12-19.... close but no cigar

SD2600

Opinions aren’t constitutional- they are earned
Apr 13, 2017
503
342
39
San diego
Name
Dustin
Boat
26' sea swirl
The search for Bluefin Tuna at the 60 mile Bank, Staring McGuyver and a lil old Boy Scout.
So my mom and stepdad made a some what surprise trip out to visit this week. Stepdad wanted to fish so of course I start checking the weather and the reports. Looks like the tuna have been going bonkers down at the 60 mile bank. This is south west of mission bay roughly 63 miles one way to the grounds. The weather and swell was up during the weekend but a perfect window had opened up for Tuesday.

I had been doing winter maintenance to the boat thinking I wasn’t going to fish until next season but was pumped on another chance to pursue the bluefin. Items that were serviced, Prop and shaft, lubed shift cable, changed out drive fluid, cap, rotor, spark plugs and wires, fresh oil, rebuilt water pump, new belts. I also made a lid for my bait tank in hopes to seal the tank and eliminate air space while driving to the grounds. This will allow for little slosh and keep the bait from pounding the sides and dyeing. Everything was looking right for the venture.

Since the sixty was quite a haul I decided we would leave the harbor at 0300. trying to make the most of the travel in complete darkness maybe moving 10 kt. we stopped and got bait witch was 6-8 inch very lively dines stoked! I installed my new lid which worked just as I had hoped and we set our course…
Traveling through nearly perfect seas we made good time. As grey light approached we were about 50 miles offshore and very close to San Salvador Knoll. At this time we were cruising around 24 kt. We spot what appeared to be some dolphin working about 60 yards off the bow. I slow the boat to set the trollers out to hopefully pick up a tuna… While I was setting the trollers the motors chugs misses and dies…all the while the meter was loaded with bait under the boat. A moment or two passes while I attempt to restart the boat and what I thought was a pod of dolphin was a school of tuna breaking the surface. They were headed straight for the boat!
Rather than pitch a bait I was concerned with why the boat was not running. the choice I’m still pondering…..
The Tuna came as close as 50’ off the bow and sunk out.. Incredible sight to see. Very hard to tell but I would guess the were 50-70lb grade…
As quick as the show started it was gone… So I turned my attention to the boat. I checked all my circuits and fuses, good to go. checked safety switch. good. pulled the spark arrestor and looked at the fuel delivery as it seemed to flood out when it quit. I opened the throttle to allow some air exchange, a blast of berrymans down the hatch and she fired back up.. It idled for a bit while we reset our gear, adjusted the bait tank and talked about a game plan for our next sighting of the tuna. I throw it in gear and we are underway..
About 2 min in she shutters and dies out again…..ok back to the diagnosis…. Looking at the butterflies there was not an excessive amount of fuel….. so I pulled the dizzy to look at the rotor……. Bingo found the problem…. The thin cheaply made metal on the rotor had broken not allowing the circuit to make contact. It was intermittently making contact at best..I go look in the cabin where I keep my spare parts and find that I don’t carry a spare rotor….. damn such an inexpensive part that has me dead in the water…. So what can I do.. I can’t let this be the end of it….. So I run through all the crafty cataloged info in my brain and I say McGuyver wouldn’t go out like this.. I grab a spare spade connector and go to work to fabricate and mulipulate it to attach the the metal that is left as well as make contact with the coil from the cap.. About 45-1hr later I have it finished to the best its going to be… I install it and turn the key…….vaaarrroooom… she fires up.. hell yeah! I speak with my step dad and say our shot at the 60 has been altered and we are going to head back in. if we spot any paddys we can pitch a bait to try and save the trip.
Traveling at 11 kts we are headed back in… an hr later we spot a nice paddy. as i throttle down the change in revolutions must have snapped free my mcguyver fix…I pull the cap and now its completely unsalvageable…..
Bummer looks like we are going to have to hail boat tow us…
On 16 I begin to attempt to call for an assist… no answer. I call for coast guard… no answer,, I call for anyone in the area… no answer. I try channel 72,73…… silence… shit this isn’t good…. Fire up the cell phone… no service….ok time to pull out the safety equipment.. i retrieved the air horn and pen flares in hopes we see another boat…… nothing for 2 + hrs……….
Then on 16 I hear the navy put out an order that they have two patrol boats that will be conducting live fire exercises and requested all boaters to give them a 4 mile space and gave the coordinates…. I write them down and say holy shit we r within 2 miles of there…. I attempt to hail them on 16 with no answer… As we continued to look for them on the horizon my stepdad spots them off our bow… I ready the pen flares in an attempt to get their attention… Pop the cap pull the string annnnnddddd nothing.. dud! shit I try on the remaining flares all junk…. shit… I try the air horn but we were to far away…….damn.. maybe they will see us in their space and come to investigate……Not betting on them coming to mess with us I had my step dad un bolt the large mirror in the cabin so we could signal them… He starts working the mirror in their direction while i attempt to contact them via the radio…. about 30 min into working the mirror they call on 16. I attempt to answer but I’m not getting out… Through the binos i see them change course and head our way. US Navy Patrol Boat 1403 and 1404 were on us in less than 2 min… They approach and ask if we are in destress. I told em our problem and their commander laughed. He hailed tow us for me and then was concerned about our well being. food h20 warmth… all were good….he made the choice to put on hold their live fire missions and stay with us the estimated 3 hrs until the tow would arrive… he opted to have his ships practice maneuvers around us.. impressive to say the least..
The tow arrived, hooked up the tow strap and we traveled home at 12 kt…made the harbor after dark, on the trailer and home in rush hour traffic on the 8 we went.. long day, full of excitement just not the kind we were searching for. needless to say I will now carry an extra cap and rotor!





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yakdout

Professional
Jun 26, 2014
1,510
2,115
San Diego
Name
Brandon
Boat
s and hoes
crazy story man! Glad you guys are all safe and not still drifting into mexican waters somewhere. Get em next time.
 

SD2600

Opinions aren’t constitutional- they are earned
Apr 13, 2017
503
342
39
San diego
Name
Dustin
Boat
26' sea swirl
crazy story man! Glad you guys are all safe and not still drifting into mexican waters somewhere. Get em next time.
With the little wind and current there was we actually were creeping back to port... might of taken till next xmas but that was worth laughing about while we were idle
 

Tuna Vic

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Mar 17, 2010
2,334
837
Whittier California
Name
Victor
Boat
18ftC/CWellcraft Calico Time II
Enjoyed the read,and happy you made it home safe,valiant effort by the way on the rotor!
 

jayyyy

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Oct 7, 2008
983
211
NorCal
Name
jay
Boat
'04 Sea Pro 220 WA / 225 Honda
Can't carry a spare for everything, even kicker motors can crap out. You got to go fishing, learn something and have a little adventure.
 

stangclassic66

USCG Master
Oct 21, 2004
1,367
783
San Diego/SF Bay
Name
Capt. Erik
Boat
21' Center Console
Add a new VHF and Antenna to your list. Might want to also carry all the tools for a carb breakdown, spare plugs and wires, When was the last time you did the exhaust and risers? I used to do those every 2-3 years regardless when I used to own an "I Owe"
 

Capt Cosmo

Well-Known "Member"
Jul 27, 2011
69
137
Laguna
Name
Fernando
Boat
F-BOMB - Shamrock 200 pilothouse
thanks for the read and sorry your fishing was cut short... I'm sure glad that are tax dollars were put to good use in helping one of our fishing brothers in big need. God Bless the US Navy...
When I'm out beyond 10-15miles or out of cell range and I see a lonely boat that is in my direction of travel...within a few degrees and especially on those days when few are on the water like these days...I try and skirt close by with in few hundred yards.. sometimes to see if there on a paddy( where there is one there usually others nearby) or on fish..but also be close enough so as to notice a distress or waving of a towel or something indicating a boater in need of help.

I'm in lobster mode now... but like you I need a few maintenance items top attend to prior to the off shores runs to come next year...
 
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RockyGizmo

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Mar 15, 2017
148
76
Goleta, CA
Name
Alexei
Boat
Cattle Boats from all over California
Great post... Sorry fishing didn’t work out; still, it was a day on the water you guys will never forget. Much better than being stuck at work in a cubicle like I was. I am impressed with your McGuyver skills too.

Agree with Captain Cosmo above... God Bless the men and women serving in the Navy.
 

SouthBayKiller

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Mar 27, 2003
7,231
7,459
39
Long Beach, CA
Name
Robert
Boat
none
Wow, what a day. Double check that radio and also agree you want a handheld. Stoked you guys made it home safe, it’s a long way out and a lot lonelier out there this time of year.
 
Apr 22, 2004
456
108
Point Loma
Name
Doug
Boat
2530 Parker
A good news story. Wow, lucky the Navy was there. That could have been much.. worse. Stay safe and hey its Christmas, so maybe Santa can help you stock up on safety equipment (like an Epirb), flares and extra radios! Good luck.
 

willbuyone

Terry Cobb
Aug 4, 2016
564
291
70
Lompoc Ca
Name
Terry Cobb
Boat
Robalo R180 ( Sole Seeker )
This kind of story reminds me of how many things can go wrong in secession . So I will double check all my emergency equipment . Glad you are all safe !
 

sdjfish

Deck Ape
Mar 26, 2003
940
1,235
escondido
Visit site
Name
steve
Boat
2320 Parker, Tracker
Weak +12 volts or poor/bad antenna connection maybe. Check your VHF to antenna connections, if they look bad on the outside they may be bad on the inside as well. I carry two handhelds and a Delorme InReach explorer with text. cant be too connected on the water.
 
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SD2600

Opinions aren’t constitutional- they are earned
Apr 13, 2017
503
342
39
San diego
Name
Dustin
Boat
26' sea swirl
Thanx for the positive reply’s...I will most likely be looking into a new radio. What r u guys running? Pros cons? I have always been pretty anal on my boat maintence. That rotor had about 60 miles on it and failed... I’m all about carrying spare parts but there is also a breaking point where u end up having a complete boat....
 

SD2600

Opinions aren’t constitutional- they are earned
Apr 13, 2017
503
342
39
San diego
Name
Dustin
Boat
26' sea swirl
Standard Horizon GX1700W Standard Explorer GPS VHF Marine Radio

Any opinions on this?
 

nickflyline

Member
Mar 15, 2017
39
29
41
victorville
Name
nick
Boat
bayliner
dang sucks bro we were coming back in from the 60 and close to the harbor we saw a boat being towed by sea tow im sure it was you it was right around sun down well im glad you guys made it back in safe
 

Lil Hooker

Member
Jul 17, 2005
39
56
San Diego
Name
BButcher
Boat
1998 15' Cobia center console; 2000 Luhrs 340 Convertible
Great write up and solid MacGyver work! Impressive. Glad you made it home safe and you'll have a good story to share this holiday and many more to come. Get home safe = good day on the water.
Happy I'm in the same team as the US Navy....badass looking boat
 
P

Paddyman1

Glad you both got back safe.

I would do test calls on my VHF throughout the day to make sure I can be heard. Keep your flares and any other safety equipment current and up to par. Possibly your antenna isn't doing it's job, as I see many people baoting with them in the down position because they think it's ugly. The value of a simple, floating whistle to blow goes unnoticed by most boaters, too. The decibels of a whistle are 100 times over what your voice can do, especially if you end up in the water.

Love our service men and women. Dang they look intimidating!
 

bparker1225

Ocean Addiction
Sep 27, 2004
1,916
1,439
Leucadia/Los Zacatitos
Name
Bill Parker
Boat
21' 6" Cabo-Cabo Bill
Good story! Winter fishing always makes boats more independent. I run 2 icoms 2 antennas, handheld with antenna hookup and small 12 volt battery to hookup and run the radio. Safety is always first!
 

stangclassic66

USCG Master
Oct 21, 2004
1,367
783
San Diego/SF Bay
Name
Capt. Erik
Boat
21' Center Console
Icom, Icom or Icom. 504 or 506
 

Capt Cosmo

Well-Known "Member"
Jul 27, 2011
69
137
Laguna
Name
Fernando
Boat
F-BOMB - Shamrock 200 pilothouse
good radio... and pair it to Shakespeare 5225xt galaxy vhf antenna and you will be talking to people in long beach... I know this because I can
I have this radio on my boat.. it has a compass, GPS coordinates and speed on the screen visible at all times, many other features as well..... very pleased with it and the range with a shakespeare 36" steal antenna(not sure of model) on top of my pilothouse, it has been impressive. Ive talked with boaters 30-60 miles away.. my home port is Dana Point and have had radio cks as far as point loma.
I'm about to switch it out with a SH GX2200, all the same features but it has programmable waypoints.. just incase I lost my chartplotter I'ed be able to get home in the dark or fog..once installed Ill be parting with the GX1700 for about $140
 
Apr 22, 2004
456
108
Point Loma
Name
Doug
Boat
2530 Parker
If you can get a radio with DSC and rig it to a GPS. If not get a waterproof handheld with DSC as a spare and keep it charged with extra batteries in your ditch bag. Also handheld epirbs are cheap now.