3 day aboard the searcher, Penn for the win!


I've posted enough I should edit this section
  • Sep 8, 2017
    La Mirada/Whittier
    Boat Name
    Wanting a bigger boat
    got back this morning from our 3-day, Penn Fishing University charter aboard the Searcher. Once again, the boat exceeded expectations and we were rewarded with limits of bluefin from 30 pounds up to 100 pounds. This trip was completely different compared to trips prior this year because my brother joined us. This was his second trip ever and I know without a doubt it was an educational one. As usual, this was a look into the trip through my own experiences, as everyone has different out puts on the trip.

    Day 1: Normally, I don't have much to write as these are travel days... Well, there's a first for everything. We left my house around 4:30am Friday the 15th, arriving to the landing around 6:00am(ish). With so many boats offloading, parking was absolutely horrendous. To add on to the troubles, all the dock carts were in use, so offloading our gear was tedious at best. Once we offloaded, walking around the dock, it was a nice sight seeing so many boats with limits of great quality of fish. Around 9:00, we started boarding the boat and by 10:00 we were off the dock. We had to get about half a load of bait but were done with that in less than an hour. After we finished up, we cleared Point Loma, and Captain Jason came down and gave us the usual talk. Our gameplan was to head west towards San Clemente, the fish bit the day prior, and boats were putting together good picks on 30-60lb bluefin with a few yellowfin in the mix. So, with that, we traveled 40 miles to get to the grounds.

    Day 1, part 2: After rigging up for a couple hours, most guys caught some shuteye. Around 6pm, we got to the ground and came across one school of fish which turned into an epic sun downer bite. These fish were between 30 and 60 pounds like Jason told us. They bit flyline really well on 40lb which made getting the fish in a lot easier. After a few hours of picking fish off on flyline, we transitioned into the nighttime. As the sun went down, a lot of people went inside to eat dinner before starting the nighttime bite. I decided to wait until third call for dinner because the galley was packed and the fish were still biting. When the sun went down, I hooked one last fish on a butt hooked sardine that went deep. After landing that fish, I started to pick up these fish were deeper. The other guys outside fishing were all jig fishing or flylining to no success. So, I went with the "old school" methods of rubber band sinker rigging a sardine. For those who have fished with Monkey aboard the Searcher, you know how crazy and funny he is. He looks at me, and goes " what are you doing with that thing?" He knows I like to try methods that have worked in the past really well and questions but doesn't stop my crazy ideas. Well, it definitely paid off. By now, it was around 7:30, 8pm. The sun was down and it was pitch black out minus the couple boat lights off in every direction. I was fishing a torque 15ld2 filled with 40lb line, and a 40lb leader and managed 4 bites in the span of 20 minutes. The first two fish were my biggest fish of the night, a 60 pounder, and a lone 75 pound bluefin. I handed the first fish off to my brother, went back, hooked the 75lber, and handed it off to Bob who was stoked to take it. After that, I was able to hook two more fish which were both around 35 pounds and get those landed quickly. Once that was done, Jason made a move and with that, I went inside and enjoyed a nice plate of pasta. For the rest of the night, we stopped on school after school picking off anywhere from 8-25 fish each stop. These fish were keyed in on straight tied 40lb, small coltsnipers and flatfalls. I fished an 80g colt sniper and caught my dad's limit of fish. I have been fortunate in fishing for bluefin on a few multi day trips a year, but this bite was definitely one of the best I ever experienced. From starting our first pick bite around 6pm, going pretty consistently until 2am, we picked off over 100 bluefin for our efforts with two more days of fishing to go. At 2:30, Jason called our efforts quits, we were back to the usual 1-2 fish if we were lucky.

    Day 2: With the night time bite going on so long, I slept in preparing for the next night to come. And thankfully, I didn't miss to much. When I woke up around 8am, the boat had put on one yellowfin and one more bluefin earlier in the morning. Unfortunately, since we had such a banner nighttime bite, the bluefin were almost none existent this next morning. We woke up on the outskirts of a fleet made of over 30 boats, both private and sport. So, Jason made the call to end further west and up the back end of Clemente, to check out a couple spots they did good at the trip prior to ours. By about 3:00, we had spent the day looking and finding nothing. By then, the water started cooling off, it went from 72 degrees, down to 67 degrees at one point. So, we made the call and headed back to the zone we ended last night in. Around 4:30, we joined the fleet and were greeted with an excellent plunker bite on 60-100 pound fish. With great success on the sinker rig the night before, I dropped my 40lb outfit with a rubber band sinker and 8 ounce weight and in less than 20 seconds of dropping on the slide, I was bit. This fish right away felt like a better grade of fish by the headshakes and large initial runs it gave me. After a few times up and down the rail, I got the fish to gaff, where Tyler and Jason stuck it with two gaffs. As the sun started to set, we kept a consistent 1-5 fish hanging on sinker rigs and flyline. Eventually, my dad hooked up on a fathom 15 and handed it straight to my brother to fight and reel in. He asked me just to aid and step in when needed since it was a bigger fish and we did not want to lose. So I did jsut that. In the safe spots of the boat, my brother fought the fish and eventually got it to color, but when it came to close calls, I grabbed the rod out of his hands and ran it up the rail atleast twice because it would make crazy runs. Soon enough, I was able to get the fish back to a safe zone on the bow where my brother was able to get the fish to the surface and I stuck it with a gaff since the crew was occupied. He was super stoked because it was his largest fish ever. He even said he was ready to take on a 100 pounder now. As day turned to night, I finished the sundowner handing off one fish, and landing another for myself. Then the nighttime was where the show began. We started moving around and unlike the night prior, we were back to fish our 100 pound setups with heavy jigs and hooks. Thankfully, most people listened because we needed it. Our first stop broke wide open. Every fish hooked was over 80 pounds atleast. I think I counted 9 people hooked up within 3 minutes only to land 3 fish on the stop. I hooked up on a torque 40 loaded with 100lb test and a 400 pound bite leader. This fish was well over 100 pounds. After 20 minutes of going around the boat, I got caught up in a tangle because someone dropped next to me and I ended up getting sawed off which was a big heart break. Oh well, thats the hard ship of fishing. My dad ended up hooking up on a mak 16 and a SK jig and eventually got sawed off himself. By this time, the fish had moved on so we did the same. Around 10:00, a lot of people had went to bed because they caught their limits throughout the night, but a handful of us stayed awake. Out of my group of four, I was the only one awake still. After getting sawed off, I straight tied a 300g SK jig to 100lb floro and my first drop, got bit again. Unfortunately again this one was lost. I went back and made a second drop and this time stuck the fish. After a 15 minute fight, I was able to deck a 90+pound fish. (It was 90 pounds gilled and gutted, so maybe over 100?) After my fish, two more landed and we called it a night as we were close enough to boat limits. Jason told us that since the Tanner was not cooperating very well, we were going to be fishing closer to San Diego for the local yellowfin bite.

    Day 3: Unfortunately, the final day of the trip did not have much in store. We caught 3 yellowfin and 7 dorado but that was about it. I was fortunate enough to hook a 32-pound yellowfin on a slide bait on 30 pound which was a lot of fun to fight. Other than that, we had one kelp passed to us from the Alicia later that afternoon but that was it. Fish got so boat pressured on Saturday they scattered making it hard to find them. We covered a lot of ground and couldn't even manage a blind strike.

    Finishing notes:
    All in all, this was definitely on my top 5 trips I have ever done... Fishing was perfect, weather couldn't have been much better, and this group of passengers were a bunch of cool dudes which made it so much better.

    A couple tips I recommend... If you're going out, make sure you take at least 3 smaller colt snipers or flat falls, and 3 heavier knife jigs. There was a lot of causalities fishing light gear which resulted in a lot of lost gear..

    I started fishing Seagar gold label line for bluefin and I feel it's made a huge difference; the 30-pound Seagar is as stealthy as 20 pounds, and the 40 feels as stealthy as 30 pounds.

    Don't be shy to try the corndogs. (Larger Sardines). Monkey and I both consistently threw on the larger 6-inch sardines and we got lots of bites on them, they also were super cured and swam amazingly which aided the process.

    Bring a large variety of hooks. I would have as small as #6 mutu's, up to 2/0 mutu at the bare minimum. I spent most my time fishing a size 4 owner mutu and it worked out amazingly.

    For our final fish count between my brother, dad, and I... We ended up with 18 bluefin, 4 yellowfin between 20, and 37 pounds, and 3 doradao. Not to shabby for a 3 day trip.

    Once again, Penn reels got the job done. Many of the larger 60-90lb fish came on fsthom 15’s with 30/40lb tests. These reels matched with proper rods were absolutely killer!

    Hopefully more from the trip will chime in..

    Until next time...


















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