Offshore 10/5 - SW 425 Area - Yellowfin



I'm not superstitious... cuz it's bad luck.
  • Aug 6, 2016
    SoCal - Corona
    I know a couple guys...
    Short version: Fished a few miles south west of the 425, 69 degree water, great conditions (mostly small 2-3' mixed swell with...infrequent 5' sets with really long periods so no issues there - wind was not blowing too much or not at all until maybe noon), flylined dines, pretty steady bite, ended up with 6 in the kill bags (would have easily doubled that count if it wasn't for bad knots and pulled hooks), 20 # grade. Go get 'em

    Long version: After posting on the ride share/boat ho thread a while back, I got contacted by @Wileys (David) and locked in a trip. We were going to be fishing on David's 25' Parker with his buddy Scott. David and Scott are experienced fishermen and long-time boat owners so I had a good feeling coming into this.

    Initially, the plan was to go to SCI to target the big bft. I was looking forward to applying what I have learned over the last few months for the kite/balloon/frozen flyer set up. David was really prepared for this type of fishing and I was fortunate that @Benny Mora let me borrow his heavy rod and reel (as well as other gear) to help me get the job done.

    Left Corona at 2:30am as the push off time was 4:30. This was my first time fishing with David and I knew I needed a lil more time to find his dock/slip in mission bay. Glad I did because it took me a little while to find it as being late does not cut it when fishing (especially when fishing with a new skipper).

    After we shook hands and caught up for a few moments, David told me that he was aware that the Navy ran out some guys from the island the day before and was thinking that there was a chance that could happen that day too. We understood that the closure information was the same on Friday and Saturday. He explained that it would take about 3 hours to get to the zone but gave Scott and I the choice to stick with the plan or to change it up to fish south for yft. We voted to head south, and my reasoning was that I don't have much experience at SCI. I'm also confused by the closure rules and know that the closures are subject to change, at the same time, sometimes it's closed and the Navy doesn't run people off. I think we made the right decision taking into consideration these variables and the 6 hour ride (there and back).

    I'm curious if anyone fished SCI yesterday and welcome/appreciate any advice you may have relating to closures at the island when wanting to fly the kite.

    We loaded up in no time, grabbed two great scoops of bait, skipped making macks, and pointed the bow southwest. While we were heading out of the bay, David took time to show us where the life jackets were as well as where the ditch bag was that contain an epirb, other safety gear, as well as a wetsuit for David. We laughed when David said the wetsuit is for him so that he can help the Coast Guard find me and Scott's bodies if anything happened LOL. As much as we found that funny, I truly believe that a wetsuit is key to have in your ditch bag. Even in warm water all it takes is a couple of hours to get hypothermia and you're pretty much done from there. I really appreciated the safety briefing.

    Got to know David and Scott more as we poked along in the dark. It didnt take long to figure out that these are 2 good guys. We told jokes, shared stories, and just got to know each other a little bit. After an hour or two it felt like I knew these guys for a long time.

    The sunrise was gorgeous that morning and as soon as we could see pretty well we were looking for signs of life, and paddies, especially as we reached the south 9. We slowed down to take a look at the meter and immediately saw one really big mark. We decided it wouldn't hurt to throw out the trollers and see if we can get lucky close to home. We trolled a cedar plug and a black and purple daisy chain plug for a little bit with no luck, so we pulled them in and pushed the throttle forward heading for the 425 area.

    As we get near, we glassed and saw several gulls circling and a couple sitting ahead of us. Got a lil closer and saw the birds were sitting on a small paddy (maybe 5x5 feet). Set up... David got his dine in first and booya he was was a good one too from the bend in his rod. The fish ran straight for the paddy and seconds later the small hook pulled... damn! Never know for sure, but we all thought it was likely a yellowtail the way it ran straight for the paddy. We were bummed just a tiny bit, especially Scott because earlier he was saying that he really wanted some yt. Besides, we all had been doing pretty well on the yft and the variety would have been welcomed.

    We finally get to the 425, water was clean and deep blue, temp at 69 (+/-). It wasnt too crowded yet because it was so early. We looked around and didn't see too many marks on top of the 425. At that point we essentially decided to keep heading southwest, took it slow and just kept cruising around metering for fish. We put the trollers back out and when we started seeing smaller marks we pinned on a couple of dines and slow trolled them while we were looking for better meter marks, hopefully a nice school.

    Eventually, we found some good meter marks and decided this was the time to start dumping bait and chunking. I think we all had 25# floro, David and I had small hooks (#4 or #2) while Scott had a little bigger hook (maybe 1/0 or 2/0). David got bit again on the first yft bite, but lost it after about 5 minutes (pulled hook or bad knot). Then Scott gets bit, and gets his to gaff, cheers and high fives all around.

    Over the next 30 minutes, David and Scott are getting bit, lost a couple and gaffed a couple and I am not getting bit at all. I am a pretty confident fisherman normally but it is crazy how quick confidence can drop when everyone around you is getting bit but you are not. :confused:

    I had 50# braid to about 75' of 40# mono to a 4' leader of 25#. So I decided to drop down to 17# floro to see if that was the problem. I normally don't go down below 20 but at this point I need to do something different. I tied a double overhand knot to connect the 17 lb fluoro to the 40 lb mono. I send a hot bait out and within minutes I'm bit. I go to set the hook and nothing... get to the end of my line and my mono to floro connection failed. I figured I did not cinch the knot down tight enough because the double overhand knot has worked for me very well in the past on some good size fish too. I do the exact same thing again using 17 lb fluoro, a double overhand knot, this time I cinch it down tight, and send another dine out. I get bit again go to set the hook, get tight for about one second, then nothing. I reel my line back in and sure enough my fluoro to mono connection failed again. At this point I just decide to go with the straight 40 lb mono.

    By this point David and Scott probably have three or four in the kill bag between them selves. I'm really starting to wonder WTF is going on with me.

    David tells me to grab one of his rods and use it. I always get worried about using other people's gear cuz I don't want to break it and have to pay for it, but I happily used his rod to see if it was me or my setup that was causing this bad luck.

    Few minutes after that Scott has his rod in the holder when the clicker goes off. Scott, being a stand-up guy that he is, hands his rod to me. For some reason I don't take a lot of pride in taking a fish that's handed off but the truth is I was really happy to take that fish at that moment. I did not want to lose that fish under any circumstance, so I was really delicate and took my time. The fish took me around the boat believe it or not and by the end of the fight I was pretty certain I had one of those 40 lb Bluefin that have been mixed in. Finally got it to gaff and it was the same 20# size Yellowfin that David and Scott had already been catching all day. :D

    We drifted for probably 2 or 3 hours and as long as we were chunking... the yellowfin stayed with us. At one point there was a single fisherman on what appeared to be a 17 foot Boston Whaler next to us. When he gaffed his fish and brought it over the rail we clapped and whooted to cheer him on. He told us that he was putting a hook in chunk and sending it out in his chumline. We could see them boiling off his stern for such a long time. While we were drifting we watched him catch probably 3 or 4. Also we were gutting and gilling the fish as we caught and there was no doubt that these fish were eating chunk. A couple of the fish also had whole sardines and their bellies. Do not underestimate the value of chunking when trying to keep these schools with you.

    After a couple of hours the bite slowed down but that was probably because we weren't diligently chumming chunk as much as we could/should have been. Special props to Scott as he stayed working on the chunk most of the day. We decided to reset back to where the drift started. We slow trolled (well... honestly we fast trolled) some dines on the way over and my rod goes off. Because I was using 40 lb mono we brought him to gaff within a couple of minutes. This brought each of us to having two tuna each. With ice, each kill bag held three fish perfectly.

    At about 3pm, we decide to head back to that kelp we found earlier that morning before calling it a day. It always seems like a low probability to find the same a paddy twice, but sure enough we went back to the numbers, and the paddy was just north of where it was that morning. We gave the paddy a shot for no love and shortly after that decided to call it a day at about 4. Pointed the bow back to Mission Bay and got there about an hour and a half later.

    Cant say enough how nice it was to fish with these guys. Had a great day on the water, caught some fish, lost some fish, nobody got hurt, had good conversations, and made it back with no mechanical issues. Looking forward to fishing with these guys again.

    On the way home I spoke with Benny and was telling him about my leader knot issues, he recommended a triple overhand knot on the smaller line floro connection. If I was only smart enough to figure that out after the first loss.o_O

    Didnt get many pics of the fish, but they are the same 20# grade that have been caught by everyone else. There were a couple that I thought might have tipped 25 lbs, but I know...BS without pics.:D

    Also want to send a shout-out to @Can't Parker and @bajadog for agreeing to share intel. Funny thing was that when we linked up wr found that we were fishing 200 yeards from them. Made sense because everything they told us we were experiencing and everything we told them they were experiencing. then I look over and see a Parker and we figure out we're right next to each other. Lol good times...good guys working together to have a good day.






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    Capt Lou
    Jul 19, 2014
    La Mesa, CA
    '03 Parker 2520 Louie-Lui II
    Nice job guys and very detailed report! Double uni or Surgeons knot(3 or 4 turns) works very well for line to leader connections. Surgeons is faster.
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