Offshore Coronado Islands on the San Diego 6/19


Jun 9, 2017
San Diego
Boat Name
If I only...
My brother and I decided to go fishing on Tuesday, vacillating between going out on the Grande for a shot at tuna and the San Diego for an Islands trip. I usually fish the Liberty but since it already had 35 reservations, we decided to give the San Diego a shot, especially after hearing so many good things about it.

Got down to the landing and chatted with some of the other passengers while we were waiting to board, then headed off the dock with a load of 29 other anglers precisely at 5:30. We made a quick stop at the bait barge for some of the largest and healthiest sardines I have ever seen. then we sat down for the 2 hour boat ride to the Islands.

Weather was overcast, and the seas a bit rough and choppy. not bad by any means, but it was not the glass smooth conditions I had for my last trip to the Islands. The weather and seas did not change for the rest of the trip.

We started "fishing" on the south end of the south Island, along with who knows how many private boats and other sport boats. Honestly, I can't remember when I have seen that many boats in one spot at the islands, especially on a Tuesday! Needless to say, Capt. Bostian quickly bailed on that spot and headed a bit north for a few minutes. He finally slowed down, and announced over the PA that he had found a school, and get your baits in the water.

The fishing started out about as good as one could hope. there was a constant steady bite, with a few fish always hanging. Constant action, but that crazy wide open fishing where everyone is hooked up and the whole thing gets out of control. We had a good mix of anglers, from the regulars to the novice from AZ. By and large, everyone worked well together and tried their best, even the guy that went rushing down the rail, following his fish like he was told to do, but neglecting the "over under" part of it. I yelled at him to stop, and he did, but said "I'm following my fish!" I retorted "along with everyone else's line." We got that mess cleaned up and he got his fish.

I started out fishing fly lined sardines with a 2/0 J hook on 20# with a 20# floor leader, and quickly landed three yellowtail, all in the 10 to 15 pound class (that is what we caught all day, not huge, but not rats either) and decided to switch to surface iron. A brave decision for me, as I have not attempted this in 40 (yes forty) years! As an aside, I would like to thank Jamie at Bob Sands for helping setting me up with a great selection of JRI jigs and a wonderful United composites RCE 900 Monster rod. Anyway, the best part of the day had to be that on my first jig cast in literally 40 years I hook up with a yellowtail! Talk about excitement. I ended up catching two more yellowtail and four barracuda on a mint and white JRI 3 before I needed to take a break.

About that time, Ryan decided that we need to make a move (it was noon, and we already had more than 120 yellowtail on the boat along with maybe 25 barracuda) and we moved up towards the north end of the south island. Another stop and more of the same, lots of yellows, barracuda and some bonito.

Final stop of the day was at the middle grounds, where the calicos were plentiful and willing to play. I ended up catching 7 yellowtail (gave two to my brother), five barracuda (four released) and two calico bass (botjh released.

Overall it was a great day, especially good because everyone on the boat caught fish. The captain and crew did an exceptional job both finding the fish and making sure everyone, from the rank novice to experienced angler was catching fish and having a good time. I really can not say enough good things about the captain and crew of the San Diego and I will definitely be riding this boat again.

On another note, a question for all you experienced jig fishermen. I started the day with a JRI 3, catching seven fish. Later i switched to a JRI 7 in scrambled egg, and while I kept getting strikes I could never hook a fish. I would feel the jig stop while reeling it in or see a fish explode on it during the retrieve but I could never hook them. Is there a reason why one jig might hook fish while another will not? both are new and used for the first time.

Pictures to follow,

Thanks for reading,

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Worst Fisherman
Aug 4, 2011
Ernie Gorham
Boat Name
11' SportCat Truline
Awesome report! Just need some photos!

I'm not sure about the jig question, but are the JRI 7's larger than the 3's? I've been a couple trips in the last year to the nados when the fish were preferring a slightly smaller iron. They'll still hit the big ones but I feel like they commit more to the smaller jig.
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May 27, 2012
San Diego
Boat Name
The JRI 3 has a wider kick and can be fished slower than the JRI 7s. The fish probably didn’t commit to the 7 because when you paused it you lost the action immediately, with the 3 the action probably continued for slightly longer after you paused it getting more committed strikes, either way both would have benefitted from a continued retrieve through the bite.
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The end is near
Jul 5, 2008
Boat Name
Point the rod straight at the fish, when bit keep winding until the fish starts taking out line. At the point give it a nice smooth little mini swing from seven to ten maybe eleven o'clock and it's game on. Pull up and wind on the way down at all times, never high stick it or let the line go slack (rookie mistake) that often results in lost fish and then pray the dogs leave you alone.
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Surface Iron or bust!!
Jul 23, 2014
San Fernando Valley
Boat Name
America Angler
You dont ever need to set the hook. Point the rod at the fish, Wind right through the bite until it starts pulling drag, if it doesn’t pull any drag then drag his ass straight to the boat. Hook sets itself in most cases right at the strike (as long as you wind through it), especially with braid and short topshots.

As far as strikes and no hooksets with a different jig? Could be a number of things here. Could be that the fish changed the way they are feeding and not as aggressive, was it a different school?, smaller fish? Bonito? are you fishing all mono? Could it be that you were a little tired by then and weren’t winding through the strike the instant they hit, (hesitate and they are gone), were you retrieving at the same speed? Faster? Slower? I didn’t see any mention of you tying the 3 back on, that might of narrowed down some of the possibilities. Sounds like they wanted the 7 but a little fine tuning was needed to get them to stick as is common when using a different jig.

Either way welcome back to jig fishing. Sounds like you had a blast and will learn something from this great time, and that will lead to more great times with the long rod.
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Jul 4, 2016
Dana Point
Boat Name
sometimes they will bite the jig like a dog with a bone in its mouth. With the little bigger jig and the fact that the yellows are pretty average size right now, it might have been just big enough to it not to stick? Just a guess though...
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Jul 18, 2003
San Diego
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Not meaning to be an A-Hole, or at least a total A-Hole but.... on some jigs the manufacturers put some little pieces of clear tubing in the tips of the trebles for safety issues while on the store. could it be possible your had them on?

I'm only saying because a few years back, when the longfins were running big, we had this character on board with the one trolling jig that was going to plug the boat.
we went ahead and trolled the damn thing for a good couple of hours for like 5 strikes back to back, wish wanted it, they just would not get hooked. dude could not figure why he was not getting any solid hook sets. we brought the lure in for inspection only to find out he had a 1" long piece of clear tubing on the tip of the hook.... we removed the tubing and we all lived happily ever after....
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Luck favors the well prepared.
Sep 18, 2006
Costa Mesa, Cailf
Boat Name
11 ft Sears W/Duel 5.2hp
If I may respectfully suggest:
Ck the hooks. IF they do not stick into your thumb nail without any pressure they probably need sharpening.

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Apr 26, 2018
Temecula, CA
Boat Name
Actively looking
Seconding the first poster on this. This is normal for the 8-10lb yellowtail at the Coronados right now.

When a yellowtail of this size hit the jig it will approach it from the side like a dog bone, resulting in a bump or a weak cheek hook because the jig is being pulled away from them. You will see tons of bumps and even temporary hook ups that come unbuttoned with this fish size. Bigger yellowtail, and even calico bass will inhale (choke) the jig hooks to line which result in a solid lip hook when its being pulled out of their mouth.
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