Spirit of Adventure 9/19-9/27

Lake

I Should Upgrade My Account
Mar 31, 2003
2,478
3,132
Visalia, CA
Name
Blaine Lake
Boat
none
Just got home from my 8 day on the SoA. This is my second year on the Tuna Chasers charter and I’ll be on it again next year. We had Evan as skipper( and new owner), Scotty, Anthony, Greg, and Bryan as crew, with Guinness and Shou Li in the galley. They’re a very personable, pleasant, and fun crew. We only had 17 passengers which is a very comfortable load on this boat.

We baited up and turned left, headed for the Rocks. They hadn’t been fished in a week and we had high hopes. Evan did inform us that wahoo have not been very numerous this year but we’d be giving them a shot.

We did hit a kelp on the way down with great numbers of decent grade dorado- about 12-14 pounders mostly. One guy got a 25# bull that I forgot to get the video from Guinness showing why they’re called ball slappers. Byron hung a huge one, probably 40#, and fought it for awhile. He got it to about a foot from gaff before it ran down into the props and broke off. I don’t like fishing dorado much so I was on the top deck watching the whole thing. A few guys tagged 2 each, but we could have caught 20 each if people wanted.

We arrived at the rocks the next afternoon and within about 10 minutes we had a jigstrike. The fish came onto us and stayed for a bit. We had a lot of biters, but only 6 landed. It did look like a start to a good day. We started trolling again and went quite awhile with nothing. We stopped and drifted a few times. We hung a few but the sharks woke up and were relentless. I had one on bait but fed it to the grinners. Guinness got one on a jig but that was it. After trolling for a good part of the afternoon we pulled up to the shallows to try for something else. I tried jigging Coltsnipers as that’s how I’ve done well on cabrilla there in the past. I hooked a few but the sharks got them quick. Somebody caught a 15# yellow so I tried throwing the yo yo. I was fishing 60 and the fish was definitely bigger than 15. It ended up rocking me, and the same thing happened to several other guys that hung good fish. We finally pulled the anchor to head for the ridge. These last couple of years the rocks have been corroded wth these very aggressive sharks. I hope things change in the future,

We were heading to the 23 where there have been better than ridge grade tuna, 15-35 pounds. There hadn’t been much in the way of wahoo so when we arrived to find a seiner working it was a little discouraging, as we were counting on the tuna here. We trolled the high spots looking for wahoo and didn’t get hit or see much so we set the anchor. As soon as the anchor sets we see free swimming wahoo around the boat. People start throwing wahoo stuff and we start catching some. I even caught one, which is a relief to get on the board fairly early. After they settle down we start seeing tuna boiling. One thing I love at the ridge is fishing poppers and I have a dedicated setup for this. I use a Shimano Twin Power on an 8 foot Okuma Hawaian Chstom. I backed this with 60# spectra filled to the brim with a 3 foot piece of mono. I throw a Williamson jet popper, which is a light, 2 ounce, plastic popper. With this outfit I cast up with the wind and this gave me some long casts. The reason this is relevant is because the skippies are all around the boat. As you got out a ways you got the smaller yellowfins. About 50 yards out seemed to be where the bigger fish were hanging. So I was very fortunate that the way I wanted to fish happened to be the way I could target the bigger ones. The bait fishermen seemed to be plagued by skippies and small tuna while I was getting good fish. The fun thing about popper fishing is it’s fun getting strikes even when you don’t hook the fish. The visuals were way cool. I almost got my limit of the 25-33 pound tuna. Other guys said they caught 100 skippies. I caught 2. I only threw out about 10 baits the whole trip.

We anchored up on the high spot to try for grouper. Another thing I really love is flylining small tuna or skipjacks for grouper but I was too worn out to set up a heavy rig. I saw a guy catch a yellowtail on a bomb so I thought I’d try a yo yo. I sent out my favorite- a 6X in red crab. On my second drop I hooked up about halfway up. It fought a little funny so I was thinking I had a skipjack. Once I had color I saw I’d hooked a wahoo. I hollered out and the crew was immediately there and I got my fish. Straight tie mono, hooked in the tongue. I’m a mediocre wahoo fisherman and I’ve always said I’ve never caught a lucky wahoo. I guess that’s all changed because that was as lucky as they come. After I got that fish I went back to throwing poppers and they were all over it. My second fish I really got scorched and ended breaking my spectra. I guess I had rubbed a weak spot because 60# braid should not have broken, but it seemed like it was easily the biggest fish I’d hooked on the popper. I wish I could have seen how big it was. We spent more time trolling for wahoo, and put those without one up on the mercy troll. We did end up getting everybody a wahoo, and ended with 41 fish. We were very lucky. One guy had five, a couple with 3-4, and some with 2. I was sure happy to not be part of the mercy troll.

We headed down to Thetis where yellowtail had been caught. We started trolling and we got some wahoo, including getting that last man standing his fish so everyone was happy. We did try for yellowtail and got a few. The last guy to catch a wahoo caught a 35# class fish. I got a 20# on the yo yo, but we didn’t really get much of a bite. After a few hours we headed up to take another stab at the 23. We hit the 13, the 9, and the 23 and we really didn’t see much.

We got word that San Pablo had put out some fish that day, although they weren’t super aggressive. We hadn’t hit it earlier because the water had turned over, but I really wanted to go there. Surface iron fishing there can be very good so I was excited to get a shot. We got there to good water temps and decent conditions and set up on one of the high spots. Evan said the fish were near the bottom so I started with a yo yo. I’ve always done a little better there on smaller irons so I started with a 6X jr in red crab. My second drop I got a healthy 20ish pound fish. Right after I posed for the pic I embarrassingly tripped over my flip flops and fell on my butt, so went downstairs to put on some boots. Came back up and dropped again and got another, maybe 15 pounds. Those were the first 2 on the boat. The spot didn’t produce that well so we moved to the other high spot. We were winding down our trip so Evan said we could dump a lot of bait to try to get the fish going. We got them up and boiling. I started throwing a mint/white DW1 and caught several more. Evan said we needed to start heading up but he’d give us about 10 more minutes. I was in the galley resting so I jumped up and went back out. Second cast I get another. A few minutes more and I got another. It was never wide open but if you put in the work you could catch them. Some guys did well on bait. Some guys didn’t get any. The big bonito there were a problem. I probably caught a dozen of them, up to close to 10 pounds. I think we got about 50 fish that day.

It was a great trip. We had stellar weather the entire trip. The boat is always clean. The crew is friendly. The food is great. I wish I had the hall pass to go more.

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cow man

Tuna addict
  • Aug 29, 2012
    3,396
    3,290
    Glide Or. 97443
    Name
    Jake Waardenburg
    Boat
    N/A
    Awesome lake.. thanks for the report..
    I’m on the 11 day in November.. can’t wait..
    Nice stick you’re holding up there!! 😆
    Who ever wrapped that did a hell of a job!! 😝
     
    Lake
    Lake
    There was another guy on the trip with some of your wraps. I think his name is Wayne. You actually showed me pics of his when I was picking colors. He has the orange prism under the guides. Actually, I think you can see it behind me in the popper fish pic.
    Upvote 0
    Mr. DRE
    Mr. DRE
    Those colors look familiar.
    Upvote 0

    woodfish330

    I Should Upgrade My Account
  • Aug 14, 2012
    1,856
    4,323
    San Fransisco,CA USA
    Name
    John
    Boat
    Fishead
    Great post and picts Brother. SOA is a solid boat.... fished it many times with Mike. I wish Evan and the boys Great luck.

    Happy to see your reliance on the "red crab" color..... many times my first jig in the water as well. If they're pucking up "red pelagic crabs"... your already there brother!! Good for you!! Happy it turned out well for you....cool popper fish too. Be safe out there.
     
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    Tunahead

    Long Time Tuna Abused Member
  • Aug 11, 2006
    11,711
    5,340
    Costa Mesa
    Name
    Ron
    Boat
    several
    Great report/pics and reading. Top notch.
    Glad you got some fish, decent trip I'd say.
    SOA a great operation.
     
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    Buttchaser

    Fresh One!
    Jul 3, 2004
    4,618
    2,038
    BD Outdoors
    Name
    John
    Boat
    None
    Great report Lake !!!!
    What size popper do you throw ?
    Im really considering a 8 day for next year , what’s the max length rod that will fit under that overhang ?
     
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    nicodemus

    Fish, he said softly, aloud. I’ll stay with you...
    Apr 10, 2012
    825
    1,309
    The 505
    Name
    Nick B
    Boat
    African Queen
    Just got home from my 8 day on the SoA. This is my second year on the Tuna Chasers charter and I’ll be on it again next year. We had Evan as skipper( and new owner), Scotty, Anthony, Greg, and Bryan as crew, with Guinness and Shou Li in the galley. They’re a very personable, pleasant, and fun crew. We only had 17 passengers which is a very comfortable load on this boat.

    We baited up and turned left, headed for the Rocks. They hadn’t been fished in a week and we had high hopes. Evan did inform us that wahoo have not been very numerous this year but we’d be giving them a shot.

    We did hit a kelp on the way down with great numbers of decent grade dorado- about 12-14 pounders mostly. One guy got a 25# bull that I forgot to get the video from Guinness showing why they’re called ball slappers. Byron hung a huge one, probably 40#, and fought it for awhile. He got it to about a foot from gaff before it ran down into the props and broke off. I don’t like fishing dorado much so I was on the top deck watching the whole thing. A few guys tagged 2 each, but we could have caught 20 each if people wanted.

    We arrived at the rocks the next afternoon and within about 10 minutes we had a jigstrike. The fish came onto us and stayed for a bit. We had a lot of biters, but only 6 landed. It did look like a start to a good day. We started trolling again and went quite awhile with nothing. We stopped and drifted a few times. We hung a few but the sharks woke up and were relentless. I had one on bait but fed it to the grinners. Guinness got one on a jig but that was it. After trolling for a good part of the afternoon we pulled up to the shallows to try for something else. I tried jigging Coltsnipers as that’s how I’ve done well on cabrilla there in the past. I hooked a few but the sharks got them quick. Somebody caught a 15# yellow so I tried throwing the yo yo. I was fishing 60 and the fish was definitely bigger than 15. It ended up rocking me, and the same thing happened to several other guys that hung good fish. We finally pulled the anchor to head for the ridge. These last couple of years the rocks have been corroded wth these very aggressive sharks. I hope things change in the future,

    We were heading to the 23 where there have been better than ridge grade tuna, 15-35 pounds. There hadn’t been much in the way of wahoo so when we arrived to find a seiner working it was a little discouraging, as we were counting on the tuna here. We trolled the high spots looking for wahoo and didn’t get hit or see much so we set the anchor. As soon as the anchor sets we see free swimming wahoo around the boat. People start throwing wahoo stuff and we start catching some. I even caught one, which is a relief to get on the board fairly early. After they settle down we start seeing tuna boiling. One thing I love at the ridge is fishing poppers and I have a dedicated setup for this. I use a Shimano Twin Power on an 8 foot Okuma Hawaian Chstom. I backed this with 60# spectra filled to the brim with a 3 foot piece of mono. I throw a Williamson jet popper, which is a light, 2 ounce, plastic popper. With this outfit I cast up with the wind and this gave me some long casts. The reason this is relevant is because the skippies are all around the boat. As you got out a ways you got the smaller yellowfins. About 50 yards out seemed to be where the bigger fish were hanging. So I was very fortunate that the way I wanted to fish happened to be the way I could target the bigger ones. The bait fishermen seemed to be plagued by skippies and small tuna while I was getting good fish. The fun thing about popper fishing is it’s fun getting strikes even when you don’t hook the fish. The visuals were way cool. I almost got my limit of the 25-33 pound tuna. Other guys said they caught 100 skippies. I caught 2. I only threw out about 10 baits the whole trip.

    We anchored up on the high spot to try for grouper. Another thing I really love is flylining small tuna or skipjacks for grouper but I was too worn out to set up a heavy rig. I saw a guy catch a yellowtail on a bomb so I thought I’d try a yo yo. I sent out my favorite- a 6X in red crab. On my second drop I hooked up about halfway up. It fought a little funny so I was thinking I had a skipjack. Once I had color I saw I’d hooked a wahoo. I hollered out and the crew was immediately there and I got my fish. Straight tie mono, hooked in the tongue. I’m a mediocre wahoo fisherman and I’ve always said I’ve never caught a lucky wahoo. I guess that’s all changed because that was as lucky as they come. After I got that fish I went back to throwing poppers and they were all over it. My second fish I really got scorched and ended breaking my spectra. I guess I had rubbed a weak spot because 60# braid should not have broken, but it seemed like it was easily the biggest fish I’d hooked on the popper. I wish I could have seen how big it was. We spent more time trolling for wahoo, and put those without one up on the mercy troll. We did end up getting everybody a wahoo, and ended with 41 fish. We were very lucky. One guy had five, a couple with 3-4, and some with 2. I was sure happy to not be part of the mercy troll.

    We headed down to Thetis where yellowtail had been caught. We started trolling and we got some wahoo, including getting that last man standing his fish so everyone was happy. We did try for yellowtail and got a few. The last guy to catch a wahoo caught a 35# class fish. I got a 20# on the yo yo, but we didn’t really get much of a bite. After a few hours we headed up to take another stab at the 23. We hit the 13, the 9, and the 23 and we really didn’t see much.

    We got word that San Pablo had put out some fish that day, although they weren’t super aggressive. We hadn’t hit it earlier because the water had turned over, but I really wanted to go there. Surface iron fishing there can be very good so I was excited to get a shot. We got there to good water temps and decent conditions and set up on one of the high spots. Evan said the fish were near the bottom so I started with a yo yo. I’ve always done a little better there on smaller irons so I started with a 6X jr in red crab. My second drop I got a healthy 20ish pound fish. Right after I posed for the pic I embarrassingly tripped over my flip flops and fell on my butt, so went downstairs to put on some boots. Came back up and dropped again and got another, maybe 15 pounds. Those were the first 2 on the boat. The spot didn’t produce that well so we moved to the other high spot. We were winding down our trip so Evan said we could dump a lot of bait to try to get the fish going. We got them up and boiling. I started throwing a mint/white DW1 and caught several more. Evan said we needed to start heading up but he’d give us about 10 more minutes. I was in the galley resting so I jumped up and went back out. Second cast I get another. A few minutes more and I got another. It was never wide open but if you put in the work you could catch them. Some guys did well on bait. Some guys didn’t get any. The big bonito there were a problem. I probably caught a dozen of them, up to close to 10 pounds. I think we got about 50 fish that day.

    It was a great trip. We had stellar weather the entire trip. The boat is always clean. The crew is friendly. The food is great. I wish I had the hall pass to go more.

    View attachment 1322170

    View attachment 1322171
    Sounds like a really fun trip! I plan to throw some poppers in a month or so down south, never fished them. What was working so well for you?
     
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    Soda Pop

    I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
    Feb 12, 2011
    2,857
    5,394
    Fresno, CA
    Name
    David Rouse
    Boat
    Long range fishing
    O boy..... I really enjoyed this post. The write up and the pic's were fantastic. Bravo. Thanks for taking the time brother. Great boat and a truly great operation.
     
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    Lake

    I Should Upgrade My Account
    Mar 31, 2003
    2,478
    3,132
    Visalia, CA
    Name
    Blaine Lake
    Boat
    none
    In answer to questions about my popper. I just ordered a few more. I also change out to single hooks. It makes it easier for the crew to remove the hooks, especially in fish to be released.
    16C1685F-FFFD-481C-942B-67B86FC9D7F9.png


    31B-WnPk+AL._AC_US40_.jpg
     
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    Lake

    I Should Upgrade My Account
    Mar 31, 2003
    2,478
    3,132
    Visalia, CA
    Name
    Blaine Lake
    Boat
    none
    For rod storage you can get an 8 footer on the side rod holders. There are rocket launchers at the tackle station where everyone should get at least 1 or 2.

    Working the popper, instead of popping with the rod I point the rod at the lure and just alternate fast and slow cranks. It pops well that way and keeps your line reasonably tight for when you get a strike.
     
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    themacs

    I Should Upgrade My Account
  • Jul 18, 2003
    1,328
    653
    72
    San Clemente CA
    Name
    scott
    Boat
    none
    I was on the trip with Blaine. The report was SPOT ON!! We had GREAT weather and all on board worked well together and enjoyed the trip. Blaine is the Popper KING. Seriously, he can fling that popper and all had a good time watching the explosions!! The boats wahoo catch was very respectful too!
    Blaine and I donated all our fish to Fish for Life Charity for disabled children. The CEO of the charity came down to the landing to meet us. He had just been on the Dana Pride with 40 children and their parents along with volunteer helpers. I have been on their trips a number of times. A truly rewarding charity.
    Looking forward to fishing with all again next year!
     
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    themacs

    I Should Upgrade My Account
  • Jul 18, 2003
    1,328
    653
    72
    San Clemente CA
    Name
    scott
    Boat
    none
    I forgot to mention that we had over 40 wahoo. Every angler (17) caught a wahoo. The top was 5 and a bunch had 4. Certainly steller compared to other reports. On the troll the Nomad's were the king. Frankly, I thought the 200reds caught as many or more then the 220's. Yes, it was a little harder to keep them straight but I was fortunate not to have any problems with the 200. I had changed the rear hook to a 7691. I felt it is a better "fit". I probably will change middle hook also.
     
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    catmendo

    Catfisher
    Nov 27, 2011
    14
    142
    Bonsall, CA
    Name
    Paul Droluk
    Boat
    Telluride - Alwoplast 45
    I was on this trip as well. My first ever LR and very first Whoo... on the mercy troll. I cannot compliment the crew and the group enough. I learned so much from everyone on board...
    IMG_1780.jpg
    all were truly talented gentlemen, generous with their time and insight. Looking forward to repeating this trip next year.
     
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