Offshore TL;DR 3.5 days of EPIC on the PAC VOY

PENN

ErnieG

Worst Fisherman
Aug 4, 2011
170
375
Vista
www.cafishingnews.com
Name
Ernie Gorham
Boat
11' SportCat Truline
In early October I saw Steve Young’s post advertising a few spots open on the CLUBFISH 3.5 day charter on the Pacific Voyager. It seemed like a reasonable price and a good opportunity to fish that boat but I didn’t think I’d be able to make it happen. Let’s just say the stars aligned, I sent my check, and was ready to go. This trip is billed as a Mexican coast rockfish/yellowtail trip but last year they fished the banks for bft and YT and I was hopeful we would go in that direction again.


The weather forecast wasn’t great the week before the trip but I got confirmation on Wednesday and got my gear ready. I put 400 yards of spectra on a buddies Talica 25 and spent a couple hours at Ken’s Custom Reels getting leaders rigged and picking their brains. I figure if anyone actually knows how to catch 100 lb+ fish it’s the long range guys and they were gracious and informative. I showed Andy one rod and asked if I could fish triple digits with it and he almost chuckled and said no way. I tell him I also have a 8’2” pheonix 25-60 lb rod and a 7’ 30-80 lb rod. He advised me against using the 8 footer but said I would be okay with the 30-80 er and at least have a chance. I should have listened to him more carefully.


Thursday morning I show up and sign in with Steve. He says the plan is still to head down into Mexico and fish rockfish! My heart kind of dropped, but I went in knowing that’s a possibility and stayed positive. We begin paying for our FMM’s and excursion permits - $110! I’m on the back deck meeting some of the guys when I hear Mark say “You want to go tuna fishing? How about you? Tuna? Tuna?.” He asked everyone and almost everyone said yes! He said okay let me make some calls and see how it looks. He talked to the other captains in the fleet and confirmed how good the fishing had been lately. Captain Rick (O95) spend 20 minutes on the phone with him and broke down what was going on and Mark gathered us as a group in the galley.


He gave a speech explaining how this is normally a Mexican rockfish trip but his main goal is just to make us happy. This trip is set up to leave at 10am Thursday so it can run all day and all night down the coast to get to good fishing grounds. However the forecast down the coast was calling for 15-20 knots pretty much every afternoon. The boat could handle it, but it could be a 24 hour very bumpy ride home Sunday that wouldn’t be much fun for anyone. The weather forecast was better up here and Mark agreed it seemed to make more sense to chase tuna. It saved us 110 bucks, gives us an extra day of fishing time, and should be more enjoyable weather - a no brainer for me. There was 3-4 guys of the 17 that did want to fish Mexico still but you can’t make everyone happy - even though by the end of the trip I think everyone was! He said let's get out of here we could even be fishing by this evening and everyone’s spirits lifted! We rigged up, filled up on bait, and were on our way. I met more of the guys, had a sandwich, and went down to my bunk for a quick nap. I knew we had a chance of YFT right around the 43 so I set my alarm for when we’d be there and closed my eyes.


At 2:30 PM I come up and almost immediately the boat makes a sharp left turn and picks up the pace. He tells us they see some dolphin with birds all over them and it looks really good.

YFT.jpg


We put out the troll jigs and head that way. We stop twice on sonal schools and throw some chum but they wouldn’t respond. It was weird because there was dolphin and birds everywhere and scattered fish on the meter. We don’t even get a single hookup! Oh well. Mark comes back on the loud speaker and says we’re gonna head to the big bluefin zone because they were chewing today. It was an epic sunset as we headed for the 60 mile bank. We drop the hook on the highspot in 330’ and I hear Mark tell Ryan I’ll see you at 5 am and we’ll start looking around. I stayed up a bit later than I normally would drinking a few beers and bs’ing with Kazi and Block. I went to bed with dreams of giant tuna swimming around in my head and set the buzzer for 5 AM.

SUNSET.jpg



I wake at 5 am and notice the boat isn’t running and we’re still sitting on the anchor. Hmm, Capt. must be having his coffee. I decide to squeeze in another few minutes. At 5:30 my bunkmates alarm starts going off and won’t stop. My irrational half asleep brain starts getting angry at him for not turning it off when I finally look down there and he’s not in bed. My other roommate is gone too... what the? Then I hear Mark saying something over the loud speaker. I run up to the deck still in my PJs and see a bunch of guys fishing already! Ed is already hooked up on the jig! I am always the first guy up way too early on these offshore trips but I didn’t think we’d be fishing from the anchor.


I grab my talica with a big glow in the dark tady 14 and start dropping it. A few drops for nothing when I hear Jon C. hook up and yell SINKER RIG!!!. I set my jig down and grab my 80 pound set up on a TLD and drop a bait down with 5 ounces on it. Within a minute I feel tug tug, throw it in gear and feel my rod load up. “Fresh one!!!!” I yell when everything goes limp...? I reel in and see this fish just bit through/cut my 80 pound fluoro like it was nothing. Damn. Now the sun’s coming up and the fish are starting to blow up around the boat. I grab my 8’2 60lb set up, nose hook a big dine, and launch it out there. Almost immediately line starts racing off my reel. I throw it in gear and the fish starts taking drag like a tractor. Right about now some of the other hooked fish start coming over the rail and I get to see the size of these things. Three gaffers all across the board. There were no small ones.

BDs.jpg


There’s no doubt I was undergunned. The fish was fighting pretty funny and Dom shares my suspicion it may be tail wrapped. To add to everything else, the low gear wasn't working on my reel! The fish takes me up to the bow where Kazi is sitting on the anchor playing rodeo with our rods as fish go over and under the anchor line. (Much respect to Kazi and Dom for this, they certainly saved a lot of fish that woulda been lost this trip). Kazi looks at my reel, taps it with his pliers, holds the lever and clicks it into low gear and it stays! Finally I start gaining on this fish. I hooked this fish at 6 am and right around 8 am it’s at color right by the anchor. Dom grabs my rod and passes it under the anchor as the fish is on the surface! He hands me the rod, turns around to grab the gaff, and the fish turns and shoots under the boat. I’m too slow to lean over and POP, it’s gone. Broke at my spectra to fluoro knot. A loud expletive came from Dom’s mouth and he apologized to me saying he shoulda kept the rod one second longer and made sure the fish did not turn. This was either one of the smaller bluefin or one of the bigger 70 pound yellowfin.

Now I have to get my head back on straight. I cut my jig off and put some 80 pound fluoro leader on my Talica (Shout out to Robert for supplying me with 80 pound all trip, I owe you dude!). The chef Rob comes up and tells me he made me a burrito for whenever I’m ready and the crew starts putting out the kite with a double trouble rig. I’m too defeated to eat while these fish are biting so I get back in the water. I’m on the stern fishing next to the kite when the indicator goes down and they scream CHOMPER ON THE KITE!!! Almost simultaneously I see a monster tuna back porpoise along the surface right around where my bait should be and ZIPPPPPP line is going off. I post up in the corner and the kite angler (Jon Lam) follows his fish up to the bow. Twenty minutes later or so Jon Lam comes running down the rail following his fish. There are three anglers fly-lining between me and him when our fish start to wrap. Mark is right there in the corner with us but it all happens too fast and Jon reels in a cut off line.

TR3MEONRAIL.jpg


Bummer, but I’m still on and set on landing this fish. It takes me up to the bow and around the anchor when I’m able to set it on the rail in low gear and get this beast to the surface. Kazi and Dom stick a couple gaffs in it and we walk down the rail to where they were pulling them on board. I’m exhausted but a wave of relief is coming over me when I see my hook hanging in the air about 6 feet above the fish. At first I think I must of pulled the hook as they gaffed it but a closer looks proves me wrong. My hook was simply hooked on one of the double trouble hooks while the other was in the fish’s mouth. The crew laugh and tell Jon they found his fish. We’re all stunned, but Jon confirms I haven’t landed a fish yet and tells me it’s all mine. Very gracious of him in what could have been a weird situation.


I’m still not sure what happened. Did I never have my own fish on and was just on his line the whole time? Seems unlikely as we spent time on opposite sides of the boat. Did we hook the same fish at the start but I just pulled the hook and it slid up the leader to the other hook? Or did I have my own fish on at the start, pull the hook when our fish got wrapped, yet somehow hook his other hook? I guess we’ll never know, but I am curious what some of you guys think. I didn't get a photo of that fish but it looked like one of these:

FOD.jpg



Now I feel a little cheated. I mean it’s really sweet I managed to land that fish, but I still did not feel like it was truly my fish. I’ve been after one of these fish a long time and didn’t feel like I quite accomplished my goal. The hunger was still there. So, I kept fishing.


We had a mix of normal sardines and some huge 8” horse dines as well. I think almost all of the fish were coming on the big sardines. Not sure if it was because these giant fish want big baits or because the big baits were the only thing that could pull 80 pound through the water, but either way it was important to use the large ones. I grab a large yet admittedly ugly dine, butt-hook it, and send it off the side. I’m bit almost instantly right by the boat and this fish barely takes line off the reel on its first run. I gain on it right away and it’s obvious this isn’t one of the giants. Three minutes later a gaff is sank into it and a 25lb ish YFT comes over the rail! I didn’t get a photo of this fish either.


I’m pretty sure I had one more bite sometime that day for a pulled hook. Some guys already had an epic day though. John C landed 3, and I’m pretty sure Ed and Ying had 4 each. Albert hooked one on 50 lb on his Torium, fought it for no joke 4-5 hours, and lost it on the anchor at color. I remember seeing Ying shower in the afternoon and tell me he was done fishing “I don’t want to kill anymore.” The boat ended with over 30 that day for the 17 of us. It was interesting to note that around 3 PM that day the fish seemed to bug out. From 4am until then they were consistently cruising under the boat but as the sun began to set they moved off the bank somewhere. I was in bed at 7pm that night and was certainly not going to miss the early bite the next day. I set my alarm for 2:30 AM so I could shower when there was no line and be ready early.


Then next morning I’m up, showered, caffeinated, and dropping my flat fall by 3:45. Nothing for a few drops so I leave it in the light to charge and head inside for another cup of joe. Right on cue around 4:00 AM Block comes down and tells us he’s starting to mark them under the boat if we want to drop a jig on them. I get up with no hesitation grab my stick and start dropping again. On the third drop I feel something funny happen, throw it in gear, and line starts peeling. I look around and see I am the only angler on the deck and I’m hooked on a giant fish on the right gear. After a few minutes the fish takes me across the boat and as it does so I look into the galley and catch Robert’s eye. I just nod to confirm I’m on and he and Steve come out and watch me for a minute. I put the fish on the rail and start doing work.

AMRAILME.jpg


Steve grabs a jig and is bit first drop. Robert says something to Steve and is bit his second drop. Ryan comes out and laughs, “The only three guys fishing are hooked up and still people aren’t fishing.” These fish just put such a beating on us the first day people weren’t eager to jump head on into an hourlong+ battle. Quickly me and Steve are in the corner together when Steve gets his fish to color! Unfortunately he pulled the hook at the boat and his fish escaped. Apparently his fish told my fish what was up on his way to freedom and my fish followed suit about 40 feet under the boat. I am pissed I lost another one and after a few expletives Ryan tells me get it back down there. Robert also had a frustrating day 1 going 1 for 5 I believe but his luck was beginning to change and he boated his fish. Pretty sure Block even gaffed that one himself as no one was awake.

RF1.jpg


Now a few other anglers are fishing but the bite isn’t as wide open as it was at 4 am. Jon Lam hooks one on the flat fall and Ying hooks up on a sinker rig. I change my chafed flat fall for my tady 14 but with no bites I switch to bait. Still I can’t quite get bit again. Robert takes a minute off, drops his jig back down there, and is hit again on his first drop. It seemed like these fish came to the boat a lot quicker in the dark and soon he has his second on the boat!

RF2.jpg



By now the sun is coming up and we start flylining. The bite is definitely a little bit slower than the day before and there is a good bit more boat traffic. I’m getting frustrated at this point and let it cloud my judgement as I set down my proper set up and grab the 60 pound again. I put out another big dine and am complaining how I just can’t get a bite today when I feel a tap and the line starts racing! When I throw it in gear it starts coming to the boat really easy. I mention that I think this may be one of the small yellowfin again when it wakes up and takes 200 yards of my reel like it is nothing. Okay, definitely not a YFT. John C is watching the way this fish is fighting and tells me he thinks this is a GIANT! This fish put quite a beating on me. Around the boat a number of times and two and a half hours later I have it up and down and almost all the line back on my reel. The fish must have been just below deep color when I feel it all go slack. NOT. AGAIN. I reel in my hook intact - another pulled hook. That’s what I get for hooking it on the wrong gear. I am pretty frustrated at this point but go inside to eat and settle down.


Now while the bite was slower the second day it was still fairly easy to get a bite if you could get a big perfect bait away from the boat. I try one after lunch but it wasn’t really swimming. I reel in and grab the most perfect giant sardine I can find. Get it about 50 yards from the boat and what do you know, I’m on again second bait after lunch! This one is on the Talica 80 pound set up. It takes me up to the bow and as I pass David he says I see deep color. Really? I ask in disbelief. It’s only been about 20 minutes. I was so beat from the earlier battles I decided to just button it down and get this fish in, and it was working. A few minutes later and Kazi gets a gaff in it! I’m elated. It’s been months and so many heartbreaks and I finally got my local giant. Mark taped it out for me and it went 61.5 x 43 for 142 pounds.

MYFISH.jpg


Ed and Ying were obviously two of the best anglers on the boat. They fish long range every year and have a lot of experience doing this anchor fishing for big tuna. They spent a lot of the second day hooking and handing fish to other anglers that couldn’t get bit. At one point Ed gets bit using an Accurate Dauntless and the fish just goes and goes and goes. He put drag to full but it made no difference, Ed was spooled for the first time in his life.

REEL.jpg


There were points during the second day when only 3 or 4 anglers were fishing. I’ve never seen a group of anglers more wrecked and satisfied at the same time. I got bit again later in the day but was chewed off after a few minutes. Honestly at that point I didn’t really care. I had 2 giant tuna in the well and that was enough for me.


We also had almost no room left in the boat for fish now. They filleted a lot of them after the first day to make more room and we filled it up. We had 57 of these fish by the time the dust settled and everyone felt that was enough. Believe it or not we group decides to head to SCI that night for a final day of island fishing before heading home. Honestly I still really want to catch one on a jig and would have loved one more morning shot at it, but I wasn’t gonna argue with the group. I was asleep by 8 that night and slept right till 6 am.


We woke up to a beautiful sunrise in the cove but conditions were crap so Mark said we’ll go get some rockfish before the wind comes up. To keep everything short it was simply the best rockfishing I have ever seen. Constant doubles, and almost all reds. Mark even hopped down and fished with us and it was awesome seeing how stoked he got catching these rockfish right next to us. Apparently he fished commercial cod for years and it showed, the guy knows how to slay rockfish.

RFsacks.jpg


Overall it was an amazing trip. Talking to Ed and Ying about the trip they said it was simply the most phenomenal long range style fishing they had ever seen and it was in our backyard. Huge thank you to Mark, Ryan, Kazi, Dom, and Rob, everything was truly top knotch. I think 16 of the 17 guys got a new PB out of this trip!


I also wanna thank Steve and the rest of the CLUBFISH group. This report is already so long I couldn’t mention everyone but you guys were a great group to fish with! Rodney Jim Don David Lennard Albert Steve Ed Ying Derek Jon Lam Mike... I know I’m missing a couple but you guys are rad!

TRODNEYFISH.jpg


TRFISH.jpg
SKY.jpg
 
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SouthBayKiller

I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
Mar 27, 2003
7,657
8,191
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Long Beach, CA
Name
Robert
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none
Great write up Ernie! Was a blast fishing with you and everyone else. I couldn’t have been more thankful for this trip full of great fishing, great people and the very best crew. Our timing for this one could not have been better. I can’t imagine how many we would have got if everyone had the right gear, lol!
 
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soulwinner

jeremiah 9:23,24
Jun 16, 2014
403
190
sandiego,ca
Name
john
Boat
cobra
wow ernie you have amazing recall to give such a detailed report, this is the first trip i could name every passenger on the boat :every one was friendly & worked very well together. There were many heartbreaking casualties after long battles
luckily all my heartbreaks were zing pow & ended quickly.

dave han landed the biggest ling ive ever seen,over 37lbs.that wasnt even hooked but had hitch hiked on another cod
I brought home an insane amount of tuna processing bill was $440. I had trouble dealing with that much volume of fillet and really had to scramble with friends neighbors & family.to offload fish to.

I really enjoyed the clubfish people & the friendly vibe & prefer this type of trip over open party thanks for doing the report
 
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SouthBayKiller

I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
Mar 27, 2003
7,657
8,191
40
Long Beach, CA
Name
Robert
Boat
none
wow ernie you have amazing recall to give such a detailed report, this is the first trip i could name every passenger on the boat :every one was friendly & worked very well together. There were many heartbreaking casualties after long battles
luckily all my heartbreaks were zing pow & ended quickly.

dave han landed the biggest ling ive ever seen,over 37lbs.that wasnt even hooked but had hitch hiked on another cod
I brought home an insane amount of tuna processing bill was $440. I had trouble dealing with that much volume of fillet and really had to scramble with friends neighbors & family.to offload fish to.

I really enjoyed the clubfish people & the friendly vibe & prefer this type of trip over open party thanks for doing the report
Great memory for sure, although it’s suspicious there was no mention of the lucky snowflake pajama pants :D
 
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watersdeep

I CATCH IT. I KILL IT. I CLEAN IT. I DON'T DELIVER
Jan 19, 2016
2,092
1,888
LB
Name
Jed Venture
Boat
the twisted ducker
OH MAN!!!! SICKASS!!
 
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T-Tang

Far from newbie, but lifetime learner
Jul 27, 2006
246
220
46
Dana Point
Name
Tyson
Boat
21' Bayliner Trophy
It must feel good to get that monkey off your back. It's been a painful wait for me and I'm still at zero from last year.
 
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jigstrike

SCUBA Spearing Daddy
Feb 28, 2004
1,247
487
51
Sabre Springs
Name
Tom McKinney
Boat
Pacific Option, a 2006 Tiara 3000 Open
Thanks for such a great report. It was fun read. Glad you got your local big bft. And the guys who wanted mexico still got a major load of reds! Too cool.
 
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Randy V

Slamma Jamma
Mar 19, 2008
3,001
1,030
Insane Diego, CA
Name
Randy
Boat
30' Kona Star
Quite a write-up - nominated for Report of the Year!

But - what were the dates of your trip? Was this last week, or back in October?
 
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tunawhacker

Newbie
Jul 14, 2007
15
6
Orange
Name
Ed Sun
Boat
16ft Nona (canoe)
Great write up and wonderful pictures, Snowflake! Good job to you in landing the big fish after several heart breaks. It was a learning experience for all of us. Let's do it again.
 
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gettingbentwithbo

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel!
Mar 7, 2009
2,741
1,501
Riverside
gettingbentwithbo.com
Name
Bo
Boat
16' Starcraft SF SS
What a trip! This is going to be one you will never forget.
 
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ErnieG

Worst Fisherman
Aug 4, 2011
170
375
Vista
www.cafishingnews.com
Name
Ernie Gorham
Boat
11' SportCat Truline
wow ernie you have amazing recall to give such a detailed report, this is the first trip i could name every passenger on the boat :every one was friendly & worked very well together. There were many heartbreaking casualties after long battles
luckily all my heartbreaks were zing pow & ended quickly.

dave han landed the biggest ling ive ever seen,over 37lbs.that wasnt even hooked but had hitch hiked on another cod
I brought home an insane amount of tuna processing bill was $440. I had trouble dealing with that much volume of fillet and really had to scramble with friends neighbors & family.to offload fish to.

I really enjoyed the clubfish people & the friendly vibe & prefer this type of trip over open party thanks for doing the report

Thanks John, pretty awesome problem to have... too much tuna! I knew I may write a report so I was kinda keeping mental notes the whole time.

Great memory for sure, although it’s suspicious there was no mention of the lucky snowflake pajama pants :D

I actually had a paragraph about my PJs in there but it seemed weird and I couldn't quite explain it so I left it out, haha!

Ernie - were you on Shogun trip last December? Ying was on that trip also, and was a certified tuna killer on that one also.

I was not this was my first time fishing with him. He was great though, awesome fisherman and very nice.

Quite a write-up - nominated for Report of the Year!

But - what were the dates of your trip? Was this last week, or back in October?

Thank you! It honestly could have used another edit or two but it was so long I just wanted to get it posted. Like Robert said, November 16-20th.

Great write up and wonderful pictures, Snowflake! Good job to you in landing the big fish after several heart breaks. It was a learning experience for all of us. Let's do it again.

Haha thanks, can't wait for next time. I feel a lot more prepared to battle 100+ pound fish now.
 
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