Offshore 06/20 – Offshore – BFT Skunk – YT Saves the Day


I'm not superstitious... cuz it's bad luck.
  • Aug 6, 2016
    SoCal - Corona
    I know a couple guys...
    Short Story: Launched from Mission Bay, Hit the 302, 371, 425, N. Upper Hidden towards the Upper Finger looking for signs of BFT. Nothing promising on the water or the meter so we never broke out the kite gear. Fished several paddies and found 2 paddies with decent grade YT willing to play. Caught a triple on a smaller paddy (6x6) and each of us put 1 on ice at that stop. Couple of paddies later, I caught a shark on a surface iron (snagged its fin), then a couple more paddies later we caught another decent YT. Made it back at a good time with 4 YT on ice. Hamachi for Father’s Day.

    Long-Long Story: @Benny Mora and I got picked up off the Boat Ho/Rideshare list by @Scottinline1 about a month ago. After talking/texting for a bit, we decided our first outing would be to fish at Catalina on Scott’s 27’ Worldcat. Although we had a great day fishing, we didn’t do so much catching but it was still a good way to get to know each other and to familiarize ourselves with his Scott’s sled and routine. It didn’t take me too long to find myself impressed with all the deliberate things Scott does to maintain and keep this a super clean ride. His attention to detail and pride of ownership certainly shows when you look at his ride.

    I have never owned a boat until recently when I purchased a little 12’ aluminum skiff for me and my son to spend time on (he just turned 4). When it comes to fishing boats that I like to fish on (offshore capable), I don’t know a whole lot other than build type (CC, Walk-around, Pilot House, ect..), how to care and fish on them. That becomes obvious when I hear other guys like Benny and Scott discussing their favorite hull types, boat lengths, manufacturers, and models. I literally have no valuable input for those conversations, but I try to learn something every time. I have fished on smaller (17- 19’) center consoles, as well as several nice 23’ and 25’ Parkers, and those were awesome rides for the most part.

    I learned from fishing on Scott’s rig that catamaran hulls ride really smooth and agree that the length of the boat has a lot to do with that. When we were discussing the weather for the Cataline trip, I was all for coming home across the channel early because that wind was forecasted to be 17 mph with 2-3’ mixed swell in the afternoon. I have had my ass handed to me more than a couple of times on smaller skiffs crossing the channel in the past. Scott said we can come home late because the double hull style would handle the slop really well. Well, that was an understatement because the wind was actually worse than expected (25 mph gusts), and so was the swell being mixed at 3-4’. We came home that day at 25-30 mph, from Catalina to Newport Beach in just over an hour. I was blown away with how smooth and fast the ride home across that channel was in those conditions.

    So back to the offshore report… Earlier this week, the reports coming from the 302, 371. 425 area were looking pretty decent with big BFT being caught on the balloon/popsicle. The plan was to hit those areas and test our luck. Well on Thursday, we all noticed that some of the fleet moved south to the hidden bank and even further south outside of Punta Colonet, the latter being too far than we were willing to go. That fleet movement combined with not so stellar fishing reports leading up to Saturday and recommendations to fish the islands instead of offshore, made us think that it might not be the best day in those same zones.

    Early Saturday morning before we left Scott's house, we saw the Sporties that were at the upper hidden had moved further south. We don’t fish for boats, but we do like to know where the fleet is just as an added piece of information when we fish offshore. The weather was supposed to be really nice Saturday, calling for 2’ swell with wind gusts of 10 mph, so the plan was to swing through the 302, 371, 425, on the way to south, east of the hidden bank. We didn’t think there would be too much going on in those areas, but hoped we would get lucky and find something good when passing through and maybe not have to go further south and east.

    We launched from South Shores because we knew there would be plenty of room to find a nice parking spot for the long trailer. We launched without any issues and headed to the bait barge at about 5:30am. We were expecting a zoo and found the line to be quite short with only about 7 boats in front of us. Tried to make some mackerel but the line was moving so fast that we kept on motoring away from the cat food chum. Picked up some decent bait which had a lot of small anchovy in the mix along with 50% being nice sized sardines, even had a mini mac in the mix. The sled has two bait tanks that hold a scoop each very well.

    We cleared mission bay at 6:30, pointed the bow to the 302 and start hauling ass. We maintained a speed of about 35 mph until we got just short of the 302 when we spent 15 minutes on a dry paddy. There was very little wind and I’d say no swell which made for an incredibly fast and smooth ride over. We get to the 302 find water temp at 65 degrees or so, and see 4 other private boats, 2 flying the balloon (one had a red balloon). Made sure to stay out of their way as we slowed and searched the area for signs of life. Nothing looked promising, no surface action and no meter marks, not many birds except the few eating the chum from other boats, so we headed towards the 371 keeping an eye out for signs of life/fishy areas.

    We get to the 371 and the same thing… a couple of private boats in this area but again, roughly 64-65 degree water, we are not seeing anything that made us want to spend more time looking around in that area. At this point, we really hadn’t seen many kelp paddies either, so keeping with the plan, Scott pointed the bow to the 425 with Benny on the stabilized binos and me keeping my eyes peeled for anything promising. I cant remember, but we might have found an empty paddy in that area, but other than that not a lot going on. We saw several Mexican bait seiners, the tuna pens, and what looked like a few private boat at the 425 area around the pens, but again nothing standing out to make us put the balloon out or spend too much time in the area. We came across a lazy pod of dolphin a little south east of the 425, threw colt snipers at them for a few minutes for nada.

    It was about this time that we started finding a few more kelp paddies so with little else to look at, we gave each one a solid effort knowing that the paddies seem to be holding more biting YT this year than last year. The first 4 or 5 paddies we didn’t see any meter marks but still chummed chunk and live bait. Made a couple of passes and on to the next one until we get to the sixth paddy. We roll up, chunk, and chum live bait, and get the fly-line ready. Benny throws a mint JRI surface iron at the paddy and hollers out after seeing a boil right off the boat. Neither of us saw the fish, but we both saw a strong swirl of water movement where we were chumming. My fly-line rig goes in, 40# mono, 40# floro, #2 hook, hot butt-hooked dine swimming like Michael Phelps, and I just knew I was going to get bit… 3..2…1… I’m’ bendo on a decent YT or maybe a smaller YFT.

    We are hooting and hollering, just happy to be bit when Benny and Scott lob out their dines… Benny calls out “Fresh One!!” and we have a double… 2 seconds later Scott goes bendo… Yeahhh Boyyyy!!! Tripple hookup!! Nothing like everyone on deck being bent to see how well you work together. Lines are crossing, getting tangled, but everyone is cool and working together to keep all 3 fish. I get mine to deep color and see what looks like a bright green flash and nice forked yellow tail and yell out “It’s a Dodo”. It was not a Dorado of course, but we had a good chuckle later on for me making that incorrect assessment so confidently.

    As crazy as it was for about 10 minutes, I was happy to see how we all worked together during the craziness of a triple going on at the same time (still chumming and chunking somehow during this craziness). Benny puts his bent rod in the holder, helps untangle lines, grabs the gaff as I lay out the YT, and he sinks a solid head shot. Benny hands off the gaff to me, picks his rod up (still bent thankfully). I shake off my YT from the gaff, Scott has his at color 5 seconds later, I get a nice gaff on Scott’s fish. Benny then has his fish at color, and after a couple missed attempts, my shot landed in the head. Booyah!!! We were so happy, high fives all around, while getting hooks back in the water. Apparently, the paddy shut off because that was all she gave us after 2 or 3 more drifts and prolly 20 sticks of chum, and a couple pounds of chunk.

    We bleed the fish in a bucket, packed on ice and were so happy we were going to be eating fresh Hamachi on Father’s Day. We clean up the deck and go back to the mind-frame of hunting for tuna. At this point, the wind had picked up and was blowing much harder than what forecasted. We went as far as in between the Upper Hidden/Upper Finger looking for tuna and just not seeing much signs of life. We come across another few paddies and I was throwing the mint/white surface iron when I’m bit pretty good. Get the fish to color quick and it’s a shark (not sure type, but we called it a blue shark). Although I snagged that guy in the pectoral fin, it was a first for me to catch a paddy shark on the surface iron. I wanted to take a picture with it for my son, so I carefully pulled the chainsaw on-deck and took a picture. Note: Those fuckers can reach pretty far back so don’t be complacent thinking they won’t bite your hand if you are holding it by the tail. Benny pulled the hook and we sent that cool shark back to where it came from.

    At about 2pm or so, we decided that it would be best to point the bow north and keep looking as we head in the direction of home. Stopped on a couple more paddies and found one more with good grade YT with one willing to die on the fly-line sardine. Benny got this one to the sled pretty quick, I made a solid gaff shot and we had the 4th YT on ice. By 2:30 or so, the wind had picked up enough for us to want to call it a day. We set a course around the Coronado Islands then to Mission Bay and once again that Worldcat just sliced right through the sloppy chop getting us home in record time by maintaining a speed of about 30 mph. We got the sled on the trailer in no time and made it back to Scott’s house to clean the boat and have the fish cleaned, trimmed, vacuumed sealed, and split evenly by 9pm.

    All in all, another great day on the water. We fell short of the BFT we were targeting, but thankfully a few YT saved the day for us. Really happy with the grade off these paddies, sure beats an 8# rat YT any day.

    Tight Lines Boys and Girls!!

    Happy Father’s Day!








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