SoA 9/18-26

Lake

I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
Mar 31, 2003
2,636
3,513
Visalia, CA
Name
Blaine Lake
Boat Name
none
It’s been an interesting few months for me. Semi retired, sold my house and moved out of state. With all that going on, and the lack of a spring yellowtail bite, I hadn’t gotten out fishing this year. I was very much looking forward to getting out. I drove 11 hours to get here with far too much gear- I’ve been pairing it down every year but still have way more than I should. The boat had gotten in from the previous trip and the guys I talked to were a little down. The boat had a gear box issue and they were fighting an uphill current and didn’t get in the amount of fishing one would expect from an 8 day. We sat around for a few hours while the gear box was being repaired and left the dock around 2:30. It as cool to have a couple of crew members back that are retired and we left with Brian as capt, a new galley crew of Max and Mike, and Luke, JP, Scottie, along with a new kid. All were great. Brian orchestrated the perfect trip given the conditions we had.

We started fishing on Tuesday at San Pablo, which is one of my favorite places, since one of my favorite things is surface iron yellowtail. Being rusty from not fishing the entire year I had a slightly slow start(every day of the trip). Unfortunately, because of a big bonito problem we didn’t get to chum much as they would take over so the surface action was only okay. We fished a few hours with all methods producing. I did get several on the plug, but had to fish some yo yo and even bait to get a decent score. The grade was about 12-16 pounds so you wanted to be selective with what you kept. After a few hours the current died and so did the bite. We moved to a few spots and caught a few but the best was behind us. After a bit Brian decided to move south towards the ridge.

I hope to add more tomorrow. I drove 13 hours to get home. Also, I took zero pictures. I have one that Luke took of me and that’s it.
 

Lake

I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
Mar 31, 2003
2,636
3,513
Visalia, CA
Name
Blaine Lake
Boat Name
none
We got to the ridge, the 13, early and were anchored up. We were
told there hadn’t been any wahoo here. People were slowly getting up, eating, etc... when Brian hollered “there’s wahoo here guys.” I was still in my flip flops so I went down to get boots. Radar goes out in his flip flops, throws a bomb, and first cast catches a wahoo. Second cast he catches another one. Third cast he’s on again but lost it at the boat. By then others are fishing. I think we got a small handful more before they died off. I tossed a bomb for a bit but there didn’t seem to be any more around. Besides, wahoo and I have an agreement, they’ll not bite bite my bombs and I won’t put a tag in them.

We were at the 13 to fish tuna, and there had been some nicer(20-30 pounders here) fish but you had to weed through smaller ones to get to them. I got some on a Ridgeback, then bait seemed to be the item so I had to fish that again. My next favorite thing is to fish poppers on these ridge tuna, so I started that up. They were boiling and should have been hitting but I only got boiled on once so I gave it a break. After a while I went back to it and the young crewman, Cody, told me to give it a pause between pops. This is how I fished it last year and did great. For some reason I changed up my cadence. Next cast pop, pause, explosion on my popper. I started getting fish most casts. Where last year my poppers seemed to get mostly the better grade fish, this year that wasn’t the case. I still managed to get some gaffers, including a nicer 30+ so the morning was fun. There were some yellowtail there also that added to our counts. We put a lot of fish on the deck before the current and bite died off. Brian had to tell people to start being more selective. We basically had fished two half days and we had more than half limits on tuna and yellowtail. We spent quite a while trolling for wahoo in the doldrums of the day, with the heat and humidity. Every so often we’d stop and try fishing but it wasn’t very productive. Finally he decided to start making the move to our next spot, the 23, where they’d been catching yellowtail and tuna, and the boats that day landed some wahoo.

The 23 produced well on tuna and yellowtail, and I think we got a couple more wahoo. Not me. The popper was working though so I got to do that for quite awhile. We tried a few potential potential grouper spots. At one of them a guy caught one, maybe 15 pounds. They always seem bigger at first, then seem to shrink. Another guy caught a beautiful fish that ended up weighing 66 pounds. Obviously he was pretty stoked. We spent a lot of time trolling for wahoo and I don’t remember any more coming up. At this point we had 9 on the boat. Brian wanted to get to the rocks in the dark because that’s when the better tuna there had been biting so we headed offshore.
 

Baller

Jig Chucker
  • Nov 16, 2010
    2,657
    1,888
    La Mesa
    Name
    Bill
    Congrats on the semi retirement...
     
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    Lake

    I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
    Mar 31, 2003
    2,636
    3,513
    Visalia, CA
    Name
    Blaine Lake
    Boat Name
    none
    We arrived at the rocks around 4 am. We were up fishing, Brian had recommended jigs. I was throwing a ridgeback again. At first all we got were king sized mackeral. Reports from other boats hasn’t shown much of the tuna here, but they started biting this morning. At first they’d be mostly smaller ones that were released, but then some better ones(25-35) started showing. We also saw some wahoo jumping out a ways so I was fishing the bomb for awhile and was never touched. I decided to fish some bait. My only rigged bait outfit was 30# so I sent a ‘dine out on a small wire 3/0 hook. Got bit, put it in gear and it started those head shakes that little ones do. Then it woke up and took of. Scorched me for over a hundred yards and took me back and forth across the stern but since it was way out I mostly was pretty clear. After a while it took me up to the bow, around the anchor a couple of times but then it came up. Got a nice 40# class fish and was happy. It’s been a long time since I tagged a tuna at the rocks. On the deck there some others of decent size. My room mate then landed a fish that looked to be every bit of 60#.

    After daylight the bite backed off to smaller(tiny) fish so we started trolling for wahoo. The first day I had been dragging a Cowbell because that’s a lure that’ll swim straight for me. I decided I’d give a better effort today so I grabbed a boat rod that had a Magtrak and put it out. The previous troll rotation had timed out with no fish so it didn’t look too promising. We weren’t up for 10 minutes before we got a triple, including mine. Bob was right next to me and he was also on. He did everything right and his fish just came off. The other hook up also came off. Next thing I felt my hook rip free. I kept reeling though and then I see my lure with a wahoo swimming up with it. Lucky fish, but it means I’ve got one tagged and I don’t have to troll anymore. I always give up my troll spot after I get one till everyone has one. After that stop we spent quite a while trolling around the rocks. I don’t remember if we got anymore, but, after 3 or 4 hours we had 10 fish at the rocks.



    We made the run out to the bank. There hasn’t been much wahoo there, but there has been some yellowtail. I re rigged my bomb outfit. I had been fishing straight spectra to a wire leader, so I put a 20 yard topshot of 50# mono. Another bomb I was throwing had a pretty short wire leader and I was afraid that was repelling my bites, so I re rigged that with a heavy fluoro leader. As we were making the hour run out I went to the head to make a transaction, and of course as I’m sitting there the boat slows and within a minute or so you hear “hook up.” There are already a couple of fish on the deck by the time I make it out. I toss out my bomb on fluoro once or twice and I actually get bit. The fish started taking line and I was on. I actually catch it, cast out again, and get bit again. This fish also was taking line. I was still straight crankingand had the fish about 20 feet out. Almost ready. Got one wrap around the line on another hooked fish. As I ducked slightly to go under my fish came unbuttoned. So lightning didn’t strike twice. The only reason I was bummed about losing it was it would have put me as tied for high man on wahoo. It was a very good stop. We put on 12 fish on it. Started trolling again an couldn’t find anymore takers.

    Brian anchors up on the high spot, tells us there is decent signal of yellowtail down deep, and that dropper loop and yo yo would be best.I sent my favorite yo yo down too many times for nothing. Ken gets bit on the dropper loop and brings in a nice 30# class fish. Brian then says they sometimes move up so guys were fly lining and Mike gets a beautiful 35-40# class fish. More guys hook up so the sharks came en mass and destroyed everything with a hook in it. Most were just devoured but Ken hooked another one down deep, got it to color, only to watch the sharks take their toll. He brought in a massive head, I’d guess a 45#+ fish. What a waste. At that we pulled anchor because we would never land anything through that gauntlet, and headed back to the rocks for another try. Multiple laps and stops for zero fish and it’s time to bust a move.

    We have to start making some altitude and are running out of fishing time, Brian decided to take us back to San Pablo. Problem is it is mainly an early morning bite there and we won’t arrive till about 9 am. I only have 2 more tags to fill on yellows so I start with a yo yo. I watch Scott catch fish on 5 out of 6 drops while I can’t get bit. I decide I’m going to live or die by the surface iron. After several casts I finally get bit but it doesn’t hang. A minute later I hook up one and figure I only get one more. I get it up close and the line breaks. I guess it could have been frayed, but regardless I’m still short 2 fish and my favorite surface iron. Tried bait once or twice before going back to the surface iron. About this point the fish woke up and decided to act right, and in short order I had filled my tags. The fish really lit up and we’re crashing all around. Anybody who’s tags weren’t filled had guys filling them. I was done but it was a blast watching the fish chase surface irons, guys were handing off. It was really a fun lighthearted end to our fishing. The grade was also better with mostly fish in the 16-20# category. It’s still one of my favorite places to fish. So we turned the boat north and started the trip home. Up till this point we had near perfect weather for this trip. We knew it was predicted to get gamey on the way home, so everyone had their gear packed up and the crew cleaned the boat that day.

    We pounded our way north in sporty seas and wind. At times you could feel the steel hull pound through some bigger swells and then feel the shudder all the way down the hull. Brian stayed closer to the coast to avoid worse seas. At times you could see the water going over the bridge. A couple of time he throttled all the way back as a roller was passing by. We anchored behind a point to have dinner of fantastic steak and baked potato. A little later the weather came down.

    At weigh in a little weirdness happened. I brought my bigger tuna over just to see what it weighed- 40.8 pounds, and I was told it was the biggest so far. I looked at Bob questioningly and he said his was only 36 or something. I swear that was a 60# fish. I know for certain mine was the one I caught as I held it up for a crew picture and it had my #13 tag on it. No other bigger tuna were out there on the landing. Whatever happened all the winning went to the crew, which was the same thing Bob had planned on doing. So Bob, if you’re reading this, consider yourself the jackpot winner. I don’t don’t usually even enter it, it just got added into my final payment before leaving without me noticing.

    Scott and I donate all our fish every year so as my fish was piled by the cones it was taken away. With no fish to handle I was on the road by 7 and it only took me 11 hours to get home.

    The boat was clean as usual. The crew was what makes this operation successful and they lived up to it. Brian did an amazing job. He’s such a high quality skipper, great at finding fish, great at managing time and bait. I’ll certainly be back next year, and now I hope to jump an extra trip or two. I feel we were extremely lucky. We had great weather which is the only thing I really hope for. The poor guys before us has to deal with a mechanical issue. We basically limited out for the boat. Good luck to the rest of you guys.

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    surfgoose

    active geezer
  • Jul 29, 2010
    4,025
    7,810
    Long Beach, CA, USA
    Name
    Gary
    Boat Name
    whichever has the longest bunk
    Excellent report, thanks! One trick that you might keep in mind for next year if you have another situation where bonito keep intercepting the live bait before the yellowtail can get to it -- boat a fresh bonito, cut a chunk about two inches square off one side, bury a 2/0 J-hook in the chunk and then cast it and let it sink down. Bonito won't eat themselves, but yellowtail love chunk bonito.

    I read this tactic in a column from Charlie Davis in South Coast Sportfishing magazine back in February of 1987, and have had several occasions to use it successfully. If there are sea lions around of course it won't work, but if it is just bonito and yellowtail, like is often found in Mexican waters, then you should give it a try.

    And I'm like you, I LOVE to make a surface popper splash. I have to keep reminding myself that while I like the splash, the fish like the resting shape.
     
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    spark plug

    Newbie
    Nov 12, 2019
    15
    14
    California
    Name
    Mark
    Boat Name
    none
    Great report, and glad you had a good trip. Sounds like you guys caught some nice fish. I've been fishing the SOA over 20 years. Very clean boat, great captains, crew, and cooks.
     
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