Offshore 06/05/21 - Outside Ensenada

PENN

SaltH20Angler

I'm not superstitious... cuz it's bad luck.
  • Aug 6, 2016
    1,372
    1,841
    SoCal - Corona
    Name
    Christopher
    Boat
    I know a couple guys...
    Me and my good friend @Benny Mora got the invite to fish with a skipper as well as with the entire sporty fleet outside of Ensenada yesterday.

    We left Corona at 9:45 Friday night and met up with the Skip at his house at midnight. Launched from Shelter Island at 1am or so. Picked up 1.5 scoops of some nice 5-7 inch dines and pointed the bow a little north of Pukey Point. Then further south after passing the islands.

    Had sinker rigs and flat falls tied on for the BFT we were targeting, as well as the other usual suspects for any paddies we might find throughout the day.

    Ocean conditions were fantastic. Almost no wind and very little swell. I wasn't able to get on "Lake Pacifica" like a lot of guys did last week, so the conditions were the best I experienced all year.

    We made pretty good time getting to the zone and could have got there in 1.5 hours or so but there was a small crescent moon giving barely any light. It took us about 3 hours to get to there. I didn't record the gps numbers as we simply were looking for the fleet as shown on marine traffic.

    We get to the zone at about 5am and like I said above, there were a bunch of Sporties outside of Ensenada. We started slowly looking around and after about 20 minutes, maybe 30 we found a nice spot of marks holding tuna at about 250 to 300 ft.

    Throttle goes in neutral, all three of us pile out of the back of the Pilot House and drop our flat fall rigs after charging them for a few seconds with a UV flashlight. It is pretty cool to see how freaking bright the glow-in-the-dark gets after a few seconds on UV light. I highly recommend picking one up for less than $10 on Amazon. I feel it's really a smart purchase.

    I immediately get bit on the retrieve. I would love to tell you about the fight and how I brought that fish to gaff, but the truth here is that I pulled a major fail and lost the fish rather quickly. I'll tell you so you can avoid the same mistake.

    I tied a Modified Albright connection (the connection that I always use) for my 80# braid to mono connection. I tied a San Diego Jam Knot from my mono to the swivel of my flat fall leader. I normally fish 40 lb and under I can't remember the last time I used 80 pound. The modified Albright has always worked for me and it is the connection knot I am most comfortable with. I used my homemade knot pullers (electric tape over wood dowels) and even had Benny pull on the connection to make sure it was solid. Well, bottom line is this knot did not work for me on three separate occasions that day. It could have possibly been the way I tied it, or more likely that knot is not good for 80 lb. As I mentioned above I am really comfortable with the tying this knott so I feel it was my knot selection that failed me.

    Not only did I lose the fish, I tied the same knot 2 more times after I lost a fish (thinking my I may have tied it crappy in the excitement) which caused another $30 flat fall to sink into the deep with my top shot of mono. Eventually I tied a Double Uni knot and didn't have another problem all day. Problem is I didn't get another bite all day.

    Back to the fishing report. About 30 seconds after I get bit and lose my fish, Benny's flat fall stops on the drop. Unfortunately, the fish just bumped the flat fall and didn't inhale it as we hoped. There was not much that could be done in that situation but it felt good knowing that now two of the three guys had a little bit of action.

    Thirty seconds after Benny's flat fall gets bumped, the skipper calls out "BITER!!!!". I look over and he is bent really good on the right gear. Hell yeah boys it's on.

    Over the next 20 minutes or so, all three of us work together to help the skip get his tuna in. We know it's a good grade from the way it's pulling but the skip made really short work of it in my opinion. Fish comes to color and Benny and I are manning the gaffs. Up she comes and 2 gaffs hit the mark. It took the combined effort for us to pull this fish over the gunnel and onto the deck. She was a fat butterball and taped out to 112 lbs.

    This was the Skip's personal best bluefin tuna and all three of us were related to have caught it. As much as I wish I could have caught mine, there is really a special feeling that you get when you share a moment like that with a great person. The Skip is, by no means a newbie or inexperienced, and to have been there to help be a part of his personal best catch was my favorite part of the day. I know he's always going to remember it, but I'm pretty sure me and Benny are always going to remember it too. The way we work is that we split everything not just cost but also fish. We were all happy knowing that bluefin was on the menu.

    That was about all of the action we had in that general area. As the sun came up and for the next several hours, we move from spot to spot dropping on marked fish. Although we were finding marks consistently all day, none bit for us. There were Sporty's everywhere with one to two guys staying bent at all times it seemed. The boat pressure got crazy. There must have been 60 boats in a small area.

    At noon or so, we figured the boat pressure was really hurting the bite for our private boat. We simply did not have the capacity to chum bait like the Sporties do. As the norm is when a bite gets hot in a specific place, I was taken back about how close some of these little pongas and center consoles were coming to the Sporty's chum line.

    I guess it's always going to be a thing but I want to point out that I did not see one private boat (sitting in a Sportie's chum line) that was bent. Best advice I can give here is to use the Sporties to find the zone, then find your own fish in that zone.

    I know it's tempting for guys to want to get close when not getting bit and see a sporty getting steadily bit, but it just doesn't prove successful in my opinion. My position is that the tuna are holding close to the sporty and you have to get way too close to actually have a chance of getting one of their fish. If you move away from the crowd you will likely find fish that are more willing to bite because there is less pressure. Just my two cents.

    While looking for a biting school, we found a couple of kelp paddies that were not giving up any fish. Pretty sure we marked some fish at 40 ft under the paddies, but we couldn't get them to bite. Plus there were a ton of tuna in this area so we weren't going to spend too much time on a kelp knowing that we were stopping every 10 minutes marking fish.

    At about 1 p.m., we see some boils and run over. All three of us fly lined a nice dine and had good feelings when the dine's were swimming right toward the boils. We long-soaked the dines (they had to swim a ways to get into the boil zone) and did not get a bite.

    Okay boys let's reel them in and move to find some biters. We all burned them in (nose hooked) and Benny comes tight and hollers... "BITER!!!".

    Side note, Benny fished on the Tribute last weekend and limited out on bluefin tuna. So once Benny is bit, he hands his rod to me and tells me this one is yours.

    I get mixed feelings taking a handoff fish. Generally you handoff fish to the cold stick guy and I dont like to be the cold stick guy (it's an ego thing), but it took .01 seconds for me to tell my ego to fuck-off and grab Benny's set up to bring a much smaller (but appreciated) fish to gaff. It was an apprx 25-30 pound BFT.

    I was not trying to dwell on my mistakes/losses that day but was pretty hard on myself quietly in my head, especially because I was not able to redeem myself after. I don't know if Benny realized it but this small bluefin tuna made my day. This is just another example of what kind of great guy he is. Very thankful he gave me a call after I posted on The Boat Ho/Rideshare list five years ago. We've been best fishing buds ever since.

    It wasn't too long after that, that we decided to head back to San Diego. Wind picked up slightly at about 2 p.m.. Made great time at an average of 36 miles per hour on the way back. Didn't see many paddies or surface action aside from some dolphin (that I briefly thought were tuna) working on the surface.

    Boat back on the trailer, gear packed boat cleaned, and on the freeway back to Corona by 5 p.m.

    The skipper asked that I respect his privacy so I'm not going to post pictures of him or of his tuna. You can Google 100 lb tuna to see what it looks like if you need.

    Hope this report helps, get out there and have a good day boys.

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    blubby07

    Member
    Aug 24, 2009
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    Oceanside Ca
    Name
    Josh
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    21 Parker cc , and 2556 cierra yes its a bayliner (The Dude Man)
    love the report I'm headed to the same zone tomorrow with the same plan very much appreciate the intel and I agree 100 percent with everything you said
     
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    "all-in"

    Member
    Oct 5, 2005
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    Garden Grove
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    Chris
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    24, Angler, All-In
    We were out there as well. We had 2 hookups on sinker rigs in the morning. Got them both into the boat (125 and 50lbs). Nothing after that. Marked lots of small packs but after the morning we could not get another bite.
     
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    SaltH20Angler

    I'm not superstitious... cuz it's bad luck.
  • Aug 6, 2016
    1,372
    1,841
    SoCal - Corona
    Name
    Christopher
    Boat
    I know a couple guys...
    Great report and Thanks for the tips!

    Did you ever try the sinker rigs after Sun up?

    Yes, every time we marked fish we alternated with flat falls/sinker rig, with at least one sinker rig dropped down 95% of the time. Not a single bite on the sinker rig all day (60#, #1/0 hook). Chummed pretty heavily at each stop too.
     
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    SaltH20Angler

    I'm not superstitious... cuz it's bad luck.
  • Aug 6, 2016
    1,372
    1,841
    SoCal - Corona
    Name
    Christopher
    Boat
    I know a couple guys...
    love the report I'm headed to the same zone tomorrow with the same plan very much appreciate the intel and I agree 100 percent with everything you said

    Thanks man. A thing I would do differently (other than the knot tying fiasco) is to get there earlier and spend more time fishing in the dark. We were hearing hoots and hollers coming from all directions on the first stop. Cool to hear cheers coming from really far away in the distance with it being so calm at 0' Dark Thirty.

    Good luck!!
     
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    surfgoose

    active geezer
  • Jul 29, 2010
    3,157
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    Long Beach, CA, USA
    Name
    Gary
    Boat
    whichever has the longest bunk
    Great report on a fun trip for you! Sorry that you had a run of bad luck with the modified Albright, I have never had it fail on 80# braid to 80# mono but I believe you, EVERY knot invented by man has failed at some time and there are those situations where for some unknown reason it just seems that you are snakebit.

    Thank you for NOT running as fast as possible in the darkness. There are just too many things that can happen in a split second. So many mature, smart boat drivers just can't help turning into teenagers again when they have a dark sea and a fast boat.
     
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    walter heim

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    Feb 20, 2021
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    San Diego
    Name
    walter heim
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    Bayrunner
    Great report, thanx for sharing. I use an RP knot on the lighter stuff. I make a loop in the braid and run the doubled braid line around the mono. For the heavier stuff, I tie a bimini on the braid and use a wind on with the floro. Lotsa ways to skin a cat
     
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    Wandering Blues

    I Should Upgrade My Account
    Oct 19, 2008
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    The Land of Entrapment
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    Curtis
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    A Pair of Simms G3 Waders
    Sucks about the knots, but you came away positive with a learning experience you shared. I agree with you, the Albright isn’t a great knot for heavy line.
     
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    kevina

    I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
  • Sep 10, 2006
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    redondo beach
    Name
    kev
    Boat
    25' aqua sport
    Great report on a fun trip for you! Sorry that you had a run of bad luck with the modified Albright, I have never had it fail on 80# braid to 80# mono but I believe you, EVERY knot invented by man has failed at some time and there are those situations where for some unknown reason it just seems that you are snakebit.

    Thank you for NOT running as fast as possible in the darkness. There are just too many things that can happen in a split second. So many mature, smart boat drivers just can't help turning into teenagers again when they have a dark sea and a fast boat.
    X2 on the driving at night. Add a little fog into it and that spells Disaster.
     
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