Offshore Intrepid 1.5 day 5/16-5/18

PENN

streetnfish

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Jun 7, 2009
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Ray
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Hey guys,

I signed up for a 1.5 day a couple months ago for me and my gal. Figuered it would be nice to get away in style after the past year. Initially thought we might be doing Collnet or some coastal yellowtail. But as the date grew closer I realized that we would be doing the Bluefin thing. Then I got the news that we would be changing our departure time from 8pm to 11am. Sweet ! More fishing time AND an extra lunch, dinner, and snacks !
Anyway, I kept track of what was being caught so I could select my arsenal for two. Of course by the time of the trip, the fish being caught were from 5lb yellows to 200lb bluefin. So I had to bring EVERYTHING ! 🙄 So my list consisted of Penn Torque 12/Shikari 800 + Penn Fathom 25N/Calstar 800l (25-30lb), Okuma Mak 8/Calstar 700H + Penn 40NLD/Calstar 700h (40lb /sinker rig), Tiburon SST 8/Calstar 765ML + Accurate BX 600/Rainshadow 84XH (50/60lb flat fall rig), Okuma Mak 20/Okuma PCH 74XXXH + Tiburon SST 20/Seeker 2x4 (100/80lb flat fall rig), and finally Shimano Tranx 500HG/Phenix 809XHJ (Coltniper rig). That and all the associated tackle for whatever we might do. It was almost as if I was packed for an 8day trip. My hope was that things would be narrowed down when I get in the boat and that several reels would just stay in the reel bag.
Get to the landing at 8:00 and there are a few folks there already.
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The weather on the way down had been from drizzle to rain and we all wondered what it would be like out on the water. We knew there would be chances for wind and rain and so dressed accordingly.
Finally we boarded the boat, greeted the crew and pushed off. My girl and I got room 7 which was nice with closet space and an extra wide bottom bunk.
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Capt Bill Cavanaugh would be driving with Travis as 2nd. On deck were "Ceffie" (spelling), Ed, Matt, and Adopho. In the kitchen were Chef Brian and his assistant Taylor. Was good to see familiar faces and get caught up on the past year. We already had bait and so cleared the point and headed out.
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Brian set out a lunch of Philly Cheese Steak and
Bill gave us the rundown on the fishing and rigging up.
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The boat had just come in from a 3 day were they went looking in a different area than the fleet and caught 5 fish total ! Saw them but couldn't get them to bite. For our trip we would be joining the fleet who were having some great and some not so great days. He reported that most fish were being caught on flat falls and slider rigs at night, with some coltsniper action as well as a few on flyline baits if they are boiling. Great! I have to set up all my outfits! Hey better to have them and not need them ... right? Suggested rigging for flatfalls was a 50/60lb rig for day time and for night 100lb mainline with 200lb bite leader. 300g Diawa SK jigs were said to be the most effective jigs and were for sale on the boat along with Shimano Flatfalls. Luckily I had my own Jigs and rigging because a fully rigged Jig from the boat cost $50 apiece. Bill reported that he was not interested in chasing the small yellows and that we would start fishing around 7pm. Everyone set out to rig up and Brian put out snacks to get everyone started.
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We rigged up and went to take a nap before dinner.
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Best lasagna ever for dinner and we started into the fishing zone. There were about 6 other sportboats out there and we joined the search. Weather was dry but breezy ,overcast ,and some good sized swells coming through Very soon Bill slowed down, threw bait and lines/lures went out. Didn't look like anything was happening with these fish. Up at the bow it looked like an anglers had hooked into some kelp and was slowly dragging it in. As it got closer we could that is was actually a small bluefin. It was snagged in the tail and with the swells, the angler couldn't even tell he has a fish on ! Well, one fish on the board (about 20lbs) and we were on our way. It's getting dark and soon we make another stop. "Fish at 180 feet" I drop a 300g SK jig on my heavy outfit. Soon my line goes slack. Reel in gear, a couple of winds and I'm on! Couple of other guys hook up and my fish races to the stern. I have to work around a couple of guys who are tangled with me and then my line goes slack as the fish shakes the jig. 😔. Several fish hit the deck and the school moves on. My girl gets a nice one ! About 40lbs.
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Off we go and we make several stops of schools but can't get them to bite or stay with the boat. Then we finally get another school to stick with the boat and multiple people get bit ! These are nice 40-50 lb fish and its chaos. I end up getting wrapped with a couple of fish and while I worked that out, the school moved on. When the smoke cleared we had 20+ fish on the boat. It was about 9pm when we hit a lull. Driving around we saw nothing. Finally around 11, Bill shuts the boat down and says that we are just going to drift and resume looking at 2am as he is not coming across fish anywhere. So back to the rack for some shut eye.
I wake up to the boat starting up around 2am and ther is only one guy in the galley. 15 min later he goes to bed and it's just me in the galley. Soon Ceffie comes around on watch and we shoot the shit for awhile. He goes to the wheelhouse to check on Bill. Coulple minutes later he runs down and motions for me to come out on deck. "There's fish!" As I grab my rod the boat slows down and turns into a drift. I drop down and reel up about half way. Bill yells out, "I got a few marks at 180 feet". I drop back down, take three cranks, and my rod loads up nicely ! The fish pulls a bit of drag straight down but soon stops and settles into a circle. Didnt go on a screaming run so I figure its a nice 40/50lb model. Bill gets on the horn and announced that we have a fish hanging. Only a couple of guys come out to fish. I put the rod on the rail and work the fish up. Its dark and I can't see anything except my rod tip that I use to tell when to get some cranks in. The fish circles up in less than 10 min and I get a short glimpse of him at the top of the last circle before Ceffie gaff him boatside. Nicer model I thought ! Ceffie pulls up on the gaff and let's out a groan. Bill appears out of nowhere and says "You need another gaff ? Here I come." They slide the fish over the rail and then I see its much larger than I thought !
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"Nice fish Ray ,Bill says. "That's a hundred pounder. Probably a little over." (Ended up being 124.8) I'm super stoked and say "If I'd know he was that big I wouldn't have pulled so hard !" 😄 Couple of pics and we go off in search of more fish.
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About an hour later. We hit another school and put some more fish on the boat. None for me but my girl got another one about 25lbs which was nice cause I wanted one to cut for sashimi.
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We keep looking but can't get on another group of fish that want to bite before it gets light. Bill gives ups the morning rundown and says that we will keep fishing but concentrate on the dark hours up until around 11pm. Some folks go to the bunks to sleep but I spend the day napping in the galley and hitting the deck everytime the boat stopped. Weather even cleared up a bit.
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During the day we saw tons of fish ! Breezers, jumpers, and boiling fish in several areas. But couldn't get any of them to bit. We would pull up to boiling tuna, cast coltsnipers right into the middle and get nothing as they sink out. You always read about it but it's still crazy everytime you see it. 🤯 I did get a couple of sniffs on my coltsniper (120g Katie Perry) but nothing to stick. We chased them into the dark with only a couple of fish hooked and landed as it got dark. At night, the wind picked up and it seemed that the swell came up with it. Pretty sporty conditions! We saw very few fish and got no more hookups as we called it a trip and went to bed for the ride home.
So as far as noting what worked for those going out. Most fish were caught in SK jigs but there were also some caught on regular flatfalls. My girl caught both of hers on a 300g Nomad Buffalo in red. (Non glowing). As far as glowing jigs go, it didn't seem to matter. Lots of fish were caught on non glow jigs colors at night. Myself and 1 other guy tried bridled jigs but only half heartedly and no fish were landed on any.
For live bait, we only got a couple of fish on sinker rigs and I think 1 on flyline sardine. No coltsniper fish landed though I got 2 bites on one.
So my hint would be to dial in your flatfall game. Weight only mattered as far as getting to the desired depth. Fish were caught with weights ad light as 100g when the fish were up high but most of the time they were below 150 feet and with the wind the heavier was got down quicker. Many of us actually casted our jigs downwind to increase our vertical jigging time.
We ended up with around 30 fish. High stick on the boat had 4 and several people caught 0 fish so I was happy with the haul between my girl and I. At least a few of the boats found the right schools of fish and limited out during the same time period we were out there. (Code group😉) There is tonnage of fish out there so if you can get on them and take advantage of you chances you have a good chance to do well.
A far as angler error... I noticed several people lost fish to bad knots both self tied and tackleshop tied so check your connections. Fish were also lost from having drags too tight. I also think that many people were not fishing deep enough. I didn't have my line marked and used the count down method. Still it always took longer than I thought it would to get to the proper depth especially with the wind we had.
The boat and crew were great as expected and I had a great time even though fishing all night is exhausting ! This was my first time doing the night flatfall thing and I learned quit a bit so it was fun.
Go get um guys.
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Mr. DRE

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  • Sep 23, 2019
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    Nice trip Ray. I was there as you guys were unloading I was on the following trip but unfortunately they canceled at the last minute.
     

    streetnfish

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    Nice trip Ray. I was there as you guys were unloading I was on the following trip but unfortunately they canceled at the last minute.
    Aw man Bummer ! I'll tell you though, If the weather was any worse than it was out there on Mon night, then you don't want to be out there. We were rocking an rolling and there were almost several bad spills (a couple almost overboard) amongst some of the passengers. I've fished worse weather on some of the albacore trips back in the day but they don't go out in that stuff anymore.
     
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    streetnfish

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    "25lbs which was nice cause I wanted one to cut for sashimi." are smaller bluefin better for sashimi? Wouldn't the big one taste the same?
    Yea but I'm in an apartment right now so no room for cutting a big fish. Whether the smaller ones are better for sashimi I can't say. Just fits on my kitchen counter.
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    DOGHOUSE26

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    Feb 22, 2004
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    Very well written report and your pics make me hungry! Congrats on the nice fish looks like you picked the right day. Thanks for the report!
     
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    SDSailandFish

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    Aug 17, 2020
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    Thanks Ray, great report and intel. I'm heading out next Thursday and will definitely be loading up on the large flat falls.
    Enjoy that sushi, it's well deserved for both of you.
     
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    COSDoug

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    Ray,
    Your reports only get better, which is hard to believe because you already craft great reads. The technical points, your thought process and great pictures all come together for a terrific accounting of the adventure.
    Thank you.
     
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    gettingbentwithbo

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    Mar 7, 2009
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    Thanks for the report Ray! Great write-up and pics to go with it.
     
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    Apr 10, 2019
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    Hey Ray, when you got bit at 2:00 AM there was one other guy on the bow with you. Me. You fished hard the entire trip and you handled that buck and a quarter fish like a pro. Great write up. Hope to fish with you again.
     
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