6/16/19 Catalina, no YT :(

dilznic

Member
Nov 14, 2018
25
91
Newport Beach, CA
Name
Nicolas
Boat
Edgewater 225cc
Hey BD!

First report from me. Recently picked up my first boat (used 23' center console) as my son has gotten super into fishing. Headed out Sunday for Father's day to Catalina to hopefully catch some yellowtail. We had made the crossing the week before, hitting the west end for a bunch of nice Calico but no YT, so we decided to try the east end instead.

Launched at 6:15AM from Newport Dunes and picked up a scoop of sardines from the bait barge, then set a direct heading to Seal Rocks. Crossing was a bit bumpy but uneventful and we arrived in just under an hour.

Since we're totally new to private boat fishing, we start scoping out spots. I keep hearing to look for current and clean water, but not entirely certain how to judge either of those. So we head N/W from there at ~5knts trolling some DTX minnows (had quite a few hits on those the week prior), trying to stay in 100 ft of water. Somewhere around the Pebbly Beach area my son spots a YT being gaffed on the a sport boat (Triton I think) and asks if we can find a spot nearby. Lots of boats around and don't want to by "that guy". I know I need to stay off of other boats' sterns and chum lines, but not sure what an acceptable/respectful distance is off the bow or sides (any advice is welcome!).

So anyway we anchor up about 50 yards off the sport boat's bow in 80' of water and start tossing 1 sardine every few seconds off the stern. We see a boil so my son tosses out a tady c and instantly gets bit but it doesn't stick. I toss out a tady 45 and get a giant f'ing rats nest which I waste the next 15 minutes trying pick apart before just cutting it out and accepting the 100' of lost spectra. No more bites on the iron so we start flyllining some sardines. 1/0 mustad ringed circle hooks on 20lb-25lb fluoro leaders. Since we're noobs, our "casts" consist of lobbing the sardine about 10 feet. They're swimming away from the boat though so probably ok there. We get a ton of bites but it seems only 1 out of 5 are sticking or maybe even less than that. I pull in a *lot* of wrecked sardines shredded to pieces. We do land and release a half dozen or so bonito which put up a fun fight as well as a few short calicos.

Bite slows down so we decide to try to find a different spot. Keep heading N/W trolling the DTX minnow. Stop at a few different spots for more of the same. Lots of missed bites pulling in a mangled sardine, catch and release some bonito and small calicos. Had one bonito get smoked by a sea lion 5 ft off the stern after making a final run. That was fun to watch. Would have been less fun with a YT on the line though. I guess we're doing something wrong to have so many missed bites. Again, open to any and all advice! Anyway, begrugingly called it a day at 1PM just south of Long Point 'cause the rest of the family wants us back home, so we set off disappointed with a fish box empty except for a 20lb back of ice.

Crossing to get back is uneventful until we're about 5 miles from the harbor. Running at around 4500 RPM I start getting weird and sudden large drops in RPM as if I were pulling back on the throttle (but I'm not). When I back off and power back up, it seems fine for a few seconds then happens again. Keeping the RPMs under 4000 or so, problem doesn't seem to happen at all and we get back safely. Had the same issue the week before but thought it had been resolved by a full engine service including replacement of sparkplugs, fuel filter and fuel/water separator that was in bad shape. The fact that the motor ran beautifully at 4500 RPM on the way to the island and most of the way back has me scratching my head.

IMG_4322.jpg
 
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Reefmo

Member
Nov 28, 2016
250
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47
North OC
Name
Matt Skogmo
Boat
Trout Sniffer - heavily customized 18.5 tracker targa
Assuming that you are letting the sardine run for several second with reel in freespool AFTER you get bit but before you set the hook? If not that will help tons with the short bites. I used to miss a ton until I learned that!

Good luck!
 
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Azarkon

I Should Upgrade My Account
Aug 28, 2015
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Joe
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N/A
Short bites are mostly bass, barracuda, and bonito shredding your bait because they can't swallow it whole. Like the guy above said, you can wait a while for them to eat all of it, but then there is a risk of getting the hook in the fish's stomach.
 
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ol'skool

Hot Tuna Blues!
Feb 13, 2015
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Lomita
Name
Bruce Hershberger
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American Angler
Decades ago when I started using circle hooks I used them the same as J hooks...until someone told me I was just supposed to reel and let the fish set the hook for me. So if you're rearing back and trying to set that hook...don't, just start reeling. May be old news to you but thot I'd share just in case. Great to see you out there with your kid, and because HE is so into it...way to go dad, you won't regret it!
:jig:
 
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karlow

Twins 2017
Apr 29, 2004
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karl
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20' skippy Topless /17' whaler Wet Ride (sold) /18' Outrage
Did you check the bulb? It should be solid and hard. You could have an air leak in the fuel system. It sounds like its running out of fuel. How much was in the tank?
 
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Yella1

So Fishy
Aug 24, 2017
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San Diego, CA
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Jarrod
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Pay to Play
just supposed to reel and let the fish set the hook for me.

That is absolutely correct. Circle hooks fly straight out of their mouth if you try to "set" the hook. Just let them eat the bait, count to three, then start reeling until the fish hooks itself.

Honestly, unless there are tuna in the area I would use ringed J hooks for live bait at Catalina. Your hook up ratio will go way up. You might get chewed off by a Cuda occasionally, but otherwise you should be fine.
 
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ReelWhite

Local Hooker
Jul 18, 2018
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396
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Dana Point
Name
Kevin
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2660WAC Sailfish
Good effort! You'll get em next time. You could try butt hooking the baits next time. Like others have said use a j hook and when you feel the fish take the bait give it 3 seconds and then set the hook. Reel in quick before the dogs get to it and throw over a sacrificial bonito to keep them distracted
 
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the SLIDER

https://multimediabylj.com
Jun 11, 2015
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Dana Point
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L J
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arima - the SLIDER
Get the boat checked out if your going to CAT regularly. Dead at sea is no joke.

We get a ton of bites but it seems only 1 out of 5 are sticking or maybe even less than that. I pull in a *lot* of wrecked sardines shredded to pieces.

The wider mouth variety will suck down a Sardine.; let them run, sometimes more than once. Gut hooked is better than not hooked when they are shredding baits.
 
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fishsmith

Captain
May 16, 2008
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murrieta/ca/usa
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Jim
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21' Proline "MarLinz"
The first couple of years owning a boat can be a steep learning curve... Everybody has gone through the same things... Enjoy and be safe!
 
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