San Quintin 2014 year end trip summary

BadDonkey

www.baddonkey.com
Nov 2, 2009
353
181
San Quintin, Baja
www.baddonkey.com
Name
Rich Hollo
Boat
27' Skagit Orca XLC - BIG BadDonkey
Headed down to San Quintin for Christmas/New Year break with my new first mate, Maud Blue; a.k.a., the Seal Whisperer. We drove to San Quintin on December 22nd and fished the 23rd, 24th, and 26th. Chuck Young joined us on the 26th and ChuckY and I fished the 27th and 28th with special guest Capitan Jaime Garcia on the 28th. Maud and I wrapped it up with a cold, blustery New Year’s Eve surprise on December 31 and then towed the BIG BadDonkey home for her 200 hour tune up. Some of the most WFO yellowtail fishing I have ever seen and we were able to finally find the lingasaurs to boot. Not just a great trip, but a FANTASTIC trip.
Our drive down to San Quintin on the 22nd went very smooth despite the fact that we had the back of the F250 and the back seats crammed with ice chests and gear and presents for our friends. We were passed through the border without inspection and waved through the military check points without a second glance. Holiday goodwill perhaps? The toll road is again intact and the crews have made some great progress on the road north of San Vicente and we made the trip in 7 hours with a stop for breakfast at the great little roadside restaurant between Ensenada and Santo Thomas. We stopped to drop off gifts and visit with my good friends Capitans Juan, Hilo, and Jaime as we made our way to the bay and then we picked up the BBD from Pedro’s and drove south to Los Pinos to top off the Donkey with 325 liters of fuel.
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The Capitans had informed us that the yellows were hot at the 240 and Hilo dumped us in the water at 6:00 a.m. on the morning of the 23rd and we headed up the bay and straight out to the 240. We hunted around for a while searching for the yellows, but did not connect. As we started hunting around in some deeper water, however, we were pleasantly surprised with a mix of big redfish and nice lings between 250 and 280 feet. On our last few trips, the lings were nowhere to be found so it was nice to finally put a few big ones in the box. We also caught a few barracuda off the ridge which was a new experience and I pulled a bonito up from 280 feet of water which seems really odd. Maud loves seals, but I guess nobody is perfect. She did not believe that such “cute” creatures would actually rip a fish from the line so when one of her little friends surfaced near the boat I took the opportunity do provide a practical demonstration of how bold and aggressive her “cute” little friend could be. The sacrifice to the seal gods came in the form of a large barracuda that had the misfortune of grabbing a BadDonkey flutter jig. I swam the big cuda back and forth maybe three times and then the voracious lobo came rocketing out from under the boat like a torpedo, made a slight turn to port, hit the cuda and ripped line off the reel until the hook pulled. I was hoping that we would get back the mangled, shredded head of the corpulent cuda so Maud could witness the carnage up close and personal but the seal had managed to escape with the entire fish. To my dismay, Maud simply found the whole morbid event fascinating. After the seal had finished mauling, shredding, and devouring the cuda a hundred yards away it swam back to the boat for it’s next meal. I managed to refrain from going into Seal Attack Defense Mode (SAD) so that Maud could get a good look at the beast and she began baby talking to it. WTH! To my surprise, the seal eased up to within 10 feet of the boat and looked right at her. It stuck it’s head under the water and looked back and forth and each time she spoke to it the seal would roll on its side and eyeball her. I have to admit it was pretty interesting and I was quite surprised that a seal in these waters would get that close to a fishing boat; I don’t imagine they receive much positive attention in San Quintin. I relayed the incident to ChuckY later that night and he bestowed Maud with the moniker: “Seal Whisperer”. Wonderful. I’m glad none of my San Quintin Capitans were within visual range during the episode.
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We anchored up in the bay for the night and I filleted up the lings and reds we had caught and then tidied up the boat a bit and we were asleep by 8:00. I was up before dawn on the 24th with the sole intent to put Maudie on some yellows. We ran out of the bay and hit the 240 ridge at gray light and began doing a sonar sweep. As we came up the inland side of the ridge and rounded the northern point, the fishfinder lit up with several yellow clouds and I knew we were onto them. It did not take long to confirm the speculation. I dropped down with a green and white 9 ounce BadDonkey flutter jig and I only got 3 turns on the spool when something stopped the jig dead in it’s tracks. I set the hook and he did a power dive and peeled off line until he found a convenient rock to cut me off. Dammit man! I tied on another jig and locked down the drag and dropped down again. I might have gotten 5 turns on the reel this time and WHAM! This one headed for the bottom as well, but the drag held and the rod bent down to the water and I leaned back to put some leverage on him. I was able to turn him, but then he turned towards me and the hook fell out. #$%&!!! I made a couple more drops, but we had drifted out of the zone so I ran back up the ridge and found the glowing yellow orbs and dropped on them. This time, my jig didn’t even make it to the bottom and I hit him hard 3 times with a turrets hooking technique and it was game on! This boy was hooked solid and I was able to hold him steady for a couple of minutes until he finally made a turn and then I lifted the rod tip and quickly put a few cranks on him. Alas, he had burnt up most of his piss and vinegar and I worked him in with relative ease. I sunk the gaff in him and we had our first yellow on the deck. OHHHH Baby! The next drop was a repeat performance and within a few minutes we had a couple of teeners in the kill box. I coached Maud on how to reel up the jigs and suddenly she was locked in on her first yellow. I don’t think she was quite ready for the power of these fish and the first one made it to the bottom and rocked her. As did the next one. AND the next one. Apparently, my coaching lacked some important details. I picked up another yellow on the next drift and Maud got a short up and then the yellows shut down. We picked up a few smallish ling cod on the deep ridge and had to head in early to meet up with a local realtor to have a look at some properties so we stowed the gear and headed into the bay. NOT a bad morning at all!
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We took Christmas day off to exchange gifts and just relax and enjoy being on the bay. I did some maintenance on the BBD and got her all scrubbed up for the next day’s battle and by 6:00pm we were in good shape for the 26th. Capitan Hilo had a charter for that day so we met him at Pedro’s at 5:30 and he had us floating by 6:00 a.m. We had caught plenty of yellows already so this day was about locating the lings. I rigged 6.5” Big Hammers on the new Trident 9 ounce heads and we went hunting for lings. I made several drifts across the 240 ridge between 170 and 250 feet and each time we picked up a couple of lings or rockfish. No monsters and definitely not gut wrenching action, but a steady, slow pick. We had limits of lings by noon and headed into the bay to see if there were any halibut home. We had an odd combination of very little breeze and a slack tide so I dropped down to a 3 ounce Mulita and a 5” Big Hammer in Bleeding Trout color which provided just the right weight for the drift. The bay is full of feisty little sand bass and we must have caught about 20 of the little critters in the next 2 hours. We were well into a drift as the tide started to turn out and were easing up on a sandy point when I felt an abrupt THUMP and set the hook. I felt the unmistakable head shake of a butt and suddenly the line started peeling off, but as quickly as it had started, the line went slack and I pulled in an empty leader. Bitten off! Pretty sure Buttzilla had inhaled the 5” bait and simply sliced through the line. We made several more drifts without effect and then had to head for the barn as ChuckY was on his way down from Cali to meet us.
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I met ChuckY in town at 8:30 on the evening of the 26th and we headed for the house. ChuckY conveyed his horror story of 3 hours on the I-5 which had turned his 6 hour journey into an 8 1/2 hour nightmare. Well, I guess that’s what you get for leaving at noon the day after Christmas. HELLOOOOO! Hilo had charters from the 27th through the 30th so we had to be at Pedro’s by 5:30 each day. I rousted ChuckY at 4:00 a.m. on the 27th and we headed to the bay. Maud had seen enough rough water for a few days and decided to sit this one out so ChuckY and I could share some bonding time while she enjoyed having a look around the bay. Chuck and I ran out to the 240 ridge again and were joined shortly by several other boat including the famous Capitan Juan. We made a couple of drifts and I hooked a couple of yellows, but they pulled the hooks. If the drag is loose, you get rocked; if you lock it down, there seems to be a fair number of pull outs. Maybe it was just me? Chucky was using a 9 ounce Trident and 6.5” Big Hammer in mackerel color but had not gotten hit. Each time I hooked a yellow, I would tell him he needed to reel faster and get the lure off the bottom. Chucky has this affliction that if you tell him the same thing 3 times, he gets pissed off and goes all mad dog. The third time I told him he needed to reel faster, the theatrics started. He began cranking that Big Hammer like a man possessed; water flying from the spool, rod tip bouncing back and for the like a seismograph needle and ALL OF A SUDDEN, he was HOOKED UP! “We” went from 0 for 3 to 1 for 4 and then 2 for 5 and we were 50:50 by 10:00. Chucky was on fire! Between driving the boat and gaffing Chucky’s fish, I wasn’t doing much fishing, but I was definitely having a great time. Then the yellows seemed to shut down or at least they had moved and we started picking up lings; this pattern had been going on all week actually. Capitan Hilo had ventured off to the 6 in the morning and he radioed us that we should probably make our way up there as he had an epic bite going on. Some of the other boats were still picking yellows around us but I had switched over to a Big Hammer and Trident and we were quickly filling the kill box with decent sized lings. We limited on lings by 11:00 and then we stowed the gear and headed north at flank speed to intercept the yellow horde at the 6. We found Hilo and started making drifts across one of the high spots but saw no action. Hilo told us to move outside a bit and we found the fish hanging on the southern tip of the mount where the water abruptly transitioned from 200 feet to 125. The fish were stacked up tight on the crest of the hill and they were aggressive. These yellows were in the low teen range, but they were eager and willing and within a couple of hours we had limited out. We pulled the plug at 1:00 and headed to the bay to see if we could coax ButtZilla out of his lair. We got into the bay and I positioned just upstream of one of the deep water humps and on ChuckY’s first drop, his rod suddenly started to shake and then bend heavily over the side. The rod vibrated violently as the fish shook it’s head from side to side and then the line started peeling off. The fish slowed and paused and then Chucky started working him in. The fish was probably only 10 feet under the boat when the hook pulled. @#$%! FOILED AGAIN!! ButtZilla lives to fight another day!
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On the morning of the 28th, we arrived at Pedro’s at 5:30 and found Capitan Jaime dressed in his hi-vis road construction jacket directing bug traffic in front of Pedro’s trailer. He asked if he could join us and, of course, we were very happy to have his company. We ran straight out to the 240 ridge again and Jaime was quick to draw first blood with a feisty yellowtail. On the second drift Jaime caught another yellow but then things went dead. We called Hilo on the radio and he let us know that the action at the 6 was a little slow, but they were putting fish on the deck so we put the rods away and headed north. We started drifting the same area we had been in the day before and Jaime picked up a couple of small yellows while ChuckY and I just looked on clueless. We made several moves and I tried all the tricks that I had in my 6 bag but we were coming up dry. I handed the BBD over to Jaime and he moved us a little outside to an abrupt peak with deeper water in proximity. Jaime must have the Lucky Charms as he hooked up a beast on his first drop which abruptly rocked him. On his second drop, he hooked up again and this time put a nice 20+ pounder on the deck. I had been working a Big Hammer trying to coax a bite, but when Jaime hooked his third yellow in a row, I bit the bullet and went for the iron. Over the past several days we had managed to obliterate my inventory of 9 ounce BadDonkey jigs and all my favorite color 7 ounce jigs so I sorted through several experimental colors I had produced a few years back attempting to approximate sardines and anchovies. I selected one of the silver/green/tan jigs that I had made to approximate my interpretation of a sardine and tied it on as Jaime was repositioning the boat. That sardine color must have been the ticket because Jaime suddenly got the stink on him and I caught fire. 3 drops: 3 yellows. I think Poseidon had ChuckY in time out for the carnage he had wreaked the day before because the fish were just not hitting him that day. Sorry ChuckY. With 10 yellows in the bag, we decided to try to put some lings in the boat so Jaime gave me back the BBD and we ran back to the 240 ridge to try the deep water rock slope that we had found on the 23rd. My fish finding skills for the day were less than impressive so I was hoping I could leave a good impression on Jaime before the day was over. We tied on the big 9 ounce Tridents and some brighter selections of Big Hammers and on the first drop, salvation was delivered. I got hit and missed 3 times in rapid succession and finally reeled up several turns and let the Hammer freefall back to the bottom. I felt the take on the fall and knew it had to be a ling and I laid into him hard. The rod doubled over and line peeled off and I thought it must be a yellow but the run was short and then there was just dead weight on the line. LINGASAUR! I worked him to the boat and Jaime sunk the gaff into him and dumped him into the boat. He was bigger than the yellows we had been catching! On my next drop I pulled up another nice specimen and then Jaime lost one and then picked up another good ling. On our next drift the lings went Kamikaze on us and we put 10 lings in the box over the next hour. We had plenty of fish in the bag at this point and headed into the bay at 2:00 to try for Buttzilla again but he had apparently learned his lesson or had moved on so we called it a day. And an excellent day it had been!
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ChuckY left the next morning to get back home for New Years we had more than enough fish so Maud and I decided to take a couple days to relax and look around and decided to try for Buttzilla one last time on New Year’s Eve. When we walked out to the truck that morning, we were shocked by a bone chilling breeze and dark, grey skies. When we got to the mouth of the bay, the wind was blowing a steady 10 which made for good drifting, but it was dam COLD. We made several drifts and tried every part of the bay but by 9:00 the breeze and tide were canceling out and the boat just stayed in one spot and Buttzilla was simply not to be found. The wind had backed off and the sun had come out so I decided to peak out of the bay and head south to catch some bass if conditions looked favorable. Things did look pretty good and we made the 12 mile run to Arroyo Hondo in less than a half an hour and started looking for fish. There was quite a bit of bait and some larger yellow marks on the fishfinder so we set up on one of the rocks I have marked and started to drift. It didn’t take long and I had a nice sandy on the deck followed quickly by a slightly smaller version. I caught one more and then suddenly I started pulling up mutilated Big Hammers. Cuda? Maybe trigger fish? I switched over to a BadDonkey jig but the rock was closed for business. I moved to the next rock and on my first drop I pulled up a hefty sheephead for dinner. A few drops later I picked up another sandy and then a rosy rockfish. On the next drift I came up empty. I moved to the next rock and it was starting to get a little sporty. The wind had come up and the sea was rolling and I had to put both motors in reverse to maintain a fishable drift. On my third drop I picked up a hefty Calimako and then another and another and another…. Over the next hour and a half I pulled over 20 Calimakos up; I guess with the wind howling and the seas rolling, the fish come out to play. I had decided to head back to the bay at noon and I battened down the hatches at 12:02 and left the fish chewing. The magnitude of the weather quickly became apparent as we turned the Donkey into the waves and started clawing our way back up the beach. We were driving into steady 7 – 8 footers with whitewater crashing over the bow and rolling down the walkaround and into the cockpit. I was definitely not going to need to scrub the Donkey that night! Had we been in the Little BadDonkey, I would be crapping myself, but the water simply ran to the back of the boat and spilled out of the scuppers and we stayed warm and dry in the cabin. Definitely not the kind of weather I would intentionally go fishing in, but it was exactly the kind of weather that the Skagits are built to handle and it was actually very satisfying to see how the Donkey handled the rough water. A very satisfactory day indeed!
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We celebrated New Year’s Eve with a delicious meal of fresh fried sheephead at Jardines and called it a day. If there were any New Year’s Eve celebrations that evening, I cannot tell you because I am pretty sure I was asleep before my head fully settled into the pillow and I didn’t wake up till the alarm went off at 5:00am the next morning. We headed north on New Year’s Day with the BIG BadDonkey in tow to take her in for the 200 hour service and it turned out to be a very good choice to drive home on New Year’s Day. The towns were completely locked down with the exception of the Pemex stations and the roads were deserted. We stopped just south of Ensenada to get some fresh tamales and honey and continued on to the border. The line at the border was the shortest I have ever seen and we were at the inspector booth in less than 40 minutes. We had a bit of a lengthy inspection as about 6 different agents came to check out the boat. One of them came to speak to us and asked us how the fishing and weather had been and was about to turn and walk away when he stopped and said: “Oh, did you bring anything back from Mexico”. For once, I really didn’t mind all the attention at the border. They let us go without having to go to secondary and we were back in the states in record time. We made it home with the boat in tow in 8 hours. What a way to start the new year!
 
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octans

Member
Oct 18, 2010
399
91
Los Angeles California
Name
Manuel
Boat
19` Starcraft Aluminum Center Console
Awesome report!
 
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RJ3

Fan Of The Sea
Jun 2, 2004
44
17
San Clemente
Name
Rick
Boat
23, Parker
Great report, sounds like you really had a great time. I think I saw you at Jardines on the 28th. Next time I'll say hi.
 
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Captain Juan SQ

ARLETT DEL MAR.
May 14, 2008
2,470
2,067
San Quintin BCN mex.
Name
Captain Juan SQ.
Boat
parker 23/20.slaptail.
well done rich,great to have hade you around,just hade a ham sanwich,reel good,thanks man.
 
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fullclip

Member
May 15, 2008
262
477
Upland ca
Name
jeremy
Boat
Mushroom 26 prosport
Way to go rich. It is always great when you can catch fish on lures you make yourself. It adds a whole another dimension to fishing.
 
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BadDonkey

www.baddonkey.com
Nov 2, 2009
353
181
San Quintin, Baja
www.baddonkey.com
Name
Rich Hollo
Boat
27' Skagit Orca XLC - BIG BadDonkey
That it does. We were testing out a new 9 ounce swimbait head on this trip and they work GREAT! We had no problem at all fishing down to 300 feet and they don't seem to hang up on the bottom too often. Possibly because it is easy to tell when they hit bottom but I think also the shape helps.
 
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