After fishing mostly offshore over the last few months with @Benny Mora, I was looking forward to an easier day fishing inshore, especially because the offshore bite seemed to be pretty far south with most reports showing Skipjack with smaller grade YFT mixed in were being caught. Also, from what I have seen lately, the reports of the larger BFT off the back side of San Clemente have been hit and miss. We were fortunate to be able to put a few nice Dorado on deck recently with a smaller YFT a few weeks back, so we decided to take a break from paddy hunting and target our local Yellowtail. I reached out to Mr. T, (a 30+ year San Diego fishing vet, killer fisherman, and all around great guy) to see if he wanted to fish for Yellowtail. He was up for it, so Benny and I made the drive from Corona to San Diego this past Saturday. I was really looking forward to this trip because there have been only a few times I have been able to put Yellowtail on deck and every time I did, I was fishing with Mr. T. The best day I ever had catching them was with him last year when his fish finder wouldn’t work and he followed subtle signs of life to stay on the 8-12# YT all day. We met up at Mr. T.’s house at 6am, loaded the fishing gear on the boat and were off to Mission Bay in no time. Launched the boat and decided to pass on buying live bait because the line was probably 15-20 boats deep and we figured we could save the time and make macs at the harbor entrance. Tied on a couple of sabiki rigs and chummed cat food for only 1 smelt…wtf? We then moved a bit, chummed the rest of the cat food and even cut a few frozen squid into little pieces to see if that would get the macks going, but no luck there. After about 30 minutes or so, we pointed the bow towards La Jolla and agreed that we would probably find bait on the way and sabiki up some macks when that opportunity presented itself. The wind was a bit up at 7:30 am, maybe 5-8 mph or so and the swell was smaller (2’ or so) but closer together than what I would prefer making the ride to La Jolla a tad bit bumpy. It was overcast for most of the day until about noon or so when the sun showed up. The water temp was right around 72-73 degrees and after a couple of miles without finding bait, we tied on a couple of rapalas and made our way to North La Jolla waiting for a jig strike. There were a few times throughout the day where the wind seemed to have laid down, but only for a few minutes at a time. With no luck trolling, we ended up joining a bunch of our new best friends at one of the more well-known La Jolla fishing spots. When we pull up, the right kind of birds were working, so I grab my old trusty Penn Californian 9’ jig stick, with a Diawa SL20SH filled with 50# spectra and a mint colored surface iron and toss that iron towards the working terns. I am pretty sure it was my first cast on that spot when I go bendo and hear that beautiful sound we all love of line peeling off the reel. I can’t explain why, but I seem to catch more (or better grade fish) when my expectations are low compared to when I am optimistic and have high hopes. So instead of thinking I have a yellow hooked, my mind tells me it’s a smaller shark, a bat rat, or maybe even a black bass, but Mr. T. and Benny knew from the weight and the headshakes that it was a nice grade Yellowtail. The fish took line several times with big strong headshakes before Benny brought it to gaff and put it on deck. As soon as it hits the deck, the iron pops right out of its mouth. Make no mistake these fish fight hard, so much so, that I was surprised to see it was smaller than what felt like a 30# fish. I wish I could tell you I catch tons of YT, but I don’t. I have caught maybe 8 or so over the past 2 years all of which were under 15#s. When this fish hit the deck, I knew it was the biggest Yellowtail I have ever caught. My new Personal Best Yellowtail weighed just under 20# on a digital scale after being bled. I cut a gill, then put it on ice and got busy cleaning up the blood. Mr. T. and Benny were extremely helpful and stopped what they were doing to take some pics and make sure to assist in every way possible to be successful. What a wonderful moment, I knew I would be replaying this event in my head for days to come. After getting everything settled, we reset the drift several more times to see if we could repeat what just happened with no luck. We made a few more moves to a couple of different spots and Mr. T. and Benny had some fun with decent sized calico bass (all released) and larger model mackerel. After about noon, the wind picked up to 10-15 mph or so. Due to the short swell period and the way the drift was working, we had to work hard to keep our footing. We also kept on reeling in kelp or eel grass on our jigs. Between the rocking and the debris in the water we decided to call it a day at about 2:30 pm. In no time, we were back to the launch ramp and the boat was on the trailer before heading back to the house to clean and put away the boat. Benny and I stopped to get a couple more bags of ice to make sure the fish stayed cool on the drive back to Corona. On the way home, I texted my wife and told her “Sushi is on the menu tomorrow” and she texted back “Woooo Hoooo!!!” Perfect timing because I had some friends coming over for BBQ Mahi-Mahi that day and now we were going to add Hamachi and Poke’ Bowls to the spread. In my opinion, there is nothing like well cared for sashimi that was swimming free in the ocean less than 24 hours ago. Thank you to Mr. T., Benny, and to @tmitch760 (the “Dopeman”) for a great day that I won’t forget any time soon. Like Mr. T. says, “It’s always a good day when nobody gets hurt, the boat/trailer have no issues, and no tickets were received, catching fish is just a bonus”. Side note… We saw a skiff getting pulled out on a trailer and watched from a distance as the prop was scrapping hard as it was being dragged up the launch ramp, OUCH!! Felt bad for that guy driving the truck and for who was probably his wife who may have forgot to tilt the motor up before getting pulled out. This can happen to the best of us and illustrates the importance of having solid launch/trailering routines in place. For the owner’s sake, we all hoped that the damage to the prop or motor wasn’t too bad. We got checked by DFW after pulling the boat out and everything went well, he was a cool dude and not a dick to us in any way. Good Luck and Tight Lines fellers!!