Posted by: socalsalty | November 27, 2012

Trip Report: Jake & Juj’s 1st SD Trip

Picture courtesy of Seaforth Landing

As much fun as this fishing year has been for me personally, it bummed me out that I wasn’t able to share more of those great trips with my kids.  I’ve only got them every other weekend.  Juliana has a hard time doing anything more than a halfie.  As is often the case with fishing and life, sometime you just have to accept things as they are and make the best of it.  In the back of my mind though, I’ve been dying to get Jake on his first ‘exotic’…a dorado, yellowtail, any of the fish in the top half of the Top 10 really.

As I wrote about last month, one of the better, more accessible opportunities to score one of these fish lately has been on the half day trips off La Jolla.  The New Seaforth, the normal half day boat out of Seaforth Landing, has been out of the water the last several weeks for maintenance.  In its place, the Sea Watch has been filling in.  It’s been far from wide open, but last Wednesday my buddy John rode with them and saw one lucky passenger take home a big (35lbs+ ?) yellowtail.  Every day there seems to be at least one big score.  At this late stage of the year, it was enough to motivate me to make the trip down.

Kinda like Santa’s workshop for a fishing kid

We drove down Saturday, making good enough time to get in a swim at our hotel.  Afterward, we met up with John to get some dinner.  But not before spending time in one of my regular San Diego haunts…John’s garage.  He had been busy.  We found him working on some poles to use for tomorrow.  Jake and I both got some new fishing toys to play with and made it an early night.

The next morning we met down at the landing and boarded the boat.  It was tanked with live squid and anchovies.  The ride to the fishing grounds was short.

Ling-a-ding-ding!

The recommended rig was a single dropper loop, about 2 feet off the ground, on 30# test, using a large J hook (4/0 or 5/0) and a 4-6 oz sinker.  We anchored up in about 180 feet of water over some structure.  The three of us followed the recommended rigging, using the live squid.  Shortly after I was the first to hook up with about a 2 lb red.  The first spot was kind of slow, so we made a small move.  The second spot was a little deeper, and a little better fishing, but overall still slow.  The highlight of the morning was this blue ling caught by a passenger fishing off the stern.

Once we got past 9, I decided it was time to mix things up a little.  Jake and I switched up to a lighter setup and fished a half oz. glow leadhead, still with a whole squid.  Juj was losing interest, so I downsized her hook to a 1/0 circle, and squid head.  Didn’t help, still slow.  Juj decided to hang it up and just watch.

Jake and I switched back to the dropper loops, but downsized to lighter wire circle hooks, alternately fishing whole squid, heads and strips.  Things improved, but the results weren’t spectacular.  Around us though, a lot of sheephead started presenting themselves in the mix.  They were pinkies though…no big males.  It was getting towards the end of the ride, and it was looking like there wasn’t going to be that big score for the boat this day.  Then suddenly a guy down the rail got bit and his pole doubled over.  At first I thought he just caught bottom, but it became apparent he was fighting a large fish.  Once we could see color, the fish made a sweeping turn, leaving a huge footprint in the water.  It was a big sheephead.  Couple more turns of the reel and it was gaffed and brought aboard.  Wow, nice goat!  It turned out to be 18.5 lbs when we weighed it later.

That was pretty much the day.  Jake didn’t get his big exotic.  On the way home though, he thanked me for the weekend…recognizing I tried to get him on that big fish.  Sometimes it’s not what you catch that matters.  Tight lines!

The jackpot sheepie

Me and John at the rail

Juj enjoying a game of War against Jake in the galley

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