Catalina Mid-Week Report – PB 31 Pound Yellowtail

mhanson59hb

Fear No Fish
Apr 22, 2013
2,017
3,208
Huntington Beach
Name
Mike
Boat
2008 Trophy 1802 "Mako My Day"
Short version: Fished Catalina with my son Sean Monday through Wednesday for bass, sheephead, rock fish and yellowtail from 8 pounds to my new personal best 31 pounder! Best area was the super-secret spot known as the Vs, water temps 62 to 68. Skip to pictures below.

Novel: My son Sean had not been fishing with me for a long time while juggling school and work, so he was looking forward to this trip in a big way. As we left Huntington Harbor Monday morning, there was an hour delay at the bridge as a war ship was docking. A small price for us to pay, as our nations finest were coming home for some well-deserved shore leave. Salute.

We picked up a generous scoop of squid from Mario (Nacho is on vacation) and headed across in virtually glass conditions. As we approached Empire, the wind picked up and the water temp was 62, so we headed east. Inside of Long Point the temp was up to 65+, so we started slow trolling green backs and within 10 minutes Sean gets ripped, but the fish came unbuttoned. Undaunted, he pins on a large Spanish mackerel and soon gets hit again, this time landing an 8 pound yellow. While we are still bleeding out the first fish, I get slammed and it turns out to be another 8 pounder. Twins at high noon.

A bit later, I get hit again on a Spanish, and this time a 10 pound yellow hits the deck. 4 baits, 4 hits. Now I am wishing we had some sardines as well as we are out of fin bait. Fly lining squid produces no yellows, but a bunch of nice calicos, all released. Fishing some beaches, we released several short halibut, more bass and a couple of small yellows. We want to be out on the Squid grounds that night, but it was blowing 20+ knots, so we called it a night.

Tuesday morning we ran over to the Isthmus area to try a few beaches, but the halibut were a no show. Over at our rock fish spot I picked up a big red and Sean got a nice sheephead, but that was it on the bigger fish. Eagle Reef was swamped with red crab, and the calicos were flipping out. We released several, and got rocked by a few bigger fish and left them biting.

That afternoon we hit more beaches and released several just-short halibut, and lost a 24+ incher right at the boat. This is where I also hooked myself. Had a 2/0 go in one side and out the other on my ring finger pad, with the barb going deep into my middle finger. Two for one. I cut the hook in between them and backed it out, but that still left the barb deep in my other finger, which I had to yank out. Both were bleeding pretty bad, so I poured some Absolute vodka on them, and had a monster jolt myself. Done for the day, we moored up in Avalon.

The next morning we are up at 4 AM and we arrived at the Vs in the dark. The squid fleet is wrapping it up and we start drifting over the squid grounds. At grey light, nothing is really happening yet, and we talked to some guys who got 2 big yellows that night. Then it was like someone flipped a switch as boats a bit further west started going bendo. After watching for a while, we moved west outside the fleet and on our first drift my 40# outfit starts screaming. This fish ripped off 200 yards of top shot and another 100+ yards of braid backing on the first run. Incredible!

We started motoring her out to sea and away from the fleet. 3 more terrific runs, and now I see the fish at deep color. Wow. I am so flustered I don’t even put the reel in low gear, just short pumping it into range, where Sean hits a perfect gaff shot just behind the head. 31 pounds of personal best yellowtail hit the deck, and high 5s! The whole fight was less than 15 minutes, but it seemed like an hour. It was a good feeling after losing the halibut and getting hooked. Some better luck came my way!

We set up a few more drifts and did not get another bite, but we did see other boats still getting some. I was just thankful for the thrill of capturing this beast. We left a day earlier than planned, as the fish hold was full now anyway. A calm sea followed us home. Time for a big BBQ!

Good luck and be safe out there.

Mike

None of the photos we took did this monster justice. This is the best one. No one wants to see my mug anyway.
DSCN1419.JPG


Another view later
DSCN1424.JPG


Sean's yellow
DSCN1405.JPG


Me with another yellow
DSCN1407.JPG


Another shot
DSCN1425.JPG
 
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GregorXr

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Oct 5, 2012
798
121
Temecula
Name
Robin Boyer
Boat
Patients Boat!
Thats whats up! Cant wait to nail them on my new trolling gear!
 

RyanErb

Love to fish!
Aug 7, 2012
1,663
852
All over the 805
Name
Ryan
Boat
OnTheWater
Congrats! That is a very solid fish, way to stick with it and get on the fish!

Thanks for posting the report, your reports are always filled with good info! Appreciate it!
 

fishfish

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jun 21, 2006
2,671
758
54
Santee
Name
Gerry
Boat
Sold and Gone!!!
Slayersssss!!!!!!!!!!!! Great Job and nice pics!!!
 

gilman

I'm melting.
May 17, 2009
24
14
South OC
Name
Hi I'm Gil!
Boat
Maybe one day!
Nice yellowtail and very inspiring report as I'm thinking of heading to Catalina in the morning to see about the possibility of finding a yellowtail.

Wondering... Can someone shed some light on how to properly rig a mackerel for the troll?

Thanks in advance!

Peace - Gil
 

RyanErb

Love to fish!
Aug 7, 2012
1,663
852
All over the 805
Name
Ryan
Boat
OnTheWater
Nice yellowtail and very inspiring report as I'm thinking of heading to Catalina in the morning to see about the possibility of finding a yellowtail.

Wondering... Can someone shed some light on how to properly rig a mackerel for the troll?

Thanks in advance!

Peace - Gil
Tie on a hook to some fluoro.

Nose hook the mackerel. Do not hook the mackerel from the lower lip to the upper lip, effectively closing his mouth. Hook through the upper nose sideways.

If you really think you need weight, put a egg sinker with a swivel or stop a few feet up the leader.
 
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gilman

I'm melting.
May 17, 2009
24
14
South OC
Name
Hi I'm Gil!
Boat
Maybe one day!
Tie on a hook to some fluoro.

Nose hook the mackerel. Do not hook the mackerel from the lower lip to the upper lip, effectively closing his mouth. Hook through the upper nose sideways.

If you really think you need weight, put a egg sinker with a swivel or stop a few feet up the leader.
Thank you RyanErb!
 

johndtuttle

Angler/Client
Mar 20, 2008
5,574
1,758
Carmel, CA
Name
john
Boat
not crazy enough yet
hey man, you're sitting pretty from my seat! congrats on the PB Jeller! :D
 

mhanson59hb

Fear No Fish
Apr 22, 2013
2,017
3,208
Huntington Beach
Name
Mike
Boat
2008 Trophy 1802 "Mako My Day"
Congrats! That is a very solid fish, way to stick with it and get on the fish!

Thanks for posting the report, your reports are always filled with good info! Appreciate it!
Thanks Ryan, I get a lot of info from this site, so it's good to give back a little bit without getting too specific. If what I post can help a few guys get fish, I am glad. Good fishing to you!
 

alex morataya

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Aug 14, 2007
1,297
283
Burbank
Name
Alex
Boat
none
nice yeller!!! that's toad for sure.
congratulations! good eats right there.
 

jeffdalton

"Well Known" Member
Aug 16, 2005
2,625
1,478
57
Long Beach, CA
Name
Jeff Dalton
Boat
21' Parker/Stealth Stix
Excellent report....sounds like you two had a blast. There's really nothing better than spending time at the island with family.
 

jscott

Well-Known "Member"
Jan 29, 2008
77
79
Porter Ranch
Name
Scott
Boat
Four Winns 20' Horizon
Got a stupid question. I have only done day trips to CI...do you need to reserve a mooring if you want to stay overnight? How do you go about?
 

mhanson59hb

Fear No Fish
Apr 22, 2013
2,017
3,208
Huntington Beach
Name
Mike
Boat
2008 Trophy 1802 "Mako My Day"
I have only done day trips to CI...do you need to reserve a mooring if you want to stay overnight? How do you go about?
If you go midweek, it's really not a problem: you just pull up to Avalon and talk to the harbor patrol guys and they will put you on a mooring ($31 for smaller skiffs like mine). Summer weekends in Avalon are tougher. Most of the moorings are "owned" (really leased would be a better term) by boaters, and they get first priority. Anything left is on a first come, first serve basis. This includes Descanso and Hamilton coves. If you get there Friday morning, you may luck out.

Another good place to check is Whites Landing (just east of Long Point). They often have moorings when Avalon is full, although its a bit more expensive - $38 last time we stayed there - but a lot more relaxed. This also covers Moonstone cove and Hen Rock moorings.

I think Two Harbors takes reservations, check out this site:
http://www.visitcatalinaisland.com/two-Harbors/mooring-reservations

You can also anchor up, but it can get sketchy in small boats when the wind waves and current are opposite, as often happens. Hardcore guys don't mind, but I don't sleep well on the hook, except for a few special spots.

All in all, stay away on Holiday weekends like Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day. It's a zoo.

Good luck!
 
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jscott

Well-Known "Member"
Jan 29, 2008
77
79
Porter Ranch
Name
Scott
Boat
Four Winns 20' Horizon
If you go midweek, it's really not a problem: you just pull up to Avalon and talk to the harbor patrol guys and they will put you on a mooring ($31 for smaller skiffs like mine). Summer weekends in Avalon are tougher. Most of the moorings are "owned" (really leased would be a better term) by boaters, and they get first priority. Anything left is on a first come, first serve basis. This includes Descanso and Hamilton coves. If you get there Friday morning, you may luck out.

Another good place to check is Whites Landing (just east of Long Point). They often have moorings when Avalon is full, although its a bit more expensive - $38 last time we stayed there - but a lot more relaxed. This also covers Moonstone cove and Hen Rock moorings.

I think Two Harbors takes reservations, check out this site:
http://www.visitcatalinaisland.com/two-Harbors/mooring-reservations

You can also anchor up, but it can get sketchy in small boats when the wind waves and current are opposite, as often happens. Hardcore guys don't mind, but I don't sleep well on the hook, except for a few special spots.

All in all, stay away on Holiday weekends like Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day. It's a zoo.

Good luck!
Thank you so much! Great info! Planning to do a multiday and just bring sleeping bags and sleep under the stars one of these smooth nights! :)