7 Days on the Rooster

B_Rad

Newbie
Sep 20, 2017
1
17
65
Ventura
Name
Brad Powell
Boat
Red Rooster 3
Fishing with friends can be an adventure, however, most of my friends don't fish - the ocean.

Luckily, I was able to get a spot on the Chuck Barnett’s charter. This year I was going with Chuck’s friends and family from Ojai who have been chartering a trip for over 20 years.

Fishing with friends can be an adventure, however, most of my friends don't fish - the ocean.

Luckily, I was able to get a spot on the Chuck Barnett’s charter. This year I was going with Chuck’s friends and family from Ojai who have been chartering a trip for over 20 years.

My first chance at catching a Wahoo? Maybe – maybe not!
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Boring ride down the 405 at 6am, nothing worth listening to but “Jesus saves”, and KNXT, which gets repeated every 10 min. Then, I stumbled upon “Fish Talk” and listened to their two hrs of “If you want to go fishing - Now is the time" propaganda.

I had to only wait 20 min to get a primo parking spot, once in the parking lot, and totally ignoring the "lot full sign". So far, so good!

Checking in, the agent said that the Captain wanted to leave early - great I was cool with that. They have cones setup for each person and my number was 26. It took nearly an hour standing around in the hot sun before I got loaded - just about last!
Finally on-board I struggled to find a place for my tackle box and found a small gap between everyone's giant boxes - then one of the other passengers complained that he needed more space for his launchers. I brushed the old guy off and told him there was plenty of room while I proceeded to push all the boxes together and wedged my box between his and the one next to it. After storing my gear, and not knowing that were we were headed for a two-day boat ride, I began connecting my reels to the rods.

Someone came on the PA system and asked that whoever left their gear bags in the galley to please come and store them. Thinking to myself, “someone lost their gear already?” Little did I know it was mine!

Needing the fluorocarbon from one of my bags I had previously and carefully stowed below I headed to my berth only to discover that I had been partially evicted from my quarters. Finding one of the crew, I inquired about my arrangements, he told me that they had made a mistake, and that I was assigned another bunkroom. Ok, I am just goanna tell whoever is in my room that I was old and fat and required the bottom bunk. Upon opening the door to my new quarters, I knew right away that was not going to work, since I was nether older or fatter. Oh well, at least I had a plan and it is not as I have never been on the top bunk before. Tom, a retired tech guy in his mid 60’s from Wisconsin was very nice, and is also looking to catch a fish.

During the traditional fishing and safety briefing, the Captain told us that “plans have changed; no longer were we
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headed to the island of Guadalupe, we are now headed south to the Ridge.” Interesting, guess that’s where the Wahoo are! I’ve been to Guadalupe Island ten years ago and it’s quite a place to fish. If the Commodore believes that we would be better served by traveling two days then I’m in!

The people on the boat, mostly to come from Ojai, which is a small bedroom community north of Ventura, CA, which in fact gave us lots to talk about on our long journey.

Dinner on the first night consisted of perfectly cooked Ribeye Steak, Asparagus and Rice pilaf. Soon after, it was cocktails and off to bed with very calm seas.

Breakfast greeted us Denver omelets, giant breakfast sausages, with Potatoes O’Brien; and for lunch, Beef Enchiladas, which were also huge and very good! We spent the day napping, and rigging up Wahoo leaders. The Dinner menu for the second night included Lasagna, salad and freshly baked bread. If you walk around hungry - it’s your own fault!

Right after dinner, it was time for a shower. Walking into the restroom I noticed that the picturesque sun was going down over the water – awesome! Looking up again, I thought someone was playing a trick on me because the sun was nowhere to be seen. Seems as though the boat was now going around in circles.

I heard Captain Andy call “throw some bait!” After nearly a day and a half of waiting to fish I decided that my shower can wait. I picked up my now wet tee shirt and put it back on walked outside, grabbed my trusty casting rod with a flat fall jig, and made my way to the bow of the boat. Three casts - nothing. One of the fishermen next to me was doing a slow retrieve and bang he was on and headed to the stern. Getting frustrated, I thought about changing to live bait, but thought otherwise, once I noticed the cluster f--- at the corner and decided against it. Casting out and after letting all the line out, I started to wind at a fairly slow speed, and wham! - something on the other end was trying to pull the fishing pole out of my hands!.

Several minutes of back and forth, I finally landed my first fish of the trip - a 15 lb Yellowtail.
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After a well-deserved shower and cocktails, it was off to bed; we will be fishing on the Ridge early tomorrow.

Day Two

Daybreak started with the cook on the intercom crackling “first call for breakfast.”
Jumping out of my bunk, I dragged myself up to the galley and proceeded to get coffee, eggs over easy with big fat link sausages.

The boat was still traveling to the zone. About 9am we finally caught up to the other boats that were already there. We trolled around for a while, until we spotted fish jumping out of the water! It was quite a sight to see, I then noticed why…the reason? A couple of whales were furiously feeding on the fish! Almost immediately, someone behind me yelled “HOOKUP!” Ahhh, it’s now time to fish. It was not long, once I pulled out my Flat Fall lure on my 25lb rig, and before you knowit I got a bite! Yanking on the torpedo like it was giant, I pulled the Tuna to a quick gaff, a small 10-pounder, but by now I’m very happy that I now have a fish on-board!
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Then came the typical feast or famine type of tuna fishing. The Captain decided to move every five minutes chasing Dolphins, and it would only be a minute or two before the trollers were hooked up again, and a steady pick of a few biting fish. I would get one fish then, only to get cut off while in a tangle to another fisherman, and then, get sawed off and the line breaks, hooks coming un-done, etc. At the end of the day, I managed to put 9 on board, which marked a good score but a frustrating day.

One of the fish was a challenge. My 20-year-old Accurized Penn 500 lost its gears and the drag refused to function. Even more, the 20lb class fish was taking line by spinning the reel handle backward whenever the fish wanted to take some line. After some funky fishing, I finally got the fish up to gaff and proceeded to remove the reel, so I do not make that mistake again!

Viddles? Chicken Caesar salad and a killer dinner of ribs and fresh corn.

Tomorrow, the 29th, the spot for more tuna fishing. Still no pesky Wahoo to be found!

Wednesday, Day 3

Several hours plugging throughout the night, we found where ever we were headed and dropped the anchor. Waking up @ 2am I got one of those tear streaming cramps in my thigh. Barely able to walk, I somehow made it up to the galley to get some water and walk of the cramp. I notice a few were fishing a dropper loop and had a few 20lb class Yellowtail in the box. “Awesome” I thought, and somewhat able to walk better now, I headed back to my bunk only to have my roommate bust In and proclaim that the Yellowtail were in full-on bite mode. I was not so enthused, since this was a 7- day trip and I already had 1Ttail on board. I should have been since the famed Jack fish were going to be finicky and not hit the iron, as they have in the past. I thanked him and decided to keep on snoozing. Ten minutes later, the Cap comes on the speaker and let's everyone know about the good fishing to be had. At that point, my bunkmate tells me that at least 15 other passengers came tumbling out of the bunkrooms and started casting. He also said that the tangles were unbelievable when a hooked fish would snare 5 other fishermen. So, I made the right decision.

About 6am, the Captain comes back on the squawk box and states that the fish were boiling all around the boat. Stiff and sore from the hard bunk, I grabbed my stupid fish stick equipped with 40lb test and proceeded to pin a bait on it and cast out. 3 seconds later, zoom! I was on, and the sun was only thinking about coming up. TheTtuna gathered all around the boat during the night and were hungry. I caught at least 10, but only kept 2 since most were in the 5 to 10 pound range. The Cap wants to look for Wahoo, but this looks like another long boat ride. Poor trolling team, 3 fisherman are now hostages until they get the fish to bite.

Thursday, Day 4


Breakfast: Waffles, scrambled eggs, and bacon (yumJ).

After 2 hours of standing around holding my pole without a bite, it seemed like a good time for a short nap. Later, we trolled around for quite a while before I heard the Captain say that we were coming up on a kelp paddy. As I lay in my bunk drifting off. I hear him say “reel ‘em in, let's move on. Thinking to myself Ah, I didn't miss anything, or did I? Then, how is it that we aren’t moving? After a minute, I jumped out of my bunk and strolled over to find a huge traffic jam on the back deck. The Dorado had charged the boat with everyone either already hooked up or trying to get another bait. I grabbed my trusty 30lb rig and proceeded to catch 10 Dorado before the melee was over.

It was amazing watching streaking yellow and chartreuse fish racing to get your bait before 3 others got there. Once hooked up, they would jump clear out of the water to try to shake the hook. As fast as it started, the biting fish disappeared.
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Lunch was awesome; deep fried fish tacos, like you've never had before, with Avocado salsa and a cold beer. Nap Time!

We have been traveling most of the day, going north to get ahead of projected winds, so 1 more Dorado stop. I didn’t keep any, since they were all pretty small.


One of the Chefs best dinners was absolutely spectacular with Flank steak with a chimichurri sauce, yellow and green squash, and fingerling potatoes. If you go hungry on this trip – it’s your own fault.

The sea has come up a bit so, it might be a little bumpy as we head to North Point San Pablo Island tomorrow. We will try our hand at Yellowtail fishing. Looks like an early night tonight.

Day 4 Thursday

Reaching our destination just before daylight, I got in position and threw my lure like a pro then, wind, wind, wind Nothing! Cast, reel, cast, reel, cast, until my arm was seriously cramping and burning. The wind was blowing but not too bad, however, the current was quite strong. In order to get close to the bottom you had to toss out at the Bow and walk to the Stern, letting out line all the while. Needlessly to say, I hooked the bottom 4 times. “Thanks Fernando, you saved me at least a hundred bucks in jigs pulling them off the bottom for me!”

One guy right next to me just dropped in and was now hooked up to a 20lb yellow. This kind of fishing can be frustrating so, I keep telling myself that it doesn't matter, be patient, try what no one else is using. Then, I tried bait, which was really small, right now; different lures differs retrieve speeds. No Bueno! Four more hours and only seven Yellows come over the rail from down deep; two on jigs with white backing, and a few on a dropper loop.

I'm not the only one looking to scratch that itch. The water wasn't very clean so, the wind probably had been blowing here a while, while we were down south, and scattered the fish (only my opinion), but karma is always in the back of my mind.

Lunch: Sweet and Sour Shrimp, Rice, and Egg Rolls. Around 2:30 the Capt. announced we were headed to another spot close by. For now, while we travel to parts unknown, I debate the choice of watching a movie or nap! After a short 10-minute nap, the Captain back came on the speaker and announced, “were stopping right here!” Well, there goes the nap! Equipped with my favorite ‘flat fall’ I signal to others that I’m throwing hooks, dropped the drag release, and let ’er fly with an instant snap with everyone looking at me! OOPS, didn't see the line wrapped around the reel causing the lure to go into orbit at warp speed with no line attached. Great! Shoving the naked pole back into the rack I grab the next one. Nothing for the 30 of us doing the same thing so it’s time to move on to another spot. Nap time?

After a 2-hr move, I came out of my bunk to be greeted by 20-30 mph winds. The Capt. drove around in circles for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, seeing many birds sitting on the water, even though the seas were 3-4ft wind chop with white-caps, he says “I see a few yellows on the radar so let's give this a try.” I grab my trusty yo-yo rig, dropped it down again, and again and again, no luck. Someone on the stern hooked a fish on a dropper loop (heavy weight on the bottom), nice 20-pounder. Still got nothing to show for the day. Moving back to drift over the same spot, another fisherman hooks up on a dropper loop. Thinking to myself “I’ve gotta get in there! The only way is to follow the crowd and fish the bottom with a 16oz weight on the next move over the same spot.” Once the boat starts moving, I rig up my dropper loop with my giant weight, bait up, and over the side with the new rig. After ten minutes of trying to keep my bait on the bottom, Capt. Andy shouts “hey, I see yellows boiling off the bow!” Crap! - Everyone is now fishing a dropper loop. This is too much like Rock Cod fishing!. Back to the rack goes the cursed rig quickly followed by snagging the heavy flat fall-configured weapon. With that, I heave it over the side and wait for my fish ammo to hit the bottom.
With the sun starting to set, the Chef calls out “first call for dinner.” Once I feel my rig touch the sandy bottom, I start reeling at a medium retrieve speed. Damn, it feels like I have snagged the bottom, as I have already done more than a half a dozen times today. Here I am yanking on what I thought was a piece of Baja and Andrew, one of the Deckhands, said “hey let me see your pole.” He starts pulling hard and hands the pole right back to me “Dude, you’ve got a fish on here!” I hear everyone start laughing as I start battling the decent size fish. The good news was that the bottom was sandy so, I was able to bring in the 24lb yellowtail after a short tug of war. I was so relieved that I was not going to get skunked today (no fish in hand like quite a few on our trip today). Evidentially, everyone fishing on the west coast was struggling, because of the wind. I am hoping that the wind will calm down now.
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Dinner: Center-cut Pork Chops with a bacon, apple chutney, bake potato, corn, and freshly baked bread, like we have had ever night.

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Day 5 Friday

During the boat ride I dropped an anchor in a cove sheltered from the wind. It was so nice not to be jerked around as we run through the choppy seas. I was sleeping so good that my bunk-mate had to wake me up three times, because I was snoring so loud.. I decided to get up and try a little fishing at midnight, feeling bad that I was keeping him awake,

Unfolding a chair, and dropping a bait over the side, I put my ear plugs in and rocked to all kinds of music. I see seals darting all around the boat and star swifts (small birds) that zoomed in and out of the boat’s bright lights by the hundreds. I look over and see my pole bent way over signaling that I have a fish at the end of the line. Turning the handle, I wonder what I will do if I need to gaff a fish, since it seems I sneaked out of the galley with no one noticing. Hell, I'll just grab the shortest gaff and do it myself; no problemo! Over the rail comes this giant toad Calico Bass that must have weighed 10lbs. Picking up the big fish by the lips (like I always do with big bass), I quickly drop the fish over-board. Thinking that was fun, I decided to try the couch in the galley for a few hours of shut-eye before sunup.

As I woke to the day, I was greeted with an overcast sky with a very pleasant breeze. Breakfast: Homemade Corn Beef hash and eggs. Eagerly, we leave the calm waters of the cove in search of those pesky yellowtail. We cruised around for awhile and stopped on a school of fish, but they did not want to bite. We did this several times until we anchored some 100 yards off boilers near the island. We then proceeded to pick away at the yellow tail. First a 20-pounder then, another then, a 30-pounder, then a 32-pounder, then a 35-pounder! All the while I can't seem to get bit on the irons so, I switched to the flat fall. Casting it over the rail I let the lure sink to the bottom and I thought I got bumped so I instinctively set the hook. I was on but it felt different, in that it did not show me any respect by taking line like normal yellowtail, however, it was moving steadily up the rail. The deck-hand came over and I told him what I have must be giant and it was! Andrew, one of our fishing professionals said ”let me see your pole." Taking a wind or two on the reel crank, he said "what you have here is the bottom of the ocean." Evidentially, the anchor had come loose and the fishing boat was moving backwards. Boy, did I feel embarrassed.


Thank God it’s time for Lunch - killer Cheeseburgers, Fries and a cold Beer!

The guys that were able to catch fish were using live bait. However, you have nearly 30 people, all at the stern, at the same time so, I continue changing colors, sizes types of jigs, lures, everything I have to try to get just get one fish, but no good. When I couldn't stand it any longer, I sucked up my pride and pinned a bait on and joined in on the fun. What a Snafu; from the beginning I got cut off, seriously tangled, and at times questioned my vast experience. I caught several Calico Bass, while others were bringing in some quality fish, then a 40-pounder comes over the rail. I say to myself ”be calm, it happens, you'll get one soon then, a bird picks up my bait and we have to drag him in so we can get the hook out of his beak. Finally, I get a bite only to have a seal, which were plentiful, steel my fish and stretch my line. Towards the end of the day, I was finally able to get a bite that was not a Calico and proceeded to get the fish to gaff. I think to myself “I'm right about where I was yesterday with a 24lb yellow.” Taking a deep breath, I close my eyes and thanked everyone. It was getting late and the announcement we were dreading came over the speaker, that we were leaving. I got a bite as soon as the boat fired up its engine. The guy fishing next to me also got bit, so we got to do the doe-see-doh a few times before the two large Jack fish came over the rail. This fish was quite a bit larger and took me around the boat once. A 30-pounder! Now I have 2! So, with my 2 fish I feel pretty dam good since its a 100 percent improvement over yesterday. Dave’s fish was a Jackpot winner at 41.5 pounds. I was so close!
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Baked Chicken Breast, Rice Pilaf, and Broccoli for dinner tonight.

Our last day of fishing is tomorrow and it's got to be better, as we are head North to get back in the Tuna rotation. The seas are pretty rough right now, so I don't think my bunkmate will notice my snoring tonight! Tonight, a nightcap of a shot of booze and Advil, since my shoulders and arms are killing me from casting and retrieving so much iron.



Day 6 Saturday - the last day!

Something’s in life are predictable and many more are not such as catching fish.

Up at 7am and still traveling with heavy overcast sky. Doesn't look like we'll be in the fishing area until mid morning. Breakfast, Eggs over easy, Sausage, Toast, and Coffee. Soon after that, we got the jigs out and began our search for schools of Yellow Fin. It seemed like hours before we ran across a group of small jumping Dolphins. This is a good sign that those slippery Yellowfin are nearby. "Hookup !" A single strike on one of the trolling poles, A small schooly Yellowfin.

I dig out a great bait and proceed to slide out of the melee as everyone packs in around the bait tank. A perfect cast off the stern followed by everyone else. It kills me to observe that, after a week of fishing Tuna, you would think they would understand that you need to slide around the corner and get up the rail, so everyone’s not in serious line tangles. I get it, they are just focused on their poles and not their feet! The bait I just casted out feels so good, it feels like I'm getting bit but it was a short-lived with the Capt. calling out to reel in, since we were going to case the Dolphins. Okay, the boat now has 1 fish on board, better than nothing. Off we go stopping - starting -chasing. Cruising repeatedly for hours, with only a few Tuna on board for our efforts. Sadly, I think I smell a Skunk coming.
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Large BLT's with a cold Beer was followed by a 2-hour nap as we trolled around. Halfway through my snooze, I can hear the Capt. call that we were stopping on a kelp paddy. 2-mins later we were on the move again. So glad I didn't bother getting up this time. Soon after, I was back on the deck to witness another jig strike and 1 fish. This is scratch-fishing at its best! When we take off again I see Bob, an older gentleman who has difficulty walking across the deck. He was leaning against the bait tank for stability, and getting his back-side wet, as the water sloshes around. I ask if he would like a chair, and he thanked me for my kindness. I grabbed a fold out chair that no one was using, and set it up for him. After seven days, not many on the boat really wanted to sit there and watch trolling poles. So, I put out an extra trolling pole and told Bob that if any of the two poles goes off, to just grab the one with the fish on it, and I would wind in the other and stow it away, with the chair out of the way. 20-min later, wouldn’t you know it, all 4 poles went off at the same time! Crap - I didn't think that was going to happen. So, I grabbed the ownerless rig and yelled for my bunkmate who was nowhere to be found. Then I yelled out “who hasn't caught a fish yet” 3 times, and Jim, another older gentleman who really struggled this trip, came out of the commotion and I handed him the pole. Walking away to put the chair away, Tom, one of the veteran RR3 Fishing Professionals, noticed and said to me, "Thanks Brad!" and gave me a high five! Wow, that was totally unexpected and the highlight of the day and, reflecting back it was something I will never forget. This must have been good Karma, as at the last stop of the day I was able to sneak in on the slide, drop in a flat fall, and hook a 5-pounder. No Skunk today! To celebrate our 7-day adventure, Prime Rib and a Tee-Shirt, which I will wear proudly.
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You have to give our Host and Crew ‘kudos’ for a smoothly and professionally run, Bed and Breakfast with bait. It's not easy being up all night getting us to our destination safely and putting us in position to catch fish. Many thanks to Andy and whole Crew of the Red Rooster III for a great fishing adventure. Also, I would like to thank Chuck Barnet for allowing me to join his friends and family.


There are no guarantees in life and fishing, all you can ask for is the opportunity of being there. The rest is a crap shoot!
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Until next time, "keep your hands on the crank, your feet on the deck, and WIND!

B Rad

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Upvote 0
Jul 18, 2016
270
361
OC
Name
RB
Boat
42 ft Bertram
I want to go on a longer trip like that. I know fish in my fridge loses quality after 3-4 days, how do they address that on a 4 - 7 day trip?
Thanks for all the details!
 
Upvote 0

hilltop

lurking in the shallows
Jan 1, 2010
1,596
781
sb 805
Name
hilltop
Boat
sold, pangas, Intrepid, and diggin the RRIII
805 in the house, nice write up and glad you had such a good time! Sounds like you did the right thing time after time, good on you.
 
Upvote 0

Corndog

Landlocked
Sep 22, 2009
4,854
1,611
Northern Colorado
Name
Jason Jones ( Lone Shark)
Boat
Century 1801, Hobie PA14 & SoA
I took 1 nap on my recent 5 day :D

Long haul from the 43 to "the place in mexico" seemed I didn't miss much however I happen to spring out if the bunk when the rpms change by 10 revolutions lol. Guess I'll sleep when I die.

Nice writeup. Thanks for sharing
 
Upvote 0

ScaleyOne

" I never met a fish I didn't like"
Apr 23, 2015
78
51
Tustin
Name
Brent
Boat
Molly D
Fishing with friends can be an adventure, however, most of my friends don't fish - the ocean.

Luckily, I was able to get a spot on the Chuck Barnett’s charter. This year I was going with Chuck’s friends and family from Ojai who have been chartering a trip for over 20 years.

Fishing with friends can be an adventure, however, most of my friends don't fish - the ocean.

Luckily, I was able to get a spot on the Chuck Barnett’s charter. This year I was going with Chuck’s friends and family from Ojai who have been chartering a trip for over 20 years.

My first chance at catching a Wahoo? Maybe – maybe not!
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Boring ride down the 405 at 6am, nothing worth listening to but “Jesus saves”, and KNXT, which gets repeated every 10 min. Then, I stumbled upon “Fish Talk” and listened to their two hrs of “If you want to go fishing - Now is the time" propaganda.

I had to only wait 20 min to get a primo parking spot, once in the parking lot, and totally ignoring the "lot full sign". So far, so good!

Checking in, the agent said that the Captain wanted to leave early - great I was cool with that. They have cones setup for each person and my number was 26. It took nearly an hour standing around in the hot sun before I got loaded - just about last!
Finally on-board I struggled to find a place for my tackle box and found a small gap between everyone's giant boxes - then one of the other passengers complained that he needed more space for his launchers. I brushed the old guy off and told him there was plenty of room while I proceeded to push all the boxes together and wedged my box between his and the one next to it. After storing my gear, and not knowing that were we were headed for a two-day boat ride, I began connecting my reels to the rods.

Someone came on the PA system and asked that whoever left their gear bags in the galley to please come and store them. Thinking to myself, “someone lost their gear already?” Little did I know it was mine!

Needing the fluorocarbon from one of my bags I had previously and carefully stowed below I headed to my berth only to discover that I had been partially evicted from my quarters. Finding one of the crew, I inquired about my arrangements, he told me that they had made a mistake, and that I was assigned another bunkroom. Ok, I am just goanna tell whoever is in my room that I was old and fat and required the bottom bunk. Upon opening the door to my new quarters, I knew right away that was not going to work, since I was nether older or fatter. Oh well, at least I had a plan and it is not as I have never been on the top bunk before. Tom, a retired tech guy in his mid 60’s from Wisconsin was very nice, and is also looking to catch a fish.

During the traditional fishing and safety briefing, the Captain told us that “plans have changed; no longer were we View attachment 869267headed to the island of Guadalupe, we are now headed south to the Ridge.” Interesting, guess that’s where the Wahoo are! I’ve been to Guadalupe Island ten years ago and it’s quite a place to fish. If the Commodore believes that we would be better served by traveling two days then I’m in!

The people on the boat, mostly to come from Ojai, which is a small bedroom community north of Ventura, CA, which in fact gave us lots to talk about on our long journey.

Dinner on the first night consisted of perfectly cooked Ribeye Steak, Asparagus and Rice pilaf. Soon after, it was cocktails and off to bed with very calm seas.

Breakfast greeted us Denver omelets, giant breakfast sausages, with Potatoes O’Brien; and for lunch, Beef Enchiladas, which were also huge and very good! We spent the day napping, and rigging up Wahoo leaders. The Dinner menu for the second night included Lasagna, salad and freshly baked bread. If you walk around hungry - it’s your own fault!

Right after dinner, it was time for a shower. Walking into the restroom I noticed that the picturesque sun was going down over the water – awesome! Looking up again, I thought someone was playing a trick on me because the sun was nowhere to be seen. Seems as though the boat was now going around in circles.

I heard Captain Andy call “throw some bait!” After nearly a day and a half of waiting to fish I decided that my shower can wait. I picked up my now wet tee shirt and put it back on walked outside, grabbed my trusty casting rod with a flat fall jig, and made my way to the bow of the boat. Three casts - nothing. One of the fishermen next to me was doing a slow retrieve and bang he was on and headed to the stern. Getting frustrated, I thought about changing to live bait, but thought otherwise, once I noticed the cluster f--- at the corner and decided against it. Casting out and after letting all the line out, I started to wind at a fairly slow speed, and wham! - something on the other end was trying to pull the fishing pole out of my hands!.

Several minutes of back and forth, I finally landed my first fish of the trip - a 15 lb Yellowtail.
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After a well-deserved shower and cocktails, it was off to bed; we will be fishing on the Ridge early tomorrow.

Day Two

Daybreak started with the cook on the intercom crackling “first call for breakfast.”
Jumping out of my bunk, I dragged myself up to the galley and proceeded to get coffee, eggs over easy with big fat link sausages.

The boat was still traveling to the zone. About 9am we finally caught up to the other boats that were already there. We trolled around for a while, until we spotted fish jumping out of the water! It was quite a sight to see, I then noticed why…the reason? A couple of whales were furiously feeding on the fish! Almost immediately, someone behind me yelled “HOOKUP!” Ahhh, it’s now time to fish. It was not long, once I pulled out my Flat Fall lure on my 25lb rig, and before you knowit I got a bite! Yanking on the torpedo like it was giant, I pulled the Tuna to a quick gaff, a small 10-pounder, but by now I’m very happy that I now have a fish on-board!
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Then came the typical feast or famine type of tuna fishing. The Captain decided to move every five minutes chasing Dolphins, and it would only be a minute or two before the trollers were hooked up again, and a steady pick of a few biting fish. I would get one fish then, only to get cut off while in a tangle to another fisherman, and then, get sawed off and the line breaks, hooks coming un-done, etc. At the end of the day, I managed to put 9 on board, which marked a good score but a frustrating day.

One of the fish was a challenge. My 20-year-old Accurized Penn 500 lost its gears and the drag refused to function. Even more, the 20lb class fish was taking line by spinning the reel handle backward whenever the fish wanted to take some line. After some funky fishing, I finally got the fish up to gaff and proceeded to remove the reel, so I do not make that mistake again!

Viddles? Chicken Caesar salad and a killer dinner of ribs and fresh corn.

Tomorrow, the 29th, the spot for more tuna fishing. Still no pesky Wahoo to be found!

Wednesday, Day 3

Several hours plugging throughout the night, we found where ever we were headed and dropped the anchor. Waking up @ 2am I got one of those tear streaming cramps in my thigh. Barely able to walk, I somehow made it up to the galley to get some water and walk of the cramp. I notice a few were fishing a dropper loop and had a few 20lb class Yellowtail in the box. “Awesome” I thought, and somewhat able to walk better now, I headed back to my bunk only to have my roommate bust In and proclaim that the Yellowtail were in full-on bite mode. I was not so enthused, since this was a 7- day trip and I already had 1Ttail on board. I should have been since the famed Jack fish were going to be finicky and not hit the iron, as they have in the past. I thanked him and decided to keep on snoozing. Ten minutes later, the Cap comes on the speaker and let's everyone know about the good fishing to be had. At that point, my bunkmate tells me that at least 15 other passengers came tumbling out of the bunkrooms and started casting. He also said that the tangles were unbelievable when a hooked fish would snare 5 other fishermen. So, I made the right decision.

About 6am, the Captain comes back on the squawk box and states that the fish were boiling all around the boat. Stiff and sore from the hard bunk, I grabbed my stupid fish stick equipped with 40lb test and proceeded to pin a bait on it and cast out. 3 seconds later, zoom! I was on, and the sun was only thinking about coming up. TheTtuna gathered all around the boat during the night and were hungry. I caught at least 10, but only kept 2 since most were in the 5 to 10 pound range. The Cap wants to look for Wahoo, but this looks like another long boat ride. Poor trolling team, 3 fisherman are now hostages until they get the fish to bite.

Thursday, Day 4


Breakfast: Waffles, scrambled eggs, and bacon (yumJ).

After 2 hours of standing around holding my pole without a bite, it seemed like a good time for a short nap. Later, we trolled around for quite a while before I heard the Captain say that we were coming up on a kelp paddy. As I lay in my bunk drifting off. I hear him say “reel ‘em in, let's move on. Thinking to myself Ah, I didn't miss anything, or did I? Then, how is it that we aren’t moving? After a minute, I jumped out of my bunk and strolled over to find a huge traffic jam on the back deck. The Dorado had charged the boat with everyone either already hooked up or trying to get another bait. I grabbed my trusty 30lb rig and proceeded to catch 10 Dorado before the melee was over.

It was amazing watching streaking yellow and chartreuse fish racing to get your bait before 3 others got there. Once hooked up, they would jump clear out of the water to try to shake the hook. As fast as it started, the biting fish disappeared.
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Lunch was awesome; deep fried fish tacos, like you've never had before, with Avocado salsa and a cold beer. Nap Time!

We have been traveling most of the day, going north to get ahead of projected winds, so 1 more Dorado stop. I didn’t keep any, since they were all pretty small.


One of the Chefs best dinners was absolutely spectacular with Flank steak with a chimichurri sauce, yellow and green squash, and fingerling potatoes. If you go hungry on this trip – it’s your own fault.

The sea has come up a bit so, it might be a little bumpy as we head to North Point San Pablo Island tomorrow. We will try our hand at Yellowtail fishing. Looks like an early night tonight.

Day 4 Thursday

Reaching our destination just before daylight, I got in position and threw my lure like a pro then, wind, wind, wind Nothing! Cast, reel, cast, reel, cast, until my arm was seriously cramping and burning. The wind was blowing but not too bad, however, the current was quite strong. In order to get close to the bottom you had to toss out at the Bow and walk to the Stern, letting out line all the while. Needlessly to say, I hooked the bottom 4 times. “Thanks Fernando, you saved me at least a hundred bucks in jigs pulling them off the bottom for me!”

One guy right next to me just dropped in and was now hooked up to a 20lb yellow. This kind of fishing can be frustrating so, I keep telling myself that it doesn't matter, be patient, try what no one else is using. Then, I tried bait, which was really small, right now; different lures differs retrieve speeds. No Bueno! Four more hours and only seven Yellows come over the rail from down deep; two on jigs with white backing, and a few on a dropper loop.

I'm not the only one looking to scratch that itch. The water wasn't very clean so, the wind probably had been blowing here a while, while we were down south, and scattered the fish (only my opinion), but karma is always in the back of my mind.

Lunch: Sweet and Sour Shrimp, Rice, and Egg Rolls. Around 2:30 the Capt. announced we were headed to another spot close by. For now, while we travel to parts unknown, I debate the choice of watching a movie or nap! After a short 10-minute nap, the Captain back came on the speaker and announced, “were stopping right here!” Well, there goes the nap! Equipped with my favorite ‘flat fall’ I signal to others that I’m throwing hooks, dropped the drag release, and let ’er fly with an instant snap with everyone looking at me! OOPS, didn't see the line wrapped around the reel causing the lure to go into orbit at warp speed with no line attached. Great! Shoving the naked pole back into the rack I grab the next one. Nothing for the 30 of us doing the same thing so it’s time to move on to another spot. Nap time?

After a 2-hr move, I came out of my bunk to be greeted by 20-30 mph winds. The Capt. drove around in circles for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, seeing many birds sitting on the water, even though the seas were 3-4ft wind chop with white-caps, he says “I see a few yellows on the radar so let's give this a try.” I grab my trusty yo-yo rig, dropped it down again, and again and again, no luck. Someone on the stern hooked a fish on a dropper loop (heavy weight on the bottom), nice 20-pounder. Still got nothing to show for the day. Moving back to drift over the same spot, another fisherman hooks up on a dropper loop. Thinking to myself “I’ve gotta get in there! The only way is to follow the crowd and fish the bottom with a 16oz weight on the next move over the same spot.” Once the boat starts moving, I rig up my dropper loop with my giant weight, bait up, and over the side with the new rig. After ten minutes of trying to keep my bait on the bottom, Capt. Andy shouts “hey, I see yellows boiling off the bow!” Crap! - Everyone is now fishing a dropper loop. This is too much like Rock Cod fishing!. Back to the rack goes the cursed rig quickly followed by snagging the heavy flat fall-configured weapon. With that, I heave it over the side and wait for my fish ammo to hit the bottom.
With the sun starting to set, the Chef calls out “first call for dinner.” Once I feel my rig touch the sandy bottom, I start reeling at a medium retrieve speed. Damn, it feels like I have snagged the bottom, as I have already done more than a half a dozen times today. Here I am yanking on what I thought was a piece of Baja and Andrew, one of the Deckhands, said “hey let me see your pole.” He starts pulling hard and hands the pole right back to me “Dude, you’ve got a fish on here!” I hear everyone start laughing as I start battling the decent size fish. The good news was that the bottom was sandy so, I was able to bring in the 24lb yellowtail after a short tug of war. I was so relieved that I was not going to get skunked today (no fish in hand like quite a few on our trip today). Evidentially, everyone fishing on the west coast was struggling, because of the wind. I am hoping that the wind will calm down now.
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Dinner: Center-cut Pork Chops with a bacon, apple chutney, bake potato, corn, and freshly baked bread, like we have had ever night.

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Day 5 Friday

During the boat ride I dropped an anchor in a cove sheltered from the wind. It was so nice not to be jerked around as we run through the choppy seas. I was sleeping so good that my bunk-mate had to wake me up three times, because I was snoring so loud.. I decided to get up and try a little fishing at midnight, feeling bad that I was keeping him awake,

Unfolding a chair, and dropping a bait over the side, I put my ear plugs in and rocked to all kinds of music. I see seals darting all around the boat and star swifts (small birds) that zoomed in and out of the boat’s bright lights by the hundreds. I look over and see my pole bent way over signaling that I have a fish at the end of the line. Turning the handle, I wonder what I will do if I need to gaff a fish, since it seems I sneaked out of the galley with no one noticing. Hell, I'll just grab the shortest gaff and do it myself; no problemo! Over the rail comes this giant toad Calico Bass that must have weighed 10lbs. Picking up the big fish by the lips (like I always do with big bass), I quickly drop the fish over-board. Thinking that was fun, I decided to try the couch in the galley for a few hours of shut-eye before sunup.

As I woke to the day, I was greeted with an overcast sky with a very pleasant breeze. Breakfast: Homemade Corn Beef hash and eggs. Eagerly, we leave the calm waters of the cove in search of those pesky yellowtail. We cruised around for awhile and stopped on a school of fish, but they did not want to bite. We did this several times until we anchored some 100 yards off boilers near the island. We then proceeded to pick away at the yellow tail. First a 20-pounder then, another then, a 30-pounder, then a 32-pounder, then a 35-pounder! All the while I can't seem to get bit on the irons so, I switched to the flat fall. Casting it over the rail I let the lure sink to the bottom and I thought I got bumped so I instinctively set the hook. I was on but it felt different, in that it did not show me any respect by taking line like normal yellowtail, however, it was moving steadily up the rail. The deck-hand came over and I told him what I have must be giant and it was! Andrew, one of our fishing professionals said ”let me see your pole." Taking a wind or two on the reel crank, he said "what you have here is the bottom of the ocean." Evidentially, the anchor had come loose and the fishing boat was moving backwards. Boy, did I feel embarrassed.


Thank God it’s time for Lunch - killer Cheeseburgers, Fries and a cold Beer!

The guys that were able to catch fish were using live bait. However, you have nearly 30 people, all at the stern, at the same time so, I continue changing colors, sizes types of jigs, lures, everything I have to try to get just get one fish, but no good. When I couldn't stand it any longer, I sucked up my pride and pinned a bait on and joined in on the fun. What a Snafu; from the beginning I got cut off, seriously tangled, and at times questioned my vast experience. I caught several Calico Bass, while others were bringing in some quality fish, then a 40-pounder comes over the rail. I say to myself ”be calm, it happens, you'll get one soon then, a bird picks up my bait and we have to drag him in so we can get the hook out of his beak. Finally, I get a bite only to have a seal, which were plentiful, steel my fish and stretch my line. Towards the end of the day, I was finally able to get a bite that was not a Calico and proceeded to get the fish to gaff. I think to myself “I'm right about where I was yesterday with a 24lb yellow.” Taking a deep breath, I close my eyes and thanked everyone. It was getting late and the announcement we were dreading came over the speaker, that we were leaving. I got a bite as soon as the boat fired up its engine. The guy fishing next to me also got bit, so we got to do the doe-see-doh a few times before the two large Jack fish came over the rail. This fish was quite a bit larger and took me around the boat once. A 30-pounder! Now I have 2! So, with my 2 fish I feel pretty dam good since its a 100 percent improvement over yesterday. Dave’s fish was a Jackpot winner at 41.5 pounds. I was so close!
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Baked Chicken Breast, Rice Pilaf, and Broccoli for dinner tonight.

Our last day of fishing is tomorrow and it's got to be better, as we are head North to get back in the Tuna rotation. The seas are pretty rough right now, so I don't think my bunkmate will notice my snoring tonight! Tonight, a nightcap of a shot of booze and Advil, since my shoulders and arms are killing me from casting and retrieving so much iron.



Day 6 Saturday - the last day!

Something’s in life are predictable and many more are not such as catching fish.

Up at 7am and still traveling with heavy overcast sky. Doesn't look like we'll be in the fishing area until mid morning. Breakfast, Eggs over easy, Sausage, Toast, and Coffee. Soon after that, we got the jigs out and began our search for schools of Yellow Fin. It seemed like hours before we ran across a group of small jumping Dolphins. This is a good sign that those slippery Yellowfin are nearby. "Hookup !" A single strike on one of the trolling poles, A small schooly Yellowfin.

I dig out a great bait and proceed to slide out of the melee as everyone packs in around the bait tank. A perfect cast off the stern followed by everyone else. It kills me to observe that, after a week of fishing Tuna, you would think they would understand that you need to slide around the corner and get up the rail, so everyone’s not in serious line tangles. I get it, they are just focused on their poles and not their feet! The bait I just casted out feels so good, it feels like I'm getting bit but it was a short-lived with the Capt. calling out to reel in, since we were going to case the Dolphins. Okay, the boat now has 1 fish on board, better than nothing. Off we go stopping - starting -chasing. Cruising repeatedly for hours, with only a few Tuna on board for our efforts. Sadly, I think I smell a Skunk coming.
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Large BLT's with a cold Beer was followed by a 2-hour nap as we trolled around. Halfway through my snooze, I can hear the Capt. call that we were stopping on a kelp paddy. 2-mins later we were on the move again. So glad I didn't bother getting up this time. Soon after, I was back on the deck to witness another jig strike and 1 fish. This is scratch-fishing at its best! When we take off again I see Bob, an older gentleman who has difficulty walking across the deck. He was leaning against the bait tank for stability, and getting his back-side wet, as the water sloshes around. I ask if he would like a chair, and he thanked me for my kindness. I grabbed a fold out chair that no one was using, and set it up for him. After seven days, not many on the boat really wanted to sit there and watch trolling poles. So, I put out an extra trolling pole and told Bob that if any of the two poles goes off, to just grab the one with the fish on it, and I would wind in the other and stow it away, with the chair out of the way. 20-min later, wouldn’t you know it, all 4 poles went off at the same time! Crap - I didn't think that was going to happen. So, I grabbed the ownerless rig and yelled for my bunkmate who was nowhere to be found. Then I yelled out “who hasn't caught a fish yet” 3 times, and Jim, another older gentleman who really struggled this trip, came out of the commotion and I handed him the pole. Walking away to put the chair away, Tom, one of the veteran RR3 Fishing Professionals, noticed and said to me, "Thanks Brad!" and gave me a high five! Wow, that was totally unexpected and the highlight of the day and, reflecting back it was something I will never forget. This must have been good Karma, as at the last stop of the day I was able to sneak in on the slide, drop in a flat fall, and hook a 5-pounder. No Skunk today! To celebrate our 7-day adventure, Prime Rib and a Tee-Shirt, which I will wear proudly.
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You have to give our Host and Crew ‘kudos’ for a smoothly and professionally run, Bed and Breakfast with bait. It's not easy being up all night getting us to our destination safely and putting us in position to catch fish. Many thanks to Andy and whole Crew of the Red Rooster III for a great fishing adventure. Also, I would like to thank Chuck Barnet for allowing me to join his friends and family.


There are no guarantees in life and fishing, all you can ask for is the opportunity of being there. The rest is a crap shoot!
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Until next time, "keep your hands on the crank, your feet on the deck, and WIND!

B Rad

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Anyone else hungry now? I'm starved for some reason.
Great job and looks like a lot of fun.
 
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TEAMFISH

JUST ADD WATER
Aug 17, 2006
1,865
1,023
55
TORRANCE
Name
DAVE
Boat
SOLD IT
Thanks for the report. Like Scalyone said "I'm starved for some reason"
My last 8 day I actually skipped a breakfast and a dinner..
 
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TEAMFISH

JUST ADD WATER
Aug 17, 2006
1,865
1,023
55
TORRANCE
Name
DAVE
Boat
SOLD IT
I want to go on a longer trip like that. I know fish in my fridge loses quality after 3-4 days, how do they address that on a 4 - 7 day trip?
Thanks for all the details!
have your catch processed by 5 Star or someone. I went home with 368 #'S of processed fish. Lasted a year and was all quality.
 
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scubaarchery

ScubaArchery
Dec 5, 2010
164
86
McKinney, TX
Name
Eric Dulin
Great adventure thanks for sharing. The most we do in Texas are 56 hour trips so I plan to make it out there one day for a long range trip.
 
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Retired1

Fishing n Music
Jun 3, 2017
75
62
67
Las Vegas
Name
Christopher
Boat
Jailbait sold
nice write up and funny love it. I'll be on a 10 trip in 3 weeks hopefully it's not a boat ride and also a safe one.
 
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pukahd

I’m getting nibbles
Oct 30, 2004
910
865
Torrance
Name
Brian
Boat
Cabo 216
Awesome write up. My kids were trying to talk to me and wanting to go home from the pool. I couldnt stop reading your write up just as I was reading day 5.......
 
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UnBelievable

F.V. UNBELIEVABLE
Jul 19, 2013
340
435
Mission Bay San Diego Ca. USA
Name
Norm Campbell
Boat
UnBelievable
Great write up. Take this hint for your cramps on multi day trips. You and your muscles are doing more than usual. Remember you paid for this pain!! ALLWAYS bring extra potassium with you and the craps will stop. Especially the ones where your muscles are trying to pull off your bones.
 
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