This morning Oct. 8 the CONDOR returned to Fisherman's Landing from a three-day run searching for the offshore kelps, and it was a great trip for the 23 of us on the limited-load adventure. We stopped tuna fishing Sunday mid-afternoon because we had full boat limits (345) of the yellowfin tuna, and along with that we also kept 140 yellowtail and 23 dorado. The boat didn't include in the report the catch&release yellowtail (and there were a bunch) or the skipjack, easily over a hundred released to go along with the half-dozen that I kept (I like to smoke them) and probably another 50 or so skippies kept by others. This was the first time in this past decade of offshore trips that I've been on a boat that stopped fishing because we were at limits. It was an interesting feeling to rack the rod and have the boat pull away from a kelp that had fish flashing past the stern and still blowing up on the scattered chum. We loaded last Friday morning and rolled at 11am. We each got a wrist band because the plan was to go hit the Coronado Islands that first afternoon, but after only a hour out of port we curved further south because apparently a radio call from another boat told Captain Jimmy Merrill that the tuna were biting good just a couple of hours further south. And in a short time we were trolling, and getting stopped about every half-hour. Usually it was skipjack that took the trolling lures, but sometimes yellowfin, and chumming brought mixed schools up to the boat and we would tag a dozen or so and then start rolling again towards the south. The pattern continued for the next two days. We ended up a little over a hundred and ten miles south, and then slowly made our way back north-west, hunting for kelps and looking for signs of fish. Some kelps were empty, some had a handful of fish, and some were holding schools of hungry fish of various kinds. What worked: Twenty to twenty-five pound gear and smallish hooks. Our bait was about 50/50 small sardines and big sardines. I was using a #4 Owner Mutu circle hook almost always, until the last afternoon when the bait was strictly big sardines, then I changed to a 2/0 Mutu. But I was really trying to see if I could catch them on lures, so that is what I spent most of my time trying to do. There were some very hot sticks on the boat that were concentrating on fly-lining bait, and they were stacking up the fish big time. I got bit on thin metal lures and flat-fall lures and different things that I tried, but it was not nearly as effective as going to a bait. I had the experience of catching two fish that I snagged on a single-hook lure, I have no idea how that happened. There were a lot of tangles, and a lot of fish were lost as a result. I had two heartbreaks, one was my best yellowfin fight and the other a really nice dorado, the biggest that I've connected with in twenty years, lost when it went Kamikazi at the end of the fight only ten feet out of gaff range and ran parallel to the boat and wrapped up a dozen lines, mostly braid, and my mono didn't have a chance. I lost several more, but they were early in the fight and I hadn't seen them, so it didn't hurt as much. Capt. Jimmy ran a good trip. Scott Caslin kept everything running as always, and tried to gaff fish in the eye, which is nice but really hard to do. He kept making it happen. Curtis and Luke had magic hands, were able to save a lot of fish from macrame tangles. And Greg Seil kept us in good food all weekend. Whenever you have a chance to go on one of the limited-load trips on the CONDOR, it will be a fun trip.