Any good EL Nino fish stories?

vegasandre

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With all the talk of a possible El Nino eventually, I would love to hear some old fish reports from El Nino's past.
Such as time of year, type of fish and location.

The various close to shore catches and big catches intrigue me.

I am fairly new to the west coast and haven't experienced a El Nino year myself.
Lets hear what you have.
 
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fishfish

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Jun 21, 2006
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I dont recall if it was '84 or '86 but we were aboard the El Dorado at (i think) Butterfly bank on a 2 day trip and we were on a school of albacore so damn thick you couldve walked on them it seemed like. Every bait was instantly bit just feet from the boat. It was my first multiday trip and I just could not believe the tonnage of fish flying thru the water. Just thousands of albacore , 20-30lbs. I was blown away!!! We found 'em in the evening and they bit into the nite and EVERYBODY got plenty of fish. I'll never forget that! I was hooked for life!!!!
 
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lkatdpelicanfly

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Forgot the exact year but must be like 15 years ago..maybe longer....yellowtail were on the chew one summer locally and livebait was hard to come by. We were catching them on stripbait mackerel jigged on a leadhead just off of marina del rey...up to 20 lbs. went on a 3/4 day out of san pedro and we had live bait and I caught 10 smaller ones up to 10 lbs maybe 2 mile out of the harbor. That same summer, went on a redondo 3/4 day and we had no live bait but the captain said we were going to meet up w. A baitboat to get bait in a couple of hours so we putzed around waiting to meet up with them. I trolled a swimbait and got 2 yellows around 12-15 lbs... The bait never materialized after 2 hours and i don't think they even had frozen onboard so the captain headed back to the pier and gave us all refunds or rainchecks...i forgot which.
 
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bman440440

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Sep 8, 2010
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how about show up at the cornados 30 min b4 sun up... set the anchor... alone with the other 150 boats... and at sun up game on for big yellows... 4 guys on board and we had to leave because we ran out of room on our 18' aluminum for the fish... and back on the trailer by 9:45... cleaned fish for 2 hours at home... gotta love it!!
 
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LTBOLTMAN

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Oct 15, 2006
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80's el nino, trolling out of san diego bay with rubber skirted jigs; all rods bendo with yellows- non-stop..... tuna crabs everywhere
2009 - found a school of dolphins 10 miles south of the nados heading north...continuous run in front and dump bait, catching yellowfin along the 9 mile bank past point loma...left them and went back to nados for big yellows
 
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stairman

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97...late October ...foggier then shit.....went out towards the 425 but had out drive problems and cold cold green water. Bait taik full of pin head anchovies...so we putt north at 2knots because any faster the outdrive would come out of gear..we had to putt north cause the guy who owned the boat had americans waters only VA and we didn't want to pay the extra..three hours later as we neared the border there was a 6 degree temp break !!!!!!! went from green to blue water in two hundred yards...see a sleeping marlin...pinhead anchovies,,,god dam.....a little further a small paddy and since we were gonna call vessel assist soon we stopped ..I brailled a scoop of bait and skippies came up boiling so we figured we have a little fun...skippies disappear as fast as they showed so I brailled a couple more scoops....we are in a 20 foot skipjack and 60 to hundred pound big eye crash the boat and stay on us for four hours....all three of us constantly hooked but undergunned with the tiny bait and the tiny hooks we needed to not pop their eyes out!!we got one to the boat and if we had had a tank of mackeral....only if....
 
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Jason

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    Dorado in the kelp lines off la Jolla while fishing bass.
    Yellowtail (not the tiny ones) in the half day boat chum lines every day less than a mile from the harbor.
    Big eye in the tuna canyon just outside coronados.
    Albacore at 14 miles from SD.
    Yellowfin thick on whales on the ridge.
     
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    vegasandre

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    Thanks Guys , got some great ones already. Love to always hear about the possibilities, keep them coming.....
     
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    bajabum

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    A Friend of mine hooked a Marlin fishing a paddy next to the Whistler Bouy. 1997 I believe.
     
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    here'smymule

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    Nov 17, 2010
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    '92 El Nino was on a day and halff trip on the First String. Sportfishings "bad boy" Pat Conklin was at the helm.
    We were coming up on the Cortez about 10miles out Conklin was using binoculars. He said, "I don't believe it. It's the Shougun and the Royal Polaris."! Both were on 5day trips.
    Conklin was not happy. He viewed Cortez as his private property. We proceeded to "bow" them both and suck the Bluefin from them. He played "hardball" with them as hard as I have seen it played eventually forcing them from the area where the fish were.!!
     
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    Raz-n-Kane 27

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    Apr 24, 2005
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    I have been blessed to have fished 2 El Nino systems. When my first El Nino occured, I really did not know what to expect. My boat at the time was an 18ft thunderbird tri v hull...no bait system, farmers fishing equipment, coffee grinders, and fresh water fishing gear. What I remember most is going out to "Horseshoe kelp" and catching mackerel that were 4+ pounds, mixed in with yellows that would spool me every time. Fished the area all summer long, really enjoying saltwater fishing.

    By 1996's El Nino system, I was ready with a 20ft formula deep v with fishfinder, plus a small bait tank. I was feeling pretty big time! One trip out of newport while getting bait, we ran to the 14 mile bank and noticed numerous ugly looking kelp patties loaded with hungry yellow tail. It was like fishing in an aquarium! Literally every bait that hit the water guaranteed a catch, and if you didn't like the size, you just moved to a different patty and pulled from there. This was also my first exposure to Dorado...the damn thing jumped all over the water, the deck...and even ended up in the cabin!

    San Diego was the place to be! We had two epic yellow tail trips, catching 15 - 25 lb class fish. We took a third trip out to rhe blue water, and it was yellow fin tuna all day long! On the way back home, we stopped in Mira Mar, walked into a burger joint and got a kick out of the hostess' reaction...my buddy and I were both covered head to toe in blood. If we hadnt reeked of fish, she probably would have called the cops!

    I have been anxiously awaiting another El Nino system in Southern California. The winter weather we are experiencing here, as well as what is going on throughout the midwest and east coast is pretty indicative of a potential 2014 El Nino system.
    Having said that, if we are going to experience an El Nino summer, be prepared for a very active winter season, which is likely to include long durations of torrential rain.

    The moral of the story is this...be careful what you wish for cause you just might get it! Also, be prepared to fish the El Nino summer. Historically, the summers following the El Nino have been bleak and barren, with meager kelp patties and virtually no yellow tail to be found.
     
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    CaptnJD

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    Jun 23, 2003
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    Yellowtail Just corroding the Coronados starting in January or Febuary.. Skipjack and Albacore within eye site of the PtLoma litehouse.. Bigeye and YFT thick at the 302. Don't even troll within 50 yards of a Patty cause the Yellows will just destroy your spread everywhere. Schools of Dorado so thick that you Drop a bait in an keep pulling it away from all the little ones til a big bull charges in... Had a double Marlin hookup Just outside the kelp at Hill street on rapalas.. Downside is SKIPJACK HELL..
     
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    firefishq

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    not sure the year, but we found a pattie just south of Catalina and sat on it all day. we pulled up about a dozen yellows and a handfull of dorados. four guys on a 25' skippy with ear to ear smiles.
     
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    stairman

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    ok one more....fishing with bank robber,his buddy paul and the late chuck Byron in the very last catalina gold cup marlin tournament...we were the smallest boat in the tourney by five feet.so all day say turday and sunday (I think those were the days) we trolled and every 20-40 minutes one of the marlin jigs would go off to a ten to 20 pound dorado....each time our hearts would race but the clicker stopped zinging in about five seconds and we KNEW it was another god damn dorado....lost count how many we caught filet and then release most...
    well long about two hours before lines out we are outside catalina about half way to san clemente and off in the distance we see the biggest kelp patty I have ever seen....fishinf so cals water at least 2000 days in my life that says a lot...it was at least 50 yards across...we putted over that way and with out binos from a quarter mile there were at least three dorado airborne at any given time....we got 200yards away and all the rods went off with in two seconds of each other and the water literally turned blue and gold all around the boat...BUT .....we were fishing a tournament that could have gotten us half a million so we reeled em up and ran away.....we ended up tied for third in the tournament though!!
    I'd like another shot at that patty!
     
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    invictus

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    2009, 18 Dorado on first paddy, ten miles west of San Diego. Boat on the trailer in my driveway in South OC by 11:30.
     
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    jer dog

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    Jun 22, 2006
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    EL nino 83 was on a 6 pack boat out of Shealtel island with 3 newbIe,s ,first thing in the morning a four rod,s went off, all skippie,s got are blood boiling, could not get away from them so we made a big move, put the toll gear back out ,kept trolling for the rest of the day, more skippie,s trolled by a bunch of boat,s hooked up with bigeye, so we ran out of beer and the Captian said it was time to head for the barn, so we kept trolling then about 13 mile,s from the pointe one of my drunk ass friend,s noticed bird,s diving, so the captian told us to hang on to the rod,s because we had to beat another boat their ,when we hit the bird,s the first rod went of big time like a freight train, while we were clearing the other rod,s , a second one get,s bit, almost pulled one of the newbie out of the boat lucky to say 40 minute,s later we landed the first one was was about 115 lb,s, then the other one got mean spooled us six time,s smoked a 6/0, only had one belly belt, and all the rod,s were sears game fisher, what piece,s of shit they were, when the dust settled we boated the 2nd one taped out at 140LB, un believable trip, when we got back to the dock are friend,s on another boat got back a they were bragging about their 10 small YFT,, till we showed them what are drunk ass,s caught they could not BELIEVE HOW BIG THEY WERE AND WE CAUGHT THEM SO CLOSE TO HOME, next time we need too bring more then six case,s of beer.
     
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    Outhouse

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    Feb 13, 2007
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    Funny, I'm signed up for my 9th annual trip and while I've seen an Albacore caught, I've never personally caught one? One of my first couple trips, we tripped over a school of them and all I caught were bluefin, go figure. Lol.
     
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    invictus

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    Funny, I'm signed up for my 9th annual trip and while I've seen an Albacore caught, I've never personally caught one? One of my first couple trips, we tripped over a school of them and all I caught were bluefin, go figure. Lol.

    Pesky BFT!!!!:-)
     
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    Corndog

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    El Nino...The fabled event in So Cal sportfishing. I was born in 1980 so the 82-83 even I was just a pipsqueak at the docks with my Dad when he would come in from either long range or trips on his boat the (you guessed it) Lone Shark. I have old photos and vhs of what took place in those days...

    Wide open Marlin from a 10 day on the Q105 with a pic of me sitting in a dockcart with four of them in it (yes back then I think it was your duty if it bit the hook it died and somebody was gonna eat it).

    Bigeye tuna over 100lbs caught on marlin jigs out of SD from Dads boat being weighed in in SD harbor.

    Boat loads of albacore and not peanuts either. The kind that would make washi googins post new threads asking how do I catch and albacore in the 30-50 lb range.

    There's a video I have at my moms house of when our boat was a 6 pack charter out of H&M. We had a few different captains back then. Some were knuckle heads and one was one of the greatest ever on the west coast Capt Steve Lassley himself. Im not sure if he was at the helm or not during the video but I watched it 100 times as a kid. Bigeye eating the paint off the transom and passengers getting worked on the custom rods for the charter operation that my dad had crafted by the bent rod. Those very rods are still here with me here in Colorado and I take a few with me everytime I hit the salt to take my Dad fishing with me. ( He passed away when I was 9).
    http://www.primetimesportfishing.com/
    This is the Lone Sharks current name. IM glad to see its still chasing the goods.


    The lore of elnino was ingrained into me from the time I was able to understand all this saltwater fishing stuff...I was Lucky and Doomed as a youngster. My Dad was bound to pass with Hodkins disease with was my doom as a young kind soon to loose a father. I was lucky that my Dad had the means to take me fishing every chance he could to bury this passion into my DNA. I caught my first Mako at 6. 4 Marlin at 7 and one at 8. Hell I even had a lifejacket on and with assistance got my first Yellowtail on the challenger at 3 or 4 or 5. Cant tell from the pick but I was YOUNG.

    After Dad passed my next el Nino memory was at 12....1992 had some of the bad boy Bluefin rolling within 3 day range. My Mom still paid to let me go fishing with my brothers Godfather John Waters and the Reel Sports fishing club for a few years after she sold my beloved Lone Shark (BOATS ARE F'N EXPENSIVE to keep up) I remember vividly still that we had 150+lb fish some over 200lbs crashing in the distance but nobody could hook one. We had Horse sized Sardines. I had one soaked and began reeling it in on a 30T international. The captain. May have been Buzz I forget which boat it was but he was the capt one of the 3 years I got to go. He was screaming to put the reel in freespool as I Had a couple cow BFT in pursuit. I was so scared I only reeled faster in fear of actually hooking one of the beasts.

    Fast forward 1996-97-98. I forget the actual years in which each happened but I deckhanded out of Dana Wharf as well as fished wheneve I had the chance. I remember a Yellowtail and close and in numbers. Usually with Sand Bass or Barracuda fisherman. A well casted dean when the YT were rolling meant a limit of YT....sometimes rats...sometimes the Coronado variety. As well as a Day on the Sum fun with Todd Mansur at the helm....Chasing Flipper 5 miles off Laguna beach. We would catch the pod and catch Yellowfin after yellowfin. So close to home. Even freegaffed a large mako that day.

    99...Was fortunate at 19 to get a crack at the deck on the Spirit of Adventure. A summer ive lived vicariously through ever since. Caught my first and only Bigeye. But on that 10 day watched them eat without fear. I don't believ 99 was a El Nino....But my memory has me trying to remember. It was an incredible albacore and Bluefin season for our passengers...it was not till the last couple trip ins October November that the Yellowfin really got crazy. But I will never forget the BIgeye bite. One that people dream of. El Nino brought the Bigeye into So Cal and made it my Dads favorite chase...Catching my Bigeye put a part of my soul at rest...

    Speaking of Bigeye tuna....Steve Hutchinson was a neighbor and a friend of my Dads. He set the California state record for Bigeye Tuna on the Challenger (99% positive it was on this boat anyways) in 1987. He lived 5 housed down from us in Laguna Hills at the time and was also part of the reel sports sportfishing......LOCATION....Butterly Bank :D Not sure though if that was a El Nino event.

    Hell Ya El Ninos are Awesome..Only thing that blows about them is people predict them every dam year.

    Sorry for long winded post. Brought back early memories
     
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    Mar 6, 2008
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    I think it was 1997 or close to that - went fishing out of Helgren's Oceanside on the Electra. We went out that night and set up right off San Clemente that night. Woke up with fish on the boat from a couple of early morning anglers. Honest skipper never moved the boat, yellowfin tuna were all over us. You had to work through the skippies, but limits were had by most by 9 or 10 am. We were out of bait by then anyway - handed off the spot to a boat from Davey's Locker, the Thunderbird I think and they were tearing them up as we pulled off. One of my first tuna trips. I was using a Daiwa sealine 20, still one of my favorite reels. Skipper on the Electra was Joey Helgren.
     
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    DOMINATOR

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    Was still just a deckhand on the Dolphin II. Had an injector line on the old Detroit rot out around three in the morning. Everyone was bummed out that we were short. I was on the roof and found a kelp.
    Once we got going it was full speed YFT and dorado. Pretty soon it shut off on the small stuff and there were 60-120 Bigeye on the corner biting everything!

    We ended up with over 50 of the big guys. I will always remember that trip.Pete, who is the manager at Point Loma Seafoods was there as well as Tony who used to run the Dolphin (RIP). Good times for sure!

    But be careful what you wish for. I remember a lot of shitty local fishing because the water was so hot and the kelp was all dead.

    The Coronados were just a place were pelicans went to die, not to mention bait rations!
     
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