Posted by: socalsalty | October 17, 2011

Trip Report: Yellowtail!

Capt Tristan passes live sardines to deckhand James

I mentioned in my Change of Seasons post that my #1 priority for the month of October was to get in on the hot yellowtail bite offshore from San Diego.  Friday night I boarded the New Lo-An out of Point Loma Sportfishing for a 1.5 day trip.  We were going to be headed over a 100 miles south of San Diego.  As opposed to the tuna trip I went on with One Cool Tuna over Labor Day Weekend, there really wasn’t a set spot for us to go to.  This was old school.  After loading up bait, and leaving the harbor, we just pointed south in hunt for fish.

Glassin’ for signs of life

The next morning I woke up around 6am to a pretty gray day.  Around 7 we dropped trolling lines and started a rotation 4 at a time on the troll.  When you are on the hunt, this is how it goes…you power around with trolling lines out.  If there is a jig strike, then we stop and throw bait.  Otherwise, the captain and crew are up top looking for signs of life…birds, jumping fish, a kelp paddy etc.  When one of those things happens, we’d setup a drift on that spot.  Sometimes no one’s home, sometimes there a few picked off.  If we’re catching and there’s visual confirmation on the fish finder we hang out for awhile.

Bloody decks!

It went on this way for a couple hours until we got a jig strike around 9am.  Nice!  About a 30# yellowfin tuna.  I found out later that the young angler who caught it was on leave from the Army and was enjoying a nice fishing trip with his dad.  There is some justice in the world 🙂

It went on like this for awhile, until around noon we happened upon an ATM kelp paddy.  What is an ATM paddy?  It’s a paddy where we drifted on it 3 or 4 times and each time it was like hitting the bank.  Talk about signs of life!  Yellowtail could be seen just below the surface, rabidly attacking pretty much whatever you put in front of them.  It was the definition of WIDE OPEN.

We cashed out that spot and went back to the trolling and looking routine.  Couple more jig stops and kelp paddy drifts…picking away a couple fish at each, building up the boat count.  The big excitement was a beautiful dorado (aka dodo or mahi mahi) that kept us in a high spirits.  Then late in the afternoon, we found another kelp paddy.  I was on the port side toward the stern.  We were just sitting there chatting away.  No one was bit.  Didn’t seem like anyone was home.  Kinda thinking this was going to be a short stop, when all of a sudden, the entire side went bendo!  It was another wide open yellowtail bite!  All the yellowtail on this trip were smallish…under 10 lbs, but if you know yellowtail, they pull hard.  Even these small schoolies.  In fact, I dropped a line class at this second stop, just for the sport of it, and busted my favorite rod, my G Loomis bass rod with the Trinidad 12 😦  I guess we’ll find out just how easy it is to collect on that lifetime warranty.  I went back to my first rod and continued fishing when the guy next to me got bit hard.  As I looked out in front of us, the second dodo of the trip flew out of the water, full body taking flight upside down before re-entering.  WOW!  It was so wide open, I didn’t take time to change my rod back to a bait setup and finished out the day using a blue/chrome Tady TLC to add to the body count.

Deckhand James with the first dorado

My busted Loomis, benched 😦

That last paddy ended up being pretty much the last of it, but what a trip.  I probably hooked into a couple dozen yellowtail.  I boated close to or at double digits…?  Hard to say.  The official boat count was “limits of yellowtail” (five) for all 21 anglers.  9 yellowfin tuna, 6  bluefin tuna, some random skipjacks, and the 2 dodos.  Thank you to the captains and crew of the New Lo-An and Point Loma Sportfishing.  Tight lines!

Full cart with “limits of yellowtail”

Yellowtail, #1 on the Top 10




    • You got it Jake. So glad I was able to share that with you and Juj on Sunday. Looking forward to seeing you both this weekend.

  2. Hi Joe,

    It was great fishing with you last week. Really enjoyed the time. Can’t wait till next time. Take care!

    • Hey Tony, thanks for stopping by. Good to meet you too. Hope we get to fish again soon. Tight lines!

  3. very cool that you hit the “limits of yellowtail”! looking forward for some fresh yellowtail from Salty!

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