Posted by: socalsalty | January 2, 2011

Trip Report: Rockfishing On The Malahini – Dec 31, 2010

The Vagabond, home of the world record YFT

I always get more excited than normal about fishing in San Diego.  It’s not just the fishing, it’s also the fact that I’m fishing among some of the legendary figures and sportboats of this thing I love.  It’s kind of like going to see your team play in a legendary ballpark or stadium.  You can almost feel the history of the place.  So it was again this last weekend.  I was so excited, I arrived at the dock before the office at H&M Landing even opened.

As I wandered around, I noticed the Vagabond moored in it’s slot in the next landing over, Point Loma Sportfishing.  The Vagabond is the boat on which the world record (still pending IGFA certification) 405 lb. yellowfin tuna was just caught last month.

Before dawn, I meet up with John, and get the gagnions.  He tells me he got so revved up in making them for me, that he decided to come out and fish himself.  He’s going out on the Mission Belle, the 3/4 day boat for Point Loma.  So we shake each others hands, wish each other luck and go to our respective boats.

This is a good time to introduce our crew:

Capt. Mikey


Mike the deckhand

We leave the dock and proceed out to the bait shack.  It is the same bait shack that I fish sometimes when I kayak out of Shelter Island Pier.  We see the Mission Belle there as we are both loading up with bait.  The bait today is live sardines (with a mackerel here and there), and dead squid.  Across the way, I can see John throwing iron off the bow of the Mission Belle.  Maybe he’ll catch a wahoo (see #7)?

Loading our bait tank

Mission Belle baiting up

The destination is the Coronado Islands, just off the northern part of Baja California.  Mikey says it’s going to take about 2 hours to get there, but the time seems to pass quickly.

My poles are ready to go. I have my heavy setup (Accurate 665H with 80# braid on a Seeker 7′ 6470), my medium setup (Penn International 12H with 25# mono on G Loomis 7′ Pelagic Series), and a light setup (Shimano Torium 16 with 30#/15# braid/fluoro combo on an 8′ Seeker 196).  Since I’m going to use John’s big gagnions (4 hooks on 100# mono) + 12 oz. weight, I decide to start heavy.  I’ve rigged my medium setup with 2 dropper loops and a 10 oz. weight tied on.  If heavy is too heavy, I’ve got a backup I can quickly switch to if we’re in the middle of a bite.  The light setup is just on the offchance we run into some weird surface action.  NOTE – since we’ll be fishing in Mexican water, it’s legal to go 4 hooks (John’s big gagnions).  In California water, the limit is 2 hooks.

I get some breakfast and before long the familiar slow down signals we’re getting out to the spot.  Mikey says we’re in about 320 feet of water on this first stop.  John had recommended going squid heads, so that’s what I do.  Most everyone else is going with the live sardines.  Almost as soon as I hit bottom, I get a BIG hit.  I’m struggling to even gain any line, and then just like that, the line goes slack.  Major bummer.  Not long though after checking my hooks, rebaiting and getting back in, I’m rewarded with a sizable red snapper.  He’d prove to be my biggest fish of the day.  There were also a lot of salmon groupers going to the people fishing the live sardines.  I wanted red though and continued following the same tactics for most of the day.  After fishing deep in various spots, we changeup and head to about a 100 feet of water, closer to the islands.

In between the depth change, the Mexican Navy gave us a lookover.

Will they want to board us?

Guess not








I changed over to my medium setup.  It was closer in here where I added to my species count.  At the very end, I decided to go live

4lb red snapper was my highlight

sardines.  In the last 10 minutes of the trip before heading back, I was rewarded on the changeup with a double red combo with fish on each dropper loop!

All in all, a great day fishing.  I can’t wait to come back in February to fish the Indian on the Dan Hernandez trip.

I’ll have to check in with John and see how he did.

Red Alert! (not mine unfortunately)

Full limit in Salty's cooler


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: