CONDOR 2.5-day: Light Load + Paddies = FUN!!

Discussion in 'Southern California Offshore Fishing Reports' started by surfgoose, Jul 24, 2017.

  1. surfgoose

    surfgoose active geezer

    Location:
    Long Beach, CA, USA
    Name:
    Gary
    Boat:
    whichever has the longest bunk
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    We just got in at dawn this morning from a weekend 2.5-day trip on the CONDOR. It has been a challenging time for the sportfishing fleet for the past several months, and a lot of fine boats are still spending most of their time rising and falling with the tide at the docks because although there are huge amounts of fish offshore, they are mostly not willing to cooperate with anglers.

    I had booked several trips on the CONDOR months ago when I got my Income Tax refund, and spent a frustrating four days over the Memorial Day weekend trying to get a Bluefin tuna. So I had high hopes that this past weekend trip would turn things around for me, and I am very pleased right now.

    Capt. Scott Meisel has a well-deserved reputation for being a Fisherman more than an Owner, and showed it once again. Although only seven had made a reservation for the trip, last Tuesday he declared the 2.5 trip was a GO FOR SURE run, and with that assurance several more people signed up, and we left the dock on Friday night with just eleven of us. I don't think that he made a dime on the trip, we carried a lot of bait and burned a lot of fuel, but it made for an amazingly pleasurable trip for us fishermen!

    He talked with us in the galley as we started to roll out of the harbor and told us that he wanted to head South to the Inner Bank off Ensenada and work a temperature break and see if we could find some untouched offshore kelps the first day, and try to get limits of yellowtail and dorado, and maybe some stray yellowfin tuna, and then if that worked out we could spend the second day back up North on the outside of San Clemente Island where the big Bluefin tuna were pretty thick and maybe get lucky. We were all happy with the plan!

    The next morning we were up at five a.m. and fishing by 5:30, and although nothing was biting it was a beautiful morning on the water, and not another boat in sight. So we started trolling further South, and since I was #3 I got to drop my Old Reliable Halco 130 into the edge of the wake. After about twenty minutes a kelp paddy was spotted, and as we approached it and I was reeling in my lure it got smacked by a dorado! It was no biggie but not a necktie either, and I was happy because I had been wanting a fresh dorado dinner for a couple of years but it hadn't happened. The kelp paddy had several more dorado that wanted to play, and a nice school of Catalina Island-sized yellowtail, so all eleven of us had a great time putting a couple of dozen fish into the wet gunny sacks so that they could be bled and tagged and dropped into the RSW when the action slowed down. The deck crew of Scotty and Matt and Miguel kept us out of tangles and when a gaff was needed on a larger fish it would quickly appear and be used with skill.

    That started the pattern for the day: Find a kelp, approach and toss some bait, hook up and land or lose or release a dozen to two dozen yellowtail and the occasional dorado, and when the action slowed down we would go on the hunt for another paddy. Being that far South we saw only a few boats all day, and most of the paddies were not picked-over but holding a few fish. The goal was to "Limit" the boat at the allowed ten per angler for a two-day run, and Capt. Scott had purchased the Mexican Permits before we even boarded the boat, we just had to sign them. By late afternoon we had kept our 110 yellowtail, and released a couple of dozen more, and tagged fifteen dorado. We caught and released several very large bonito too.

    I really enjoyed the day! The heavy 2-speed gear stayed in the rack, it was fun to use lighter line and tackle and have fun with those fish. A couple of times I got into something with shoulders and they eventually were able to break me off, and I released a half-dozen smaller yellowtail, but at the end of the day I had gotten into fifteen to twenty fun fights and who can ask for more? And in contrast to almost every other boat in the fleet, Capt. Scott pays attention to the trolling rotation and changes the numbers every half-hour to forty-five minutes, which makes trolling interesting and not a mind-numbing chore. I really enjoy trolling, and I got to play with four different rigs that I had made up during the day because about every-other hour it would be my turn again.

    At dinner Capt. Scott asked us again if we wanted to stay down south in the 75 degree water and try to get full limits of dorado for everyone, and release whatever yellowtail we encountered, or roll North and see if flying the kite would maybe get us into a big Bluefin. I could see that 3/4 of us were hungry for a Bluefin, so I smiled and accepted the situation, although in my heart I would have been happier with more dorado to go along with the one wearing my tag. Getting to fight and win with a taped 256 Bluefin three weeks ago has checked that box for me, but I can go with the flow, whatever they decide. My pal Marcus was aboard, so I asked him if he would like to go partners with me for the Bluefin hunt, if either of us got bit we would tag-team the fish and share it, and he was in favor of the plan. When I was a couple of decades younger I thought that it was really fun to wrestle with big fish. Now it's more pain than pleasure.

    So we got up in the dark and started fishing, dropping various Flat-Fall type jigs and such, and in the first half-hour of fishing two of us got bit. Both were bitten-off and broken-off within just a few minutes. Some people think that 60lb is pretty heavy gear. Not for these fish, it isn't! So with the daylight we started to fly the kite with a rubber flying fish skipping along, and the trolling rotation began again. On the CONDOR you are only in "Kite Jail" for a half-hour at a time, so it isn't so bad as on some other boats. I was glad that I had brought along a couple of books to read. And Ed Greta the chef kept us well-supplied with quality munchies all day while you waited for your turn to come up again.

    I am enclosing some pictures. I have never seen such a light load on such a big boat, it meant that there was acres of space for your gear, and the gunny sacks only went a third of the way around the bait tank. The sardines were of mixed sizes, from four inches to ten inches, and it didn't seem to matter which size you chose, if it swam at all it would get bit. I used a couple of feet of 25lb. fluorocarbon to a 1/0 ringed circle hook, and it looked like that was about what everyone was using. I saw a half-dozen fish caught on various lures and I threw a variety but never connected, and went back to fly-lining a sardine.

    The CONDOR is running another 2.5-day trip in two weeks, and I will be on it. Hopefully as the water keeps warming up we will get more yellowfin tuna coming up the coast. But if we just do a repeat of last weekend I will be very happy. I tried to upload a file from the pictures that I took and my computer is fighting me, so I will start this thread and then try to add some pictures as an edit. But if it doesn't work, I'm pretty sure that you all know what five-to-twenty pound yellowtail and dorado look like.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2017
  2. bob1825

    bob1825 I've posted enough I should edit this section

    Location:
    San Fernando Valley
    Name:
    Jason
    Boat:
    Anyone the fits my schedule
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    Great report, thanks for sharing! I'll be heading out this weekend. Hope we find them!
     
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  3. Wandering Blues

    Wandering Blues I've posted enough I should edit this section

    Location:
    The Land of Entrapment
    Name:
    Curtis
    Boat:
    A Pair of Simms G3 Waders
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    Great report! You have to appreciate a skipper who's willing to take a stab with a light load to see if he can generate some excitement.
     
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  4. bdubs73

    bdubs73 Well-Known "Member"

    Location:
    San Diego
    Name:
    Brian
    Boat:
    none
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    Great report. Wow 11 people on the Condor is pretty fantastic!
     
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  5. arenpilav41

    arenpilav41 jjpilav

    Location:
    Encino, CA
    Name:
    Pilav
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    No Boat
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    Nice Gary. I was dying to get on this trip, but just couldn't make it happen.
    Looks like I won't be on the water until the labor day 4 day. Good Stuff, lets see some pictures!
    -Aren
     
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  6. ElFuego

    ElFuego Newbie

    Name:
    Armand
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    none
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    Awesome write up! All these reports are getting me excited to go fish this week!
     
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  7. Shewillbemine

    Shewillbemine "should of" is NOT a thing

    Location:
    California
    Name:
    Shewillbemine
    Boat:
    Console
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    Pics you son of a!!!
     
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  8. Blue Frontier

    Blue Frontier Well-Known "Member"

    Location:
    Corona, CA USA
    Name:
    Ton
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    USS Enterprise
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    Thank you for the good report.
     
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  9. Pgnracr

    Pgnracr Member

    Location:
    HB
    Name:
    Jeff
    Boat:
    Line up
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    Nice trip!! Scott is the man!!
     
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  10. muledeer07

    muledeer07 Member

    Location:
    USA
    Name:
    Wade
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    None
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    Great report, love the Condor. I'll be on her Friday night.
     
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  11. Pgnracr

    Pgnracr Member

    Location:
    HB
    Name:
    Jeff
    Boat:
    Line up
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    Have fun!! Was trying to go on 8-2 but have to leave on business. I know of some BD guys going then!! Jeff
     
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  12. Tunahead

    Tunahead Long Time Tuna Abused Member

    Location:
    Costa Mesa
    Name:
    Ron
    Boat:
    several
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    Great read Gary. I'll be on Condor w/Norm,son
    up to bat soon!. Can't wait! Scott always
    goes "yard" to find fish. The Big Bird rocks

    1st test of the repaired bionic shoulder again. LOL
     
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  13. surfgoose

    surfgoose active geezer

    Location:
    Long Beach, CA, USA
    Name:
    Gary
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    whichever has the longest bunk
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    I'm sorry, I just can't get my ancient Dell to load the pictures that I took. But if there is anything more generic in appearance than a medium yellowtail, I can't think of it. Tasty, though!
     
  14. RockHopperNCKA

    RockHopperNCKA Well-Known "Member"

    Location:
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Name:
    Dustin
    Boat:
    Do kayaks count?
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    Thanks for the great report!

    I'm on the Islander for a 3.5 day this weekend. Hoping the conditions don't get any worse than what's already forecasted.
     
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  15. jeffdalton

    jeffdalton "Well Known" Member

    Location:
    Long Beach, CA
    Name:
    Jeff Dalton
    Boat:
    21' Parker/Stealth Stix
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    I'm fishing a 1.5 day on the Condor this weekend!
     
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  16. Paddyman1

    Paddyman1 I love pangas

    Location:
    Left Coast
    Name:
    Steve
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    N/A
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    I went to high school with Scott and glad he listened to all my fishing knowledge as a younger man. LOLLOLLOL

    Seriously, Scott's boat and crew are a great group to work with. 11 people, you could have set up 2 ping-pong tables in the stern during down time. That boat is massive.
     
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  17. marcusmillo

    marcusmillo Israel Supporter

    Location:
    Chino Hills/CA/USA
    Name:
    Marcus
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    NA
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    Ron, Fishing is not a Physical Therapy. lol.

    Scott burned a lot of fuel last Sunday . Blue fin being Blue fin.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2017
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  18. fv1500

    fv1500 Fishn' Frank

    Location:
    San Clemente
    Name:
    Frank
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    n/a
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    They don't call Scott Mr. Tuna for nothing.
    Nice well written report. Some posts are painful to read.
     
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  19. muledeer07

    muledeer07 Member

    Location:
    USA
    Name:
    Wade
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    None
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    You take care Ron, be great to have you back out on the water. Stay away from those giant bluefin.
     
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  20. apogee

    apogee My name is Apogee and I am a Squidaholic

    Location:
    Bakersfield
    Name:
    Apogee..
    Boat:
    Boston Whaler Outrage 28 (End Game)
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    Pics? thanks for the report....Ap
     
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