Fishing Trip from heck, not quite from hell, but close

mhanson59hb

Fear No Fish
Apr 22, 2013
2,012
3,205
Huntington Beach
Name
Mike
Boat
2008 Trophy 1802 "Mako My Day"
Sometimes you just have trust your gut instinct and stay home.

Short story: took my son fishing and lobster hooping at Catalina for a few days starting last Thursday. Bonito limits to 8 pounds and a good lobster crawl for 2 of the biggest bugs I have ever caught cut short by boat gremlins, DFG/Coast Guard boardings and high winds. Sorry, no pics.

Long story: Checked the weather forecasts, Thursday and Friday looked great with maybe some NE winds Saturday afternoon. Figured we come back Saturday before the winds started. First thing in the morning, I break off the key in the trailer hitch lock. Strike one. We get to Catalina, no problems , glass smooth ride and no wind. We are not there more than 10 minutes when here comes the Coast Guard for a safety check. Show them all the required gear, but somehow my fire extinguisher got discharged in route. Fortunately it was covered, so the spray does not get everywhere. It’s still cold from discharging when I hand it to the officer. Strike two. He’s really cool and offers to escort us into Avalon to purchase a new one, and lucky for us Chets Hardware had one left. The CG gives us the yellow slip and we go on our way.

We catch a bunch of nice bones to stuff the bait cages and go hooping that night. 2 hours, nets full of shorts and giant spider crabs. We did scrape out 2 legals, and one of them was a Lobstrosity. Called it quits because we were tired of dealing with the crabs.

Next morning, I check the tank and the smaller lobster is dead. No idea what happened, maybe it was a softy and got thrashed by the big guy. Strike three. We start to troll up more bones for bait and here comes the DFG. They have some girl trainee on board, and boy, are they going to show her how it’s done, and done thoroughly! They board us and search the boat from top to bottom. We being some of the good guys are totally legal, but it takes them 30+ minutes. They wish us good luck. Boy, are we going to need it.

So that night we set out hooping again in great conditions. We are getting legals in every net and less crab as well. I go to shift the engine in gear and it stalls. Turn the key, nothing. I shift it back and forth a few times and finally it engages and I am able to start the engine just before we drift into the kelp line. I figure the neutral safety switch is not aligning properly when the shift position is in neutral. I don’t want to be out there at night like this, so we pick up the nets and moor up at Whites. Turn on the weather radio and hear the winds may start in the morning instead of the afternoon, but I can’t risk crossing at night. Strike four.

The next morning, its howling 20 knots and 4 foot wind chop coming directly out of the north right in our face. So now I’m worried about getting home with engine issues and high winds. We start across, but it’s too much so we head to Avalon. When we get there, the Harbor Patrol starts berating me about having bad judgment being out there that day. Strike five. I tell him the story and he eases up.

He gives us a mooring and we go in to pay for it, and I make a donation to the Tim Mitchell family, the HP officer that was killed a few weeks ago. Sad. After lunch, the wind dies down almost completely, and HP comes by and tells us there is a window to go and that it’s going to be blowing harder the next day. There is still a big swell coming directly into Avalon, but we decide to go for it, because the engine has not stalled again when shifting. So we start out about 3 PM, having to do only 7 knots to avoid getting pounded, but it’s not bad without the wind. About half way back the wind starts kicking up hard, and our ETA is after dark. Not good. Now it’s really howling, but we make it back into the harbor safe. The wind starts mellowing out, and I figure we are home free. Wishful thinking. As we near the dock, I shift into neutral to slow down. The engine dies and the tilt trim does not work. Strike six. My son breaks out the paddle, but the wind suddenly picks up again, pushing us away from the dock. We throw out the anchor, and I try for 30 minutes to fix the shifter. No dice, it’s really broken this time. Strike seven.

So now I try to get Vessel Assist on channel 16. No answer. Finally the Sheriff picks up, and we’re right in front of them. So they hook us up and tow us over to the dock, 30 feet away, laughing the whole time.

Now we have the boat on the trailer, but the trim is not working. So we consult the engine manual and find the engine can be tilted manually if you turn the release valve 3 times. Not. We mess with it for another 30 minutes at every conceivable position, but it just won’t release. Strike eight. I consider cutting the trim power wires and hooking them directly to the battery to bypass the switch, but then I came to my senses.

So now I decide to just leave the engine down and tow the boat home at a crawl, so the keel won’t scrape on the road. This went fine, and we made it home, but it’s really late and I forgot to call my girlfriend and she is hopping mad. Strike nine.

Anyway, we did manage 7 large lobsters to not make it a total loss! And of course, there was hardly any wind the next day.
 
Last edited:

@-EZ

Fail, try again.
Apr 9, 2007
14,417
1,889
San Diego, CA.
Name
Max
Boat
Trophy Pro, @-EZ
DAAAAAmmnnnnn. Sorry, but some of that was funny. Glad you made it back ok. Sucks when shit just happens.
 
P

Paddyman1

Great report, Mike. Wow did you pay some major dues. Not to mention your son getting major experience. Coming back into the harbor at home must have felt like major relief after crossing that channel. The channel can turn nasty without warning and she can be a relentless bitch!

Maybe time to have someone give that boat a thorough look-over.
 

gecsr1

Plain Jane Rods...Hobby Rod Builder
Jul 15, 2005
14,396
3,740
Poway Ca
Name
Gary
Boat
28' Aquasport "Reel Adventure II" SOLD / PlainJaneRods
Glad your cup was half full instead of half empty..... Home safe and sound....
 
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mhanson59hb

Fear No Fish
Apr 22, 2013
2,012
3,205
Huntington Beach
Name
Mike
Boat
2008 Trophy 1802 "Mako My Day"
Great report, Mike. Wow did you pay some major dues. Not to mention your son getting major experience. Coming back into the harbor at home must have felt like major relief after crossing that channel. The channel can turn nasty without warning and she can be a relentless bitch!

Maybe time to have someone give that boat a thorough look-over.
Thanks, I appreciate it. Yes, the boats going in as soon as I can get the trim working! And yes, I was really relieved to get in the harbor, even though the comedy of errors continued. There is nothing more humbling then the ocean.
 

Omarkayak

I've posted enough I should know better...
Jul 26, 2007
1,160
517
Northridge, CA
Name
Donald W. Clarke III
Boat
11+ ft, Ocean Kayak Scrambler, P 'N' Queue Pod
Rough go. Way to persevere.

Good fishin'!
BDC OK
 

striper30

member
Nov 23, 2011
217
149
Brea, ca
Name
Jim
Boat
Precision 28
It can go south - so quick. Sorry to hear about your trip. Way to hang in there and stay calm. How old is your son? That is also a HUGE factor....
 

polfishski

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Oct 5, 2008
2,005
422
Descanso
Name
Tom
Boat
20 SkipJack (Tail Chaser)
Good read a little bit of a bummer with all the hassles but hey you got 7 legal bugs sometimes things work out in the end. Thanks for sharing.
 

jaw1970

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Sep 6, 2008
2,126
283
Long Beach, CA. USA
Name
John
Boat
Koa Honu 28 Skipjack
Thanks for that. Things rarely go perfect. You got 7 bugs, spent time in paradise, spent time with your son, caught fish, it's all good.
I thought your stalling problem was going to be a wrapped rope in the prop.
 

Kentucky Fried Chicken

Well-Known "Member"
Jul 12, 2014
55
71
48
Name
kyle
Boat
titanic
Well at least you didn't reach the 10 count! Now you can get back on your feet and kick some ass next time. Thanks for the read, that was some funny shit.
 

Frijolez

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Apr 22, 2013
264
113
Huntington Beach, ca, u.s.a.
Name
Dan
Boat
Mako 192 cc
When it rains, it pours... It seems that when stuff starts to go wrong on the boat, everything decides to sing-along and play too. Glad your safe. It's really scary when the boat won't start when you are hooping close to rocks!
 

b-reel

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Nov 20, 2011
782
237
Downey
Name
HP
Boat
none yet
That was me as a boat owner. Funny thing is that I sold the boat and I don't seem to have those problems anymore. But, I can't wait till I buy my next one. Problems only fishermen understand. Glad you made it back and had some dinner to boot. Good job!
 

BrokeLoser

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Feb 16, 2011
709
290
SoCal
Name
Broke Loser
Boat
Striper
WOW...Very well written...glad I read this.
Did this all go down in your 1802?
Happy to hear you're all safe.
 

sushimi

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Mar 4, 2007
616
346
ORANGE
Name
Sam
Boat
Edgewater 185cc
You were able to avoid the strike 10! Glad you got home safe.
 

geno machino

"Relax" - Everything is going to be just fine!
Feb 9, 2007
1,949
92
O'side
Name
Gene
Boat
Revo 13
7 Bugs and you lived to tell the tale. Sounds like a successful adventure. WTG!!!
 

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