A lot of my articles are based on what I’m hearing from the community. People ask me a question. I’ve either had that experience to answer it, talked with anglers that have recently, and/or reached out to captains or crewmembers who can give me some insight on the answers.
Today I’m writing about this particular topic, because it’s the exercise I’m going through my head as I try to figure out what to bring for my last offshore trip of the year Friday night, a 2 day trip on Eclipse Sportfishing.
Mostly a bait thing on boils or kelps these days, although I’ve had more than a few people tell me they scored yellowfin on a jig (Flatfall/Colt Sniper/Megabait) too. Not seeing a lot of size on these fish at this point…30-pounds would be a bigger one. That’s my buddy Adam Shearer aboard the San Diego on Thursday (right).
I could even use the small jig setup as a popper setup if they’re hitting.
The Pacific Queen was into a hot bite Friday morning with some larger fish up to around 40 lbs.! Capt. Gavin Harbour said they found a school willing to bite 50#, so I’m bringing a heavier bait setup too (see bluefin below).
- 20# bait setup: 15 and 20# fluoro, size 1/0 to 4 hooks
- Small jig setup: 50 braid to 30# or 40# fluoro
Same scenario as above. Not seeing a lot of size on most of these fish (see top). I’ll remind everyone, you don’t have to keep rat yellows. Use your best judgement. I’ll start on kelps with the 20# setup, but if it gets down to the end of the trip and rat yellows are the only game in town, I’ll want my jig stick (surface iron) just to have a little fun with it.
This week’s wildcard. There were more than a few boats that found them this week. Great to see this late season bump.
As we saw earlier in the season, lots of show and little go, but they are in play! Given this is a 2-day trip, I can definitely see a scenario where we load up numbers YFT/YT/Dorado on Day 1 and then trophy hunt Day 2 (please oh please!).
If we run across them and they play their typical game, then I’ve got the 20# setup to deal with it. Just in case though, I think it’s a good idea to have some heavier string. I caught two 80+-pound fish on the Pacific Queen at the end of August on my 40# setup, so I’m confident that will be plenty to handle the grade of fish getting caught. If we find them and mark a school deeper, I’m bringing heavy jig setup for that application.
- 40# mono bait setup
- Heavy jig setup (80# braid to 50# or 60# leader)
So I’m bringing five setups and a backup 30# mono bait reel. I think that arsenal will be more than adequate. I’ve got fluoro from 15-80#, and hooks from size 4 to 7/0 (maybe even bigger) in my bag. If it got stupid, I could tip my heavy jig setup (so 80/80) to make it a big bait stick.
I feel good about the opportunity. We’ll see how it goes, and then after this weekend it’s bye bye El Nino and time to go into rockfish mode.
Good luck if you get out there this weekend!