Rough Weekend Offshore

surfgoose

active geezer
Jul 29, 2010
2,705
3,791
Long Beach, CA, USA
Name
Gary
Boat
whichever has the longest bunk
I just got home from four days on the CONDOR doing the annual Memorial Day Weekend 4-Day trip. The group of 24 was very mellow about four days of fairly rough weather and fish that didn't want to play with us. We began at 11am Thursday, baited-up at the EB pens with a bunch of very nice sardines, and rolled mostly west to see if we could find some of the Bluefin tuna that had been playing hide-n-seek with the fleet for the past couple of weeks. We passed the Coronado Islands from the north side and headed out towards the Butterfly. The weather was bumpy with lots of whitecaps, making spotting kelps very difficult. Late in the afternoon my number came up for a trolling position, and about ten minutes into my rotation I got bit. It turned out to be a small yellowtail, but big enough to keep, so I was happy to get onto the board on the first day.

The CONDOR was in good shape after the spring cleaning, and the crew were all familiar with the boat and each other. Capt. Scott Meisel was on the trip, but he mostly hung out with us on the deck while Capt. James Merrill took the lead in the wheelhouse during the daytime tuna hunt. Scotty Caslin kept everything running while the sea threw us around for four days, and Matt Arnold and Luke Jobbins were always on hand to untangle and gaff. The chef Christophe came up with his usual fine food for us.

We didn't get a Bluefin the first afternoon, and after sundown we turned south-east towards Colonet Reef and got set up on the high spot early Friday morning. We started whacking rockfish and whitefish, and I got the biggest sculpin I've seen, but the yellowtail were not around, so after only a couple of hours we pulled the anchor and headed west towards the offshore banks. We started finding small kelps about every half-hour, and either they were empty or we would get one or two small yellowtail but just couldn't find a school that wanted to play. But a full day of trolling got me onto the rotation in the stern again twice, and I dropped back a newly designed trolling rig of small green&yellow hoochies secured dorky-style with the line crimped forward, so that they would bounce around like a small bait ball, with a green and black lure just a little bigger than the hoochies carrying the hook and looking like a mack about the eat them. I was pleased to find that it worked very well, getting bit two times in a row by decent bonito, which I gave to others.

Most of the guys on the trip were very experienced, but we had a handful of new people trying a long trip for the first time. Ernest and his dad Reid were trying the offshore experience for the first time, and I noticed that he hadn't taken a trolling rotation yet. So I asked him why not, and he said that he didn't have the right gear, he and his day had rented their outfits for fishing but they didn't have a trolling rig. Sooo . . . I showed him an unused boat rod and lure, and showed him how to drop the lure back to run on the face of the third wave, and put it into the clips with the clicker on. Another troller the other side of me told me that he thought that the lures that Ernest and I were running were too far back, but I just smiled and said, "Yeah, you are probably going to get bit before we do, a lot of fish like the white water." But five minutes later, "HOOKUP!" and Ernest's rig is stretched tight.

I help him get the reel out of the clips and tell him "WIND AS HARD AS YOU CAN!" and he does his very best. He is having a hard time because he wasn't wearing a fighting cup, and he has a decent fish plus the boat is still sliding forward. I grab a fast picture of him and then he starts to make progress, and a few minutes later he is happy to hold up his very first yellowtail! I was really happy for him, it made me feel good to get another fisherman addicted to the offshore game.

My buddy Max was also on his first multi-day run, and did very well too. He tagged a couple of yellowtail, and had a couple more fights that ended with pulled hooks, and got some taco critters while at Colonet, so he is going to be coming back. There was only one Bluefin taken during the four days, a smallish one that looked about twenty pounds to me. Nobody was on a long fight with a bigger one and lost it, they just were not in the mood to play with us. I kept hoping for a bigger fish, when almost everyone was fly-lining a sardine at each kelp stop I would be using 80# gear and a couple of ounces of glow torpedo to see if there was anything down deeper that might be available, or dropping a tricked-out Flat Fall even in the daytime since it was mostly overcast and dark grey even in the middle of the day.

So although the numbers were not high, the trip was fun and an adventure. I'm very sore, it was basically riding Magic Mountain rollercoasters for four days, and my middle core and legs are very sore from constantly compensating for the pitch and roll. All of us got very wet from trying to fish while the wind drove waves and spray at us. For the first time in decades I got hit by a wave that put water inside my deck boots. But that's blue water fishing, isn't it? We'll get them next time!

2018-05-24 13.27.18.jpg 2018-05-24 18.42.51.jpg 2018-05-24 18.43.27.jpg 2018-05-25 08.18.06.jpg 2018-05-25 10.37.48.jpg 2018-05-25 10.40.27.jpg 2018-05-26 06.48.01.jpg
 

rbfishn

I've posted enough I should edit this section
May 15, 2012
323
97
Rialto,Ca
Name
Reggie
Boat
....
Hey Gary. Well I’m glad you were on the trip. We opted to skip this trip and jump on the other 4 day in August. You know as well as I do even if fishing wasn’t great it’s still a great time on the bird.
 

fishforfun2

Hunter Gatherer
Feb 5, 2005
568
112
Redondo Beach
Name
Dale
Boat
Boston Whaler Outrage 18
Nice report Gary! The Condor handled the 30kt wind ok. I enjoyed the crew and all the passengers,nice big boat ride! Its only going to get better,we metered lots of tuna but didn't want to bite.
 

Killerskiff

The end is near
Jul 5, 2008
200
244
Hootervillle
Name
JD
Boat
Obliviousone
It's been shitty weather just about every day for three straight months now, unfortunately that's always in cards more so on pre-booked trips. A good bite is great and doughnut will happen, just part of the game however; nothing worse than shitty weather. I watch the weather like a hawk and won't run unless it's favorable conditions. I've learned do the homework regarding swell, wind, solar and moon phases and most often, you can predict a high percentage of the time, wither a trip will be productive or not.

Guess that makes me a pussy to some however; good things come to those who've patients enough to wait. No to mention money that's better spent due of high cost of fishing now days so how many agree with the old cliche that says the worst day of fishing is better than the best day of working? Me thinks not, but it will be interesting to see what the majority thinks, your thoughts would be appreciated.
 
Last edited:

Tunahead

Long Time Tuna Abused Member
Aug 11, 2006
7,998
2,033
Costa Mesa
Name
Ron
Boat
several
Rough conditions for the whole fleet aside, Great Report and pics. MIssed
being out with the gang, but my repaired Deltoid still healing a bit more.
I especially missed the abuse from the crew and Condor regulars. LOL
Frankly didn't see the fleet catch squat the whole last week in that chop
and all this damn wind. Been crazy. Hope to be out on Condor soon!
Hopefully the tuna will bite, the weather will come down, and FUN TIMES for all! LOL
 
  • Like
Reactions: surfgoose

surfgoose

active geezer
Jul 29, 2010
2,705
3,791
Long Beach, CA, USA
Name
Gary
Boat
whichever has the longest bunk
JD -- I used to do like you, watch the weather and moon phase and water temps and everything, and you are right, you can definitely increase your percentages of success by paying attention to those things. But now I'm at the point when having a certain bunk assignment trumps everything else. If my back goes out, they can be chewing the paint off the hull and I wouldn't be able to take advantage of it. So I book my trips months in advance to lock in the bunk, and just deal with whatever weather situation happens at the time. Plus I end up giving away 90% of whatever I catch anyway. So I keep the trips low-pressure and try to be helpful to others, and always come back smiling.
 

Rimack

Old School
Jun 24, 2011
599
417
Elk Grove
Name
gary
Boat
Nope
Your a good man Charlie Brown!
 

Killerskiff

The end is near
Jul 5, 2008
200
244
Hootervillle
Name
JD
Boat
Obliviousone
JD -- I used to do like you, watch the weather and moon phase and water temps and everything, and you are right, you can definitely increase your percentages of success by paying attention to those things. But now I'm at the point when having a certain bunk assignment trumps everything else. If my back goes out, they can be chewing the paint off the hull and I wouldn't be able to take advantage of it. So I book my trips months in advance to lock in the bunk, and just deal with whatever weather situation happens at the time. Plus I end up giving away 90% of whatever I catch anyway. So I keep the trips low-pressure and try to be helpful to others, and always come back smiling.
Rarely do the party boat thing but just like golfing, everybody's out there for a different reason, good for you!
 

jmlsr

"Love this sport"
Sep 9, 2016
118
29
Cerritos
Name
Jeff
Boat
So CA. Fishing
I just got home from four days on the CONDOR doing the annual Memorial Day Weekend 4-Day trip. The group of 24 was very mellow about four days of fairly rough weather and fish that didn't want to play with us. We began at 11am Thursday, baited-up at the EB pens with a bunch of very nice sardines, and rolled mostly west to see if we could find some of the Bluefin tuna that had been playing hide-n-seek with the fleet for the past couple of weeks. We passed the Coronado Islands from the north side and headed out towards the Butterfly. The weather was bumpy with lots of whitecaps, making spotting kelps very difficult. Late in the afternoon my number came up for a trolling position, and about ten minutes into my rotation I got bit. It turned out to be a small yellowtail, but big enough to keep, so I was happy to get onto the board on the first day.

The CONDOR was in good shape after the spring cleaning, and the crew were all familiar with the boat and each other. Capt. Scott Meisel was on the trip, but he mostly hung out with us on the deck while Capt. James Merrill took the lead in the wheelhouse during the daytime tuna hunt. Scotty Caslin kept everything running while the sea threw us around for four days, and Matt Arnold and Luke Jobbins were always on hand to untangle and gaff. The chef Christophe came up with his usual fine food for us.

We didn't get a Bluefin the first afternoon, and after sundown we turned south-east towards Colonet Reef and got set up on the high spot early Friday morning. We started whacking rockfish and whitefish, and I got the biggest sculpin I've seen, but the yellowtail were not around, so after only a couple of hours we pulled the anchor and headed west towards the offshore banks. We started finding small kelps about every half-hour, and either they were empty or we would get one or two small yellowtail but just couldn't find a school that wanted to play. But a full day of trolling got me onto the rotation in the stern again twice, and I dropped back a newly designed trolling rig of small green&yellow hoochies secured dorky-style with the line crimped forward, so that they would bounce around like a small bait ball, with a green and black lure just a little bigger than the hoochies carrying the hook and looking like a mack about the eat them. I was pleased to find that it worked very well, getting bit two times in a row by decent bonito, which I gave to others.

Most of the guys on the trip were very experienced, but we had a handful of new people trying a long trip for the first time. Ernest and his dad Reid were trying the offshore experience for the first time, and I noticed that he hadn't taken a trolling rotation yet. So I asked him why not, and he said that he didn't have the right gear, he and his day had rented their outfits for fishing but they didn't have a trolling rig. Sooo . . . I showed him an unused boat rod and lure, and showed him how to drop the lure back to run on the face of the third wave, and put it into the clips with the clicker on. Another troller the other side of me told me that he thought that the lures that Ernest and I were running were too far back, but I just smiled and said, "Yeah, you are probably going to get bit before we do, a lot of fish like the white water." But five minutes later, "HOOKUP!" and Ernest's rig is stretched tight.

I help him get the reel out of the clips and tell him "WIND AS HARD AS YOU CAN!" and he does his very best. He is having a hard time because he wasn't wearing a fighting cup, and he has a decent fish plus the boat is still sliding forward. I grab a fast picture of him and then he starts to make progress, and a few minutes later he is happy to hold up his very first yellowtail! I was really happy for him, it made me feel good to get another fisherman addicted to the offshore game.

My buddy Max was also on his first multi-day run, and did very well too. He tagged a couple of yellowtail, and had a couple more fights that ended with pulled hooks, and got some taco critters while at Colonet, so he is going to be coming back. There was only one Bluefin taken during the four days, a smallish one that looked about twenty pounds to me. Nobody was on a long fight with a bigger one and lost it, they just were not in the mood to play with us. I kept hoping for a bigger fish, when almost everyone was fly-lining a sardine at each kelp stop I would be using 80# gear and a couple of ounces of glow torpedo to see if there was anything down deeper that might be available, or dropping a tricked-out Flat Fall even in the daytime since it was mostly overcast and dark grey even in the middle of the day.

So although the numbers were not high, the trip was fun and an adventure. I'm very sore, it was basically riding Magic Mountain rollercoasters for four days, and my middle core and legs are very sore from constantly compensating for the pitch and roll. All of us got very wet from trying to fish while the wind drove waves and spray at us. For the first time in decades I got hit by a wave that put water inside my deck boots. But that's blue water fishing, isn't it? We'll get them next time!

View attachment 930899 View attachment 930900 View attachment 930901 View attachment 930902 View attachment 930903 View attachment 930904 View attachment 930905
Great report Gary. Tough fishing and rough weather but excellent food, captain, crew and company. Thanks for the invite. Had a good time.

Jeff.
 
  • Like
Reactions: surfgoose

Caseydmaze

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Aug 7, 2012
705
910
Temecula
Name
Mackerel Marauder
Boat
18' Stringari Skiff
You could feel the pressure change and humidity yesterday when the clouds rolled in.
 
  • Like
Reactions: surfgoose

Fog Ducker!

Misanthropical member
May 9, 2010
2,487
2,473
North of Kali!
Name
Dave
Boat
4 and counting!
Kali rough looks like a protected marina!

That ain't rough weather!

Ducker!
 
  • Like
Reactions: surfgoose

surfgoose

active geezer
Jul 29, 2010
2,705
3,791
Long Beach, CA, USA
Name
Gary
Boat
whichever has the longest bunk
Dave, I only grabbed a couple of pictures during the rare calmer moments. Most of the time I was holding on as we rolled. It was almost "Deadliest Catch" seas some of the time, and several tackle boxes got tipped over each day, which is hard to do.

But you are right, the northern seas are significantly rougher all of the time, and I have a great respect for the fishermen who go out in that weather.
 

Fog Ducker!

Misanthropical member
May 9, 2010
2,487
2,473
North of Kali!
Name
Dave
Boat
4 and counting!
Dave, I only grabbed a couple of pictures during the rare calmer moments. Most of the time I was holding on as we rolled. It was almost "Deadliest Catch" seas some of the time, and several tackle boxes got tipped over each day, which is hard to do.

But you are right, the northern seas are significantly rougher all of the time, and I have a great respect for the fishermen who go out in that weather.
You know the rules, without pic it didn't happen! 12 ft swells at 10 sec with 4.5 ft wind chop and blowing 20. That's Halibut weather in the PNW!

Ducker!
 
  • Like
Reactions: surfgoose