Offshore Pacifica Overnight 6/6-6/7

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ErnieG

Worst Fisherman
Aug 4, 2011
170
375
Vista
www.cafishingnews.com
Name
Ernie Gorham
Boat
11' SportCat Truline
The truth is, I had no business really being on that trip. I deck on a 6-pack and worked 5 days in the previous week. My alarm clocks for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, were 2:30 AM, 3:30AM, and 2:30 AM respectively. My time and budget for fishing this summer is already getting stretched - I’m going to BOLA in less than two weeks and have a 3 day charter booked for July.

But a buddy from the East Coast was in town and booked the trip for his dad’s 74th birthday. I hadn’t seen him in years and knew it would be nice to catch up. Plus the counts had been epic leading up to it, with lots of fish between 100-180# being caught every night. I went back and forth but eventually just said screw it and booked the trip, an overnight on the Pacifica departing Sunday 6/6.

I got back from the trip I worked on Sunday and showered, packed, and rigged up my rods, and it was time to turn around and head down to Seaforth. I wanted to go in rigged so I could pass out ASAP and get what sleep I could before we stopped. Met my buddy and his dad in front of the Royal Rooster, had a beer, and it was time to board. I met the crew, Captain Andrew, night driver Sandro (his brother), Nick in the galley, and Riley, Brandon, and Ryan (Cobra) on deck. They were all great, with Riley especially having an amazingly positive attitude.

They had already baited up which was a pleasant surprise. I knew with a 9pm departure and 5-6 hours to the zone, the quicker we got out of there the better. I talked to the crew and decided to change the 350G flat fall I had rigged up to a 250G, and had them check the drag on my 100# set up. After a nice seminar from Andrew in the galley I passed out around 10:30.

Due to my schedule I woke up at 2:09 AM naturally, 20 minutes before my 2:30 alarm. I was laying there debating if I should just get up or try to squeeze in a little more sleep when I heard the boat slow down. That settled that, and I stumbled up to the galley half asleep. Right then Sandro got on the PA and said “ok this is a nice school guys let em go.”

I was the first outside and as I was going up to grab my rod I saw the deckhand Brandon fly down the ladder, and I could tell he was excited. I’m the second to drop in next to him in the corner. I let out 300’ of line and cranked it all the way back up, by then a number of other anglers were up dropping and due to the forward momentum of the boat all the lines were ending up back off the stern. I reeled all the way in and went way up the starboard side to avoid the crowd, and dropped it again.

With around 150’ of line out I noticed my spool kinda slowed down. It’s 2:15, and I’m exhausted, so it took my brain a little too long to realize that was a bite! I put it in gear and give it 10 cranks but nothing is there. Damn. I freespool again and in 5 seconds the spool stops again. I was ready this time and put it in gear again and cranked until I came tight. “BITER!!!!!”.

I hooked him on the right set up, and was perhaps even overgunned. An okuma XXXXH (150-200#) rail rod and a Makaira 30 with a 100# windon leader tied to a 250# bite leader. I pretty much just wound the thing in. It took me down to the aft corner and had deep color in like 4 minutes. Had to avoid the rudder and prop a couple of times, and had a few lines on me now, but they all freespooled and it wasn’t too worrying. A few more circles and Sandro sticks a gaff in it and I freespool. The fish freaks out however and rips out the gaff. I put it back in gear and luckily I was still tight. It had only taken about 20 feet of line and a couple more circles up and Sandro gets a gaff in it again, followed by Brandon, securing the fish. It never made a big run, and I never even put the reel in low gear. The whole fight was no more than 6 minutes.

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I took the fish whole, and it ended up going 108# gilled and gutted with me holding it on a bathroom scale, which honestly was hard to do.

I was kinda just standing there in disbelief when two other anglers hook up! They had cut the top crimp of my bite leader off to get the tangles off of me, so with my heavy set up out of commission, I grab my 30-60# calstar and fathom 30LD2S and start dropping a glowback sumo jr. These two fish also come up quickly and they are still beautiful fish, but smaller 40-60# models.

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I know we had 1 other hookup that stop but it came unbuttoned. Sandro was torn between staying or going, because we still had some fish coming through and the fleet wasn’t seeing much, but we weren’t getting any more bites, so eventually he said wind em up lets keep looking.

Hopeful for another stop soon, and high from my catch, I wasn’t going back down to my bunk. As 1 hour of driving turned into 2, most anglers started falling asleep again. I just drank coffee and sat up there.

It started getting light now and we still hadn’t stopped again. The fleet was all out looking, it seemed like the fish just weren’t all sitting in the same area they had been the last couple weeks.

Around 6 am Andrew tells the deckhand to start throwing some bait. No real reaction to the chum, but we stopped and started fishing. A couple guys hung one relatively quickly, but it was a tough bite. We’d hang 2-3 every 30 minutes or so. This stop was about three hours and I think we ended up getting 10 off of it. Most of the fish came on the sinker rig, but one on a flyline, one on a little slider sinker, and one or two on a flat fall. These fish were all pretty much 20-60 pounds.

I went the whole time without a bite, but I also refused to fish a sinker rig. 30 guys on the boat with a lot of more novice anglers equaled a lot of spider webs coming up. I alternated between flylining baits and sinking out a colt sniper so I could always avoid the mess. The fish started showing a little higher on the finder and I thought I saw one boil on the chum, so I shoulder hooked a bait and launched it off the corner. I was bit almost immediately!

At this point I already had more than enough meat, and my buddies dad hadn’t been bit yet, so I told the deckhands to grab him and passed off the rod. I was nervous though, I was only fishing 25# test on that set up and knew nothing was guaranteed. Luckily Riley stayed with him the entire time, and a few minutes later I see them walking down the rail with the gaff hanging off the side. It was a solid 25# bluefin, one of the smaller ones but perhaps the perfect size to hook on that set up.

I believe that was the last fish of that stop, and soon we were off looking again.

With the bluefin not showing much for the next couple hours, we stopped on a few kelps. The first couple yielded nothing, but on the third I hear “Fresh one!”. I was stoked to see it was my buddy who had yet to boat a fish. I was less stoked to see it was on his spinning set up with 12# test...

No one else hooked up and as we drifted off the kelp you could feel a little tension in the air, as we’re limited on time at this point. My buddy knew it though and didn’t want to be that guy so he put as much pressure on it as he could.

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It did take him maybe 15 minutes, but when the deckhand saw it he yelled ‘HOLY SHIT’ and stuck the gaff in an absolute beast of a yellow.

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This thing was everybit of 30 pounds. I weighed some 28 pound yellows in BOLA last year and this thing was a good chunk bigger. I think 35 is totally fair and I don’t like exaggerating fish weights.

After that we had another tuna stop for 2 smaller fish hooked on the slide, but they didn’t stick with us. We were basically out of time already and were pointing it for home, but then I heard the engines pick up and the boat made a slight turn. I walk outside and hear Brandon tell Cobra ‘huge breezer, get ready to dump all the bait you can on them’.

They started dumping bait and for the first time these fish really came up on the chum. Ten tuna or so flew completely out of the air and we hooked 8 or so immediately. My bait was right out there in the middle of it but somehow I didn’t get bit. These fish we’re boiling upswell now so I just kept going through baits until I finally found an epic swimmer. Knowing I had just a couple minutes left and it took me 10+ baits to get one this good, I just went for the long soak and kept letting him go.

Then the line started going off very steady. Not at 100 mph like some tuna bites, just steady and strong. Took me a couple seconds to realize that it was a tuna and I put it in gear and yelled ‘FRESH ONE!’. Andrew had just said that some bigger ones just swam through and this thing just ran. It dumped almost half of my spool on its initial run and then came the dreaded pop and limp line. I was bummed, but I really didn’t need another fish, and at least I got another bite. I was happy that it wasn’t my leader or terminal knot, it was just a chew off. Either I let it eat it too long or it just swallowed it, and the circle hook didn’t get to do its job. Alas.

After that it was really time to go home. We didn’t get back until after 8pm and they had to turn around for a 9pm 1.5 day departure immediately. Andrew gave us the maximum time he really could.

The final count was 25 tuna and 1 yellowtail for 30 anglers. Mine was the only 100+, the rest were 18-60. There were a few bummed folks who didn’t get one, but that is bluefin fishing. We definitely had our chances.

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Also, not that it mattered much on this trip, but the food was great. I had an omelette with fresh pico de gallo and a couple buttermilk pancakes for breakfast, and a pastrami sandwich for lunch. Beers were a little more expensive than I’d like ($5 for domestic $6 for imported) but hard to blame them for that, still beats a ball game. They also always have a deck watch awake as well as the night captain.
 
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Jankity

Newbie
Apr 23, 2019
36
34
36
Modesto, CA
Name
Gurjeet S. Rai
Boat
Thunderjet
Nice report! Very detailed. How you guys fishing the sinker rigs? Counting out based on depth, or just dropping down slowly until you go through em? Thanks
 
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Tunahead

Long Time Tuna Abused Member
  • Aug 11, 2006
    9,279
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    Costa Mesa
    Name
    Ron
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    several
    GREAT REPORT and PICS Ernie, and NICE FISH GUYS! Solid Work! Nice Yellow of the Coffee Grinder too. Now get some sleep LOL
     
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    ErnieG

    Worst Fisherman
    Aug 4, 2011
    170
    375
    Vista
    www.cafishingnews.com
    Name
    Ernie Gorham
    Boat
    11' SportCat Truline
    Nice report! Very detailed. How you guys fishing the sinker rigs? Counting out based on depth, or just dropping down slowly until you go through em? Thanks
    To be fair, I never fished one all day, and I can’t really say how the other guys were fishing them. In Andrew’s seminar though he has adamant about working the sinker rigs. Very slowly dropping down then when you might be too deep very slowly reeling up until it was time to start over.
     
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    Tom123

    Member
    Jan 31, 2020
    446
    418
    LA
    Name
    Tom
    Boat
    None
    Nice BFT! Great job getting your buddy's dad in a fish!

    30+ YT on a smaller coffee grinder??? Yikes! Kudos to your buddy. Normally would say leave the 12# at home but it was light enough to trick that beast. Guess you really do have to bring everything!
     
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