07/21/18 @ the NW 43, 181, 182, N9, Point Loma

SaltH20Angler

I'm not superstitious... cuz it's bad luck.
Aug 6, 2016
1,125
1,477
SoCal - Corona
Name
Christopher
Boat
I know a couple guys...
Short Story: We went home empty handed.


Long, Long Story… (Sorry in advance but what better do you have to do on a Monday morning)


After getting out to the 425 a few weeks ago and finding a dozen or so boiling bluefin schools with terns crashing, we couldn’t get them to go. We threw almost everything we had at them (colt snipers, irons, flat falls, big Krock spoons, fly-lined deans (chumming live and chunk) and left empty handed and disappointed. When we got back the reports for that day showed that the BFT bit the popper. I say we threw “almost” everything at them because none of us thought to tie on a popper and sadly we had about 6 of them on the boat in our tackle bags. We have been out plenty of times where we didn’t find the tuna and it’s especially humbling to find them (boiling at that), and to come home empty handed.

Fast forward to mid last week when the reports were showing the tuna moved up to the 43/Clemente area. That’s when @Benny Mora hit me up to fish 07/21. As most of us do, we began paying close attention to the report details leading up to that Saturday. BFT and YFT were being caught and there were some great reports with several killing it on the kite, small colt snipers, and the popper. Benny has a 19.5 Triton cc that fishes 3 perfectly. That’s when we got ahold of @tmitch760 who was a go for the trip on Saturday. The reports kept coming in and we knew that we better have a couple of heavy rods in case we hooked up on one of the bigger grade models that everyone seemed to have landed that week. Luckily Benny has a top of the line arsenal of gear for almost any target and had us covered.

We started making a game plan and ultimately decided that it was finally time to learn how to fly the kite. Benny picked up a Boston Big Game kite last year and although we made plans to fly it a couple of times, it seemed like every time we went to fly it, the conditions decided otherwise. Due to the excitement, I was losing sleep starting on Wednesday and that continued through Friday night. I was in bed at 8pm Friday with my gear ready, and woke up at 1:15 am to make a bunch of sandwiches and pack lunches and was at Benny’s house at 2am as planned.

After loading the gear and doing a quick safety check of the boat and trailer, we headed to San Diego (Mission Bay) which was a 1.5-hour drive. TJ was at Dana Landing waiting for us at 4am ready to go. A quick drop off-off some kids at the pool (to keep me out of the water that day) and we were ready to launch. That was when I notice a boat with blue flashing lights heading towards the dock. I couldn’t tell what it was doing but saw that it appeared to be a lifeguard boat, not law enforcement. I figured someone had a medical emergency but thought otherwise when there was no ambulance or medical service meeting them at the dock. I didn’t think much more of that until parked the truck/trailer and headed down the dock to jump aboard. That’s when I saw a submerged skiff tied to the dock. There was someone with a mask diving under to get belongings from the boat and my heart hurt for those guys. I didn’t ask but figured it was the drain plug and appreciated to moment to reflect on how the smallest details are so important. Thankfully everyone appeared to be safe, and off we went in the dark.

Although we went back and forth about getting bait leading up to the trip, we ultimately decided that we would get bait. We didn’t think we would need bait as we planned to fly the kite, throw irons, poppers, and colt snipers; however, I hate the feeling of not having every opportunity available when my luck kicks in. I can’t tell you how many times the BFT have been finicky and I wished I had bait. In those moments, I kicked myself that we didn’t spend $40. We were a tiny bit ahead of schedule, so we picked up a half scoop of decent dines and larger chovie with a couple of macks mixed in then headed out of the harbor at 4:45 with just enough grey light to be able to get going at a decent speed (safely).

First thing we noticed was that the wind was up more than preferred, maybe 7-8 mph or so. Like most of us, we prefer grease like conditions so we can spot kelp paddies and boils from a distance. The wind wasn’t a surprise because the reports (Windy.com) had the wind up, but we were hoping for less wind anyways. On a side note, Windy.com seems to be dead-on 90% of the time and I recommend that app for reliable wind info. We pointed the bow towards the 43 and took a pretty good beating before slowing down. Maybe it was just me, but it seemed like the swell period was short because at a decent speed the timing was perfect for a pounding. On top of that, the gallon per hour meter was not efficient so we slowed down for a more comfortable ride and to conserve gas.

We took that opportunity (slower speed) to troll a dorado colored cedar plug over the N9 on the way to the 43 for nothing. The water temp was about 71 at the N9. After an hour or so, we found a pretty nice kelp stringer and stopped for two drifts. We threw iron, snipers, and poppers even though we didn’t mark anything and decided to get moving so that we could stick to the plan of learning to fly the kite. As we are drifting, we see something grey coming toward us and at first it looked like a small mako or white shark (juvenile). It came right up to the boat and it was a really curious sun fish and it seemed to be looking me right in the eyes. I could have touched it. We tossed it a couple of the dying dines but he just let them sink out. Hard to explain the feeling I got from that, but it was a special moment to see this wild animal hang with us for 15 minutes. We made jokes that “it’s a fucking baby whale“ (in a Boston type accent).

About 30 minutes later, we see tuna breaking the water with terns diving. We run up just as they sink out. Luckily, we look over about 60 yards and see a bigger kelp paddy the size of a garage door and of course we stopped again. This paddy had one tern on it and was holding…a sea lion. I wasn’t sure if the sea lion was a good thing or a bad thing, but couldn’t pass on it because we seemed to mark a few big fish (but we could have been marking the sea lion). Just like before, we tossed the usual suspects for nothing after about 25 minutes and two or three 200-yard drifts (about 100 yards on each side). Wouldn’t you know it, right before we pull away, another skiff seemed to see that kelp from a mile and a half away (LOL). I think they saw us stopped in the middle of nowhere and figured we were on a paddy. Hopefully they had better luck. The thought of landing a cow on the kite pulled us away from the kelp and off we went towards the 43 again.

As we approach the 43, the water is colder at 66 degrees (not a great feeling) and we join about 25 or so boats with several flying the kite. We didn’t see very much life coming into the 43 and tried to be optimistic even with the cooler water temps. We pulled the kite out and for once, everything went way better than expected. We had the kite flying with the yummy skipping like a 5th grader with a jump rope. It was a beautiful thing to see. We brought some orange surveyors tape and it made a great indicator. Let the kite out far so that we could barely see the indicator. Benny had the gyros and whooped with excitement as he watched it splash, skip, and bounce way back. We made sure that the yummy was skipping nowhere near the wake of the boat. At one point the kite and yummy were in front of the boat. I can totally see why the yummy works, I think we all said that if we were a cow BFT, we would eat it.

We flew the kite (perfectly) until the gas gauge was at 60% or so and knew that we better start heading home because conditions can change (quickly) and didn’t want to run out of gas if they did. We continued to skip the yummy as we headed towards the south section of the 181 and down through the north section of the 182. We skipped, and skipped, and skipped, waiting for the Boom that never came. Apparently, the weather at Clemente turned for the worse and at one point we heard a distress signal. Someone said the concern got resolved but nevertheless, we were happy we left the 43 when we did.

We learned a lot about the kite Saturday. My favorite thing learned was how to drive into the wind to get the kite and yummy way up (out of the way) when another skiff seemed to head directly towards the skipping yummy. As we start exiting the 182 I was thankful for the foresight Benny had to go home with the swell/wind (from the north) and not against it. That direction certainly got us back into the green with the gas and was way less bumpy not to mention we were able to get up some speed as we headed to the N9. On the way there, we saw another foamer but couldn’t get in front of them before they sank out and the terns dispersed. Benny saw a schooly size tuna (apprx. 30 lbs.) jump clear out of the water on the gyros.

Entering the N9, the water temp was looking a lot better at 72 degrees. The greenish/blue water was not as blue as the colder water at the 43 but we were seeing more signs of life. By this time, it was probably 5 or 6 pm and we had to decide to give the N9 a good try then go home or to fish inshore to put something on the table before calling it a day. We opted to head to Point Loma and found a few ternados. When we ran up, they were working with the dolphin and despite throwing the usual suspects, no hook-ups...again. After repeating that a few times, we decided to ignore the ternados off in the distance and stick with going to Point Loma.

We pull up on the kelps, and we only have about 5-6 dines and a mack that made it through the trip. We flylined them and threw swim baits, lazer minnows, surface irons, and even sent a few down on the dropper loop. The sun was setting and we knew we were out of time. Funny how happy a short bass, a bonito, or a mackerel would have made us after fishing so hard offshore for nada. This was not our day because we couldn’t even get bent on the type of fish that we normally try not to catch. We made several good drifts right down the line before noticing that the sun was almost setting. Hesitantly, we thought we better get back to avoid trailering the boat in the dark. Back to Dana Landing at 9pm and made it home to Corona (after stopping at subway to pick up a to-go order) at midnight. That was a 22-hour day with not even a calico bass to bbq on Sunday.

In hindsight, I don’t know that I would have changed anything. We found some really nice paddys, we learned to fly the kite with no hiccups, and although the bite slowed down, there were guys on the radio that were catching good fish at the 43. We found the tuna but couldn’t buy a bite, but at least we found them twice. I can’t say enough about the team effort Benny and TJ put in and the dedication and persistence we all had to try to make this one a successful trip. I was sore as hell that night and even more so yesterday (Sunday).

We got home safe and didn’t sink the boat. While I was wiping off my gear on Sunday, I started getting excited for the next trip in 2 weeks or so. After experiencing days like this and still being excited for next time, there is no doubt that I love fishing and the ocean.

We are so fortunate to be living in a place in the world that can afford us this opportunity.

I hope you found this report entertaining and useful in some way. Looking back it was worth every minute.

Good Luck Fellers!

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Last edited:

tmitch760

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Aug 6, 2008
238
177
Santee
Name
T.J.
Boat
Triumph 21 cc
Nice write up brotha.. Hopefully next trip we will get lucky. I have a lot of dues to cash in. lol.
 
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tom cindric

Tom-broke-off
Jun 17, 2015
392
299
58
Lake elsinore
Name
all she's got
Boat
22 key largo / 2670 Glacier Bay
Thanks for the report... Looks like WT dropped since I was there on Thur. It was 70 71 then.... With B-schools in all directions.
 
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SaltH20Angler

I'm not superstitious... cuz it's bad luck.
Aug 6, 2016
1,125
1,477
SoCal - Corona
Name
Christopher
Boat
I know a couple guys...
Christopher - I fookin' loved your story, bro. You need to write a book, in all seriousness. You have a way with words....
Right on Mike!! Happy to see you enjoyed the read man.

Look out Brandon Hayward, wait... I think I have to be able to put fish on the deck before I can launch my fishing book author career. lol

In all seriousness, it seems pretty easy to write about being on the ocean doing what I love. I'm ready to write the next post, hopefully about "catchin".:D
 

SaltH20Angler

I'm not superstitious... cuz it's bad luck.
Aug 6, 2016
1,125
1,477
SoCal - Corona
Name
Christopher
Boat
I know a couple guys...
Oh man! That's the boat they were digging up in the middle of MB at 640am.

That's weird... There must have been 2 because the skiff I saw was alread tied to the Dana Landing dock at 4:15 am on Saturday.

Thankful for the help provided by the lifeguards and also thankful this was inside the harbor.
 

SaltH20Angler

I'm not superstitious... cuz it's bad luck.
Aug 6, 2016
1,125
1,477
SoCal - Corona
Name
Christopher
Boat
I know a couple guys...
Thanks for the report... Looks like WT dropped since I was there on Thur. It was 70 71 then.... With B-schools in all directions.
That's the story of my life, Tom. A day late and a dollar short. lol

After reading your report from Thursday, I just knew Saturday was the day...until it wasnt. Now it's going to be next Saturday...I hope. Ha!

Whatever the outcome, I'll post a report.
 

NonProphet

Recovering Boat Owner
May 26, 2015
163
107
San Diego
Name
Efren
Boat
Keywest 2300 SS
That's weird... There must have been 2 because the skiff I saw was alread tied to the Dana Landing dock at 4:15 am on Saturday.

Thankful for the help provided by the lifeguards and also thankful this was inside the harbor.
Definitely weird because they have the same bow decal. Black trident looking thing.
 

SaltH20Angler

I'm not superstitious... cuz it's bad luck.
Aug 6, 2016
1,125
1,477
SoCal - Corona
Name
Christopher
Boat
I know a couple guys...
I’m guessing the boat was towed to the nearest boat yard to get lifted out of the water.
Big Brain Benny!!

I was thinking there was no way this could happened to the same skiff twice in one day and was puzzled how this could be. I think you are right.

I imagine that after this experience the skipper will check the drain plug on the boat before he pulls his car out of the driveway for the next few months.

No offense to the Skip, I'm just trying to be funny here and realize its not nice to joke about other's misfortune. I hope everything turns out ok.

Has this happened to anyone else. Is this repairable or would a skiff be totalled because the wiring is compromised? Hope to never find out from my own experience, but I'm curious what others know.
 

bajaandy

Condition One
Jun 13, 2008
732
292
Escondido
Name
Andy
Boat
Parker 2530 "WET-O's"
Great report write up! I always appreciate when someone has the ability to put together cohesive sentences and paragraphs and write a good story.

It's always eerie to see a submerged vessel. I remember seeing one in Quivira Basin when we were headed to the bait barge once. Kinda gives you the heebee jeebees.

Good work on learning the kite. Took us a couple of times to figure everything out.

You guys put in a good effort. Karma points building! The season is just gonna get better. You guys were braver than I was... I scuttled a trip to the grounds Monday due to the short period swell. (4ft @ 6 seconds is just a pounding.)

Thanks for the report!
 
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the_tunaman

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jun 28, 2017
558
645
59
Norco
Name
Roger Nelson
Boat
Ranger Z20
Excellent report and composition - thanks!

For the youngsters, back in the day 66 degrees was optimal! The albies and early bluefin would start showing in 58-60 degree water, bluefin were usually thick up through 63-64 degrees, and when the water was approaching 68 the yellowfin were moving in and the bluefin were heading north.

We were out on a three day which finished up on Saturday, and like you up through the day of departure it appeared that the stars were aligned for magic to happen. Alas, no magic this time and it appeared that the bite was off the whole time, with Saturday being the worst of it.

Hopefully you'll whack them next time out!
 
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Arima-bob

Ship faced aquaholic
Mar 9, 2012
4,898
3,523
Too far from water
Name
Beeulzebob
Boat
uh....
I think most people have forgotten the drain plug at some point. Luckily, most can get it in before it's a major issue.

As for repairable... depends on the wiring if it is marine wire, and done right. The batteries are probably toast, and the engine is a maybe. 2short Todd in Washington scored on a nice defiance that had capsized. He fixed it up and fishes the shit out of it.

Great report btw. I've had a lot of similar trips myself, except I haven't flown my kite yet.
 
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5-20

Poseidon Group's Back Up Trident Thrower
Jan 20, 2011
933
468
San Diego
Name
5-20
Boat
L2 Fish
Great report, must have been a really fun day experimenting with the kite and figuring out how to run it the best way. I think you'll go on your next trip with a lot more confidence!

And I kept on expecting you to share that you guys caught a 30+ YT right at sunset on your way back in, but that doesn't always happen!
 
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Tunaslam

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Apr 25, 2003
20,719
6,582
73
Diamond Bar, Ca 91765
Name
Cory Visser
Boat
N/A
Nice try guys, better luck next time, I am 0 for two on the 1.5 day trips, so I feel your pain.
 
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reel therapy

21 Triumph CC
Aug 6, 2008
49
26
San Diego ca. us
Name
thomas
Boat
21' CC Love Them Triumphs!
Hey Chris...
Great read as usual!!! You are experiencing a lot of techniques that a lot of us long time SD fishermen have not attempted, as of yet! You and the "crew" have paid your dues mucho! I want to attend the next trip, because I know you guys are due for the muda-load! lol FYI.. McD's has the Filet o fish for a $1 on Friday!! JK
Looking forward to fishing with you again-soon
 

SaltH20Angler

I'm not superstitious... cuz it's bad luck.
Aug 6, 2016
1,125
1,477
SoCal - Corona
Name
Christopher
Boat
I know a couple guys...
Hey Chris...
You and the "crew" have paid your dues mucho! I want to attend the next trip, because I know you guys are due for the muda-load! lol
I sure hope so buddy!! I feel comfortable saying that you are always welcome on Benny's sled (and certainly mine when I get it one day), but we have find a way to ditch that Young Salt (@tmitch760) first. :D

Problem is that guy brings us bbq ribs everytime we go out o_O not to mention he is super fishy!!!

FYI.. McD's has the Filet o fish for a $1 on Friday!! JK
Damn, you just said what I thought to myself on the ride home last trip. I would have saved a lot of time, money, and effort if I hit the drive through instead (at least on this trip huh).

Now if I could only get the drive thru worker to hook the fish fillet on my jigstick and pull like hell, I actually might consider it. :rockin:

Always enjoy fishing with you buddy, you put us on the YT like nobody else has (even when the fish finder took a dump on us). Lookin forward to gettin out with you soon man.