Offshore Liberty Full Day trip: EPIC Fishing Monday 8/2

Tuna Dreamer

Newbie
Jul 14, 2019
77
340
67
San Diego
Name
Jim Berghauser
Boat
Na
I have been going out on the Liberty pretty much every Monday since mid-June. Taro is a great Captain and the deck crew are top notch. The last couple of trips like most of the fleet have been south of the Coronado Islands pattie hopping for YT, Dorado, and an occasional Yellowfin. maybe some Bonito and smallish BFT if you were lucky.

i arrived at Fisherman’s Landing at around 4:10 A.M. Monday. At check-in the office said we needed CA fishing licenses. Well that meant only one thing: Bluefin! Fortunately I packed a couple of 40lb rigs and a 60lb rig along with my 25 and 30 pound setups. Sometimes it pays to bring the “garage” fishing 😎😅

Dockside when Corey came up from the boat to sign us in he said we were heading NW about 5 hours by a big island that is not Coronado for some big BFT…. so rig up and get some shut eye. Once on board Captain Taro came on the speaker and told the 18 passengers we were going offshore on a high risk/ high reward shot at BFT up by Catalina Island! WTF??? I thought as I changed out my #1 “J” hooks to 1/0 Owner Ringed Mutu hooks on my heavier Rigs. Ended up fishing only 2 rigs all day… (8’ Phenix with a Penn Fathom 25 2-speed NLD 60lb braid/40lb mono top shot/40lb Fluro leader; 8’ custom Seeker with an AVET LX 2-speed, 80lb holo core/.60lb top shot/50lb leader)

Working on the boat for the 18 passengers that Monday were Corey, Mitch, Daniel in the galley, and Captain Taro. Before we got to the bait receivers around 5:30am I was in a bunk catching some Z’s and thinking of how I was going to hook, fight, land some tuna later. I woke up around 10:00a.m. to see the skyline of Camp Pendleton to Dana Point in the haze. A little under an hour later Captain Taro announces we are starting to see life in the waters but still had a bit more driving to get to the bio mass.

All this time I kept thinking to myself “who in their right mind drives a full day boat to water just south of Catalina to chase fish?” Captain Taro is an animal and has this uncanny knack for putting his passengers in the right zone for fish. One of the hardest working serious Captains around. His crew and backup Captain are all top notch.

As the haze starts to burn off and the sun comes out, lo and behold there is Catalina 3-4 miles to the north. About 20 or so sportfishers and PBs dot the area. I am hanging out in the bow in front of the wheelhouse when I hear the sonar go off. I run to the back grabbing my 60lb rig along the way and Captain tells Mitch to start throwing bait “1s and 2’s“ he says and almost in the same breath “now 5’s and 6’s…. Now throw scoops they are all around us! Mitch, UNLOAD on them!”

BIG boilers explode off the stern 100-150 feet back. I drop a nose hooked dine in the wake and within seconds get my first biter. BUT hook straightens out a bit and it’s gone as fast as that! 2 rods are bent so I grab my Penn Fathom with 40lb, belly hook a nice dine, throw in at midships. Bait dives down and out from the boat, and BAM! Fresh One! This was a big grade of BFT and 30 minutes later I have him to the gaff. First tuna on the decks and looks of appreciation and surprise received from the other anglers. Guessing 60-65 pounds.

As I give Thanks to the Man upstairs I re-tie a new hook and get back in the game. This time I run to the bow. 45 second soak and suddenly boils go off around my bait. ”Biter!” someone yells. Then in seconds my reel goes off. Set the drag, crank a few times, and listen to it scream. God how I love that sound! 15 minutes or so later fish is on the boat looking like a 40 pound class BFT.

Third fish follows immediately and was a fluke. Bait a dine back on my Penn Fathom 25ii with the 40lb leader, toss in around mid-ships. Bait dives straight down 40, 50, 60 feet and line goes dead. I put a few fast cranks on it and the line starts moving a little. What? A couple of more cranks and “Oh Yeah! your my bitch now!“ Fish takes off but not like it knows it’s even hooked. So I go to full strike and wind with a bent rod tip. Suddenly the tuna realizes shit ain’t right and hauls ass taking 100 yards of line in the process. This BFT was pissed and a beast at that. Had me in the bow for a good half hour. For a while there I could not get a crank on it even in low gear. After going up and down the rail a couple of times I ended up in the bow Finally, seeing deep color I was amazed both with the size of the tuna and the amount of fight in it, Simply a bad ass fish! Plus 60 pounder.

Now with 3 BFT on the boat in 90 some minutes my forearms were burning, my fingers loss their dexterity, and I honestly was feeling my age. Heck, I couldn’t even tie on a new hook. I grabbed my 60lb setup with the AVET LXii and figured time to try heavier gear. Tossed a big dine off the downwind stern corner and as soon as it got upswell I was on. So I start yelling out to see if anyone hadn't hooked up yet? Pass my rod to an older gentleman a few spots up from me and stayed with him until the BFT was on the decks. 60 pound class no doubts.

All this time 5, 6, 7 fish were constantly hanging. Taro, Mitch, Corey and Daniel did an amazing job keeping guys out of tangles. Daniel was hooking and handing off fresh hookups to passengers and everyone was in on the fun. Only fish lost that I know of were a couple of guys who dropped down to 25 and 30 pound test on little reels like an AVET SX, Lexa and Tranx 400. Some landed some lost. Everything caught was on flylined bait With 40-50 pound Flurocarbon leaders. The fish were pretty much +60lb grade with a handful of 30-40 pounders. But the biggest fish turned out to be a Yellowfin tuna pushing 90 pounds landed by deckhand Anthony fishing his day off.

We sat on that school from the original meter mark of 60lb grade fish for +3 hours and got boat limits of bluefin tuna (36 for 18 passengers) and 3 yellowfin tuna. It was epic! I personally caught and landed 4 BFT and hooked three more which I handed off to other passengers to fight. i had an unusually hot hand that day especially after my last 3 Monday trips of getting Butkus. it was like shooting fish in a barrel. Of course after we were done we had another five hour ride back home, which given the jovial mood on the boat, no one really noticed.

For me, never have I ever fished south of Catalina Island let alone on a full day boat. Captain Taro rolled the dice and certainly took a huge risk! Given the boat counts later that night we were definitely blessed with the lucky stop of the day!

Side note: As we approached limits for the boat with 3 tuna hanging, Captain said we were done. I started breaking down my gear but I had a small snarl on one of my reels. So I decided to put a bait on it to help pull the line clear for me. Not the brightest move. I tossed it out in the downwind corner of the boat aeay from everyone and it started pulling line off my snarled reel. Within 40 seconds I get picked up by another tuna. I turn to the captain standing on the bait tank and to deckhand Corey and begrudgingly exclaimed “Ah S#%T, I’m on another bluefin!” They both laughed at me and said “that’s probably the first time you ever had that kind of complaint while fishing for Bluefin tuna.” So I passed my rod over to Corey and he promptly ran it to the bow as he finessed the tuna to the gaff in like 4 minutes! Now that was definitely a lesson in fighting tuna.

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Last edited:

Spoons

USCG Master
Oct 21, 2004
1,475
977
San Diego/SF Bay
Name
Capt. Erik
Boat
21' Center Console
Sick report and epic trip!! Congrats
 
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bdubs73

Member
Feb 7, 2008
629
962
San Diego
Name
Brian
Boat
none
Nice work, we were out there with you on the Pac Queen, we had to quit fishing at noon bc we had limits as well...
 
Tuna Dreamer
Tuna Dreamer
We saw you guys working the area and then boogie out of there early. PAC Queen is another beast of a fishing boat in the fleet. Crazy how good they are. Always on the meat.
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Greenteal

Newbie
Dec 11, 2017
7
15
51
LA
Name
Art
Boat
Skipjack 24
I have been going out on the Liberty pretty much every Monday since mid-June. Taro is a great Captain and the deck crew are top notch. The last couple of trips like most of the fleet have been south of the Coronado Islands pattie hopping for YT, Dorado, and an occasional Yellowfin. maybe some Bonito and smallish BFT if you were lucky.

i arrived at Fisherman’s Landing at around 4:10 A.M. Monday. At check-in the office said we needed CA fishing licenses. Well that meant only one thing: Bluefin! Fortunately I packed a couple of 40lb rigs and a 60lb rig along with my 25 and 30 pound setups. Sometimes it pays to bring the “garage” fishing 😎😅

Dockside when Corey came up from the boat to sign us in he said we were heading NW about 5 hours by a big island that is not Coronado for some big BFT…. so rig up and get some shut eye. Once on board Captain Taro came on the speaker and told the 18 passengers we were going offshore on a high risk/ high reward shot at BFT up by Catalina Island! WTF??? I thought as I changed out my #1 “J” hooks to 1/0 Owner Ringed Mutu hooks on my heavier Rigs. Ended up fishing only 2 rigs all day… (8’ Phenix with a Penn Fathom 25 2-speed NLD 60lb braid/40lb mono top shot/40lb Fluro leader; 8’ custom Seeker with an AVET LX 2-speed, 80lb holo core/.60lb top shot/50lb leader)

Working on the boat for the 18 passengers that Monday were Corey, Mitch, Daniel in the galley, and Captain Taro. Before we got to the bait receivers around 5:30am I was in a bunk catching some Z’s and thinking of how I was going to hook, fight, land some tuna later. I woke up around 10:00a.m. to see the skyline of Camp Pendleton to Dana Point in the haze. A little under an hour later Captain Taro announces we are starting to see life in the waters but still had a bit more driving to get to the bio mass.

All this time I kept thinking to myself “who in their right mind drives a full day boat to water just south of Catalina to chase fish?” Captain Taro is an animal and has this uncanny knack for putting his passengers in the right zone for fish. One of the hardest working serious Captains around. His crew and backup Captain are all top notch.

As the haze starts to burn off and the sun comes out, lo and behold there is Catalina 3-4 miles to the north. About 20 or so sportfishers and PBs dot the area. I am hanging out in the bow in front of the wheelhouse when I hear the sonar go off. I run to the back grabbing my 60lb rig along the way and Captain tells Mitch to start throwing bait “1s and 2’s“ he says and almost in the same breath “now 5’s and 6’s…. Now throw scoops they are all around us! Mitch, UNLOAD on them!”

BIG boilers explode off the stern 100-150 feet back. I drop a nose hooked dine in the wake and within seconds get my first biter. BUT hook straightens out a bit and it’s gone as fast as that! 2 rods are bent so I grab my Penn Fathom with 40lb, belly hook a nice dine, throw in at midships. Bait dives down and out from the boat, and BAM! Fresh One! This was a big grade of BFT and 30 minutes later I have him to the gaff. First tuna on the decks and looks of appreciation and surprise received from the other anglers. Guessing 60-65 pounds.

As I give Thanks to the Man upstairs I re-tie a new hook and get back in the game. This time I run to the bow. 45 second soak and suddenly boils go off around my bait. ”Biter!” someone yells. Then in seconds my reel goes off. Set the drag, crank a few times, and listen to it scream. God how I love that sound! 15 minutes or so later fish is on the boat looking like a 40 pound class BFT.

Third fish follows immediately and was a fluke. Bait a dine back on my Penn Fathom 25ii with the 40lb leader, toss in around mid-ships. Bait dives straight down 40, 50, 60 feet and line goes dead. I put a few fast cranks on it and the line starts moving a little. What? A couple of more cranks and “Oh Yeah! your my bitch now!“ Fish takes off but not like it knows it’s even hooked. So I go to full strike and wind with a bent rod tip. Suddenly the tuna realizes shit ain’t right and hauls ass taking 100 yards of line in the process. This BFT was pissed and a beast at that. Had me in the bow for a good half hour. For a while there I could not get a crank on it even in low gear. After going up and down the rail a couple of times I ended up in the bow Finally, seeing deep color I was amazed both with the size of the tuna and the amount of fight in it, Simply a bad ass fish! Plus 60 pounder.

Now with 3 BFT on the boat in 90 some minutes my forearms were burning, my fingers loss their dexterity, and I honestly was feeling my age. Heck, I couldn’t even tie on a new hook. I grabbed my 60lb setup with the AVET LXii and figured time to try heavier gear. Tossed a big dine off the downwind stern corner and as soon as it got upswell I was on. So I start yelling out to see if anyone hadn't hooked up yet? Pass my rod to an older gentleman a few spots up from me and stayed with him until the BFT was on the decks. 60 pound class no doubts.

All this time 5, 6, 7 fish were constantly hanging. Taro, Mitch, Corey and Daniel did an amazing job keeping guys out of tangles. Daniel was hooking and handing off fresh hookups to passengers and everyone was in on the fun. Only fish lost that I know of were a couple of guys who dropped down to 25 and 30 pound test on little reels like an AVET SX, Lexa and Tranx 400. Some landed some lost. Everything caught was on flylined bait With 40-50 pound Flurocarbon leaders. The fish were pretty much +60lb grade with a handful of 30-40 pounders. But the biggest fish turned out to be a Yellowfin tuna pushing 90 pounds landed by deckhand Anthony fishing his day off.

We sat on that school from the original meter mark of 60lb grade fish for +3 hours and got boat limits of bluefin tuna (36 for 18 passengers) and 3 yellowfin tuna. It was epic! I personally caught and landed 4 BFT and hooked three more which I handed off to other passengers to fight. i had an unusually hot hand that day especially after my last 3 Monday trips of getting Butkus. it was like shooting fish in a barrel. Of course after we were done we had another five hour ride back home, which given the jovial mood on the boat, no one really noticed.

For me, never have I ever fished south of Catalina Island let alone on a full day boat. Captain Taro rolled the dice and certainly took a huge risk! Given the boat counts later that night we were definitely blessed with the lucky stop of the day!

Side note: As we approached limits for the boat with 3 tuna hanging, Captain said we were done. I started breaking down my gear but I had a small snarl on one of my reels. So I decided to put a bait on it to help pull the line clear for me. Not the brightest move. I tossed it out in the downwind corner of the boat aeay from everyone and it started pulling line off my snarled reel. Within 40 seconds I get picked up by another tuna. I turn to the captain standing on the bait tank and to deckhand Corey and begrudgingly exclaimed “Ah S#%T, I’m on another bluefin!” They both laughed at me and said “that’s probably the first time you ever had that kind of complaint while fishing for Bluefin tuna.” So I passed my rod over to Corey and he promptly ran it to the bow as he finessed the tuna to the gaff in like 4 minutes! Now that was definitely a lesson in fighting tuna.

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Great write up
 
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Steve K

Hey, I'm gettin' bit...
Jan 2, 2005
11,701
7,797
Bishop
Name
Steve
Boat
18' Bayrunner, but I like the American Angler and the Red Rooster III
Congrats! Great to catch some and be able to hand some off. Always enjoyed fishing with Taro when he was on the American Angler. Hope to get in a trip on the 19th after we get back from a 2.5 on the 18th. With my drive (360+ one way) it will make sense to do it.
 
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Tuna Dreamer
Tuna Dreamer
I will be back on the Liberty 8/16 and hopefully every available Monday through the season.
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Steve Francis

Member
Sep 11, 2006
387
494
--
Name
StephenKatSea
Boat
.--.
Some boats are just fishy and some are not. Of course it has a great deal to do with the Capt and crew. But, the Liberty has been a fishy, fish catching machine since day 1.
 
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Tuna Dreamer
Tuna Dreamer
You are absolutely spot on. I started fishing the Liberty 3 seasons ago. While I fish other boats for over night and day and a half or longer trips, the Liberty has become my weekly regular full day boat. Just wish the parking didn’t suck so bad over in PL.
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