Posted by: socalsalty | August 27, 2012

Trip Report: Overnight On The Dolphin III

Wednesday night I boarded the Dolphin III out of Point Loma Sportfishing.  The boat got underway around 9pm and Captain Jack introduced the crew.  My buddy John was the 2nd captain for the trip.  On deck was Doug, Dave and Albert.  There were 20 anglers including myself, a really comfortable load on this 80 ft. boat.  The plan for the trip was to head south @ 50 miles and the fish alongside the commercial tuna pens.  We’d be targeting bluefin tuna that were hanging around their captured brethren.

I brought 4 poles for the trip…a 20lb fluorocarbon setup, a 30lb mono setup, a 40lb mono setup (all with spectra backing) and a 60lb trolling rod.  Since all I had to do was tie on a hook, I was able to quickly rig the poles and hit the sack.

At 4am, John shook me awake.  “Get ready, we’re gonna stop soon and start fishing.”  I woke up to pitch dark and flat calm sea.  Info I had prior to the trip had fish up to 60lbs at this range.  I grabbed my 40lb rig…figuring I’d start heavy and adjust from there.  We spent about an hour at the rail with one bite…a small blue shark that bit both myself and the guy next to me…glad I got up early 😦

Once the light started coming up though, things started happening.  An angler in the port stern corner got bit.  Shortly after him, John got bit.  John was fishing heavy also and quickly boated his fish.  It was about a 30lb bluefin tuna.  The other guy was still working on his fish, but he eventually got it.  It was maybe a 25lb bluefin.  During that first run, I got whacked a couple times pretty good, but neither one stuck.

7 yr old Luke with a tuna pen in the background

We tried another “drift” and boated a couple more fish.  Since it was so flat, the drifts lasted a long time…maybe 20-30 minutes per.  It felt like we were at anchor.  In a way I was glad, because there was a 7 year old boy, Luke, who was on the boat.

The first guy to get bit had another bluefin.  Another drift, couple more fish.  In the mix were a couple dodos.  Meanwhile, I wasn’t getting anymore bites.  It was the same 2 guys that consistently got bit.  Not every fish they hooked made it to the boat, but they were getting bit.  I learned they were fishing 20lb…one fluoro, the other straight mono.  I decided to downsize to my 30lb rig.  No luck.  I was getting frustrated.  I knew my bait selection was good.  I tried nose hooking, butt hooking, collar hooking.  Nada.  I finally caved in and went down to my light rig.  At the next stop we got really close to one of the pens.  At this point, I was using a 1/0 circle hook on 20lb fluoro.  I casted off the stern and within a minute I was hooked up.  FINALLY!  I could immediately tell though it wasn’t the right kind.  It felt light and it wasn’t fighting very hard.  I quickly boated it.  Dodo.  I didn’t even get a jump out of it.  At least I got the skunk off.

That ended up being it for me.  Around 2pm we started to head back.  The final tally for the boat was 18 bluefin, 5 dodos.  Would’ve been nice to go 1.5 and get the later bite, but oh well.  I was second guessing myself.  Should’ve gone light earlier.  It’s funny how a month ago I would’ve been ecstatic to get a dodo, and here I was disappointed.  I shook myself out of it.  Most of the people on the boat took home at least one fish and they were all quality fish.  The bulk of the tuna were 20-30 lbs, with a big of 40.  The dodos were bigger too, maybe 12-18 lbs.  I’ll take it.  I want to get out longer though.  I’ll keep you posted.  Tight lines.

EDITORIAL NOTE – Sunday night, the D3 got back from a 1.5 day trip.  They got 105 yellowtail, 50 yellowfin tuna, 32 dorado, and 4 bluefin tuna for 21 anglers.

Another note (Feb 2013) – The D3 has been sold and will now be running out of Seaforth as The Tribute.

Quality fish

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