For the last month I have been watching the fish counts at Catalina and Coronado Islands as I prepared for my first summer fishing trip of the season. After the storm 3 weeks ago the Coronado Island's yellowtails have been MIA. I considered going for the bluefin on a full day trip but 2-6 fish for 30 guys did not look like good odds. Catalina looked like a good bet based on recent reports of yellowtail. The problem was the Gail Force and Triton were not running open party trip on June 5 and these are my preferred limited party trips. In light of the Native Son taking out 75 passengers Tuesday I need to find a better option. I have been reading the reports from Ryan at SlayDay boat rentals here on BD and decided to give them a try. My primary concerns in doing this would be the quality of the boat and how would I find the fish. The advantage of a charter boat is you have a captain who is on the water every day taking you to the fish, the trade off is you get to do it with your new 75 best friends. I called Ryan and set up a rental for June 5. He sent me a text with some excellent info on where to fish and the boat's fish finder is excellent with many programmed fishing spots. The boat itself is well maintained and we made the crossing to the east end (30 miles from Long Beach) in about 1 hour. We goat a nice scoop of squid from Nachos. The plan was to start on the East End of Catalina and work our way up the backside until we ended at the West end of the island where the party boats have been catching the yellowtail the last few days. I have never done this before on a party boat due to the distance but with the speed of the slayday boat and the mild swell it seemed like the day to do it and hopefully avoid the "crowds". We starting fishing on the east end and caught numerous short Calicos. They were every where and eating dead squid, they did not seem to want the live squid. I also hooked a nice barracuda on a colt sniper. We also got numerous small Sheepshead. We worked our way up the island and I finally hooked the right kind on live squid on Eagle rock on 30# with 9# of drag on a long soak of about 100 yards. Despite a decent amount of drag the yellowtail was having none of it and immediately took me from the stern to the bow peeling off drag and I watch my braid go against the anchor line and pop its gone. Oh well its was fun while it lasts and my freezer still has yellowtail and yellowfin from last year. We continued down the island and saw excellent conditions with good current and clean water. However on the front side of the island I could not get a bite to save my life. It looks like the Calico's either have not moved in to this area or were less active. We found the fleet of 4 party boats around Emerald Bay and I never saw anyone hooked up but I did see a sea lion with a 20# yellowtail in its mouth. One of the party boats pulled anchor and attempted to chase down the sea lion but the fishing line had already broken so I am not clear how that was supposed to work. On the front side there was bait breaking the surface everywhere but I did not see any signs of bonita/barracuda/calicos under the bait and I tried numerous times to get a bite. Overall its early in the season and I think in the next month Catalina is going to go off. The Slay day boat was excellent and I would highly recommend it. The 4 party boats all left around 3pm to head in and we fished to 4 pm and then passed them mid channel. It felt excellent to be on a fast boat for once.