This week marked the 2nd anniversary of the blog. Last year, in celebration of year one, I announced the Salties to commemorate the highlights of 2011. I’m happy to say that this year, we enjoyed a fantastic year of fishing here in Southern California. I managed to catch all the species on my Top 10 list, plus adding a roosterfish to my fishing resume. So many highlights to the year, but here are the best moments of 2012.
One of my personal favorite moments caught on video was the roosterfish that I caught when I went to the East Cape of Baja in May. I had been obsessing about that fish a lot during 2011, so it was exhilirating to catch it and some of the underwater shots on the video turned out really great.
I’d have to say though that Dodo Madness on the Belle was the video of the year. What a great trip that was…the Coronados Islands had just closed down to U.S. sportboats by the Mexican authorities. The 3/4 day boats like the Belle, the San Diego, and the Malahini were forced to venture offshore. At that point in the year, they had only gotten a handful of fish here and there. I wanted to go down and talk to some of the captains and crews about the closure and how they were adapting to it.
On that ride, it took us 4 hours to find a kelp paddy, but what a paddy it was. The boat limited on it in 32 minutes! It got to the point that we were releasing 20lb dorado. It was the first time that one of the 3/4 day boats had a wide open trip and the video captured all the craziness.
It was September, and it was one of the weekends I had the kids. As we typically do, we hit our home boat, the New Del Mar out of Marina Del Rey. To be honest, it was a little bit of a letdown to be rockfishing when the action was still hot and heavy in San Diego. So it made my day when NDM regular, Hacker, foul hooked a mola mola just as Captain Danny was calling it a day. Yay, I got it on video too.
While we were all oohing and ahhing over the sunfish, Jake was in the back corner of the boat by himself working a jig. His stick-to-itness paid off when he hooked the big fish of the day at the 11th hour! It was Jake’s first ever jackpot.
Unlike last year when I lucked into one while barracuda fishing, this year I had to really work to check a seabass off my Top 10 list. It took me 7 seabass targeted trips before I finally got one. On trip #6, I was on the Coral Sea and had one hooked, but got sawed off by another angler’s line. Trip #7 I went out on the Seabiscuit out of Channel Islands Sportfishing. I was very frustrated chasing this elusive fish at this point. Then on the first drop, at the first stop, almost as soon as my weight hit the bottom…BAM! I got bit. I got my fish, and not only did I get it, I won jackpot for the day.
It was October and I was on the Eclipse. The tuna bite was still hot and heavy. It wasn’t a tuna though that put up the big fight, it was a big bull dorado! At this point in the year, I was kind of over the dodos. The last one I had caught didn’t put up any fight, no jumps, nothing. When I got bit on this one, it went sideways instead of down, so I knew it wasn’t a tuna. It was putting up a good fight though, and I wondered what it was that I had hooked into. As it got closer to the boat, I could see it was a big dodo. This one actually had some smarts. He used that big flat head of his like a sail against the current. He didn’t jump, but he made me really work to gain any ground on him. He’d rest perpendicular to the current, and then when he got a second wind, he’d take off and strip out more line. He did this routine a few times before I finally got him onboard. I respected that fish and was thankful I was able to take him home.
Fish of the Year
I was really stoked to catch my striped marlin this year on my East Cape trip with 976-Tuna. That was an end of day catch, on the last day of the trip, after seeing a lot of marlin and not getting any to bite (maybe that one should’ve been Biggest Relief). As good as that one was though, Fish of the Year has to go my first yellowtail of the year, caught in April on the San Diego. It was my first yellow of the year. It was the first yellow I’ve ever caught on a jig (Salas 6x heavy in birdpoop). And it landed me on the front page of Western Outdoor News and on the wall of my tackle shop, Johnny’s in Pasadena!
Like I said, it was a great year of fishing! Stay tuned in 2013 for more exciting salty adventures.