Offshore 9/2 - 9/4 Searcher - SCI to 30 Miles SW of S. Coronado

Tautog_17

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Jul 23, 2012
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Matt
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This report covers a 3 day trip on the Searcher. The boat left on Friday 9/2 at 10 AM with a load of about 27 people and was pre-loaded with sardines so we headed straight out. We fished an area near SCI Friday for BFT/YFT on Friday, then again around SCI on Saturday for dorado and BFT/YFT. We made a move Saturday night and ended up at an area about 30 miles SW of S. Coronado Island with very nice nearly all-day long action on BFT and YFT.

*** Friday Afternoon / Evening ***
We fished the first day getting to a spot near SCI at around 5:30 PM. The bite was slow but the weather was perfect. Hardly a wind. Fish started coming on board that evening on jigs, generally in the 35 – 45 lb class, but some larger BFT of 50 – 65 lbs. Knife jigs were the jig of choice. I started off with a SK jig and landed at 46 lb. YFT on the retrieve about 100 feet below the stern at around 9 PM. Knife jigs were producing and most people were using them. One fish > 100 lbs. was landed by a guy who was good with the jig and getting bit often. But, most were in the 50's on the larger size. The bite slowed and we made some moves. A mix of BFT and YFT were caught, mostly BFT. Bait wasn’t very effective in the late afternoon or evening on the first day, even though there some boils on chum bait.

*** Saturday ***
Fishing started for most people at around 2 AM and we still in the general SCI area. The BFT/YFT were cooperative and knife jibs and some flat falls landed BFT and YFT mainly in the 35 – 55 lb. class. The conditions were perfect. Hardly any wind, calm seas, warm temperatures. Having proved I could catch a fish on an SK jig, I switched the jig on my 100 lb. outfit to an 18 oz. Norwegian jig – typically meant for cod fishing. I replaced most of the stock and flimsy trebble with a pair of assist hooks. Didn’t take long to get bit on the sink off the stern by a BFT.

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I took that jig off and switched to a plastic squid I rigged with an 8 ounce torpedo sinker and two assist hooks. A little unconventional, but I had to try. The size was $5 in the bargain bin at Dana Landing so wanted to put these cheap plastic to use. It got bit several times but BFT were not sticking to it for whatever reason. Finally, I go tone to stick and it was a BFT in the mid 50’s. Pretty cool to get bit on different type jigs.

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The bite started to die off towards sunrise so we made a move to the well-known “dorado grounds” where you could get your limit of 6 – 12 lb fish. I broke out the spinning rod and popper and got a couple of bites that came undone. The key with the popper Saturday was getting it to pop and to move it fast and immediately, and I mean immediately, after it hit the water. Totally a reaction bite. The dodo’s ignored the popper and most jigs otherwise. Pretty cool to see so many of them swimming around. Just with they were a little bigger. I’ve never seen so many Dorado as far north as the SCI area, but maybe someone else has.

After fun on the dodo’s was complete, we headed to an area off the northeast corner of SCI. There were some scatted schools of mixed BFT and YFT. I landed an approx. 30 lb. YFT on the slide. A few BFT were landed also. No signed of YT.

Again, excellent fishing conditions.

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The captain made a decision that night to leave the SCI area and go to an area south of the Coronado’s. I didn’t mind getting an night of sleep for a chance instead of jigging all night long.

*** Sunday ***
By morning were west of the Coronados and continuing a trek southward. Seas that morning were a little bit confused and it was overcast with some wind. Looked like the weather was going to be up that day but it flattened out nicely and was like a lake again by afternoon.

It wasn’t until around 10-11 AM that we found a school of biting fish, first located by the Islander. These fish were boiling on chum baits and it wasn’t long before we had a very steady morning bite on flylined baits for a mix of BFT and YFT, but mostly BFT. They were biting 25 and 30 lb. line with an actively swimming sardine. Most fish were in the 30-45 lb. range, with a few smaller grade fish mixed in. I used the popper for a bit but to no avail. I can’t say if 30 or 25 lb. line made a big difference on Saturday but as the morning turned to afternoon, the bite gradually slowed. The BFT sunk out and it turned into one or two guys at a time being hooked up. But, the morning was great. And, finally, we get a daytime bite on willing BFT. One person was using a 120 – 130 gram flat fall and getting consistent results and several hooks ups. Actually, the jig, though used by only a couple of guys, was maybe more effective than the flylined baits. There were so many fish below that boat that would take a sunk bait or jig but would not come to surface level to eat a flylined 'dine. But, I think a lot of guys just wanted to flyline (myself included) after getting used to late night jig fishing the past couple of years.

The flat fall definitely work well for fish beneath the boat during the daytime. Some guys switched to sinker rigs. I went over to the sinker rig eventually myself after losing some fish to tangles and seeing that the bluefin had gotten real picky at taking flylined baits later in the afternoon. Several times my dine was stalked and started to swim but then just stopped. BFT being BFT. The BFT were circling the boat, but you needed a long soak plus a really, really good swimming bait to reach the zone later in the day. Not having great luck on the flylined baits, I switched over to the sinker rig and that worked nicely, though I’d rather catch them on a flylined bait.

When the school dissipated, the captain made a move and it took about two hours but we got into a late afternoon and sunset bite of willing BFT – both on jigs and baits. Really good way to end the trip. Great mix of night jig fishing with daytime dodo and YFT/BFT bait fishing. Really glad I didn’t have to spend 2-3 knights jigging. Maybe the BFT will start biting in the daytime more in the weeks ahead.

As for jigging at night, it seemed to me that as long as I was in the right zone / depth of water, it’s wasn’t that hard to get bit. For whatever reason, I don’t do well with flat falls, but the knife jigs, SK jigs, norweigan jig and plastic squid all worked pretty well. The plastic squid is something I’m going to keep using and will include a glow sinker inside of the body. It doesn’t sink as fast as metal jigs, but it’s lighter and maybe the slower drop works sometimes.

*** Bait ***
4-6” sardines. Nicely cured and stayed fresh all trip given the ocean was flat and the bait didn’t get beaten up.

*** Weather ***
Friday: light to no wind, flat to calm seas, waves 1 ft or less.
Saturday: Some fog in the early AM, flat calm in the afternoon, no to little wind
Sunday: Some wind and waves 2-3’, confused seas, subsided to flat condition later in the morning

*** Grade of Fish ***
YFT: 15 - 46 lbs
BFT: 15 – approx.. 65 lbs.
Dorado: 6 – 12 lbs.

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----- OTHER NOTES ------------------------------------------------------------------
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The Crew, Captain and Passengers
- The captain did a great job fishing as hard as possible and giving us every opportunity to fish out each day and evening. I’ll be back.
- Get a reservation with a fish processor if you’re going out right now. Call ahead. They are really overwhelmed and the volume of fishing I saw coming in on Monday morning was huge.

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*** My Gear ***
*******************
- 25 lb: Super Seeker 270H + Trinidad 14A (30 lb spectra + 25 lb. Izor XXX mono topshot) – despite using a size 2 hook I still didn’t get bitten well on this setup
- 30 lb: CalStar 800ML + Seagate 30H (40 lb spectra + 30 lb Izor XXX mono) – used this setup most of the time for bait, caught YFT/BFT on it
- 40 lb: Seeker Hercules SHS70H-7 + Penn Torque 30 (65 lb spectra + 50 lb Izor XXX mono with a 40 lb. fluoro topshop – used this one for siker rigs)
- 100 lb: super seeker CTSF 63XXH, Penn Int. 20T 2 speed Cal Sheets converted
- 30 lb: Phenix PSW808MH spinning rod + Shimano Saragosa 5000 with a 4’ topshot of 50 lb. Izor XXX Mono – used for the popper
- 40 lb: Super Seeker 6470 + Penn Baja Special (65 lb spectra + 40 lb Izor XXX mono) – used for sinker right and a few times that I dropped a colt sniper.

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*** Knots ***
***************
Bimini to worm knot for all spectra-to-mono connections.
Loop-to-loop connection for all bimini / wind-on connections.
Palomar for mono-to-hook and fluoro-to-hook knots. Chose not to use the spangler knot this trip as my fishing is falling off a cliff lately and that’s one knot I like to see good before I say it’s ok.

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afraser

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  • Apr 20, 2008
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    aaron
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    Would you mind providing a few details when you put up a report??? Obviously, I jest, but now you raised the bar for the rest of us :). Great report, hope it sticks around.
     
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    Tunahead

    Long Time Tuna Abused Member
  • Aug 11, 2006
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    Ron
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    Great report/info/pics and NICE FISH. Best eating grade in my book. Solid Work! LOL
    Lot of good fishing with Art on Searcher in the Albacore years. Great boat and crew always.
     
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    stp

    Fish Hooker
  • Oct 12, 2003
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    Shawn
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    Best first mate on your boat
    Did the Capt tell you guys that the Islander hooked you up with some fish? We were on the Islander watching you guys catch fish since we were done...that spot paid off for us ALL day long. Glad you guys got a bunch too! Nice post!
     
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    Tautog_17

    Advertiser
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    Jul 23, 2012
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    San Diego, CA USA
    ThirtyFathoms.com
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    Matt
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    Did the Capt tell you guys that the Islander hooked you up with some fish? We were on the Islander watching you guys catch fish since we were done...that spot paid off for us ALL day long. Glad you guys got a bunch too! Nice post!
    Yes, exactly, Islander had found them first and that was a very good biting school you guys found. A bunch of boats benefited.
     
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    Feb 28, 2016
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    Name
    Jose Caballero
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    "Reveille" 17' arima sea chaser
    Now THAT is how you write a report! Love it, thanks!

    Also, cool to see people trying out tackle (and proving it works).
     
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    TOTW

    Time On The Water
    Dec 23, 2005
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    Awesome, Matt. Glad to see that the Torque lived up to expectations. I imagine a few folks went home with some nice, new knot pullers, too!
     
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