Offshore 7/14-7/15 Tuna Watching

PENN

SouthBayKiller

I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
Mar 27, 2003
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Robert
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Early last week my buddy and I put together a rough game plan to fish over the weekend. We wanted to fish 266/302 and 371 area looking for that foamer yellowfin, then work north to the bluefin area, hopefully locate a school before dark and spend the night there on the bag and fish them the following day. Well you know what they say about best made plans...the weather man threw a wrench in our plans but we decided to stick to our guns any ways.

Picked up the worst 3 scoops of large sardine bait I have been unlucky enough to get. I knew it was bad as it was being loaded as the tank looked like a disco ball with all the scales falling off, 1/2 died before we get past the 9, the rest surely but slowly dies throughout the day until we had about 10 decent baits swimming around. We also had 6 macs we were able make.

Cleared the point around 11am and started making our way SW, into choppy but surprisingly manageable seas. As we started to get into the zone we wanted to start in, we noticed the water quickly dropped from 72 to 70 way before our intended way-point, thinking to ourselves "Dammit, this doesn't match our last SST chart at all, now what?!" We bend it north right into the weather and try to relocate the warm edge, like clockwork the water starts to creep up and we found the life. Terns and shearwater has the area "birded up" and pretty much immediately find our first area of tuna working a chovie ball. We throw everything at it until it sinks out and another one pops up about 50 yards away, same. We hit a dozen spots of fish and nothing to show for it despite getting poppers, colt snipers, surface iron etc into the foam for zero interest. We continued to push north towards the 43 and came across a huge foamer, thousands of birds, 300' wide at least, so big that a whale was blowing up in it and the tuna kept going next to it. By the time we got in position it had settled down a little and no luck there either, but the visuals were stunning. In hindsight I wish we got a photo of it, but we were too busy getting pounded running up on it and then fire-drilling to grab rods and get casts off.

The wind continued to get worse as we pushed north right into it. We worked out way up Clemete ridge and really started getting the piss kicked out of us and decided that hanging on the bag all night would not be fun and made the call to push all the way up to Pyramid for the night. We were only able to do about 8-9kts without getting beat too badly. We marked bluefin in several spots along the way and saw a couple boats skipping yummy's back towards home and in hindsight I wish we would have put out a kite then, but our attention was more about getting out of the wind than onto fish. As the sun set and the tiniest sliver of moon set shortly there after we were still about 12 miles out from Clemente and it was the darkest night I have personally driven private boat driving into a rough head sea. Its a whole new world driving at night not being able to see anything, no horizon, no waves in front of you, no clue when the next swell will hit the bow, complete blind driving. I was really really puckered up no doubt. It was a relief to finally see the lights of other boats in the cove because for what felt like hours but was probably only 45-minutes we were 100% driving off instruments, for my first time personally. There must have been 50 or more boats in the cove ranging from 17' whaler center consoles to mega yachts all seeking shelter from the wind and we were luckily able to tuck into to my favorite part of the cove and anchor up. We swung most of the night as the wind and current fought each other, but I got a little bit of sleep thankfully.

Sunday, 7/15, woke up at 4am and warmed up the motor and headed back down the ridge. Calmer than the previous evening, but still a good bit of chop on it. Water at the island was 68.4, but steadily rose to 71 with good color a few miles off the island. It was not long before we started to get our first marks and also found the fleet either skipping the yummy or plunking away on long drifts. With out few pieces of bait we had it was pretty much futile for us in this zone, but we dropped flatfalls on the marks and watched from far away massive boils in the chumlines of the sport boats. Not having bait really stung. Around 10-11am as the slack tide approached little spots of mixed yellowfin/bluefin started popping up and we chased them, and just like the day prior no luck. Must have hit two dozen spots and only saw one other boat (out of several) actually hook and land a what looked like a nice 40lb yellowfin. This zone was getting pretty crowded and we continued to work back the way we came from the following day, maybe 8 miles SE from this area we were able to locate some birds working and yellowfin popping off all to ourselves. We hit 10 more spots of fish jumping, boiling and generally going crazy and still no biters. It was infuriating to say the least. At around 1:30 we started working back inside towards the 182, I'm not sure where exactly, but the water warmed up to about 73+ but also greened up quite a bit. From that area to Point Loma all we saw was maybe 2-4 terns working one small spot of non-biting fish, some dead kelps and one whale.

That's that, 180 miles. We made it home safe, boat didn't break too much, and we found the fish but couldn't get them to go. There is an absolute tonnage of tuna on both sides of the border right now in all shapes and sizes.

One positive note, finally got a chance to test out my new 12x32 technistabi's, what a massive upgrade from 7x50s. Given the conditions they worked great and really helped spot in the bumpy conditions from the tower.

Hindsight:

Should have fished the yummy and also perhaps a kite bait if drifting in an area with good marks. Who knows what would have happened if our bait was OK and we could have dropped a dipper or two on some of the bluefin marks we got (this is gonna haunt me for a while).

Hope this helps anyone heading offshore soon, I wish you better luck then us. Sorry, no pics of gas bills, clean decks, dead bait or empty coolers.
 
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NGSD1

Dreamer
Jun 6, 2012
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Nick
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35 Cabo Express
Sounds like the majority of real reports! I wouldn't second guess yourself on the Kite. Most people fly them all day for nothing and then come back wishing they would have chased the foamers. There will be another day this season, thanks for the honest report. Can never have too much bait right now though!
 
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pacificscout

Hey! You got any frozen ice?
  • Jul 28, 2012
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    Fullerton
    Name
    Wally
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    16ft Scout EMBUSTERO
    I am a little 16ft low to water boater.
    Any wind chop it gets wet and sloppy and I head into harbors. Reading your report teaches me that even larger boats encounter rough times. One must have great equipment and big balls running offshore. You guys stuck to your plan and made needed adjustments on the fly.
    Great report.
    Fish will charge you and boat next time.
     
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    SouthBayKiller

    I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
    Mar 27, 2003
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    I am a little 16ft low to water boater.
    Any wind chop it gets wet and sloppy and I head into harbors. Reading your report teaches me that even larger boats encounter rough times. One must have great equipment and big balls running offshore. You guys stuck to your plan and made needed adjustments on the fly.
    Great report.
    Fish will charge you and boat next time.
    Boat was a 28' Heriques, its a tank and takes some pretty serious crap to make it pound. We were never in danger, but it wasn't fun. Seeing guys camping in tents in small whalers anchored in the cove had me questioning some people's sanity though.
     
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    SaltH20Angler

    I'm not superstitious... cuz it's bad luck.
  • Aug 6, 2016
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    SoCal - Corona
    Name
    Christopher
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    I know a couple guys...
    We've had our share of tough days and it seems to hurt the most when you find 'em but can't get 'em to go. It's one thing when it takes all morning to find a big paddy that turns out is not holding...but it really sucks to find tuna and birds crashing but they're not interested.

    Just a few weeks ago we found the tuna and birds bustin at the 425. Even though we threw almost everything we had at 'em including longsoakng lively flylined dines (chumed a lot of live and chunk)...zero, zilch, nada!

    We get back and the reports say they bit the friggin popper. I had a few in a side pocket of my bag (so did the skipper) and I never thought to tie on a popper.

    Your report makes me feel better because it seems you found more foamers than us (you sure made one hell of an effort) and had the same outcome.

    We're going out this weekend to try again. I hope we find them..and I hope they eat my hook this time. May they eats yours too next time you're out.
     
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    mullet

    Metal Fabricator
    Jan 10, 2006
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    mike
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    Did you try to make bait in the cove? Sometimes it's best to make some bait close to home instead of buying the shit they serve you when they don't have time to cure it . It sucks to burn time doing it but I'd rather have a tank of macs then some red nose deans .
     
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    SouthBayKiller

    I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
    Mar 27, 2003
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    Did you try to make bait in the cove? Sometimes it's best to make some bait close to home instead of buying the shit they serve you when they don't have time to cure it . It sucks to burn time doing it but I'd rather have a tank of macs then some red nose deans .
    Yep, we tried to make macs the night before and were able to make 6 pieces. In the Cove we put out the lights and had some tiny squid come in but no mass that was catchable. I woke up around 2am to take a piss and checked out back just in case and we had a giant ball of chovie, actual hook bait size ones swimming in our lights but unfortunately no luck with the sabiki. Would have been awesome to somehow get them in the tank but no luck.

    Our bait we bought was the worst I have seen, it look clean in the pen, but as soon as it hit the net I knew we were screwed.
     
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    SouthBayKiller

    I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
    Mar 27, 2003
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    I am reminded to bring a search light on overnight trips! Great reading!
    It was sketchy. Thank god for modern electronics, and for mega yachts with bright deck lights. One plus to the darkness was the Milky Way was clearly visible from the anchorage, amazing stargazing.
     
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