Offshore Story, not a report

picasso

Member
Jul 27, 2009
629
1,638
los angeles
Name
joe
Boat Name
17 Boston Whaler
Aztec Encounter 6/2/TwoTwo

My cousin Kenji & I were determined to fish together again this Summer in San Diego.
Back in January, we started looking at schedules, and for a variety of reasons, we chose this trip to hook up on.
I made a few phone calls, extended a few invitations, and pretty soon we had a handful of buds signed up.

The months passed, and we marched towards our date with destiny,
but the word on the street was not good.
Between supply line problems, hyper inflation, and covid, the boats in the yard doing their Spring maintenance were having trouble getting out of dry dock.
Aztec was one of 'em, and when they cancelled their May schedule of trips,
I was more than a little bit nervous.

I drove down a day early.
I had some business with Cal Sheets, the reel guru, so I had to stop by his shop in North County.
I got a room across from the Big Three Landings in Pt. Loma,
and after I checked in,
I took a walk to soak in the ambiance.
Everybody's coming & going fishing.
Tourists walking by.
Full house at all the dining spots.
You can just feel the magic in the air.
Summertime.
The living is easy, baby.

Stopped in one of the tackle shops.
I was shopping for one of those Ikejime circuit breaker rigs that Aftco is touting.
I found what I was looking for,
had it in my hand,
but couldn't find an individual interested in ringing me up.
That's odd, I thought.
I know the guy who runs this place,
and I know he didn't train 'em like this.
I got tired of waiting, and put it back on the hook, and walked out.

I drove over to Seaforth Landing to see about the boat,
and possibly check in for the trip.
The boat was in it's slip,
which was a good sign.
There were some guys working on the back end.
I asked 'em if we were going fishing,
and they said they hope so.
Hmmmmm.

I went into the tackle shop to check in for tomorrow.
A fellow behind the counter helped me reserve some bunks for my guests. Cool.
I asked about a covid test, and he said, "Not presently." Cool.
I asked about a fuel surcharge, and he said, "Not presently." Cool.
I asked about an annual Mexican Fishing License, and he hooked me up. Cool.
That's why they're the number one tackle shop in San Diego.
In my book.

DAY ONE

We were scheduled to leave at nine a.m. in the morning.
I got there around seven thirty.
My boy Freddie pulled in just as I did.
My nephew Vahe arrived shortly.
My friend Franco was checking in at the counter.
Cousin Kenji was already there, waiting with an empty cart for our gear.

For Vahe, Freddie, and I,
This would be another in a long series of adventures,
going way back in time.
A chance to renew our bonds of friendship,
catch up on the latest, laugh, cry,
and party a little bit.
Kenji and I have been building bonds ever since our trip to Puerto Vallarta to chase giant yellowfin tuna at the Tres Marias.
Steve Franco is a good friend of The Kid, aka El Chivo.
We met on a Chivo Charter down in Pee Vee.

If you know me, you know The Kid.
If you can hang with The Kid, you're OK in my book.
Franco and I are forging some new bonds this trip.
We're gonna party too.
I was looking forward to a good time.

We got in the line-up to board,
and started introducing ourselves to our boatmates.
We might as well get friendly,
because there are twenty five of us,
plus a crew of eight,
on a sixty five foot boat,
for the next three days.

It's about as close to camping as you can be on the ocean.
You get a bunk.
Your sleeping bag and your luggage have to share the space,
because there is nowhere to stow anything.

They let us board.
We stashed our gear.
Unfortunately, some of these guys brought way too much stuff.
They cluttered up the deck with milk crates, SKB tackle boxes, and reel bags.
I don't blame the Captain or crew for not wanting to offend paying, errr, tipping customers,
but it's effed up for the rest of us.
If we had all brought this much crap, there would have been absolutely no room to fish.
Some folks think they're special.
I think they're selfish, and stopped being friendly to those guys.

This is Cattle Boat Fishing.
Load 'em in, load 'em out.
It comes with the territory.
If you can make it here,
you can make it anywhere.
Some folks can't hang with this.
I don't usually, but being an old timer, I thought it was time to go back to my roots.
Back to where it all began.
Back to where we all started.

Captain Greg gathered us up in the stern for a safety seminar,
and some tackle talk.
He says we'll be fishing at noon today!!!!
He says he will be hunting non-stop,
twenty four seven,
for the next seventy two.
(that explains the eight man crew...)

I laughed out loud,
and a guy gives me a look I didn't like.
I told the Looker there was no way I was going to be working that hard.
I'm on vacation, baby.
A holiday with my pals.
Una fiesta de mi amigos!!
I laughed again just thinking about all that hard work,
but kept it inside this time.

I know the Captain and his crew are professionals.
They are out here to make a living.
They have to catch fish for their customers.
They can't hook the fish for you.
They can only put you in a position where you might succeed.
We are the weakest link in the chain.

NOON

Boat burgers for lunch.
The thing is huge.
I asked for a child's plate, they said they don't do that.
Kenji asked for one without cheese.
Apparently, they don't do that either.

12:30 p.m.
The boat slows.
We're in the zone.
There's a fleet of fishing vessels of every size in the immediate area.
Captain keeps up a constant chatter on the PA,
letting us know what he's seeing,
and what he's attempting to do.

2:30 p.m.
We stop and try a dress rehearsal.
Sun is out, a lite breeze.
No biters.

4:00 p.m.
He's moved away from the fleet.
We stop to fish.
Someone hooks one on a sinker rig.
We go on the move again.

5:00 p.m.
We get another on the small jig.

Slow afternoon follows,
leading up to a seven p.m. first call for dinner.

7:45 p.m.
He stops to fish.
Another jig fish.

After dinner, I went to bed and tried to sleep.
Something woke me around eleven p.m.
I think it was the drum beat of a tuna tail on the top deck.
I got up to investigate and take a leak.
I came out on deck just in time to hear the second ticket, Nick,
giving an animated lecture to some passengers,
about fishing the "right" side of the boat.
He didn't mean starboard either.
I laughed and went back to bed.

DAY TWO

In the morning, Cuz told me they had good fishing from 1 am till 4 am.
Dropping big jigs and live bait sinker rigs.
He had landed a couple.
Told me my friend Franco got a couple too.
He said the crew had worked their asses off all night.
His report put a smile on my face,
and I went looking for a cup of Joe to start what should be a beautiful day.
It's a bit cool & cloudy outside.
A lot of guys are in their bunks,
sawing lumber after putting the wood to the fish.

1:00 p.m.
I tried the sinker rig once.
It's not my thing.
I worked it up the port side.
The Captain was leaning out his window up above me.
He said, "Joe, when you get to here, wind it in, OK?"
I asked if I could wind it in now, and go back to the fly line.
He gave me the thumbs up.

I grabbed my forty pound outfit and went to the bait tank.
Vahe and I would debate this later over dinner.
Was it my choice to quit the sinker and go to the fly line?
Or was it my destiny to be in the right place at the right time?

Crewman Jeff was on top of the tank, chumming baits into the downwind corner.
He grabbed his net and took a deep dip into the tank below him.
He came up with some fresh sardines and gently loaded them into the hand wells around the tank.
These sardines were all still silver & black,
not like the green ones already in the handwells.
My timing could not have been more precise.
I grabbed one and pinned him on, sideways thru the nose.
I walked up to the bow,
gently lobbed my offering underhanded, into the sea.
It took off like a rocket ship.
It was the best swimming bait I'd had in I couldn't remember when.

BAM!!
It was on.
I put a bend in the rod and went to work.
Eventually, the boat got four or five tuna going at the same time.
We had to massage the situation.
Work your way around the boat.
In and out of tangles.
Over and under other passengers.
It's the tuna dance.
It's cattle boat fishing at its finest.
If you can make it here...well, you know.

3:00 p.m.
We're still on the same drift,
and we're still catching fish.

4:00 p.m.
It dies,
and we go looking again.

7:30
Dinner.
Bed.

DAY THREE

Cuz tells me last night was completely different.
They got a couple before midnight,
and then nothing after that.
Made for a very long night for many people
The crew never stopped trying though.

I took a shower before breakfast.
The weather has turned a bit sporty.
It will probably get worse as the day goes along.

9:00 a.m.
We've stopped twice and tried for nothing.

11:00 a.m.
We stop and try for nada.

During lunch,
the Skipper runs downwind and downswell.
Some folks mistake the smoother ride for a change in the weather.

1:00 p.m.
After a looooong ride, we stop to fish.
Kenji hooks and hands one to Vahe.
I could have kissed him.
Vahe lands the fish.
Mission accomplished.
A bluefin tuna for each of my friends.
Thanks Cuz!!
Freddie tells me later,
he was taking a shower and saw the whole thing from his window seat.
I'm thinking there was more than one happy ending,
when Vahe tagged his tuna,
and posed for the papparazzi.

When I went to thank Kenji later,
he told me it was a payback.
He reminded me that on our trip to Pee Vee,
my friend, Tee Dub, had handed one off to his friend, Mike Stroh.
Is that karma?
or what?
His Choice?
His Fate?
His Destiny?

8:00 p.m.
Dinner.
Prepare for departure in the morning.
Cuz tagged a couple of more on his sinker rig this afternoon,
and gifted me one.
Somebody raised that kid right.

DAY FOUR

Back in San Diego around six a.m.
Offload our gear.
Give the fish to the processor for cutting & packaging.

Cuz takes off for San Clemente.
He's having a gyotaku made of one of his smaller bluefin.
It's an ink print on fabric.
A treasure really.
He's staying in San Diego today,
and going back out on another trip tonight with another group of friends on another boat.
He's hardcore.
And he's amazing.

The rest of us go have some breakfast while we wait for the fish.
Freddie whispers in my ear, that The Kid's pop passed away over the weekend.
Kind of put a damper on our happy ending,
but puts everything in perspective,
in a way.

9:00 a.m.
Five Star phones and says our fish are ready for pick-up.
We head on over.
While I'm paying my bill,
the boss, Marco, comes out of his office to greet me.
I appreciated that.
That young man and I go back a long way.
The $4 price tag on the bag of ice was a reminder of how it all started.

The lads and I said our "good-byes" and "see you next time"'s.

Noon

Home again.
Friends and family stopping by this afternoon,
to pick up some fresh fish,
and visit for a while.
Gifting them a product they couldn't buy for love, or money.

Honey and I enjoyed a simple dinner of fresh fish,
some hot rice, some green beans she grew in her garden,
and some hot sake'.
Priceless.

Scattered across Southern California tonight,
I knew my boys and their families were doing the same,
and it gave me a good feeling.
Like it was my destiny.

EL FIN
 
Last edited:

vegasandre

I Should Upgrade My Account
Aug 20, 2010
2,155
2,838
San Diego
Name
Andre
Boat Name
Any Boat that I can go on
Great one Joe.. Thanks for the invite a couple months back.
sorry I couldnt go.. probably better off as I would of had one of those big tackle things and 15 or so rods..
so you wouldn't of talked to me anyway ..lol

sorry to hear about Chivo's pop.
life is precious.
thank you again for a great story.
 
Upvote 0

Tuna Dreamer

Newbie
Jul 14, 2019
98
370
68
San Diego
Name
Jim Berghauser
Boat Name
Na
Aztec Encounter 6/2/TwoTwo

My cousin Kenji & I were determined to fish together again this Summer in San Diego.
Back in January, we started looking at schedules, and for a variety of reasons, we chose this trip to hook up on.
I made a few phone calls, extended a few invitations, and pretty soon we had a handful of buds signed up.

The months passed, and we marched towards our date with destiny,
but the word on the street was not good.
Between supply line problems, hyper inflation, and covid, the boats in the yard doing their Spring maintenance were having trouble getting out of dry dock.
Aztec was one of 'em, and when they cancelled their May schedule of trips,
I was more than a little bit nervous.

I drove down a day early.
I had some business with Cal Sheets, the reel guru, so I had to stop by his shop in North County.
I got a room across from the Big Three Landings in Pt. Loma,
and after I checked in,
I took a walk to soak in the ambiance.
Everybody's coming & going fishing.
Tourists walking by.
Full house at all the dining spots.
You can just feel the magic in the air.
Summertime.
The living is easy, baby.

Stopped in one of the tackle shops.
I was shopping for one of those Ikejime circuit breaker rigs that Aftco is touting.
I found what I was looking for,
had it in my hand,
but couldn't find an individual interested in ringing me up.
That's odd, I thought.
I know the guy who runs this place,
and I know he didn't train 'em like this.
I got tired of waiting, and put it back on the hook, and walked out.

I drove over to Seaforth Landing to see about the boat,
and possibly check in for the trip.
The boat was in it's slip,
which was a good sign.
There were some guys working on the back end.
I asked 'em if we were going fishing,
and they said they hope so.
Hmmmmm.

I went into the tackle shop to check in for tomorrow.
A fellow behind the counter helped me reserve some bunks for my guests. Cool.
I asked about a covid test, and he said, "Not presently." Cool.
I asked about a fuel surcharge, and he said, "Not presently." Cool.
I asked about an annual Mexican Fishing License, and he hooked me up. Cool.
That's why they're the number one tackle shop in San Diego.
In my book.

DAY ONE

We were scheduled to leave at nine a.m. in the morning.
I got there around seven thirty.
My boy Freddie pulled in just as I did.
My nephew Vahe arrived shortly.
My friend Franco was checking in at the counter.
Cousin Kenji was already there, waiting with an empty cart for our gear.

For Vahe, Freddie, and I,
This would be another in a long series of adventures,
going way back in time.
A chance to renew our bonds of friendship,
catch up on the latest, laugh, cry,
and party a little bit.
Kenji and I have been building bonds ever since our trip to Puerto Vallarta to chase giant yellowfin tuna at the Tres Marias.
Steve Franco is a good friend of The Kid, aka El Chivo.
We met on a Chivo Charter down in Pee Vee.

If you know me, you know The Kid.
If you can hang with The Kid, you're OK in my book.
Franco and I are forging some new bonds this trip.
We're gonna party too.
I was looking forward to a good time.

We got in the line-up to board,
and started introducing ourselves to our boatmates.
We might as well get friendly,
because there are twenty five of us,
plus a crew of eight,
on a sixty five foot boat,
for the next three days.

It's about as close to camping as you can be on the ocean.
You get a bunk.
Your sleeping bag and your luggage have to share the space,
because there is nowhere to stow anything.

They let us board.
We stashed our gear.
Unfortunately, some of these guys brought way too much stuff.
They cluttered up the deck with milk crates, SKB tackle boxes, and reel bags.
I don't blame the Captain or crew for not wanting to offend paying, errr, tipping customers,
but it's effed up for the rest of us.
If we had all brought this much crap, there would have been absolutely no room to fish.
Some folks think they're special.
I think they're selfish, and stopped being friendly to those guys.

This is Cattle Boat Fishing.
Load 'em in, load 'em out.
It comes with the territory.
If you can make it here,
you can make it anywhere.
Some folks can't hang with this.
I don't usually, but being an old timer, I thought it was time to go back to my roots.
Back to where it all began.
Back to where we all started.

Captain Greg gathered us up in the stern for a safety seminar,
and some tackle talk.
He says we'll be fishing at noon today!!!!
He says he will be hunting non-stop,
twenty four seven,
for the next seventy two.
(that explains the eight man crew...)

I laughed out loud,
and a guy gives me a look I didn't like.
I told the Looker there was no way I was going to be working that hard.
I'm on vacation, baby.
A holiday with my pals.
Una fiesta de mi amigos!!
I laughed again just thinking about all that hard work,
but kept it inside this time.

I know the Captain and his crew are professionals.
They are out here to make a living.
They have to catch fish for their customers.
They can't hook the fish for you.
They can only put you in a position where you might succeed.
We are the weakest link in the chain.

NOON

Boat burgers for lunch.
The thing is huge.
I asked for a child's plate, they said they don't do that.
Kenji asked for one without cheese.
Apparently, they don't do that either.

12:30 p.m.
The boat slows.
We're in the zone.
There's a fleet of fishing vessels of every size in the immediate area.
Captain keeps up a constant chatter on the PA,
letting us know what he's seeing,
and what he's attempting to do.

2:30 p.m.
We stop and try a dress rehearsal.
Sun is out, a lite breeze.
No biters.

4:00 p.m.
He's moved away from the fleet.
We stop to fish.
Someone hooks one on a sinker rig.
We go on the move again.

5:00 p.m.
We get another on the small jig.

Slow afternoon follows,
leading up to a seven p.m. first call for dinner.

7:45 p.m.
He stops to fish.
Another jig fish.

After dinner, I went to bed and tried to sleep.
Something woke me around eleven p.m.
I think it was the drum beat of a tuna tail on the top deck.
I got up to investigate and take a leak.
I came out on deck just in time to hear the second ticket, Nick,
giving an animated lecture to some passengers,
about fishing the "right" side of the boat.
He didn't mean starboard either.
I laughed and went back to bed.

DAY TWO

In the morning, Cuz told me they had good fishing from 1 am till 4 am.
Dropping big jigs and live bait sinker rigs.
He had landed a couple.
Told me my friend Franco got a couple too.
He said the crew had worked their asses off all night.
His report put a smile on my face,
and I went looking for a cup of Joe to start what should be a beautiful day.
It's a bit cool & cloudy outside.
A lot of guys are in their bunks,
sawing lumber after putting the wood to the fish.

1:00 p.m.
I tried the sinker rig once.
It's not my thing.
I worked it up the port side.
The Captain was leaning out his window up above me.
He said, "Joe, when you get to here, wind it in, OK?"
I asked if I could wind it in now, and go back to the fly line.
He gave me the thumbs up.

I grabbed my forty pound outfit and went to the bait tank.
Vahe and I would debate this later over dinner.
Was it my choice to quit the sinker and go to the fly line?
Or was it my destiny to be in the right place at the right time?

Crewman Jeff was on top of the tank, chumming baits into the downwind corner.
He grabbed his net and took a deep dip into the tank below him.
He came up with some fresh sardines and gently loaded them into the hand wells around the tank.
These sardines were all still silver & black,
not like the green ones already in the handwells.
My timing could not have been more precise.
I grabbed one and pinned him on, sideways thru the nose.
I walked up to the bow,
gently lobbed my offering underhanded, into the sea.
It took off like a rocket ship.
It was the best swimming bait I'd had in I couldn't remember when.

BAM!!
It was on.
I put a bend in the rod and went to work.
Eventually, the boat got four or five tuna going at the same time.
We had to massage the situation.
Work your way around the boat.
In and out of tangles.
Over and under other passengers.
It's the tuna dance.
It's cattle boat fishing at its finest.
If you can make it here...well, you know.

3:00 p.m.
We're still on the same drift,
and we're still catching fish.

4:00 p.m.
It dies,
and we go looking again.

7:30
Dinner.
Bed.

DAY THREE

Cuz tells me last night was completely different.
They got a couple before midnight,
and then nothing after that.
Made for a very long night for many people
The crew never stopped trying though.

I took a shower before breakfast.
The weather has turned a bit sporty.
It will probably get worse as the day goes along.

9:00 a.m.
We've stopped twice and tried for nothing.

11:00 a.m.
We stop and try for nada.

During lunch,
the Skipper runs downwind and downswell.
Some folks mistake the smoother ride for a change in the weather.

1:00 p.m.
After a looooong ride, we stop to fish.
Kenji hooks and hands one to Vahe.
I could have kissed him.
Vahe lands the fish.
Mission accomplished.
A bluefin tuna for each of my friends.
Thanks Cuz!!
Freddie tells me later,
he was taking a shower and saw the whole thing from his window seat.
I'm thinking there was more than one happy ending,
when Vahe tagged his tuna,
and posed for the papparazzi.

When I went to thank Kenji later,
he told me it was a payback.
He reminded me that on our trip to Pee Vee,
my friend, Tee Dub, had handed one off to his friend, Mike Stroh.
Is that karma?
or what?
His Choice?
His Fate?
His Destiny?

8:00 p.m.
Dinner.
Prepare for departure in the morning.
Cuz tagged a couple of more on his sinker rig this afternoon,
and gifted me one.
Somebody raised that kid right.

DAY FOUR

Back in San Diego around six a.m.
Offload our gear.
Give the fish to the processor for cutting & packaging.

Cuz takes off for San Clemente.
He's having agyutaku made of one of his smaller bluefin.
It's an ink print on fabric.
A treasure really.
He's staying in San Diego today,
and going back out on another trip tonight with another group of friends on another boat.
He's hardcore.
And he's amazing.

The rest of us go have some breakfast while we wait for the fish.
Freddie whispers in my ear, that The Kid's pop passed away over the weekend.
Kind of put a damper on our happy ending,
but puts everything in perspective,
in a way.

9:00 a.m.
Five Star phones and says our fish are ready for pick-up.
We head on over.
While I'm paying my bill,
the boss, Marco, comes out of his office to greet me.
I appreciated that.
That young man and I go back a long way.
The $4 price tag on the bag of ice was a reminder of how it all started.

The lads and I said our "good-byes" and "see you next time"'s.

Noon

Home again.
Friends and family stopping by this afternoon,
to pick up some fresh fish,
and visit for a while.
Gifting them a product they couldn't buy for love, or money.

Honey and I enjoyed a simple dinner of fresh fish,
some hot rice, some green beans she grew in her garden,
and some hot sake'.
Priceless.

Scattered across Southern California tonight,
I knew my boys and their families were doing the same,
and it gave me a good feeling.
Like it was my destiny.

EL FIN
Pure poetry!
 
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picasso

Member
Jul 27, 2009
629
1,638
los angeles
Name
joe
Boat Name
17 Boston Whaler
Great one Joe.. Thanks for the invite a couple months back.
sorry I couldnt go.. probably better off as I would of had one of those big tackle things and 15 or so rods..
so you wouldn't of talked to me anyway ..lol

sorry to hear about Chivo's pop.
life is precious.
thank you again for a great story.
How about you and me and Rodless on a No Tuna No Chinga next year??
 
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Steve K

Hey, I'm gettin' bit...
Jan 2, 2005
13,049
10,879
Bishop
Name
Steve
Boat Name
18' Bayrunner, but I like the American Angler and the Red Rooster III
We stashed our gear.
Unfortunately, some of these guys brought way too much stuff.
They cluttered up the deck with milk crates, SKB tackle boxes, and reel bags.
I don't blame the Captain or crew for not wanting to offend paying, errr, tipping customers,
but it's effed up for the rest of us.
If we had all brought this much crap, there would have been absolutely no room to fish.
Some folks think they're special.
I think they're selfish, and stopped being friendly to those guys.

This is Cattle Boat Fishing.
Load 'em in, load 'em out.
It comes with the territory.
As always, thanks for taking us along on the adventure. Appreciate it.

Great minds think alike, make similar observations. I call these guys “Space Pigs”, as in, if you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space. I sincerely appreciate the crew members who diplomatically establish the rules for what belongs on deck in the precious little space available for tackle. Reel bags, in the stateroom or the spare, unoccupied bunks. If someone gets pissed off, the rest of the anglers will appreciate it, too, and those are the guys they want to have back.
 
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NoLDR

OG BD member
  • Mar 26, 2003
    2,287
    1,349
    Sherman Oaks
    Name
    BRAD
    Boat Name
    29 Baha Cruiser NoLDR
    Puts everything into perspective, thank you for a great story as it brings back a lot of memories and thoughts of future trips.

    👍
     
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    vegasandre

    I Should Upgrade My Account
    Aug 20, 2010
    2,155
    2,838
    San Diego
    Name
    Andre
    Boat Name
    Any Boat that I can go on
    How about you and me and Rodless on a No Tuna No Chinga next year??
    I can do that.. got to get Jim out there fishing again too.
    another good thing is I would be limited to rods /reels and tackle- so no big tackle surplus..
    maybe get the Kid to go too - would make for an interesting story..
     
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