Offshore 09/05/20 – 302, 371, 425 – Bad Weather Trifecta

PENN

SaltH20Angler

I'm not superstitious... cuz it's bad luck.
  • Aug 6, 2016
    1,372
    1,840
    SoCal - Corona
    Name
    Christopher
    Boat
    I know a couple guys...
    Kinda Short Version: Launched from Mission Bay @ 4am, bait was less than stellar, weather was snotty which made it hard to spot paddies or any surface action with so many whitecaps everywhere. We picked up a rat YT off a small paddy on a mint and white surface iron on the 302. Trolled a natural cedar plug and a pink jet-head while we looked for paddies. Blind strike Dodo on the jet-head (approx. 6#) as we come into the 371, fished a couple paddies close to the jig strike for nada. Trolling out of the 371, another blind jig strike on the cedar plug, brought a football YFT to gaff (approx. 10#). Trolled through the 425 for nothing and didn’t find too many paddies. Tried to fish South Island, wind decided otherwise. Wet ride home, drifted over the Pipe a couple of times north of Point Loma before calling it a day.


    Long…Long Version: It’s probably safe to say that for most of us, this offshore fishing season has been a bit off from what we have seen the past several years. It went from looking like another normal year with the early bluefin bite to a lot of the fish moving up to the backside of Catalina. This was the first time I saw the Dan Diego fleet fishing so far north and found it funny that a lot of offshore fishermen from the LA/OC area with reservations on SD boats would have to drive down to SD only to take a slow boat ride back up to Catalina. By the time I was able to get a chance to fish the Catalina bite, it pretty much shut off and brought better chances of catching tuna back down to SD.


    The next few weeks, the SD reports were pretty bad. The LR boats moved way down south, water was cold, swell was up from storms down south, and although the big BFT bite was back behind SCI, a lot of skunks were being reported from everywhere from the 302 to the Hidden. With everything looking poor, we opted to fish the Coronado Islands last week and while we didn’t catch any YT, we had a lot of fun catching big Calico and other fish. The Coronados are so fun to fish and I love the view of the rugged landscape, but to me… there is nothing like a good offshore bite whether it be YFT, YT, or Dorado (in lucky years).


    With the reports being good, and with forecasts calling for 100+ degree temps where I live this weekend, I hit up @Smitty619vt (Jason) and was happy when we locked in a trip on his 21’ Sea Pro CC for this past Saturday. With so many promising reports of limit Dodo and/or YT on the paddies and some YFT mixed in, my hopes shot sky high for sweet success for my goal of putting fresh mahi and/or sushi on a plate.


    I left my house in Coroana @ 2:15am and drove down to SD to meet Jason and his first mate Ace (Black Lab) at the slip at 4am and learned we would be fishing with @99Phishing (Marcus) who I never met before. Jason and Marcus who have fished together several times, got there early and already had most of the skiff loaded up with gear as well as had the kill bag filled with ice. Really enjoyed fishing with Marcus who was easy to talk to, helpful, knowledgeable, and proved to be an all-around fishy guy. We loaded up my gear and we pushed away from the slip at 4:15 making great time. No line at the bait barge, so we picked up a scoop and were headed out of the Mission Bay harbor at 4:30. We all agreed that the best option for us that day was to spend the day paddy hunting starting at the 302 and move south from there to the 371 and to the 425 if needed. If all else failed, we agreed that we would fall back on some fun fishing at the Nados before calling it a day.


    When we exit the harbor, we immediately notice the swell was a little bigger than expected and the wind was up about 10 mph as Windy.com called for. No big deal as it was still dark and we were taking it nice and easy on the way out anyways. Grey light came before we got to the 302 and once we could see decently, there were whitecaps everywhere as far as the eye could see… Damn! The swell didn’t get much better and it wasn’t very long before we knew that we were going to have to come pretty close to a paddy to be able to see it. With whitecaps like this, it almost completely takes away being able to capitalize on surface action (foamers, puddlers, or dolphins) that could present an opportunity to put more fish on the deck under better weather circumstances.


    I should have known what was in front of us as it was one of those days where I got soaked on the way out. I was dumb and didn’t put on my bibs so while my jacket kept my upper body warm/dry, my shorts were soaked and my boots got filled with water before we got to the 302. I literally poured water from by boots when we got to the 302 and was not thrilled this was going to be a “wet sock” day. When we made the plan, we talked about trolling as we looked for paddies but by this time, we knew trolling would be one of our best chances of catching fish.


    We get to the 302, practically by ourselves, and out come the trollers, one with a natural cedar plug and the other a pink jet head. While the first paddy or two didn’t produce, a third small paddy yielded Marcus with a rat YT on a mint and white surface iron. We kept the YT as it managed to find all three treble hooks and did a number on the fish’s mouth. We brailed some bait and that is when I noticed that a lot of the bait had rolled. I don’t know if it was shitty bait (as called out on the radio by others) or if the 2 bait wells were just overloaded. I don’t want to completely blame the bait but it was a factor and the guys at the barge said the bait was caught the prior day (not cured).


    We also brought a bunch of chunk sardine and chunked every time we stopped and saw fish just in case we could get lucky and have a school of YF pick it up and hang with us. We drifted this same paddy we got the rat YT off of a couple of times while fly-lining and throwing jigs when we saw the yellow flash of a tail in the water on what was a decent sized Dodo reacting to the chum. So then, we brailed and threw some more chunk. A lot of the bait we brailed were the ones barely swimming and I later wondered if this proved to be a mistake because while we got one Dodo to chase a surface iron, and saw another Dodo jump out of the water, we were not able to get them to bite the fly-line (nose hooked and belly hooked, tiny #4 hook with 17# floro) or a myriad of different jigs (different colored/sized colt snipers, stick bait, popper, surface iron, and even a knock off Orca-type jig. All this was going on while a bunch of skippers were on the radio going “sick-wide” on paddy fish (Dodos, YT, and even some YFT in other zones).


    After a while drifting this paddy with no more positive results, we decided to cut our losses and continue with the plan. We troll through the 302 for a while longer before pulling them in and making the run to the 371. As we enter the 371, we put out the trollers and start looking through this slop to try to find paddies. We look and look, then while in open water zzzzzzzzzz…., blind strike and the clicker goes off on the rod with the pink jet-head. Marcus is the closest and within 3 minutes the 6# Dodo is bounced on deck. We are so happy because things were not looking so promising up to that point. Take a quick picture or two while the fish still has the beautiful color and put the trollers back in and continue on.


    We trolled and trolled and trolled, looking for paddies and eventually come up to anther decent one. We roll up, toss a bunch of chunk and see several same grade Dodos react. The excitement level is at a 10 again. We do the same thing as we dis at the last paddy (brail, fly-line multiple ways, and throw nearly every jig we had. We felt we really had to give our best on the paddies because they were far and few between. We make five or so long drifts, brailing, chunking, and got the same results as before… no bites from the Dodos we knew were there. We perform this exercise at least one more time with the same results before trolling towards the 425.


    By the time we get to the 425, the weather seems to be worse as it is approx. 2:30pm and we are just not seeing any paddies. I really hoped that we would find one of the full speed paddies that we heard on the radio that morning, but I think a lot of them were further south than the high-spot. By this time, we hadn’t had a troll strike in a long time and with the island in sight, the appeal of catching island fish, even calico bass was just too strong. We all agreed that it would be nice to chill on the lee side of the south island but when we got there, the wind was howling and I mean howling where all the lines on the rods were whistling in unison. Even though the wind was coming from the west, there was literally no protection so that option was out because the drift was way to fast.

    We then hit the lee side of the north island and same thing there, completely blown out. Despite feeling unsatisfied with the fishing efforts or results, we knew it was best to head to the barn. We get a bit away from the islands and the wind calmed down a lot, still very windy but not like next to the island. We stop on a couple of kelps on the South 9 for nada, then make our way to Point Loma. We saw the half-day fleet all lined up outside the green tanks in about 100’ of water. We set up four or so drifts and couldn’t buy a bite with the jigs. By 4:30pm, faced the facts and bounced our way back to Mission Bay.


    Waited for a while at the gas pumps because there was a weigh-in for some fishing competition. Got see a nice 36# YT, a similar sized Dodo as what we caught, and my favorite which was a really nice sized Sheepshead get weighed while we waited for a spot at the pump. Filled up the tank, cleaned/filleted the fish, and cleaned the skiff before getting back in the car to drive back to Corona. We shared the meat so that all of us got to enjoy a bit of fresh fish. I got home at about 9pm, trimmed/cleaned the fish and hit the sack sore as can be. I either love fishing, or I am a glutton for punishment, or a little of both because I was already about thinking of fishing next weekend.



    Here are a couple of photos. We're going to eat the fish later and I’ll try to post some picks. I am looking forward to the Mahi-Mahi most. I think now is going to be one of the best opportunities to get on these paddy Dodos. Last year they didn’t come in thick for us and nothing guarantees they will hold for long, so get out there as soon as you can and find those paddies. I hope you pick a better weather window so you have a better chance of finding producing paddies than we did yesterday. Bring the spear if you have one. Tight Lines!!


    Ace the 1st Mate
    20200905_055420.jpg


    Marcus and the Football
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    Jason and the lone Dodo
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    20200906_133114.jpg


    20200906_132631.jpg


    20200906_131022.jpg


    20200906_124546.jpg


    20200906_131645.jpg


    20200906_132612.jpg
     
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    woodfish330

    I Should Upgrade My Account
  • Aug 14, 2012
    1,453
    2,946
    San Fransisco,CA USA
    Name
    John
    Boat
    Fishead
    Brother.... we know it was snotty.... just by looking at what your wearing in the picts....lol. Yeah.... Some trips just go that way.... but at least you had a few stops.... and a fish here and there. Nice to fish with new friends.... and learn new pointers.... sharing a few... I'm sure.... yourself. Take it in stride.... NEXT TIME.... is always the fishermen's afterthought. Nice write up.
     
    Upvote 0

    Capt Devo

    Fish Hard
    Mar 14, 2010
    748
    863
    San Clemente
    Name
    Devo
    Boat
    Trophy
    Kinda Short Version: Launched from Mission Bay @ 4am, bait was less than stellar, weather was snotty which made it hard to spot paddies or any surface action with so many whitecaps everywhere. We picked up a rat YT off a small paddy on a mint and white surface iron on the 302. Trolled a natural cedar plug and a pink jet-head while we looked for paddies. Blind strike Dodo on the jet-head (approx. 6#) as we come into the 371, fished a couple paddies close to the jig strike for nada. Trolling out of the 371, another blind jig strike on the cedar plug, brought a football YFT to gaff (approx. 10#). Trolled through the 425 for nothing and didn’t find too many paddies. Tried to fish South Island, wind decided otherwise. Wet ride home, drifted over the Pipe a couple of times north of Point Loma before calling it a day.


    Long…Long Version: It’s probably safe to say that for most of us, this offshore fishing season has been a bit off from what we have seen the past several years. It went from looking like another normal year with the early bluefin bite to a lot of the fish moving up to the backside of Catalina. This was the first time I saw the Dan Diego fleet fishing so far north and found it funny that a lot of offshore fishermen from the LA/OC area with reservations on SD boats would have to drive down to SD only to take a slow boat ride back up to Catalina. By the time I was able to get a chance to fish the Catalina bite, it pretty much shut off and brought better chances of catching tuna back down to SD.


    The next few weeks, the SD reports were pretty bad. The LR boats moved way down south, water was cold, swell was up from storms down south, and although the big BFT bite was back behind SCI, a lot of skunks were being reported from everywhere from the 302 to the Hidden. With everything looking poor, we opted to fish the Coronado Islands last week and while we didn’t catch any YT, we had a lot of fun catching big Calico and other fish. The Coronados are so fun to fish and I love the view of the rugged landscape, but to me… there is nothing like a good offshore bite whether it be YFT, YT, or Dorado (in lucky years).


    With the reports being good, and with forecasts calling for 100+ degree temps where I live this weekend, I hit up @Smitty619vt (Jason) and was happy when we locked in a trip on his 21’ Sea Pro CC for this past Saturday. With so many promising reports of limit Dodo and/or YT on the paddies and some YFT mixed in, my hopes shot sky high for sweet success for my goal of putting fresh mahi and/or sushi on a plate.


    I left my house in Coroana @ 2:15am and drove down to SD to meet Jason and his first mate Ace (Black Lab) at the slip at 4am and learned we would be fishing with @99Phishing (Marcus) who I never met before. Jason and Marcus who have fished together several times, got there early and already had most of the skiff loaded up with gear as well as had the kill bag filled with ice. Really enjoyed fishing with Marcus who was easy to talk to, helpful, knowledgeable, and proved to be an all-around fishy guy. We loaded up my gear and we pushed away from the slip at 4:15 making great time. No line at the bait barge, so we picked up a scoop and were headed out of the Mission Bay harbor at 4:30. We all agreed that the best option for us that day was to spend the day paddy hunting starting at the 302 and move south from there to the 371 and to the 425 if needed. If all else failed, we agreed that we would fall back on some fun fishing at the Nados before calling it a day.


    When we exit the harbor, we immediately notice the swell was a little bigger than expected and the wind was up about 10 mph as Windy.com called for. No big deal as it was still dark and we were taking it nice and easy on the way out anyways. Grey light came before we got to the 302 and once we could see decently, there were whitecaps everywhere as far as the eye could see… Damn! The swell didn’t get much better and it wasn’t very long before we knew that we were going to have to come pretty close to a paddy to be able to see it. With whitecaps like this, it almost completely takes away being able to capitalize on surface action (foamers, puddlers, or dolphins) that could present an opportunity to put more fish on the deck under better weather circumstances.


    I should have known what was in front of us as it was one of those days where I got soaked on the way out. I was dumb and didn’t put on my bibs so while my jacket kept my upper body warm/dry, my shorts were soaked and my boots got filled with water before we got to the 302. I literally poured water from by boots when we got to the 302 and was not thrilled this was going to be a “wet sock” day. When we made the plan, we talked about trolling as we looked for paddies but by this time, we knew trolling would be one of our best chances of catching fish.


    We get to the 302, practically by ourselves, and out come the trollers, one with a natural cedar plug and the other a pink jet head. While the first paddy or two didn’t produce, a third small paddy yielded Marcus with a rat YT on a mint and white surface iron. We kept the YT as it managed to find all three treble hooks and did a number on the fish’s mouth. We brailed some bait and that is when I noticed that a lot of the bait had rolled. I don’t know if it was shitty bait (as called out on the radio by others) or if the 2 bait wells were just overloaded. I don’t want to completely blame the bait but it was a factor and the guys at the barge said the bait was caught the prior day (not cured).


    We also brought a bunch of chunk sardine and chunked every time we stopped and saw fish just in case we could get lucky and have a school of YF pick it up and hang with us. We drifted this same paddy we got the rat YT off of a couple of times while fly-lining and throwing jigs when we saw the yellow flash of a tail in the water on what was a decent sized Dodo reacting to the chum. So then, we brailed and threw some more chunk. A lot of the bait we brailed were the ones barely swimming and I later wondered if this proved to be a mistake because while we got one Dodo to chase a surface iron, and saw another Dodo jump out of the water, we were not able to get them to bite the fly-line (nose hooked and belly hooked, tiny #4 hook with 17# floro) or a myriad of different jigs (different colored/sized colt snipers, stick bait, popper, surface iron, and even a knock off Orca-type jig. All this was going on while a bunch of skippers were on the radio going “sick-wide” on paddy fish (Dodos, YT, and even some YFT in other zones).


    After a while drifting this paddy with no more positive results, we decided to cut our losses and continue with the plan. We troll through the 302 for a while longer before pulling them in and making the run to the 371. As we enter the 371, we put out the trollers and start looking through this slop to try to find paddies. We look and look, then while in open water zzzzzzzzzz…., blind strike and the clicker goes off on the rod with the pink jet-head. Marcus is the closest and within 3 minutes the 6# Dodo is bounced on deck. We are so happy because things were not looking so promising up to that point. Take a quick picture or two while the fish still has the beautiful color and put the trollers back in and continue on.


    We trolled and trolled and trolled, looking for paddies and eventually come up to anther decent one. We roll up, toss a bunch of chunk and see several same grade Dodos react. The excitement level is at a 10 again. We do the same thing as we dis at the last paddy (brail, fly-line multiple ways, and throw nearly every jig we had. We felt we really had to give our best on the paddies because they were far and few between. We make five or so long drifts, brailing, chunking, and got the same results as before… no bites from the Dodos we knew were there. We perform this exercise at least one more time with the same results before trolling towards the 425.


    By the time we get to the 425, the weather seems to be worse as it is approx. 2:30pm and we are just not seeing any paddies. I really hoped that we would find one of the full speed paddies that we heard on the radio that morning, but I think a lot of them were further south than the high-spot. By this time, we hadn’t had a troll strike in a long time and with the island in sight, the appeal of catching island fish, even calico bass was just too strong. We all agreed that it would be nice to chill on the lee side of the south island but when we got there, the wind was howling and I mean howling where all the lines on the rods were whistling in unison. Even though the wind was coming from the west, there was literally no protection so that option was out because the drift was way to fast.

    We then hit the lee side of the north island and same thing there, completely blown out. Despite feeling unsatisfied with the fishing efforts or results, we knew it was best to head to the barn. We get a bit away from the islands and the wind calmed down a lot, still very windy but not like next to the island. We stop on a couple of kelps on the South 9 for nada, then make our way to Point Loma. We saw the half-day fleet all lined up outside the green tanks in about 100’ of water. We set up four or so drifts and couldn’t buy a bite with the jigs. By 4:30pm, faced the facts and bounced our way back to Mission Bay.


    Waited for a while at the gas pumps because there was a weigh-in for some fishing competition. Got see a nice 36# YT, a similar sized Dodo as what we caught, and my favorite which was a really nice sized Sheepshead get weighed while we waited for a spot at the pump. Filled up the tank, cleaned/filleted the fish, and cleaned the skiff before getting back in the car to drive back to Corona. We shared the meat so that all of us got to enjoy a bit of fresh fish. I got home at about 9pm, trimmed/cleaned the fish and hit the sack sore as can be. I either love fishing, or I am a glutton for punishment, or a little of both because I was already about thinking of fishing next weekend.



    Here are a couple of photos. We're going to eat the fish later and I’ll try to post some picks. I am looking forward to the Mahi-Mahi most. I think now is going to be one of the best opportunities to get on these paddy Dodos. Last year they didn’t come in thick for us and nothing guarantees they will hold for long, so get out there as soon as you can and find those paddies. I hope you pick a better weather window so you have a better chance of finding producing paddies than we did yesterday. Bring the spear if you have one. Tight Lines!!


    Ace the 1st Mate
    View attachment 1195900

    Marcus and the Football
    View attachment 1195892

    Jason and the lone Dodo
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    Is there any way you could Editorialize this Novel in Books on Tape?
     
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