Offshore Pacific Queen 8-15-20th reports

Pjstevko

Member
Nov 12, 2015
770
665
45
Three Rivers California
Name
PJ Stevko
Boat
N/A
I did back to back trips on the PQ last week and here's my extended reports....

Pacific Queen 8/17-20th
First trip was a 1.5 day from Sunday night until Tuesday morning. We loaded the boat at 8pm and got rods rigged up. The plan was to head to Cortez and Tanner banks for yellowtail as the med/larger sized bluefin went missing. I was super excited to hear that as I've been on a quest to land my first yellowtail for about 3 years. I rigged up a 30# flyline, a 40# flyline, 50# flyline, 60# for yoyo jigs, 80# dropper loop and 50# spinner for surface iron and snipers. (These would end up being my setups for both trips) Having all my bases covered and prepped for the next day I hit the bunk around 9:30pm to try and get some sleep. I set my alarm for 5:30am and hit the galley for some coffee while we steamed another hour north to get our spot among the other 10 boats already anchored.

Arriving on scene we set the anchor and the deckhand started a steady stream of chum and guys started dropping jigs and flying baits. The first bite came around 6:30am on a jig and a slow steady bite of yellowtail were caught for the next few hours. My first bite came on a blue/white JRI brass yoyo jig at around 7:15 and I was amazed at how hard the little 15# YT fought. I was so excited to finally land my first yellowtail and on a jig no less which made it extra special! I jigged for another 20 minutes without a bite and switched over to flylining butt hooked sardines on my new Fathom 15ld2. Two baits after switching I'm bit and it feels like a bigger model and the PCH 801H is bent over with line screaming off the fathom, once it stopped running I put the hurt on it and got it onto the boat in 10 minutes. It was a nice 20# pounder to break in the new reel on.

It's now 8:30am and Dave the cook had the breakfast burritos hot off the grill so I sat down to eat and enjoy the fact that I am having a great day of "firsts". The bite slowed down a bit after breakfast but we were still picking off a couple here and there. I went up to bow to jig a sniper off the bottom and was rewarded with some quality Whitefish, rockfish and my very first sheepshead! After a long lull of no fish Gavin the captain decided we'd head north to Tanner Bank a couple hours away to try for my yellowtail. On the ride north we all relaxed and got to know each other and arrived on Tanner right around 1pm, just in time for boat burgers!

Gavin picked a spot right on the back edge and set the anchor and a slow steady bite of yellowtail got started after a little chumming. These were a nicer grade fish averaging 25-30# so 40# was a must so they didn't take you into the reef to cut you off. I picked up my last yellowtail of the trip on this stop and it was a good grade right around 25#. The hot stick of the trip nailed two beautiful 40#'s back to back on a dropper loop. The fish gods must have known it was his birthday! Out of nowhere a school of bonita found us and it was hook up after hookup for all the fun you wanted. I ran up to bow to grab the spinner and began an hour of fun catch and release bonita on a green backed colt sniper. After the bonita found us it was hard to get a bait or jig to the bottom without hooking into one so we made one final move for yellowtail. We moved a couple miles away and reset the anchor for another couple hours of yellowtail fishing. We fished the final spot until 5pm and landed another couple yellowtail before we went on the hunt for bluefin.

Gavin said we'd spend a couple evening hours looking for bluefin before we began the 100+mile steam back to San Diego. While searching around the bank Dave cooked up a killer meatloaf for dinner. It was so good it made me sleepy after a great day of fishing. We never did find the bft but ended the first trip with 74ish yellowtail and a mix of rockfish. Another quality trip aboard the Pacific Queen!

Pacific Queen 8/17-20th

The first trip got back to the dock right at 6am and they let me leave my gear and stuff on the boat so all I had to do was head up the dock and check in with 5 Star Fish Processing. My pile of fish from the first trip weighted around 64# which wasn't bad for 3 yellowtail and a couple of small rockfish. I told them I'd pick up my fish on Friday after they process my catch from the 3 day.

After 5 Star took my fish I walked down the landing and grabbed a hot coffee and a couple of breakfast sandwiches for myself and my friend Ryan who's on the trip with me. I grabbed a spot in line and made friends with the other anglers already in line. Ryan showed up around 8 am and got a prime parking spot in the main lot right next to the loading zone. It's a good thing he got the parking spot because he had a ton of gear including a helium tank and 130# gear to fly balloons with flyers. I helped him unload and then we checked in at the front desk. We got back in line and chatted with the other anglers and I told them all about what worked on the last trip as I assumed we'd be headed back to Cortez and Tanner for yellowtail. We signed the roster and boarded the boat around 10am.

Since I left my rods rigged from the last trip I helped Ryan rig up his rods and then we verified and set the drags with a scale on all our reels. While rigging up Gavin called a meeting up on the bow to discuss the plan for the first day and told us to be flexible as the trip goes on. The plan was to head back to the Cortez and Tanner Banks to fish yellowtail and see if anyone had any intel on bft. We traveled north at a nice slow pace looking for paddies on the way since we wouldn't be fishing until Wednesday morning. We stopped on a few empty paddies and then struck dorado gold on a good size paddie and the boat landed about 8 dodos. I struck out but Ryan got a decent 12#er. After the mahi stop Dave served us up a great Spam fried rice lunch. We continued north and settled in for a long steam and wouldn't be on the YT grounds until morning. Dinner was a great herb crusted pork loin over wild rice with glazed carrots. I set an alarm for 5:30 am and went off to bed around 9:30pm....

I slept like crap and keep waking up every couple hours so I crawled out of the bunk around 4:30am and headed up to the galley for coffee. A few other anglers were up already fishing but hadn't caught anything worthwhile. There were a ton of mackerel around the boat so I grab a tiny 2" epoxy jig and started to catch maks but they were too big for bait. After catching a dozen or so maks I switched over to flylining sardines. After a couple minutes I landed my very first pacific barracuda!

At around 6:15 am I started flylining baits with no luck until around 6:45 when my sardine starts acting nervous and line starts ripping of my reel so I knew I was bit. . I let the fish have it for a 3 count then slowly moved the lever drag forward to strike, the rod bent over and it was game on!!!! The fish was pulling hard for the bottom so I put the brakes to him and cranked him towards the boat and 10 minutes later the deckhand sunk the gaff in him and I had my first yellowtail of this trip, it was a nice 15# fish. With the bite steadily improving I rebaited and got another bait in the water and was bit almost instantly and could tell right away was a better grade yt. I put the wood to this one and got it to the boat in around 5 minutes and it was just over 20#. It turns out this fish would be the last of the morning for me as I developed a funk and couldn't get bit even though the bite was steady for others. We stayed anchored on this spot for a few hours and then moved North to target yt on the Tanner Bank after a great lunch of Spinach ravioli.

We arrived at Tanner after lunch and anchored on a high spot and it was game on right away. Unfortunately the funk followed me north and I never hooked up all afternoon. The other anglers were killin it on the yt and smaller bft that showed up about an hour after we arrived. I couldn't get bit to save my life and I tried every trick I could think of but it never happened, such is fishing! The yellowtail were a great grade averaging around 25# but the bft were 12-18#. We stayed on the spot until just before dark when Gavin got intel on a good grade bft bite about an hour away so off we went.

We got in the general area right at dark and started marking schools right away and guys went straight to fishing knife jigs. The hook ups were instant once you hit the target depth and all the fish were between 50-70#'s. I tried several different jigs and never got bit until around 11pm when my Katy Perry Daiwa Mr. Slow jig got hammered at about 270ft deep. The bite came on the sink and the fish peeled a good amount of line off my Fathom 40nld2 and put a good bend in my PCH741XXH rod. Once the initial run was over I put the reel into low gear and winch the fish into gaff range and Nate the deckhand put the hook to it and hoisted it up over the side of the boat. It was a solid 50# bft and another first as this was the first fish landed on my Fathom 40! I was glad to get the funk off and land my first bft on the trip. The bite stayed solid with people hooking up every 15-20 minutes. My friend Ryan landed 4 nice sized 60-70# bft that night and a passenger named James stuck a huge fish that taped out at just over 200#!!!!! Ryan and I stayed up until about 1:30am trying to hook into a few more but when nobody hooked up in over an hour we called it quits for the night. The plan for the following day was to head back to Tanner tonight to be ready for more yt action and then mid-morning come back to the bft grounds for the remainder of the trip. It was a long day but with the quality of the yt and bft we caught I had high hopes for the last day of the trip. I set an alarm for 5:30am which would go off in 4:15 minutes, uuuggghhh....

The alarm wakes me from a dead sleep and I wake Ryan so we can get up and have a quick cup of coffee before we get back to business. With a lot of the boat staying up past 3am jigging (without a bite) there were not a lot of people on deck yet until fish started to hit the deck. The first few fish were bonita followed by a few small 10-15# bft but the bite was getting better by the minute. Having only one bft with my tag number on it so far I graciously excepted a bft donation from a fellow angler to help fill my limit. Around 6:15am my sardine is picked up and line is racing off the reel so i slowly engage the drag on my new Fathom 15ld2 and the rod doubles over, once the fish slows down I start gaining back line. Ten minutes later I boated the first yt of the final day, it was a respectable 25#er. The action is fast and furious with guys catching great sized yt (20-30# average) and schoolie sized bft for the next 3 hours. I landed another 4-5 quality yt with my biggest being around 30# and 2 more 15# bft before we pulled anchor and headed north towards Tuna Town.

While heading north a pod of two-tone dolphins decided to join us and play off the bow of the boat giving us a great show as the splashed and jumped in the bow wake, it was amazing to see! We snacked on a fresh fruit platter as we pulled back into the area and Gavin began the search for the better grade bft. It didn't take long before the boat throttled back and heard the call for chum over the load speaker and within two tosses of chum the water exploded with great size tuna. For the next 6 hours it was tuna school after tuna school and they all wanted to bite! If you picked a good bait and could get it 15-20ft from the boat you were most likely gonna get bit. I landed 2 more 60-70# bft and handed off 3 hook ups to people who hadn't hooked a big one yet. It was great to see everyone hooking up and landing such quality bluefin, it became a party of yelling, laughter and smiles along with some good natured riffing if someone blew a hookup and popped one off!!!! Gavin let us fish as late as possible but with the fish holds so full the deckhands had to use their boat to get the hatches to close we called it quits just after 7pm and began the long steam home!

Dinner the final night was Cornish game hens over rice with grilled asparagus and mocha cheesecake for dessert! After dinner and in a food coma everyone started breaking down gear and settled in early to try to get a little extra rest to make up from the night before. The ride back to port was calm and we made great time arrive in the harbor around 5:30am with just enough time to pay our galley tabs before we docked. We unloaded our gear, filled our trucks and checked in with 5 Star to get our catches processed. My whole fish tally was 337# for this trip and 63# for the previous trip bringing my 2 trip total to 400# of whole fish! I texted my wife the total and told her to start figuring out where to put another freezer in our garage and she just laughed! After 5 Star grabbed our fish a few of us meet up for breakfast at "The Broken Yolk" to share one last meal and have a few final laughs. After breakfast 3 of us needed to run across the street to Dicks Sporting Goods to buy extra coolers to transport all of our fish home because we were ill prepared. Having to buy more coolers and freezers is a great problem to have! After getting home my wife and I tallied up all the fish and i ended up with 58 packages of bft steaks, 15 packages of bft bellies (3 were gifts from other anglers), 4 packages of bft sushi cuts, 47 packages of yt, 8 packages of yt collars, and 4 packages of various rockfish. Overall a great haul from a couple quality days of fishing!

It was a great couple trips aboard the Pacific Queen with an amazing captain, killer crew and awesome passengers who definitely became friends. I highly recommend the Pac Queen operation if you ever have the chance to fish, you won't regret it. I highly believe the are the best short range boat in the entire SD fleet! Do yourself a favor and book a trip for next year and realize why their trips fill up a year in advance.

PXL_20210816_014645127.jpg


PXL_20210816_033719988.jpg


PXL_20210816_134513292.jpg


PXL_20210817_131729158.jpg


PXL_20210817_163734642.jpg


PXL_20210817_173812523.jpg


PXL_20210817_185757431.jpg


PXL_20210817_205812988_exported_1168.jpg


PXL_20210817_213337958.MP.jpg


PXL_20210817_223923912.jpg


PXL_20210818_020945016.jpg


PXL_20210818_123018232.jpg


PXL_20210819_063409160.jpg


PXL_20210819_143627183.jpg


PXL_20210819_164454384.jpg


PXL_20210819_170500681.jpg


PXL_20210819_171334112.jpg


PXL_20210819_171921842.jpg


PXL_20210819_172838534.jpg


PXL_20210819_204006168.jpg


PXL_20210820_000512607.MP.jpg


PXL_20210820_000745943.jpg


PXL_20210820_000801450.jpg


PXL_20210820_010832515.jpg


PXL_20210820_030639990.jpg


PXL_20210820_140445789.jpg


PXL_20210820_175157483.jpg


PXL_20210820_183158538.jpg


PXL_20210819_133437725.jpg
 
Last edited:
SDBAY
SDBAY
Thanks for the great report. That will keep you fed for awhile!
Upvote 0

Tom123

Member
Jan 31, 2020
463
450
LA
Name
Tom
Boat
None
Great job on the back to back trips. Pretty cool of them to hit you up for that extra trip. Excellent write up and photos. Congrats on many first fish that had some heft to them. How many hearts did ya eat?
 
Upvote 0

neversink2

Here fishy fishy fishy...
Oct 9, 2004
808
115
48
HUNTINGTON BEACH
Name
Chris
Boat
31' Cabo Express
Awesome report and pics! If anyone wants to know how these trips are structured, and how to prepare for them, you explained it perfectly.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Pjstevko
Upvote 0

surfgoose

active geezer
  • Jul 29, 2010
    3,278
    5,468
    Long Beach, CA, USA
    Name
    Gary
    Boat
    whichever has the longest bunk
    Thanks for a great report! I'm glad that both trips ended up great for you.

    If it happens again (and it probably will) that you are in a yellowtail bite and you get infested with bonito which pounce upon all of the bait before the yellows can get any, you should try this tactic: Catch a bonito, slice a nice big chunk out of the side, skin still on, and cast it out. Use a small sliding sinker if there is no current. The bonito will NOT eat their own kind! And yellowtail love bonito chunks.
     
    Upvote 0

    Pjstevko

    Member
    Nov 12, 2015
    770
    665
    45
    Three Rivers California
    Name
    PJ Stevko
    Boat
    N/A
    Thanks for a great report! I'm glad that both trips ended up great for you.

    If it happens again (and it probably will) that you are in a yellowtail bite and you get infested with bonito which pounce upon all of the bait before the yellows can get any, you should try this tactic: Catch a bonito, slice a nice big chunk out of the side, skin still on, and cast it out. Use a small sliding sinker if there is no current. The bonito will NOT eat their own kind! And yellowtail love bonito chunks.
    Great tip! I'll give it a try
     
    • Like
    Reactions: woodfish330
    Upvote 0

    Pjstevko

    Member
    Nov 12, 2015
    770
    665
    45
    Three Rivers California
    Name
    PJ Stevko
    Boat
    N/A
    Lucky you to have back to back on the best boat in the fleet . Did you plan that in advance?
    Yeah I kinda planned it..... I booked the 3 day far in advance and one I realized I had extra days off before I got on the wait list for the trip before. I got the call about openings on the trip before about a month before and I jumped on it
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Abusaade
    Upvote 0

    Pjstevko

    Member
    Nov 12, 2015
    770
    665
    45
    Three Rivers California
    Name
    PJ Stevko
    Boat
    N/A
    i would've starved instead of paying those prices to eat. WTF!
    The meals are included on the trip price for the 3 day.

    I paid the prices for meals on the 1.5 day because I don't want to bother with bringing my own food. It's one less thing for me to deal with and plus Dave's cooking is awesome! Don't want to pay those prices, you don't have to.....
     
    • Like
    Reactions: kayakbeast33
    Upvote 0