Eldorado Sportfishing - Saved the norcaltunaclub.com 7 day charter


Mar 18, 2011
Orange County
Royal Polaris
A bunch of us from Norcaltunaclub.com charter packed up the truck and pointed the hood towards San Diego. We had to make a few stops along the way to pick up some of the amazing sponsorship goodies that have been graciously donated by these amazing companies.


First order of business, meeting with Darin Dohi to pick up the custom wrapped United Composites US80 Tilefish by Moon’s Customs Rod. What an amazing blank and piece of fish killing art. Tad K was the lucky winner on this year’s trip. Next up….the Longfin to meet up with Tony. Big time kudos to SoftSteel USA as they have continued to support my group over the past few years. I have a great story about his 40lb line….more to come on this.


Last stop, Five Star Fish processing…….we needed to unload about 30+ coolers for Sarah and her to team to prepare for our return. Again, 5 Star has been such great friends and supporters of our group…we love these guys like family. *Side note – their tuna jerky is grubbin’….just add beer and then it becomes a disappearing act.


Now we’re off to our final destination, Pt. Loma Sportfishing to jump on the Intrepid. We check into the Vagabond to meet up with some friends and suddenly we’re knee deep into our version of “Miller Time”. The laughs were loud, the jokes were flowing and the beer was evaporating quickly into the man-cation laced air. We were having a blast and looking forward to 7 days of Long Range fishing.

Around 7:20pm on Saturday evening our Happy Hour was suddenly interrupted by some unfortunate news….our trip was going to be delayed by 2 days due to a maintenance issue on the boat. Not the news that we were all expecting to receive, but we went with the flow since we were already committed to the trip. Our 7 day was now cut to 5 day….which meant, our options to head to the Rocks or Ridge for some wahoo has been ruled out. That’s okay….we’ll still make the best of the situation…..we’re on vacation!

Now here’s where logistics got interesting…..we were invited to stay on the boat at no charge while they fixed the motor. All 25 of us didn’t want to sit on the boat, tied up to the dock….heck, we wanted to pull on some fish. So the office makes an arrangement with the Eldorado (short range boat) for all 25 of us to get out and away from the dock to yank on some fish. Solution that worked for us, thank you Hoffy.

It’s now Sunday afternoon around 11am and we’re in scramble mode unloading our gear onto the Intrepid and getting our staterooms situated properly. Then we have to sort out our 1.5 day tackle and gear bag with a small handful of rods. It’s a different mindset and can be confusing at times for those (like myself and many others) that don’t do these day trips in SoCal.


Let me introduce to the operation that saved our trip: The Eldorado Sport Fishing Team.

We’re off to jump on the Eldorado with Capt. TJ, Dale, Matt “Cheech”, Stevie, “Big Game” James, Mikey, Brian. The fish are close to the Point….so we were off and running and by late afternoon we were already on swarm of dodo’s that wanted to bite. Nothing huge…most smaller models with the larger ones in the low 20’s. The ice was broken, the beer and laughs were back in motion….life was good.

After the sun goes down, TJ motored up hill to the 43…….ride was a bit bumpy going uphill, but we arrived early enough to anchor down on a premium spot. Slowly the yellowtail started showing up…nice models up to 30lbs. A few small packs would crash through our baits and would meet the Eldorado welcoming committee. Then things suddenly changed………



Uncle Marv puts a nice 35 BFT in the boat then (like a light switch) the big BFT decided to crash the party. Boils were around us 360 degrees…..the RR3 was on our left and the Fortune was on our right. I could hear Hot Dog on the Fortune getting excited over the PA system…..hear they come. Mikey gets bite using 30lb…….he gets dumped quickly with the long and deep tail beats, fish gone. Then Gary gets bit using an Andros 5 II using 40lb……..he gets dumped, fish gone. Then Dane gets bit soaking 50lb……….he either pulled or broke off. Then Eric gets bit using 40lb and he in for the long haul fight……the type that requires hydration and pouring water over his head. The fish was beating him up like he was in the ring with Mike Tyson. Everybody has a plan until they get punched. The brusier BFT landed the knock out punch after a long hard 60 minute fight.





Next in the ring…..good ol Johnny Minahan. Soaking the big bait with an old Daiwa Sealine with fresh drags and straight 40lb SoftSteel USA premium mono filled to the brim. The rod was his trusty old Sabre 7’ 15-40lb salmon rod…oh my. A few minutes later…..Johnny’s bit with a big un. The fish dumps all 500 yds of 40lb string in less than 5 minutes….Johnny no longer wants to fights the fish. He kindly says “here you go Doug”. Now I’m holding this big old Sealine with about 40-50yds of line left on the reel with a piping hot right side plate. The star drag and anything that was metal was burning the skin on my fingers…….the heat and friction was intense. Somebody poured beer on water on it to cool it down. It helped, but it was still too damn hot. After about 1 hour, we finally got all of the line back and big BFT surfaced about 40ft from the boat…….it was a cow BFT. Now I was determined to kill this fish before he could get his head back down……well that was the plan. Because of the old gear and 40lb line it was hard to keep this bad boy from sounding, eventually the hook was pulled...but the SoftSteel 40lb line did not break! Unreal strength. After an exhausting, gut wrenching all out fight…..the BFT were winning the boxing tournament with a 6-0 lead versus mankind. More were hooked and more were lost…..all of the proper “knock out” gear was sitting about 40 miles to the south on the Intrepid. Damn.


Now as we were wrapping up our day and trolling back towards the dock……I hear “Doug to the wheelhouse please”. Whenever you’re fishing and your name comes over the PA system….9/10 times it’s not good news. True to form……..7 day morphed into a 5 day, which then morphed into a 3 day. On Tuesday morning, I was called into the Intrepid office for a status update. The 3 day should be a go since the required parts are in SD now. Before I even had a chance to get out of my chair….another call comes in that eventually seals our fate. The 2015 norcaltunaclub 7 day charter was officially cancelled. Not the news that I was looking for or hoping for….but we will be back in full force next year looking for some well deserved payback.

We arrive back to landing on Monday night to off load some gear to spend the night on the Intrepid and to let the Eldorado get their supplies back in order. Tuesday afternoon after our 7 day was formally cancelled.....14 guys from my group jump back on the Eldorado in search of some payback....especially Mikey B, who was spooled the day before. Payback was rewarded with a 135lb being met by the welcoming committee from Eldorado sport fishing.
cheech and mikey.jpg
TJ and Mikey.jpg

game over.jpg


Huge, huge Kudos to the Eldorado Sport Fishing team…..Capt. TJ and his crew are awesome. They could have easily turned all of us down to go home and relax, but they stepped up to save our situation and we really appreciate it. I would highly recommend the Eldorado sport fishing team if you’re looking to book a 1-2 day trip in the near future. These guys could easily be working on any of the big LR boats…..they have the experience and skill and most importantly, the right personality and attitude.

Here ‘s the list of characters that make this operation special.

- Capt. TJ – Incredible Captain / Skipper. The dude is fishy…for those who’ve been long range fishing for a long time, you know what I’m talking about. Great attitude and it flows down to his crew.

- Crewman “Big Game” James – straight up deck hustler. Big Game James and I were in a tag team wrestling match like “Nacho Libre” on a big un…. In the end we pulled the hook 40 ft from the boat, but the BFT swam away with a few black eyes and a sore ass…..cuz we were getting some. It just wasn’t his time……

- Crewman Matt aka “Cheech” – another big time deck hustler. Great attitude and a gigantic humorous personality. Skilled and knows his craft well. Another awesome dude……that likes to work the deck in his hot pink speedo (not really – inside joke).

- Crewman Stevie – He’s the guy that you’re looking for if you have any questions related to tackle, knots, gear…..or for that matter anything that is fishing related. He just has that “look” of a veteran crewman. Excellent, skilled and pretty much knows everything to help you have success when fishing. Another awesome crewman and a fantastic attitude.

- Brian and Mikey – Crew Members – Galley: These guys were feeding us like we were sea lions on the deck. Actually Stan does come to mind….you know, big whiskers, barking out loud sounds and stuff (kidding). You feel me? Their Cheeseburger was solid and seasoned just right. Snacks….boy, those could be dangerous. They kept the tray full at all times….you know when the fishing slows down, fishermen like to graze in the galley. All good and thank you for keeping us fed.

- Crewman / 2nd Skipper Dale – Super nice guy. He and I were bs’in on the deck around 4am when everyone else was sleeping. Dale is the yin & yang balance with the crew….. You know, Cheech is on one side of the spectrum and Dale is on the other to balance it out. Great guy.

In the coming days / weeks you'll see another continuation report once I gather up all of the pics and etc. Thank you.
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Up to no good...
Feb 16, 2012
Culver City, CA
Intrepid, New Del Mar
Thanks for the report Doug! Super bummer our trip ended up canceled, but we will be back. I didn't know that Mikey ended up with a 135! I guess all was not lost. Talk to you soon.

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I'd rather be catching TUNA
Aug 26, 2011
fresno, ca usa
reel lady
You made the best out of a bad situation. Kudos to you. Nice report

Soda Pop

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Feb 12, 2011
Fresno, CA
David Rouse
Long range fishing
Great report there Doug. mmmmm another boat will be put on my list if I go short.... thanks for the info on the boat & crew... you made a bad thing...good... excellent...
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did you say F I S H I N G ???
Feb 24, 2003
East-a-La-Mesa, baby!
starts with an "M".....
#1 boat scrubber - Team Madrugador
excellent report! :appl:

looks like you had a fine vacation regardless of the challenges.......attitude is everything. :)


Aug 5, 2009
The Organ
Great to see it was a good time, with BFT, even! I hope to fish with you boys sometime.


I've posted enough I should edit this section
Mar 20, 2008
Allied Gardens
The one on the fish
At least you got some redemption.

Congrats on a good salvage op


Apr 4, 2003
Visit site
David Tang
Great report..bummer about the mechanical issues but you and your group certainly made the best of a dismal situation……you are too cool.


Jul 6, 2011
Wow, man that blows big time. At least you got a chance to hunt for the big ones, even if it was for a short bit. Hope you guys get them next year!


I've posted enough I should edit this section
Aug 20, 2010
San Diego
Any Boat that I can go on
Great report Doug. Not your typical 7 day report. You guys handled the curve balls well.
Glad you guys got the save and a good chance at the big ones. Next year you crush them and I am sure you will do great this winter too on you cow trip.