Offshore Pegasus 2.5 Day Trip Report


Nov 4, 2019
Nathan Winicki
Boat Name
Pegasus 9/25
Driving down to the landing I keep updating the weather forecast looking hopefully for a sign of improvement. No dice.

After hearing stories for years about this legendary operation, I was finally able to get a spot on a 2.5 day aboard the Pegasus leaving September 25th. The offshore fishing behind San Clemente had been excellent but a windy front was moving in the night we were marked to leave, and it forced us to think of some other options. Jason the skipper brought us all in the galley and explained the situation. Yes, there is fish North, but the impending conditions would make it a miserable ride to even get there, and then there’s no guarantee we would even have the ability to fish. We opted to head Southwest from Point Loma and look for some kelp paddies to get another fill of the historic dorado fishing just off the coast.

We spent a quiet night anchored in the lee of North Island and took off early the next morning. By sunrise we’ve made it to the 302 and the trollers go out. As predicted, the conditions were less than ideal. 15-20 knots of wind with a 3-4ft swell. Choppy and windblown, but fishable. We spot our first paddy and catch two small dorado before moving on. It was a different scene than what I saw a few weeks ago where one paddy could produce limits of fish for the whole boat. We rock and roll bouncing between paddy to paddy and by noon I had two dorado on the boat both around 8lbs. Right after lunchtime we spot another good looking paddy and I decide to throw my 15lb outfit just to try and get bit. The pattern had become catching one or two dorado right away and then nothing. I was hoping the light line would give me an advantage. As we roll up everyone goes out and “Squeak” the deckhand pointed out a hot bait for me to use. I pinned it on and no more than two seconds after it hit the water I saw a flash of blue and my line starts screaming. I look back to laugh with Squeak who also saw the whole thing and when I turn back around a beautiful 20lb bull comes leaping out of the water. It does five consecutive jumps way out on the surface and then sounded deep. Luckily I led it up to the bow so I was by myself and gently played it on the light tackle. I had never caught a sizeable dorado before and didn’t realize how hard they can pull. It stayed down like a tuna and would take runs that I thought would break me off, but everything held. Carefully I lift and adjust the drag to coax him up to the top. After ten minutes I finally get the fish up to the surface and walk down the rail bringing it closer and closer to the boat, almost like leading a dog. Almost the port corner the fish comes just into gaff range and we get it on the boat. My personal best dorado by far and it was on 15lb line!

Totally made my day.

After this stop the wind picks up even more and the further south we get, the fewer paddies we see. We make the decision to turn around to head back north and after a few hours of pounding into the swell Jason calls out a huge kelp coming up. Definitely the biggest of the day and with birds diving all around, hopes were high as we only had a few fish on deck. I was especially glad to hear we would finally be fishing again as going straight into the swell was starting to make me feel sick. We pull up and the first baits hit the water. Just as we were hoping for, a whole school of frenzied dorado charge the boat and eat anything that was around. The next hour was full speed dorado fishing on mostly 8-12lb fish. We fished these almost all the way until dinner before confirming boat limits. An epic way to end the day.

After dinner Jason explained to us all the possibilities for tomorrow which really turned out to just be one option. The wind was still going to blow which made going North almost impossible. The bad weather also slowed the fishing down up there so the rough ride wouldn’t be worth it. He was planning on doing more paddy hunting, but our last stop took care of that. Our one choice is to slide 60 miles down the beach to be off Colonet and hope that the yellowfin they were catching a week ago resurface. Everyone agrees with that plan, and I put new line on my two bait setups before going to bed.

Waking up at 6:30 to the sound of tuna slapping the deck was an abrupt way to get up. I had planned to be up at daybreak and out there but of course I drifted back to sleep. Coming up onto a bloody deck I saw tuna everywhere and totally thought I blew it. The grey light bit and I slept through the whole thing! Frustrated, I pin a bait on and cast out there to hopefully make up for oversleeping. Didn’t take more than five seconds to get picked up. They’re still biting! I quickly boat that fish and get a sense of what’s going on. The tuna they were catching a week ago are back. Small yellowfin between 8-15lbs were everywhere and biting almost anything you put in front of them. I catch a few on bait and then switch over to the surface iron and get two fish on two consecutive casts. Next I wanted to figure out how to use poppers on conventional gear. I realized early on there’s a big difference between fishing poppers on a conventional jig setup as opposed to a short spinning outfit. With my 90J I started fishing the popper like I would a skip jig by keeping my rod tip high and winding in short bursts to keep my lure moving forward. The blowups and strikes I had doing this were phenomenal!! These tuna were small but they ate the lures so well. Around 8am the school seemed to move on so we went back on the hunt to relocate. Twenty minutes later there’s a small foamer behind the boat and we were back to catching them full speed. At this point I have plenty of fish on deck so I’m experimenting with all the weird stuff I brought out for just this occasion. Using a small 2500 slammer on a penn slow pitch rod, I try jigging vertically with a small 100g SK jig and continue roping these little tuna almost every cast out.
The light line on this grade of fish made it so fun with these blazing runs which put that little reel’s drags to the test. The crew couldn’t keep up with the pace of things so I ended up gaffing a few fish for the guys up in the bow. By 10am we had full boat limits of tuna and called in the Pacific Queen who picked up right where we left off.

 With the day pretty much made, we started heading North to be in position for some potential night fishing for bluefin if they decide to cooperate. At this point, anything else would be the cherry on top of an already epic trip. I was satisfied with what we had, but I respected the hustle of Jason and the crew to try and put us on as much fish as possible. The weather had improved but it was still far from being calm. We trudged our way back up to the 302 and looked around until about 11pm before calling it and heading for home.

Based on what I saw throughout the trip, I think The Pegasus deserves its reputation as being one of the premier operations out of San Diego. The food was excellent, the boat rode fantastic even with rough weather, and the crew is as skilled and dedicated as I’ve ever seen.

If you ever get the chance, Go.







  • Aug 14, 2018
    New Jersey
    Boat Name
    Love the second pic. Big dodo bull, still in full color, red hoodie provides contrast, and deep blue snotty ocean in the background. Couldn't ask for a better composed trophy shot.
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