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!