat Pat), with a healthy example that fell for a classic blue and white Salas 6x heavy.
It’s been since my Colonet trip on the Queen in February that I’ve employed the yo-yo.
I’m hearing from a lot of anglers and crews though that it’s been effective of late. I was just discussing yo-yo fishing this week with one of my buddies, as he has never caught in this fashion.
It makes sense to do a little refresher…
Let’s start with the rod. You’re going to want to go with a heavier rod, but I’d avoid one with an XH rating. Depending on your preference, a 6470 (7′) or 6480 (8′) H is ideal. My go to is a Seeker 6470H rated 40-60. Many anglers prefer to use a narrow reel like an Avet JX or Accurate 600N to make it easier to spool the line as you are reeling your jig back. A lot of times, I find myself being lazy and choosing to use my Shimano Tranx 500 HG to take advantage of the line guide. You want a reel that has a faster retrieve (5:1 or faster), but I’d avoid super high speed ones (7:1) as often they don’t have the torque needed once you’ve connected. I like to go full braid (80# or 65#) to a short topshot of 40# or 50#. You can use fluoro if you like. If you are fishing around structure, the abrasion resistance can be useful, but more often than not I just use mono. Classic yo-yo jigs are the Salas 6x and 7x heavy and Tady 4/0. You’ll also want to have smaller sizes like Salas 6x/7x Jr or even as small as a Tady TLC. Popular colors are the blue/white, variations of mint and scrambled egg. My go to is the Tady 4/0 in mint with the prism belly.
Usually how this works is the captain will find a deeper holding school on the sonar. Most captains will tell you the depth. The idea is you drop in to just below the desired depth and then reel through the school. Don’t reel all the way back in order to maximize your time in the target fishing zone. Just freespool it and drop back down to repeat the process until you are bit. This method is most effective as a vertical presentation so if your line starts to scope out too much from straight up and down, it’s time to reel all the way in and start over.
As fun as it is to see the bite on a surface iron, I also really love that moment you abruptly get stopped on the yo-yo. Make sure it’s part of your Fall arsenal.
Surprise Half Day Bluefin!
Captain Kody Kessell was running a typical half day trip on Dolphin Sportfishing Tuesday and got an atypical catch, a 20-ish-pound bluefin tuna that was the cherry on top of good yellowtail and bonito fishing. This happened not too far away (it’s only a halfday after all) off Point Loma.
Had a chance to ask Kody about it and he told me,