8/4 – A Couple of Dodos and a Small Yellowfin - 302/371

SaltH20Angler

I'm not superstitious... cuz it's bad luck.
Aug 6, 2016
1,125
1,477
SoCal - Corona
Name
Christopher
Boat
I know a couple guys...
Short Version: Found a small paddy @ the 302 loaded with Dorado and couldn’t get them to go on the flylined mack/dine, small hook buried in chunk, colt snipers, small lazer minnows, surface iron, or on the popper. Decided to leave and troll to the next spot. As we troll past the paddy, we get a strike on the black/purple cedar plug and a small dodo hits the deck. Moved on to the 371, found a paddy and pulled in a little bigger dodo on a flylined dine (light line). Trolled the 371 and got a small Yellowfin on the same black/purple cedar plug.

Long, Long, Long, Version: After @Benny Mora and I decided we would fish San Diego on Saturday 08/04/18, we started contacting our go-to guys to see who was available. We weren’t sure what the plan was going to be because the reports were not looking too good that week. There weren’t many reports showing that the kite was working on the larger model tuna, and the dope we had indicated that searching for Yellowtail and Dorado on paddies was the best bet. Even so, the reports said that even if you could find paddies holding, there was a very good chance that the fish would have lockjaw. In fact, the real winners that week seemed to be those who found paddies holding and had the gear aboard to force feed the fish. By Thursday it was apparent that our go-to guys were unavailable, so I went to the SoCal Offshore Trip Planning forum here on BD and typed up an ad to see if we could find a 3rd guy as Benny’s 20’ cc Triton fits 3 guys comfortably. Within 10 minutes of posting, @Hismosa responded and we had our 3rd guy locked in.

Although we have read many of Hismosa’s reports, posts, and comments on BD forums, Benny and I had never fished with him. Hismosa had a bit of a drive to meet in Corona and he showed up early and ready to fish. We met at 2am in Corona as planned, loaded the boat, and in no time started the 1:45 hour drive to SD (Dana landing, Mission Bay). On the way to SD, we all discussed the conditions, reports of the week, and tried to create a plan that would give us the best shot at having a successful day. The bottom line was that there didn’t seem to be a hot bite anywhere within our reach. Eventually, we agreed that we would head offshore look for paddies and see if we could get the Dodos to go. If it was dead out there, we planned on hitting the coast (La Jolla, Point Loma) by mid-afternoon to see if we could put YT on ice. We knew that the 302/371 had a better percentage of paddies holding, and decided to head that direction. As a plus, we planned to keep a close eye out as we motored through the 9 to see if we could find any action there.

We get to the dock and just as the weather predicted, the wind was calm. This gave me a bit of excitement because the last 3 or 4 times out, the wind was already blowing enough to make it hard to spot paddies and surface action. Knowing that finding paddies was our whole game plan, it was nice to see that the wind was willing to cooperate. Got to the bait barge (no line) and picked up a half scoop of small 3-5 inch lively dines. We normally get a handful of macks with the dines, but this time we didn’t see any. Everything was working like a well-oiled machine and because of that, we had an extra 30 minutes to make some macks at Hismosa’s suggestion. After spending 20 mins or so trying to make macks at the bait barge, we only secured 2 macks with a smelt as a bonus (at least I think it was a smelt). Off to the mouth of the harbor to make a few more, but after 10 or 15 minutes grey light poked out from behind the thin marine layer, so we decided to get on the way.

I can’t tell you how much we appreciated the warm air and the calm seas as the throttle was pushed forward. We were able to get to a really comfortable 20+ knots and were at the 9 in no time. It really pays to get out early when the plan is to paddy hop that way you can be the first to find them and have time to fish them without a lot of pressure from other boats (hopefully). We found a big paddy at the 9 and drifted on it twice, but didn’t mark anything and didn’t get any bites on the flyline, colt snipers, or mint surface iron. The water temp was at 76 degrees at this first stop. We diligently plucked the lethargic dines out of the bait tank and chunked them at every stop all day long including this first stop at the 9. We had a skiff come up close but those guys ended up moving on to find their own paddy. I think we found another paddy or 2 and both with the same results so we thought it would be best to get out to the 302 where we believed the holding potential had better odds.

Once again, we were able to cover some serious ground with the low wind and small seas (swell was about 2 feet @ about 13 seconds) at that time. As we approach the 302, water temp drops to about 73-74 degrees and we find a small trashcan lid size paddy. As we approach it, I see the surface of the water breaking, or at least I thought I did. The type of action that you catch from the corner of your eye and you don’t know if you really saw something or not. We find the way the drift was moving and set up about 100 yards from the paddy. Suddenly, we see a school of about 12 Dodos breeze right under the stern of the boat and the 3 of us are pumped up, excited, and whooping with joy. The Dodos looked to be about 8-10 lbs with a couple larger bulls leading the pack at about 15-18lbs or so. What a beautiful sight to see those blue, yellow, and green colors 5 feet below the boat.

We start chunking dines in the same manner a big-baller would with dollar bills at the strip club. We flylined some dines and while they were soaking, Benny and Hismosa threw the colt snipers while I threw what I thought was going to be my secret weapon, a small (2.5 inch) black and white P-Line Lazer Minnow that got no action whatsoever. After a bunch of casts with the lazer minnow, I switched to the mint surface iron and still no bites. I believe Benny and Hismosa switched colors on the colt snipers with the same results. We then decided to throw on a mack, and slow trolled it around the paddy. We had a short bite on the mack which made sense because they were not huge Dorado. I even dropped down to light line, put the smallest hook I had (smaller than a size 1), and buried it in the chunk to the point you couldn’t even see the hook. I just knew I was going to trick one of these suckers to bite, but I was wrong.

I should mention that the longer we stayed there, the more the Dorado were constantly boiling and jumping clear out of the water (4 feet sometimes). We would see what I thought were the Dodos responding to chunk but they only responded like that 50 or so yards from the boat, so I could be wrong. A couple of times, we saw the school swim right under the boat and that’s when I saw that the school was much bigger than 12 fish, more like 20. The water was a warm dark blue and every time I looked into it, I commented how beautiful it looked. We spent about an hour on this spot before facing the reality that the Dodo were there, but not interested in our bait. Boy, is it hard to leave a paddy when you see fish like this, but the argument can be made that after a certain point, we are just wasting time. Right about that moment, we get bit on a rod with 15 lb test and a small J hook, but miss the hookset. Dang, this now gives us hope so we stay on this paddy for another hour before accepting the reality that these fish have lock jaw.

We spent 2 hours or so on the paddy before a parker rolls up and joins the party. They come in pretty close to the paddy but no biggie as they are drifting one side, and we are drifting the other. We have learned that the Dodo don’t usually stay on the paddy, so we were content with the 50 yards of space we had from the paddy. Due to the slow bite and the other boat pressuring the small paddy, we decided it was best to get on to the 371. We decided to troll from the 302 towards the 371 and drifted off the paddy while tying up the trollers. After they were all set up with a Nomad Deep Diver on one rod and a purple/black cedar plug on the other, we trolled right past the paddy on the way to the 371. Right as we pass the paddy…ZZZZZzzzzzzzz goes the troller and we pull in a smaller Dodo right in front of the other boat. We decided to make a few more passes with the troll and so did the other boat, but instead of staying on the same sides we were initially drifting, the Parker trolled perpendicular making us both have to avoid running over each other’s troll lines. Not the best etiquette, but not the worst also. We didn’t get on the radio to let them have it or make a big deal. We joked about how we have poached paddies in the past and how its ok for us to do it every so often, but we get fired up when someone joins our paddy.

After a few passes, we move on to the 371. The wind was still down (but a tiny bit more than when we left). We didn’t find many paddies at that point, so Hismosa reviewed the points marking kelp paddies from his subscription on Fish Dope. We plug the numbers in and head towards the paddies. As we approach the zone, we see a huge paddy (4 car garage size) and there is a diver under it. We attempt to hail the 2 boats drifting it with no response, so we slide on in really slow and kept our distance. Like the paddy on the 302, we saw jumping Dorado and felt like this was another shot to put one on ice. We did two passes, and decided that it was best to move on as we always want to be careful when there is a diver out. Plus, a fourth boat came in (the same Parker from the earlier paddy), and came a little too close for our comfort. Off we went to another kelp paddy location provided by Fish Dope.

It was nice to be able to locate the general vicinity of a paddy, but the down side is that there will usually be some company on the paddy as we are not the only one with Fish Dope. As we approach this paddy, a larger boat is leaving which doesn’t give me a ton of optimism (why else would a boat leave), but by the larger boat leaving, a nice side of the paddy opened up. We start chunking, and tossing out live sardines for chum and keep our distance off the paddy. I go to my light line rod, an old fiberglass Sabre Light with a Lexa 300 (15 lb test, and a #1 ringed hook) and flyline a lively sardine. I put my rod in the holder to clean up the last of the blood from the earlier Dodo. Hismosa and Benny are flylining and throwing the colt sniper. I look up and see the tip of my light rod getting jittery like my dine is scared, so I take it out of the rod holder. Booyah!! I’m bit so I set the hook and giggle like a school girl when the decent size Dodo is jumping out of the water and causing a lot of surface commotion. The other boats were literally throwing jigs within 25 feet of where my fish was breaching to try to get on the action. We get it to gaff and high fives as we bleed it, and poke it with a spike, then pack in ice. This was the first Dodo, I personally caught and it was so awesome on that light set up. The Lexa 300 is a small reel but it manhandled the Dodo like it was a short Calico. It performed wonderfully.

After drifting off quite a way, we reset about a hundred yards on the wind side of the paddy and start a new drift. Chumming and chunking like crazy again, we repeat what we did before. As we are drifting a boat rolls up and comes right up on the paddy. We were soaking the dines about 75 yards out and these guys ran over us and sucked up 50 lb braid in their prop. We hollered to them two times telling them to turn off their prop while clearly trying to break the braid off the rod that was super bendo and pointed directly at them, but they just looked at us. We stayed drifting with them and about 30 minutes later see that one of the guys notices what happened. He was pissed that we didn’t hail him on the radio, but we responded that he was so close to us that we didn’t need a radio to tell him to turn off his prop. We knew it wasn’t our fault as they ran up on our lines but were thankful to see that these guys had enough knowledge and tools to hop in the warm water, remove the prop, and pull the line out. Nevertheless, I still felt bad about what happened and wished I would have been more upfront and a better communicator (on the radio) about what was happening when it was happening.

I left this fiasco in the report because I wanted to share the lesson we learned, but also give a good example of why you don’t want to rush in on a paddy when there are other guys drifting. It’s important to know that the fish are not normally directly under the paddy. There is no need to drive up anywhere close and certainly not within 25 feet of the paddy. It’s 100% fine to throw jigs to each side of the paddy (or short of the paddy), but not directly at the paddy. If you throw too far, you risk snagging the paddy and disrupting the environment to cause the fish to shy away or stop chewing. We have caught plenty of fish 100 yards or more off the paddy.

We eventually leave this spot and now the wind is up to maybe 10 MPH with white caps, so we decided that we would troll the 371 towards the 302 and swing by the first paddy before heading back via the 9. We put out the black/purple cedar plug and the natural color plug on the other rod. 10 minutes into the troll and ZZZZZZzzzzzzz, the purple/black plug is bit. We bring it in expecting another Dodo and damn if it aint a small Yellowfin. Perfect gaff shot to the head, and now I am happy because we are eating sushi. Bled the fish, then poked it in the brain, before packing on ice. Out go the trollers again and within 10 minutes, the natural cedar plug is bit. This time we have more of the right size and the heavy rod was showing the weight in the bend. The yellowfin is brought to the boat within 2 or 3 minutes and comes to color. Wooo Hoooo, this one’s closer to 30 pounds and we knew it was going to go for a 2nd or possibly a 3rd run. Right when it’s going for the first run, the hook pulls…Damn!

We mark that spot, and troll through that spot for a couple of good passes before heading back to the 302. We get to where we left the small paddy and it’s nowhere to be found, so we head back to the 9. On the way, we found another small paddy, so we decide to flyline the last mack and a small dine. I get hit on the dine and bring in a small Blue Shark. The mackerel was also bit in half when we brought it in. I was going to get a pic with the small blue shark, but the hook came out and he fell into the water before I could get him up. That was probably the best outcome as you are taking a risk anytime handling a toothy critter. As we are going through the 9, we see some ponies working and troll the plugs ahead of them for nothing. We chased some birds a couple of times then agreed that we should get to Point Loma to see what else we could catch.

We get to Point Loma and set up in about 80 feet of water. I throw the shiny chrome iron and catch a decent size barracuda (released). Hismosa catches a small red, and we then catch a keeper size Calico (released), and a horse mackerel that I flyline in hopes of a big ass YT inhaling him, but that was just too hopeful… LOL. After several drifts and having a little fun on the inshore action, we accept that it’s time to go. We clean and fillet the Dodos and Tuna before hitting the dock at about 8pm. We get back to Corona at 10pm, wash the boat and take our split of the meat before heading home. Hismosa worked the hardest to clean the boat after the long day and that did not go unnoticed. All in all, it was a great day on the water and certainly better than our last few trips. The next day, Benny came over and we made Poke’ bowls and had seared yellowfin and a couple of sushi type concoctions. It was a hot day in Corona but the pool, cold beers, and fresh tuna made is a perfect day and a wonderful closure to this fishing trip.

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SaltH20Angler

I'm not superstitious... cuz it's bad luck.
Aug 6, 2016
1,125
1,477
SoCal - Corona
Name
Christopher
Boat
I know a couple guys...
Good times, thanks for the invite! Next time I'm leaving my fish with you and just coming over for dinner. Shit looks good
Thanks Man, You are certainly invited bro. I made a few different styles of sushi rolls too, but they were gone so quick, I didnt get a photo.
 
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SaltH20Angler

I'm not superstitious... cuz it's bad luck.
Aug 6, 2016
1,125
1,477
SoCal - Corona
Name
Christopher
Boat
I know a couple guys...
Awesome! When is the next BBQ / sashimi dinner? Looks deeeeeeeeeeelicious!
Thanks Mike! You guys are always on the VIP list for a bbq at my pad.

We just need to get out with you and your son so we have a bunch of fish to cook (or not cook) and eat. You guys have Catalina nailed down for sure.
 
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Benny Mora

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Nov 1, 2016
143
41
31
Socal
Name
Benny mora
Boat
Triton 195cc
Good times, thanks for the invite! Next time I'm leaving my fish with you and just coming over for dinner. Shit looks good
I told you Glenn that Chris is a sushi/poke master I couldn’t pass up on the invite.
 

Big Skin

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Oct 29, 2006
303
36
La Mesa
www.fishsniffer.com
Name
Rick
Boat
Grady White Tournament 24 "Get Bent"
Man I need your sashimi / sushi recipe! Nice!
 
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SaltH20Angler

I'm not superstitious... cuz it's bad luck.
Aug 6, 2016
1,125
1,477
SoCal - Corona
Name
Christopher
Boat
I know a couple guys...
Man I need your sashimi / sushi recipe! Nice!
No secrets there man, I'll give you all the detail you want. PM me next time you you're ready to do it and I'll give you the dope.

The good thing about learning to make sushi rolls is that it tastes good no matter how bad the rolls turn out. The first few times I made it, I had to eat the rolls with a spoon because they fell apart. It was still delicious.
 
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Cbaldwin

A whales vagina
Jul 14, 2016
195
703
La Mesa
Name
Connor Baldwin
Boat
yes
Great write up and report. Way to keep your cool. I believe in paddy manners and others seem to have no clue or common sense. Those donkeys that got your braid in their prop hopefully learned a lesson, look at the other boat drifting and their lines radio call in or shout if so close together and go to other side of paddy when you have drift figured out, but i doubt it. Yeah i always catch my yft and dodos off the paddy and my yellows near the paddy. No need to dry hump the paddy that will give you a sea lice std hah. Great job guys pics look awesome
 
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Reel hip

Meet my "Well known Member"
Feb 19, 2008
4,927
1,576
60
San Diego
Name
Doug
Boat
25ft Skipjack fly
I think I may have heard you on the radio if you had called out hit on the troll of a black and purple cedar plug.
We were south ...Wayyy south of you guys. That meal looks great. :drool:
Thanks for the report
 
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SaltH20Angler

I'm not superstitious... cuz it's bad luck.
Aug 6, 2016
1,125
1,477
SoCal - Corona
Name
Christopher
Boat
I know a couple guys...
Nice dodos. And the sushi ain't to shabby neither!! Try making ceviche next time. Goes good with beer !!
I love cevechi, you would make it with the Dorado, right? I dont think I could make it from the fresh tuna in good conscious cuz I LOOOOVE sushi.
 

SaltH20Angler

I'm not superstitious... cuz it's bad luck.
Aug 6, 2016
1,125
1,477
SoCal - Corona
Name
Christopher
Boat
I know a couple guys...
Amazeballs. Great report! I need to learn how to prepare the fish just liking your pictures.
You supply the fresh tuna or YT and I'll show you how to make it and where to get the ingredients. Well...I guess that offer depends on where exactly in California you are located.
 
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