AZTEC ADVENTURE

picasso

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jul 27, 2009
577
1,040
los angeles
Name
joe
Boat
17 Boston Whaler
Like all of the other salty guys I know, I have been following the exploits of the San Diego fishing fleet as they search out & destroy the blue fin tuna at San Clemente Island the last couple of seasons.
It seems these days, instead of having to travel to the Revillagigedo Island chain off of Baja, or the Tres Marias Islands near Puerto Vallarta, the new "Cow Town" is just 70 miles from San Diego.

For one reason or another, I hadn't been able to get on a trip that was specifically targeting the "bigguns".
Another failed attempt in early September left me checking schedules again.
I found a trip going out on the Aztec out of Seaforth Landing.
They'd be fishing the New Moon phase the second week of October,
and the trip was guaranteed to go Big!

Twenty eight passengers is a lot more than I like to fish with,
but I knew one of the deck hands on that boat.
I call Justin Ryan a friend.
He calls me an occupational hazard.
Whatever, I figured it couldn't hurt to have a solid wing man on my side.

Days before the trip, I was perusing my weekly edition of the Western Outdoor News.
As I was flipping the pages, I came upon an ad for that fishing radio show, Let's Talk Hook Up.
Their guest on the upcoming Sunday morning show was going to be the owner/operator of the Aztec,
Captain Greg Gawitt.

Perfect timing, I thought to myself.
I could listen to the show as I drove down from Los Angeles to the landing.
That was mighty nice of them to schedule him just for my benefit,
I took it as a good omen.

Sunday morning came, and I was just getting on the freeway when the show started.
The two hosts, over the course of the two hour show, asked Captain Greg every question I would have asked,
and a couple that would have never occurred to me.
It was the perfect pre-trip seminar.
The show ended just as I reached the Sea World off ramp.
I took it as another good sign.

Got to the landing and checked in.
I was angler number ten on the roster and the gentleman behind the counter handed me a layout of the boat, and asked me to choose a bunk.
First one my eyes landed on was bunk X.
That's a Roman numeral ten, same as my roster number.
The omens were starting to stack up behind each other.

Got to the end of the boarding line, and started introducing myself to the guys ahead of me.
About eleven a.m., they let us start getting on the boat.
When I got down to the end of the dock,
I turned to hand my rod bundle to someone already on board.
Who else would be waiting to take my hand off, other than my friend Justin?
A couple of grins, a couple of hand shakes, an embrace later, we were underway.

Everyone was rushing around, stowing their bags in their staterooms, and their tackle in the rack.

There was one gentleman on board who I could swear I had seen somewhere before.
I couldn't think of the name, and the face was a couple of years older now, but I knew I knew him from somewhere.

Then, it hit me like a lighting bolt.
That was Tom Lambert, who used to work on the Qualifier 105 a couple of decades ago.
I found him in the galley later with a bunch of passengers surrounding him.
He saw me coming at him.
I eyeballed him, and asked, "Are you Tom Lambert?"
He smiled and said he was.
He said he recognized me too, but couldn't recall my name.
"They call me Loreto Joe", I said.
He nodded, smiled, and said he remembered me now.
Didn't say if it was a good or bad, just that he remembered.

A couple of grins, a couple of handshakes, and an embrace later...
Seeing Tommy ignited a firestorm of memories from the past.
"Hey Tom, remember that time...".
We did a handful of trips together when I was just starting out, decades ago, and now here we were again.
Goin' fishin'.
The omens were out of control now.

I asked Tommy if he was a passenger.
He laughed and said no, he was still working.
He would be the night driver/night deck tech.
The rest of the crew would be Aaron working the deck,
Ryan cheffing it up in the galley,
and Deck technician Harry was already rigging up passenger's outfits on the porch.
The crew was very professional, and they ran a tight ship.

I didn't see the Captain.
He must have been upstairs driving the boat.

Justin gave us the tackle seminar,
and didn't mince words.
Big fish.
Big tackle.
Be prepared.

It would take about seven hours to reach our destination.
Justin suggested we get off of our feet, try to nap, rest up.
At sundown, we would start fishing.

We would be dropping flat-fall style lures hundreds of feet deep,
and then cranking them back to the surface.
I've never fished the flat-fall lure before,
so I asked Justin for a private lesson.

He took me to what would be the downwind corner of the stern.
He showed me where to toss my lure.
He showed me how to walk it across the stern, feeding line as I went along.
He showed me when it was time to wind in.
He showed me everything and then told me to do the same thing.
Over, and over, and over, and over, again.

I laid in my bunk the rest of the afternoon,
trying to calm myself down.
I might have dozed off for a half hour or so,
but I couldn't really sleep.
The anticipation was killing me.

Right on schedule, we rolled up to the island.
The Skipper found a good place to start and we commenced fishing.
Twenty seven passengers spread out along the sixty five feet of wooden rail,
and started dropping their flat falls.
I was doing my thing in the stern.
By myself.

Occasionally, the Skipper would tell us he was marking fish on the sonar and give us a depth to try and target.

The hours went by.
A lot of coffee was drunk.
We caught a couple of smaller ones.
On and on, throughout the night, I kept at it, working the program.

About two thirty in the morning,
one of the Russian guys on board,
hooked a good one and landed it.
The crew tape measured it out, and said it weighed two thirty.
Another omen?

We kept at it.
One by one, anglers disappeared from the rail.

Around three thirty, my body's battery was in desperate need of a recharge.

Because the fishing was so slow, one of the crew suggested to anyone listening that they might try pinning on a live bait, maybe tying on a sinker, and trying that technique for a while.
I didn't see anyone take them up on their offer.

At four a.m. I looked at my watch.
I looked and felt like one of those zombies on the Walking Dead.
I couldn't quit though.
I knew the fish would start biting the minute I did.

At four thirty, I convinced myself that even if I got bit now,
I was in no condition to fight the battle.
I made one more drop.
I wound in, and put my rod in the rack.

As I headed to the bunk room,
I saw my new friend, Yoshi Yamamoto, from Osaka, Japan, coming down the rail from the bow.
His pal, Teddy, from Okinawa, was running interference for him,
clearing the rail, giving everybody the "heads up".
Yoshi was hooked up to a good one.

My head hit the pillow and I passed out.

Around five a.m., one of my room mates, Alex, is waking up the other roomie, his buddy,
telling him the fish are biting.
Alex sees my one eye looking at him,
and he says, "get up Joe. They're biting!"
I couldn't do it.
I had hit the wall, and the wall had won.

Hours later, I woke up, and looked at my watch.
It was eleven thirty a.m., and I guessed I missed breakfast.

I went out on deck.
It was a beautiful day.
More summer than fall.

There was a big crowd of people working the rail.
They were catching tuna fish.
Not wide open, just one here, one there.

A smaller grade.
Like forty to a hundred pounds.
It was classic tuna fishing.
Beautiful weather.
Beautiful scenery.
Just a beautiful day.

Ryan made up a lunch plate for me and I watched the goings on around the boat.

After the meal, I grabbed my forty pound outfit,
and as Justin had instructed us in the seminar,
I tied on a piece of thirty pound pink flourocarbon and put a 1/0 size, mutu style, circle hook on the end of that.

At Aaron's suggestion,
I belly hooked a sardine, and tossed it over the stern rail.
The little sardine swam for it's life,
but it did no good.
It got inhaled by a tuna.

I immediately knew I had brought a knife to a gunfight, as they say.
The tuna took two long runs,
and more than half of my line with it.
The tuna hadn't felt the sting of the hook, or the bend of the rod yet.
It wasn't going to like either one of those.

I tried my best fish whispering technique,
and got some line back,
but still had less than half a spool.
I finally bent the rod,
and the tuna took off again.
I realized this wasn't going to end well,
for either one of us.

I didn't want to waste time or energy on a long battle being under gunned,
and the longer the tuna was fighting me,
the poorer the table fare it would make.

So I tightened up my drag,
and popped the knot.

I got a bottle of cold water.
I went back to my tackle box,
and considered my options.

I took a walk around the bait tank,
and ended up in the stern.
I walked up the port side,
checking out the rod & reel combinations the other twenty seven people on the boat were using.

I got to the bow, and turned right.
Justin was there,
tending a helium balloon rig on the downwind side.
Gave him a quick summary of the lost battle,
and continued on my way.

There was a gentleman standing just past midship that I hadn't seen previously.
He was tending another balloon rig in the stern,
and putting a kite rod in the holder when I spotted him.

As I approached him, his eyes remained on the baits dancing on the surface beneath the helium filled balloon.
"Excuse me Sir, are you the Captain of this boat?"
He turned his head just slightly to the left,
looked at me thru dark colored glasses,
and said, yes, he was.
His head turned back to the baits.

I introduced myself and told him about my drive down yesterday morning.
I told him how perfect it had worked out for me.
I told him how well he represented himself, and his company,
and did a great job of expressing his message.
I blew so much smoke up his skirt,
he couldn't help but puff up a little bit.

He asked me if I had landed that tuna he saw me hooked up to earlier.
I told him we had suffered a long distance separation.

As soon as I finished my sentence,
we both saw a tuna leap on Justin's balloon rig.
Justin was just beginning to wind tight to the fish,
when the Skipper said,
"Why don't you take that one Joe?"
I told him I would love to.

I hurried over to Justin and took the hand off.
He took off to get another balloon rig going,
and left me on my own.

There is nothing like having the boat's heavy gear in your hands to inspire confidence.

This tuna had no chance.
I reeled him in as quick as I could right there in the bow.
Someone yelled, "Deep Color",
and Justin magically appeared with gaff in hand.

A couple of more turns and Justin sank that hot steel into the head of that tuna.
He lifted it up into the bow, removed the hook, and took it to the stern,
to be deposited in the chiller in the hold below deck.

That tuna was the perfect size, about sixty, sixty five pounds soaking wet.
Killed quick like that on heavy gear,
that fish was going to be some amazing table fare for Honey & I,
and maybe just a couple of close friends.

I thought about my fortune and all of those omens.
I had been in the right place at the right time.
I thought about how lucky I was to be here.

It's good to be lucky.

That was it for me.
I didn't really have the right tackle with me for this stuff.
Except for that one 40 pound stick I tried this morning,
everything else I had brought was heavy tackle for giants.

I started my own little personal celebration and spent the rest of the afternoon watching the people.
If the stern cleared out, I'd go throw a bait in the water on my 80 pound stick.
The bait was just too lethargic to make that work well.

At five p.m. the Captain fired up the engines,
and told us we were heading back to Cow Town.

I was in the galley, getting ready to watch Monday Night Football during dinner.

I was sitting across from the prettiest girl on the boat.
Heather was reading a magazine.
Her man, Justin, was still outside, "trying for them".
The second prettiest gal on the boat came in the galley,
and made a bee line to my table.
I slid over, and she slid in.
"Thanks Joe, my dogs are tired."

She's Kathy from Northridge, and her man, Tennyson, joined us after a bit.
We spent the next hour having a wonderful conversation,
in between the Skipper's blow by blow, play action report from the wheel house.

He's got a plan for this evening and he's sharing it's execution on the PA.
Listening in the galley, we could hear the emotion, and excitement in his voice,
as he found what he was looking for.
A huge school of bluefin just ahead.
He gets them just off his bow, and turns hard.
"Give it to them!"
Crewman Aaron is on the back deck,
tossing net full of sardines,
over and over.
If we can get this school to bite in the fading light,
they might get accustomed to the lights of the boat,
and stick with us into the dark.

It almost happened.
But bluefin being bluefin, they sunk out and kept going.
That left the Skipper with no other option than to keep looking.

Meanwhile, in the galley, our party continued.
Captain Tom appeared with some dinner for our table,
and I excused myself so the two couples could have some room.
I slid into the next booth,
and found myself sitting opposite of Teddy from Okinawa.
We chit chatted a bit over dinner,
and I remembered I saw Teddy and Yoshi headed to the stern this morning when I faded out.
I asked Teddy about it,
and he said yeah, Yoshi got his fish.
I asked him, how big?
Teddy said it was like 250 or something.
I asked him where is Yoshi now?
Teddy said he was "resting".

I went to bed around nine.
I don't know if they did anymore flat falling or not.
I don't think they caught a fish after the sun went down.
Sometime, in the middle of the night, Tommy turned the boat back towards San Diego.

We got back to the landing around seven thirty in the morning.

I took my tuna over to Mario's to be processed.
Pretty girl wrote up my order, and said she'd call me when it was ready.

I went back to the landing to have some breakfast while I waited.
Another pretty girl named Terry, came over to take my order.
We chatted a bit, and when she brought the food, we talked about fishing.

While dining, I was treated to a show of tourists lining up to go whale watching.
Cheap entertainment on another beautiful morning.

The pretty girl at Mario's called me around eleven.
I met her at the back door, where she helped me load my fish and some ice into my cooler.
I asked her her name, and she said it was Bella.
I told Bella as I took some bills out of my wallet to pay my tab,
that she was going to have to listen to two things from this old man.

The first thing I told her was I used to do a lot of business with Mario, before he passed away a while back.
She told me Mario was her Dad, and she missed him terribly.

The second thing I told her was that I used to tell her Dad every time I'd see him,
that he needed to put a nice, pretty, Italian girl at his table on the dock where they meet the boats when they come in.
He would have had more business than he could handle.

She laughed and thanked me for sharing.
I said good-bye to the lovely Bella, and wished her success with the business.
I hope she makes it.

The drive home was easy.
I left the music off, and thought about the past couple of days, and my twenty seven new friends.

As predicted, the sashimi was off the hook that night.
Best we ever had.
It's good to be lucky.

The End
 
Last edited:

the_tunaman

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jun 28, 2017
558
645
59
Norco
Name
Roger Nelson
Boat
Ranger Z20
Amazing story Joe. Well done. going out next week on Aztec. 2.75. Thx for the tips.
Me too... hoping that they keep biting, as there have been some spectacular catches in recent days.
 

Corndog

Landlocked
Sep 22, 2009
4,854
1,606
Northern Colorado
Name
Jason Jones ( Lone Shark)
Boat
Century 1801, Hobie PA14 & SoA
Cant wait til February buddy! Good job getting one.

Justin is the man for sure!
 
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surfgoose

active geezer
Jul 29, 2010
2,851
4,127
Long Beach, CA, USA
Name
Gary
Boat
whichever has the longest bunk
Great report! Congrats on a very successful trip. Your choice of presentation of your words in that semi-poetic format made the read even more interesting. Well done, Sir!
 
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Reactions: picasso

discount78

Member
Apr 14, 2012
44
4
Los Angeles
Name
Alex
Boat
Discount
Like all of the other salty guys I know, I have been following the exploits of the San Diego fishing fleet as they search out & destroy the blue fin tuna at San Clemente Island the last couple of seasons.
It seems these days, instead of having to travel to the Revillagigedo Island chain off of Baja, or the Tres Marias Islands near Puerto Vallarta, the new "Cow Town" is just 70 miles from San Diego.

For one reason or another, I hadn't been able to get on a trip that was specifically targeting the "bigguns".
Another failed attempt in early September left me checking schedules again.
I found a trip going out on the Aztec out of Seaforth Landing.
They'd be fishing the New Moon phase the second week of October,
and the trip was guaranteed to go Big!

Twenty eight passengers is a lot more than I like to fish with,
but I knew one of the deck hands on that boat.
I call Justin Ryan a friend.
He calls me an occupational hazard.
Whatever, I figured it couldn't hurt to have a solid wing man on my side.

Days before the trip, I was perusing my weekly edition of the Western Outdoor News.
As I was flipping the pages, I came upon an ad for that fishing radio show, Let's Talk Hook Up.
Their guest on the upcoming Sunday morning show was going to be the owner/operator of the Aztec,
Captain Greg Gawitt.

Perfect timing, I thought to myself.
I could listen to the show as I drove down from Los Angeles to the landing.
That was mighty nice of them to schedule him just for my benefit,
I took it as a good omen.

Sunday morning came, and I was just getting on the freeway when the show started.
The two hosts, over the course of the two hour show, asked Captain Greg every question I would have asked,
and a couple that would have never occurred to me.
It was the perfect pre-trip seminar.
The show ended just as I reached the Sea World off ramp.
I took it as another good sign.

Got to the landing and checked in.
I was angler number ten on the roster and the gentleman behind the counter handed me a layout of the boat, and asked me to choose a bunk.
First one my eyes landed on was bunk X.
That's a Roman numeral ten, same as my roster number.
The omens were starting to stack up behind each other.

Got to the end of the boarding line, and started introducing myself to the guys ahead of me.
About eleven a.m., they let us start getting on the boat.
When I got down to the end of the dock,
I turned to hand my rod bundle to someone already on board.
Who else would be waiting to take my hand off, other than my friend Justin?
A couple of grins, a couple of hand shakes, an embrace later, we were underway.

Everyone was rushing around, stowing their bags in their staterooms, and their tackle in the rack.

There was one gentleman on board who I could swear I had seen somewhere before.
I couldn't think of the name, and the face was a couple of years older now, but I knew I knew him from somewhere.

Then, it hit me like a lighting bolt.
That was Tom Lambert, who used to work on the Qualifier 105 a couple of decades ago.
I found him in the galley later with a bunch of passengers surrounding him.
He saw me coming at him.
I eyeballed him, and asked, "Are you Tom Lambert?"
He smiled and said he was.
He said he recognized me too, but couldn't recall my name.
"They call me Loreto Joe", I said.
He nodded, smiled, and said he remembered me now.
Didn't say if it was a good or bad, just that he remembered.

A couple of grins, a couple of handshakes, and an embrace later...
Seeing Tommy ignited a firestorm of memories from the past.
"Hey Tom, remember that time...".
We did a handful of trips together when I was just starting out, decades ago, and now here we were again.
Goin' fishin'.
The omens were out of control now.

I asked Tommy if he was a passenger.
He laughed and said no, he was still working.
He would be the night driver/night deck tech.
The rest of the crew would be Aaron working the deck,
Ryan cheffing it up in the galley,
and Deck technician Harry was already rigging up passenger's outfits on the porch.
The crew was very professional, and they ran a tight ship.

I didn't see the Captain.
He must have been upstairs driving the boat.

Justin gave us the tackle seminar,
and didn't mince words.
Big fish.
Big tackle.
Be prepared.

It would take about seven hours to reach our destination.
Justin suggested we get off of our feet, try to nap, rest up.
At sundown, we would start fishing.

We would be dropping flat-fall style lures hundreds of feet deep,
and then cranking them back to the surface.
I've never fished the flat-fall lure before,
so I asked Justin for a private lesson.

He took me to what would be the downwind corner of the stern.
He showed me where to toss my lure.
He showed me how to walk it across the stern, feeding line as I went along.
He showed me when it was time to wind in.
He showed me everything and then told me to do the same thing.
Over, and over, and over, and over, again.

I laid in my bunk the rest of the afternoon,
trying to calm myself down.
I might have dozed off for a half hour or so,
but I couldn't really sleep.
The anticipation was killing me.

Right on schedule, we rolled up to the island.
The Skipper found a good place to start and we commenced fishing.
Twenty seven passengers spread out along the sixty five feet of wooden rail,
and started dropping their flat falls.
I was doing my thing in the stern.
By myself.

Occasionally, the Skipper would tell us he was marking fish on the sonar and give us a depth to try and target.

The hours went by.
A lot of coffee was drunk.
We caught a couple of smaller ones.
On and on, throughout the night, I kept at it, working the program.

About two thirty in the morning,
one of the Russian guys on board,
hooked a good one and landed it.
The crew tape measured it out, and said it weighed two thirty.
Another omen?

We kept at it.
One by one, anglers disappeared from the rail.

Around three thirty, my body's battery was in desperate need of a recharge.

Because the fishing was so slow, one of the crew suggested to anyone listening that they might try pinning on a live bait, maybe tying on a sinker, and trying that technique for a while.
I didn't see anyone take them up on their offer.

At four a.m. I looked at my watch.
I looked and felt like one of those zombies on the Walking Dead.
I couldn't quit though.
I knew the fish would start biting the minute I did.

At four thirty, I convinced myself that even if I got bit now,
I was in no condition to fight the battle.
I made one more drop.
I wound in, and put my rod in the rack.

As I headed to the bunk room,
I saw my new friend, Yoshi Yamamoto, from Osaka, Japan, coming down the rail from the bow.
His pal, Teddy, from Okinawa, was running interference for him,
clearing the rail, giving everybody the "heads up".
Yoshi was hooked up to a good one.

My head hit the pillow and I passed out.

Around five a.m., one of my room mates, Alex, is waking up the other roomie, his buddy,
telling him the fish are biting.
Alex sees my one eye looking at him,
and he says, "get up Joe. They're biting!"
I couldn't do it.
I had hit the wall, and the wall had won.

Hours later, I woke up, and looked at my watch.
It was eleven thirty a.m., and I guessed I missed breakfast.

I went out on deck.
It was a beautiful day.
More summer than fall.

There was a big crowd of people working the rail.
They were catching tuna fish.
Not wide open, just one here, one there.

A smaller grade.
Like forty to a hundred pounds.
It was classic tuna fishing.
Beautiful weather.
Beautiful scenery.
Just a beautiful day.

Ryan made up a lunch plate for me and I watched the goings on around the boat.

After the meal, I grabbed my forty pound outfit,
and as Justin had instructed us in the seminar,
I tied on a piece of thirty pound pink flourocarbon and put a 1/0 size, mutu style, circle hook on the end of that.

At Aaron's suggestion,
I belly hooked a sardine, and tossed it over the stern rail.
The little sardine swam for it's life,
but it did no good.
It got inhaled by a tuna.

I immediately knew I had brought a knife to a gunfight, as they say.
The tuna took two long runs,
and more than half of my line with it.
The tuna hadn't felt the sting of the hook, or the bend of the rod yet.
It wasn't going to like either one of those.

I tried my best fish whispering technique,
and got some line back,
but still had less than half a spool.
I finally bent the rod,
and the tuna took off again.
I realized this wasn't going to end well,
for either one of us.

I didn't want to waste time or energy on a long battle being under gunned,
and the longer the tuna was fighting me,
the poorer the table fare it would make.

So I tightened up my drag,
and popped the knot.

I got a bottle of cold water.
I went back to my tackle box,
and considered my options.

I took a walk around the bait tank,
and ended up in the stern.
I walked up the port side,
checking out the rod & reel combinations the other twenty seven people on the boat were using.

I got to the bow, and turned right.
Justin was there,
tending a helium balloon rig on the downwind side.
Gave him a quick summary of the lost battle,
and continued on my way.

There was a gentleman standing just past midship that I hadn't seen previously.
He was tending another balloon rig in the stern,
and putting a kite rod in the holder when I spotted him.

As I approached him, his eyes remained on the baits dancing on the surface beneath the helium filled balloon.
"Excuse me Sir, are you the Captain of this boat?"
He turned his head just slightly to the left,
looked at me thru dark colored glasses,
and said, yes, he was.
His head turned back to the baits.

I introduced myself and told him about my drive down yesterday morning.
I told him how perfect it had worked out for me.
I told him how well he represented himself, and his company,
and did a great job of expressing his message.
I blew so much smoke up his skirt,
he couldn't help but puff up a little bit.

He asked me if I had landed that tuna he saw me hooked up to earlier.
I told him we had suffered a long distance separation.

As soon as I finished my sentence,
we both saw a tuna leap on Justin's balloon rig.
Justin was just beginning to wind tight to the fish,
when the Skipper said,
"Why don't you take that one Joe?"
I told him I would love to.

I hurried over to Justin and took the hand off.
He took off to get another balloon rig going,
and left me on my own.

There is nothing like having the boat's heavy gear in your hands to inspire confidence.

This tuna had no chance.
I reeled him in as quick as I could right there in the bow.
Someone yelled, "Deep Color",
and Justin magically appeared with gaff in hand.

A couple of more turns and Justin sank that hot steel into the head of that tuna.
He lifted it up into the bow, removed the hook, and took it to the stern,
to be deposited in the chilled, salted, clean water in the hold below deck.

That tuna was the perfect size, about sixty, sixty five pounds soaking wet.
Killed quick like that on heavy gear,
that fish was going to be some amazing table fare for Honey & I,
and maybe just a couple of close friends.

I thought about my fortune and all of those omens.
I had been in the right place at the right time.
I thought about how lucky I was to be here.

It's good to be lucky.

That was it for me.
I didn't really have the right tackle with me for this stuff.
Except for that one 40 pound stick I tried this morning,
everything else I had brought was heavy tackle for giants.

I started my own little personal celebration and spent the rest of the afternoon watching the people.
If the stern cleared out, I'd go throw a bait in the water on my 80 pound stick.
The bait was just too lethargic to make that work well.

At five p.m. the Captain fired up the engines,
and told us we were heading back to Cow Town.

I was in the galley, getting ready to watch Monday Night Football during dinner.

I was sitting across from the prettiest girl on the boat.
Heather was reading a magazine.
Her man, Justin, was still outside, "trying for them".
The second prettiest gal on the boat came in the galley,
and made a bee line to my table.
I slid over, and she slid in.
"Thanks Joe, my dogs are tired."

She's Kathy from Northridge, and her man, Tennyson, joined us after a bit.
We spent the next hour having a wonderful conversation,
in between the Skipper's blow by blow, play action report from the wheel house.

He's got a plan for this evening and he's sharing it's execution on the PA.
Listening in the galley, we could hear the emotion, and excitement in his voice,
as he found what he was looking for.
A huge school of bluefin just ahead.
He gets them just off his bow, and turns hard.
"Give it to them!"
Crewman Aaron is on the back deck,
tossing net full of sardines,
over and over.
If we can get this school to bite in the fading light,
they might get accustomed to the lights of the boat,
and stick with us into the dark.

It almost happened.
But bluefin being bluefin, they sunk out and kept going.
That left the Skipper with no other option than to keep looking.

Meanwhile, in the galley, our party continued.
Captain Tom appeared with some dinner for our table,
and I excused myself so the two couples could have some room.
I slid into the next booth,
and found myself sitting opposite of Teddy from Okinawa.
We chit chatted a bit over dinner,
and I remembered I saw Teddy and Yoshi headed to the stern this morning when I faded out.
I asked Teddy about it,
and he said yeah, Yoshi got his fish.
I asked him, how big?
Teddy said it was like 250 or something.
I asked him where is Yoshi now?
Teddy said he was "resting".

I went to bed around nine.
I don't know if they did anymore flat falling or not.
I don't think they caught a fish after the sun went down.
Sometime, in the middle of the night, Tommy turned the boat back towards San Diego.

We got back to the landing around seven thirty in the morning.

I took my tuna over to Mario's to be processed.
Pretty girl wrote up my order, and said she'd call me when it was ready.

I went back to the landing to have some breakfast while I waited.
Another pretty girl named Terry, came over to take my order.
We chatted a bit, and when she brought the food, we talked about fishing.

While dining, I was treated to a show of tourists lining up to go whale watching.
Cheap entertainment on another beautiful morning.

The pretty girl at Mario's called me around eleven.
I met her at the back door, where she helped me load my fish and some ice into my cooler.
I asked her her name, and she said it was Bella.
I told Bella as I took some bills out of my wallet to pay my tab,
that she was going to have to listen to two things from this old man.

The first thing I told her was I used to do a lot of business with Mario, before he passed away a while back.
She told me Mario was her Dad, and she missed him terribly.

The second thing I told her was that I used to tell her Dad every time I'd see him,
that he needed to put a nice, pretty, Italian girl at his table on the dock where they meet the boats when they come in.
He would have had more business than he could handle.

She laughed and thanked me for sharing.
I said good-bye to the lovely Bella, and wished her success with the business.
I hope she makes it.

The drive home was easy.
I left the music off, and thought about the past couple of days, and my twenty seven new friends.

As predicted, the sashimi was off the hook that night.
Best we ever had.
It's good to be lucky.

The End
Hi Joe!

It's Alex, your bunk neighbor who tried to wake you up. I enjoyed being on the same boat with you on this epic trip. I wish I had gotten some shut eye like you since there was no shortage of Bluefin being caught.

You're really a swell guy to share the boat with. I saw that you kept a notepad and took down names of all the fishermen you introduced yourself. Class act my man.

I went on this trip solo and the bunk mate above me I met for the first time. Safe to say we all made new friends that day.

Hope to see you on the waters again.

Alex
 
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tommyc

Hacker
Jul 30, 2011
342
299
Livermore, CA
Name
Tom
Boat
Beatem N' Eatem
Sages once predicted the return of Picasso to the waters of California, although astrologists differed on whether it would be in this life or the next. I'm glad to know that it happened. You pursued the genetic offspring of the fish that Zane Grey once chased in those same waters. It's unfortunate that 100 years has turned the party from a daytime picnic to a night time rave. I used to rave at night, but now I'm just a raving ******.

Thank you for documenting the attempt with your excellent prose. Congratulations on the balloon fish, no finer table fare in the ocean. I hope you slay a good one on another attempt before the party moves on for another 100 years.
 

Steve K

Hey, I'm gettin' bit...
Jan 2, 2005
11,189
6,565
Bishop
Name
Steve
Boat
18' Bayrunner, but I like the American Angler and the Red Rooster III
Thanks for sharing your take, Joe. Always appreciated.
And, that's why I don't try to write reports much any more. I'm outclassed. ;)
 

Auggie

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Mar 17, 2007
1,003
268
H.B.
Name
Gary
Boat
None
I was also this trip. Will add pics and video when I get home tonight
 
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REELTIME3

Well-Known "Member"
Aug 15, 2012
46
55
Ontario/ca/usa
Name
Lauren Althaus
Boat
Bertram 54 "Reel Time III"
Fun read. Hearing about Bella was a fun surprise. Her boyfriend is my long time fishing buddy. She has been out on my boat a couple of times and loves fishing.
 
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jeffdalton

"Well Known" Member
Aug 16, 2005
2,625
1,477
56
Long Beach, CA
Name
Jeff Dalton
Boat
21' Parker/Stealth Stix
Very cool story! I'm fishing a 1.5 day on the Prowler this Friday...wish me luck!!
 
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MF-FISHING

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jul 17, 2005
380
313
53
Las Vegas, nv
Name
Miles
Boat
Robalo 2120
Great read there brother!!! A couple of photos would make this a perfect report!!!! Thanks so much for sharing!!!!