Vagabond July 15-19 Trip Report


Aug 15, 2004
Vagabond, The Last Minute
Just finished up our annual 4 Day Jan Ishi charter on the Vag.

As always great to get on the water with Mike and the crew.
Fluffy, Adam, Cuddles, and newbie Chowder, with Brandon and Seon in the galley serving it up.

After the meeting the mandatory Covid requirements, we left the dock with 20 late Wednesday am and tanked out with very nice 4-5" deans.

On the grounds by mid afternoon. A very good mass of schoolie BFT and some YFT in the mix.
Best was 25 to 30 with a no 2 hook. Most bites came as the schools flashed under the boat, with some hooked on longer soaks as they hung up wind.
Colt snipers were employed by many with fair results. One of our regulars, Kaz, fished the snipers about 70% of the entire trip and was the hot stick.

With some bigger fish in the mix, we started out in the same zone Thursday after a 4 mile drift (current is running up and out at about a 1/2 knot).
We had a few hits in the am, and worked our way WNW where the average size bumped up from the 25-30# to the 60ish range.
We had a few hits early afternoon, and it was looking to size up again for an evening bite.
I had a few on 60# with a 1 1/2oz egg sinker and no 1 hook.

Note: My observation was the fish at no time in this trip were line shy. Other than a few YFT the first day on 25#, and one kite fish, my remaining fish were on 60 or 80. They WERE however focused on the incredible amount of bait in the zone, so the difficulty was pulling them off the meatballs and stick with the boat long enough to get a plunker going.

A sun downer was not to happen, as on a late stop, one of our less experienced anglers made the poor choice of fishing 25#, hooked one of the nicer models, and spent 2 1/2 hours running around the boat. Dinner time, with copious amounts of adult beverage.

Thursday night we headed to Clemente with butterfly nets to make bait for Friday.

Friday we focused on the big boys. There was a nice mid-am period where there were numerous, and sometimes very large puddlers and foamers of 150 - 300 lb class fish. However, they were as boat shy as I have seen. Mike is very adept at stealth fishing, but theses fish just wanted nothing but water around them.
We manage one @120 on the kite before they sunk out for the morning, so we went searching out to the SW, where we found largely green cool water.
Of note here was we had very little wind. Had there been a good breeze the fish may have been less boat shy and more responsive to our dead sexy offerings.

With a condition report from a code boat, he made a move down and in and we were rewarded with several good stops Friday afternoon, again mixed but largely that 60 - 70 lb class fish. If I recall we hung 2 or 3 more on the kite this afternoon.

Saturday, last call for glory. Breeze showed signs of freshening, which was robust but not too nautical by the afternoon.
We hit a few stops, then mid am settled into a massive spot of fish. We hung a few on the kite, and every time they swam through we would get multiples hanging.

My son ended up in 2 1/2 hours of kite jail, as no one wanted to just stand around, but was eventually rewarded when they decided to bite again.

We had a very nice breezer of YT pop up off our bow in the afternoon, but only got followers on the iron. None the less encouraging to see.

Mike noted seeing some jumbo's hanging under, so I elected to stay with 80# on my 2 X 4 with a 16VISX, 8oz rubber band rig, with a 3/0 offshore.
This rig filled out my remaining BFT tags with nice 70ish but very grumpy fish.

Tip: LISTEN to your captain as he narrates what the fish are doing and adjust accordingly. One of the two above were at 125 FT directly under the stern when they swam though, and second was just getting to the upwind corner after Mike's 'com.

I have fished with Mike for years, and he is an excellent communicator to his clients, IF YOU CHOOSE TO LISTEN!

What worked: Small hooks, and a good swimming bait. I shoulder hooked most of my baits, except for the last one which was nose hooked (sinker rig).
80 to 100 gram colt snipers, with improved hooks and an 18" bite leader of 80 to 125 flouro.

What didn't work: Poppers, Flat falls of any size or color, traditional YoYo iron, too light of tackle at the wrong time, and poor bait selections.

It was a pick and a poke, but overall steady action, and a lot of carts hit the ground Sunday am. Not limits around, but good fishing if you spent some time at the rail.

This was another great trip, in a long line of great trips, on a great boat, with a captain that I have absolute trust in.

It was also bitter sweet, as my son, who is my best fishing and hunting partner, is moving to a new life in Texas later this week.
I have many a fond memory of my time at the rail with him over the years.



Still trying to figure it all out
Mar 27, 2013
Thunnus - 22' Koffler BayBee (1990)
Great report! Thanks for sharing. :-)