Took a very close buddy and his 12 year old son out today. We hauled chicken hawk down to Dana landing for a slightly late start (I didn't want to get out of bed). Splashed the boat at 6:30, got a scoop of healthy sardines at EB, and we were off. Set a course for the 425 in great conditions. I had a good time bobbing and weaving through all the lobster trap floats, but I managed to dodge them all. Made a quick stop by north island for a look, and we were instantly greeted by half a dozen hungry sea lions... uh, nevermind. Got about a mile from the 425 and the ponies were putting on a show, and I thought for sure this was gonna be a great start. Well, I threw out a black/purple cedar plug and and a blue and white feather for no go. After boxing the area for about an hour we decided it was time to push on. With the trollers out, we set a course for the 475. We zigged, then zagged and couldn't get a thing. Not even meter marks! Now, I'm a believer in finding my own, but I see a couple big boats in the distance and slightly to the east. At this point I'm getting a little desperate because my buds hasn't fished the salt in over 25 years, and had only been offshore once in his life. His son had never fished the salt, so yeah... I was kinda on a mission to get them on fish. I swallowed my pride and headed for the big boats. As I get closer I realize that one is a nice yacht just sitting there. Didn't look like anyone was fishing so I headed toward the other which was obviously a party boat. As we approach it, I see it's the Mustang with a very full load, and a Parker pilot house about 50 yards of their port side. Shit tons of birds swarming them like flies on cow shit but nobody was bent. I notice just the north there was a beautiful glorious patty with more birds flying around and sitting on it. I thought for sure this was the pot of gold. I move up past this beautiful gem and prepare for a drift. I threw a few dines to get some interest, pinned on a few fresh swimmers and let them go to work. We drift right by the patty, close enough to see there's TONS of bait fish under it. I'm assuming these were chum fish from the mustang because they weren't the little micro fish I've seen all year. No yellowtail, no tuna... CRAP! But something BIG swam right by us slowly. It looked like a sea lion, but was too light in color. It didn't break the surface to breathe so it had to be a fish of some type? We continue on drifting, long soaking baits, I even tried a few jigs for no love. Now, here's the frustrating part. I had my buddy's son reach in the bait tank and toss out a couple dead dines. About thirty yards from us we get a dodos boiling off the dead sardines we thre out, but no love on the long soaked baits. Not even with 15 pound flouro and #1 hooks. This sucks! But it is fishing after all. The mustang and the Parker finally take off, and a center con shows up and starts a drift. I take the opposite side and reset for one more pass. No love, so we call it quits on that spot. The sun is now past its half way point, so I decide it's time to point the bow north. With a little radio chatter of fish caught at the rockpile and the middle grounds, I decide to head for the middle grounds. With still a good amount of time available, and bluefin and yellowfin both recently in the reports, I figured we would troll back hoping for a strike. After trolling all the way to the middle grounds for nada, I'm done going slow. Pull in the trollers and make a run for the border. Stopped on a paddy close to the line, but once again, nobody home. Feeling the kids boredom, I think he might get a kick out of driving the boat, so I asked if he wanted to take over the helm. He didn't hesitate to agree to that deal, so I set him up and off we went at a slow pace. He had hard time at first keeping it straight. As most small outboard boats with cable steering, its happy to turn right at any time. This was fun for us to give him a hard time, but in a joking manner. He took our banter well, and he started to get the hang of small corrections and keeping a good general direction. As I sensed some confidence in him, I had his dad give it a little throttle. Wasn't much, but the bow raised up and he still kept it straight. I reached over and put the trim tabs down and in just a few seconds we were on plane. Chicken Hawk will plane at 12 knots with the tabs down, so this was a good safe speed for him, and we were still able to cover some distance comfortably. 20 minutes in, and he's holding it nicely and having a blast. I figure if we don't get fish, we'll at least have some fun. Cruising along, headed toward the point, we see a couple party boats and a few more private boats need a big red buoy. I don't know this buoy, but why not give it a shot? We cruise into the mix with respectable distance and throw out some baits. No action going on, I decide to try a 130 gram flat fall in sardine pattern. While my crew is soaking bait, I'm jigging the flat fall. Third try and I get hit! FUCK YEAH!!! It's nothing big, but I managed to catch a half pound mackerel. At least the skunk is off, and I spared the macs life. Two more tries and I'm hit again, but this fish has shoulders! My initial thought (hope) was a small yellowtail. I hand off the rod to my buddy's kid, and he fights up a nice 5 pound bonito. He is stoked! He said he wanted to keep it, so I showed him how to bleed it and we put it on ice. While we're dealing with this fish, my buddy gets picked up on a long soaked sardine. Another nice bone in the boat! They were thick and hungry, but the sun was getting low. Being 10 miles from mission bay, I say we gotta go. I didn't want to dodge lobster floats in the dark. With our two bones on ice, we haul ass safely back to Dana Landing. It was a fun day in all, with a lot of cool experiences. On a side note, I cooked those bones for everyone at home, and a first for all of us, we enjoyed seared bonito. And yes, they were tasty! Thank you to my friend Chris @PHISHINFUL for the tip on cooking the bones. We all really enjoyed it!