SoA 9/16-9/24

Lake

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Mar 31, 2003
2,264
2,464
Visalia, CA
Name
Blaine Lake
Boat
none
Just got home from an 8 day on the Spirit of Adventure. This may take a couple of days. I’ve been wanting to try this boat for a while, was recommended to do this trip by Scott Macfarland, then he wasn’t able to make the trip. This trip was already a somewhat limited load, scheduled to go out with 20. Several guys dropped off and we were in jeopardy of having to either shorten the trip or pony up a little more money to keep it as an 8 day. We had a late addition of a couple from Chicago who had never done a west coast trip, and we were a go with 16 anglers. I was very happy with how things were handled by the office.
When I found we were going light I was able to add a few more outfits and gear. I store my stuff on the upper deck, or in my stateroom so I felt like I could bring more and still not get in the way of others. This made two years in a row having a private stateroom and I don’t know what I’ll do next year when I have to share again. We boarded early and were on our way a little early. We had Brian as skipper, crew of JP, Evan, Scott, and Luke, and a young culinary trained couple- Guinness and ShaoLi(?)in the galley that provided great food for the trip. There was some thought we might be staying somewhat local to fish bluefins, and the chartermaster even had everybody buy a CA license. I’ve been doing later fall 10 day trips the last several years and have poor fishing for yellowtail. I moved to earlier this year to try and get a better shot at yellows, so when we turned left out of the harbor I was happy.
The next morning we made our way to Canoas arriving about 10:50. We were told the bite seemed to shut off around noon so we were working with a possible short window. I decided to start with a yo yo to see if I could get something tagged. After a while with no bites I switched to bait on 30# and quickly tagged 3 or 4. Around 12:50 the bite shut off. We looked around for bit but couldn’t get anything to go so we headed south.
We hit San Pablo the next morning where the surface iron was supposed to be a good deal. I tossed a 7X and got a few but went through 4-5 bonito for every yellowtail. One guy was using a Tady 9 which he alternated between surface and yo yo with and he did very well. Another guy bagged a bunch on bait and was close to filling his quota for the trip. Everybody caught some and then the bite dried up so we moved south. We did find a loaded kelp with mostly small dorado so we moved on. We came to another kelp with the fish being a little bigger, like 10-15+ pounds, and we kept some of those with the skipper saying we probably would not be stopping at any more kelps unless the grade was a lot bigger. We trolled toward the ridge with a stop or two on better dorado. I hate travel trolling so I gave up my spots for the most part.
I had written the next three days but somehow lost them. I guess I’ll try rewrite them tomorrow. Please excuse this post. I didn’t got back to proof read.
 
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gb58

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Nov 10, 2006
161
156
vista,ca
Name
greg braun
Boat
none
Just got home from an 8 day on the Spirit of Adventure. This may take a couple of days. I’ve been wanting to try this boat for a while, was recommended to do this trip by Scott Macfarland, then he wasn’t able to make the trip. This trip was already a somewhat limited load, scheduled to go out with 20. Several guys dropped off and we were in jeopardy of having to either shorten the trip or pony up a little more money to keep it as an 8 day. We had a late addition of a couple from Chicago who had never done a west coast trip, and we were a go with 16 anglers. I was very happy with how things were handled by the office.
When I found we were going light I was able to add a few more outfits and gear. I store my stuff on the upper deck, or in my stateroom so I felt like I could bring more and still not get in the way of others. This made two years in a row having a private stateroom and I don’t know what I’ll do next year when I have to share again. We boarded early and were on our way a little early. We had Brian as skipper, crew of JP, Evan, Scott, and Luke, and a young culinary trainee couple- Guinness and ShaoLi(?)in the galley that provided great food for the trip. There was some thought we might be staying somewhat local to fish bluefins, and the chartermaster even had everybody buy a CA license. I’ve been doing later fall 10 day trips the last several years and have poor fishing for yellowtail. I moved to earlier this year to try and get a better shot at yellows, so when we turned left out of the harbor I was happy.
The next morning we made our way to Canoas arriving about 10:50. We were told the bite seemed to shut off around noon so we were working with a possible short window. I decided to start with a yo yo to see if I could get something tagged. After a while with no bites I switched to bait on 30# and quickly tagged 3 or 4. Around 12:50 the bite shut off. We looked around for bit but couldn’t get anything to go so we headed south.
We hit San Pablo the next morning where the surface iron was supposed to be a good deal. I tossed a 7X and got a few but went through 4-5 bonito for every yellowtail. One guy was using a Tady 9 which he alternated between surface and yo yo with and he did very well. Another guy bagged a bunch on bait and was close to filling his quota for the trip. Everybody caught some and then the bite dried up so we moved south. We did find a loaded kelp with mostly small dorado so we moved on. We came to another kelp with the fish being a little bigger, like 10-15+ pounds, and we kept some of those with the skipper saying we probably would be stopping at any more kelps unless the grade was a lot bigger. We trolled toward the ridge with a stop or two on better dorado. I hate travel trolling so I gave up my spots for the most part.
I had written the next three days but somehow lost them. I guess I’ll try rewrite them tomorrow. Please excuse this post. I didn’t got back to proof read.
hey Blake looking forward to your full report
 

nicodemus

Fish, he said softly, aloud. I’ll stay with you...
Apr 10, 2012
517
743
The 505
Name
Nick B
Boat
African Queen
Hey, you baited the hook and have a nibble...looking forward to the rest of the report!
 

themacs

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jul 18, 2003
1,115
473
71
San Clemente CA
Name
scott
Boat
none
Glad you enjoyed the trip! Next year I will be on it for sure. Looking forward to hearing more! Scott
 

Lake

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Mar 31, 2003
2,264
2,464
Visalia, CA
Name
Blaine Lake
Boat
none
We arrived at the ridge, I think mainly working the 13 and 11 spots. They have been getting a little better grade tuna, like 15-35 pounds, so besides wahoo that was our target. We did some trolling for awhile and the first timer from Chicago caught a nice 50 pounder. I was next up on the troll. I dragged a DTX 200 in hot pink that had tracked perfectly even at travel speeds. It was swimming nicely and quickly got bit. Before I could pick it up it was gone, including my lure. It was a homemade topshot and I was dreading reeling up a failed connection, but the leader had broken above the trolling harness. It was new 100# and I really don't know what happened but it was gone nonetheless. I quickly retied a harness and sent out a gold DTX 220. It pulled left but the crewman moved me to the opposite corner where it stayed in the water. A short time later I was bit and straight cranked a 30 pounder to the boat. This was the most cooperative wahoo ever, swimming straight to the boat. A couple of back and forths and it was gaffed. If any of you remember my wahoo fiasco from last year where I was last man on the mercy troll where I still went home without one you might understand my relief of getting any early one, even if it was a troll fish.
We then went and anchored up, I think at the 13. We held back on the chum to try and keep the skippies and baby tuna off of us. The better grade found us and it turned into a decent bite. If you worked a good bait away from the boat you got one. At about 4 fish- a twenty-ish pound average- I decided I had enough so I gave some away and handed off others. As a warning to anyone heading to the ridge soon, the weather there was murder. Hot and humid, the worst I've ever seen there. I spent nearly as much time cooling off in the galley and rehydrating as I did fishing. One guy on the trip who was prone to such things, got too dehydrated and went into a-fib. He spent quite awhile in his bunk getting fluids down and making sure he was up on his meds.
I spent quite a bit of my fishing time throwing a popper. Besides a couple of blowouts and a skippy I didn't do well. Once this bite fizzled we went on the troll again. I decided to give up my spot until everyone had a fish. We mostly picked a single troll fish here and there, and ended the day with 5. We stayed the night there. Apparently that better grade of tuna will hit the yo yo jigs at night. I don't know if anyone got any. I didn't see anyone fishing as I was enjoying my cool stateroom. The next morning guys were at it early. Radar dropped a white 6X, was bit on the sink, and caught a wahoo. The bite never developed so we were off trolling again. We would stop and try a couple of high spots, usually for not much. There wasn't any current and that sure didn't help. One spot had small yellowtail. I caught about 12 pounds worth, but it took 4 fish to do that. Obviously they were all released. Someone rigged one up to fish grouper but the triggerfish destroyed it. On one stop we saw a free swimming wahoo. Evan grabbed a guy's rod rigged with a Raider. He hooked it and handed it off to the rod's owner. Another guy fished bait on a wire leader and caught one. More trolling and I think we ended the day with 7 more wahoo, 12 total on the boat. I was really just laying back taking it easy on this day, and didn't tag a fish. I did read a couple of books and enjoyed myself, except for the fact I sweated so much I couldn't stand my own smell. Early afternoon Brian decided to call it and pointed us toward the rocks where there hadn't been any boats in 4 days, so we were in anticipation of good things to come.
 

NorCalSoCalIDC

Worst Fisherman
Aug 4, 2011
154
312
Vista
www.cafishingnews.com
Name
Ernie Gorham
Boat
11' SportCat Truline
Thanks for the report man, I'm excited to read the rest!


I had written the next three days but somehow lost them. I guess I’ll try rewrite them tomorrow. Please excuse this post. I didn’t got back to proof read.
As someone who has suffered from similar frustrations, I now type up all of my long stuff on google drive and then just copy and paste it into the forum/wherever. Googly drive autosaves every time you change anything so you'll never lose anything significant. Just need a www.gmail.com account to use it.
 

Lake

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Mar 31, 2003
2,264
2,464
Visalia, CA
Name
Blaine Lake
Boat
none
As many times as I have been there it's still a thrill to see the rocks. I was hoping to also see wahoo jumping but didn't. We had to troll around for awhile but finally started getting jigstrikes, although usually singles, with no follow up fish. In my experience the wahoo at the rocks usually turn on a little later in the morning so I wasn't too worried. We did start getting them more and more with the fish starting to hit the bombs and Raiders. We did have a problem though. The sharks were the worst I've seen there by a longshot. You would get bit on the bomb, crank 2 or 3 times, and be sharked. You could watch the brown spots closing in on your fish almost immediately. They were absolutely ravenous, and I don't think that describes them adequately. The crew feel that the sharks follow the boat waiting for a hookup, or hang under the wahoo waiting. They were so quick to get your fish it was amazing. At times you might get to fight one for a bit and they would ambush you at the boat. I had one that had taken me around the boat and was about 15-20 feet out when at least 6 sharks tore into it. It was like watching National Geographic in that beautiful, clear blue water. One of them was better than 10 feet long. Everyone on the boat had at least one tagged so I took my next troll spot, put my gold DTX out and it wouldn't stay in the water. As I was rigging up a new trolling option someone got bit. I put my rod away and sent a bait out and quickly got bit. These were mostly small(20-30 pound) fish but they fought harder than any others I've caught. Perhaps having multiple sharks chasing you gives added incentive. These fish would take the first long run, take another 2 and then run around the boat. At least I was able to tag another one. You had to work overtime for every fish. Multiple troll lures were lost, including a couple of $90 MagTraks. I lost a few bombs and went through all of the premade leaders I made. The sharks were mainly near the shallows, but so were the wahoo. Trolling away from the shallows didn't produce so we stuck at it until early afternoon. At that point we just weren't getting anymore strikes, and stopping on marks didn't garner anymore fish, so Brian made the call to leave for other areas. We finished the day with 16 wahoo in what I would call a pretty good to good bite. We had at least 40-50 fish taken by the sharks. Everybody tagged at least one for the trip.
The boat had one of the hot trolling lures- the pink and silver MagTrak- now resides in a shark's stomach. One guy dragged a sardine DTX 220 through several rotations, was bit 6 times, and all came off almost immediately. We found out he'd changed his hooks out, but they looked way too small. A hot pink DTX 220 caught 5 before the bill was broken. The Raiders, as usual, got plenty of bites. There was no specific bomb color that seemed to stand out. I lost a green Jimmy bomb, a purple Catchy bomb, and a green Catchy bomb to sharks, as well as several bait rigs.
 
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Lake

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Mar 31, 2003
2,264
2,464
Visalia, CA
Name
Blaine Lake
Boat
none
Brian made the call to go back to San Pablo to work our way back north. I was very happy with this plan since I really was in the mood to fish yellowtail this year. We didn't have great conditions fishing there on the way down so we were hoping for better. We arrived first thing in the morning with one other boat there. I guess there are 2 high spots there. They were sitting on one so we took the other. Since I already had an adequate catch I was planning on concentrating on surface iron only, but after a time with no fish I decided to listen to Brian and put a yo yo jig out. I grabbed my Tilefish 80 with a Saltiga 35 star drag and 40# line. Since I was fishing a little light I put on a red crab 6X jr. I almost never use jr's when down south but it worked out okay. First drop I hooked up and got a healthy 25 pounder on deck. Beautiful fish. A couple of more drops gave me a couple more fish. At this point I was in the give away mode. I took a little cool down and rehydration break. When I went back out I saw a few fish boiling. I hadn't really knocked them dead with my old standard 7X, and I noticed the crew tossing a 5X. I don't have any of those but I decided to go smaller, and tied on an OCT 4 in mint. First cast nailed another healthy grade yellowtail, and I proceeded to catch several others. I was giving some away, handing a few off, and even tagged a couple more before finally cutting myself off at 10 total yellowtail. It was just an outstanding morning of yellowtail fishing and I feel very fortunate to get this day. This was definitely my favorite day of the trip. Especially once we were told the other boat a few hundred yards away caught 8 or 9 fish total. The current backed off, the bonito came on stronger, including some bigger grade to about 10#. We would still see some free swimmers coming through but the bite slacked off and we were off to gain some altitude.
A boat a few days earlier reported a lot of bird schools off Natividad so we headed up there. We tried a few drifts without much. I dropped the yo yo twice and caught calicos before I even put it in gear, all released. No bird schools seen, including none for the other poor boat we'd fished near at San Pablo. We called it a day and continued north. The next day we made a few rockfish drifts and caught some nice reds and a few lings. I added a decent chucklehead before we called it a trip.

The boat: very clean and functional. It's smaller than what I usually fish but with the limited load it seemed wide open. There was only one time during the whole trip that I saw people waiting for showers.

The crew: excellent. All cool, personable, and helpful guys. These are the types of guys you'd want to hang around with. No knuckleheads.

Food: The cook and girlfriend were very friendly and the food was great. A couple of guys felt he overdid the garlic on the rack of lamb. I don't think that is possible. Lots of seafood dishes. I'm normally not a big fish eater but they were all good. He was talking about how he was going to fix the dorado donated to the boat. I suggested blackened or cajun mahi sandwiches, the only fish I'd ever order in a restaurant back when I lived in FL. He did just that and they were very good. The chicken fettuccine the last night was memorable. The snacks were cut back because of covid, but we always had chilled fruit/melon cups available. One day on the ridge he came out and handed out berry smoothies.

Skipper: the regulars talked about his lack of personality but I liked him. He was informative, he managed time perfectly so we fished basically every day, he made the right moves, and he tried harder to catch fish than we did. Some days we were all showered and lounging around and he's up looking for more wahoo. I'd definitely fish with him any time.

I'll definitely be on this boat again.
 

Phil

Well-Known "Member"
Sep 5, 2006
62
42
Mississippi
Name
Phil
Boat
n/a
Excellent report! Thank you for all the details including what was working as well as your thoughts on the boat and crew. Doing my first trip on the SOA in a couple of weeks. I hope we find the fishing as good as you guys did.
 

jayyyy

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Oct 7, 2008
1,006
229
NorCal
Name
jay
Boat
'04 Sea Pro 220 WA / 225 Honda
Great report, sounds like a really fun trip having a super light load and catching targeted fish everyday.
 

Shon

Fish til I can't fish no more
Jan 21, 2014
1,133
793
41
Redondo Beach/ Mammoth
Name
Shon
Boat
Spirit of Adventure/ Pac Voyager
Great report and thanks for the details on what was working. JP is my good buddy and the crew on the SOA is top notch in my opinion. I have a 10 day October 20 and am very much looking forward to killing some wahoo.
The Spirit of Adventure is a great fishing platform and does pretty well in the nasty weather.
I’ve never been to rocks but love fishing the ridge when it’s good. Maybe this is the year I see the rocks.
San Pablo is a very special place too me for yellowtail. There are some bruiser yellows there and they love crushing the surface iron. Can’t wait, 25 more days!!
 
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cozenone

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jan 25, 2020
435
419
northwest
Name
joe
Boat
none
You forgot to Mention the SHARKS, they were like maggots when we went out a couple weeks before
 

DMcD

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Nov 21, 2011
369
526
Idyllwild, Ca USA
Name
Dennis McDougall
Boat
None
In my opinion, SOA is a class operation. I've never been on the boat, but on a 3 day several years ago the boat I was on was still struggling on day 2 to find some fish, and the SOA called us in on a school of bluefin. They passed the school off to us, and we had a steady bite for the next few hours...30-60 lb class fish. On that particular day, they saved our day.
 

Leke

Throwing jigs, baits, and shakas!
Feb 24, 2018
138
14
san diego
offerup.co
Name
Leke
Boat
Boto Action
Enjoyed that! Thank you for sharing.
 

twotrack

habitual scopolamine abuser
Dec 14, 2011
442
296
San Clemente
Name
Scott
Boat
Sin Barco
You take excellent notes. Also confirmed all of the positive things I've heard about the Spirit. Detailed, actionable intel for my upcoming trip on the Star. Thanks for taking the time.
 

Yellowtail Dan

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Apr 10, 2006
3,289
3,391
53
Roseville Ca
Name
Dan
Boat
Excel, American Angler
Great report, I've never heard anything bad said about Mike and his operation
 

makomiko

makomiko
Jun 25, 2006
290
39
San Clemente
Name
Mike
Boat
Hobie Pro Angler 12
As many times as I have been there it's still a thrill to see the rocks. I was hoping to also see wahoo jumping but didn't. We had to troll around for awhile but finally started getting jigstrikes, although usually singles, with no follow up fish. In my experience the wahoo at the rocks usually turn on a little later in the morning so I wasn't too worried. We did start getting them more and more with the fish starting to hit the bombs and Raiders. We did have a problem though. The sharks were the worst I've seen there by a longshot. You would get bit on the bomb, crank 2 or 3 times, and be sharked. You could watch the brown spots closing in on your fish almost immediately. They were absolutely ravenous, and I don't think that describes them adequately. The crew feel that the sharks follow the boat waiting for a hookup, or hang under the wahoo waiting. They were so quick to get your fish it was amazing. At times you might get to fight one for a bit and they would ambush you at the boat. I had one that had taken me around the boat and was about 15-20 feet out when at least 6 sharks tore into it. It was like watching National Geographic in that beautiful, clear blue water. One of them was better than 10 feet long. Everyone on the boat had at least one tagged so I took my next troll spot, put my gold DTX out and it wouldn't stay in the water. As I was rigging up a new trolling option someone got bit. I put my rod away and sent a bait out and quickly got bit. These were mostly small(20-30 pound) fish but they fought harder than any others I've caught. Perhaps having multiple sharks chasing you gives added incentive. These fish would take the first long run, take another 2 and then run around the boat. At least I was able to tag another one. You had to work overtime for every fish. Multiple troll lures were lost, including a couple of $90 MagTraks. I lost a few bombs and went through all of the premade leaders I made. The sharks were mainly near the shallows, but so were the wahoo. Trolling away from the shallows didn't produce so we stuck at it until early afternoon. At that point we just weren't getting anymore strikes, and stopping on marks didn't garner anymore fish, so Brian made the call to leave for other areas. We finished the day with 16 wahoo in what I would call a pretty good to good bite. We had at least 40-50 fish taken by the sharks. Everybody tagged at least one for the trip.
The boat had one of the hot trolling lures- the pink and silver MagTrak- now resides in a shark's stomach. One guy dragged a sardine DTX 220 through several rotations, was bit 6 times, and all came off almost immediately. We found out he'd changed his hooks out, but they looked way too small. A hot pink DTX 220 caught 5 before the bill was broken. The Raiders, as usual, got plenty of bites. There was no specific bomb color that seemed to stand out. I lost a green Jimmy bomb, a purple Catchy bomb, and a green Catchy bomb to sharks, as well as several bait rigs.
I caught my hoo on the cowbell, “Keebler”