Posted by: socalsalty | May 14, 2013

Trip Report: Mother’s Day Massacre

Live dines AND chovies

Live dines AND chovies

I texted my buddy Vance Saturday morning. “Dude, I had a dream. Maybe a premonition. But I’m seeing this headline…Trip Report: Mother’s Day Massacre.” Whoa…it happened…well that’s the title of this post at least 😉

It wasn’t quite a massacre…the count was 25 yellows for 17 anglers…but it was pretty good. The day started out normally enough. I met Vance at the landing around 4:45 am Sunday morning. We boarded the boat and took off from Seaforth at 5:30. Capt. Ryan Bostian wasn’t driving, so Capt. Ray Montera was at the wheel. Deckhands Matt and Rene were managing the deck and Amato was working the grill. There were 2 pinheads, Dylan and Nick helping out. We made a quick stop at the bait receiver to pickup live sardines and anchovies and we were on our way.

Surface iron setup

Surface iron setup

Capt. Ray said we’d be starting our day at the middle grounds, anchor up shallow (60-80 ft) in a spot he saw fish the previous day and go from there. He mentioned most of the fish were coming on a flylined bait, so there wasn’t much to getting ready. I had a fresh 100 yards or so of 30 lb. mono tied onto the spectra backing of my bait stick. I attached a 3/0 bait hook and that rig was ready to go. My buddy John Anjard wanted me to try out his jig stick, a 9 ft Teramar 90H. It had a Newell 332 with straight 30 lb mono on it. I tied on a Salas JPOT in green sardine, adjusted the drags and I was done. Amato made me a breakfast burrito and I snuck in a nap during the 2 hour ride to the Coronado Islands.

We got there and settled into our first stop around 8. There were a lot of private boaters already there…lots of sea lions too 😦 I started the day using my bait stick. Throw a ‘dine, let it run in freespool, little tug and I can’t feel my sardine anymore. Reel it back in. No wonder, you’re missing your body Mr. Dine. Friggin sea lions. After a few times, I got tired of that routine and setup my light combo to work the bottom…reverse dropper with a sardine or anchovy. Other anglers had the same idea and a few sculpin and rockfish came over the rail.

After the first few stops, we got the first yellow on the boat. Not bad! Still early and we’re catching yellows. By 11, I think we had about 5. When I got my first yellow of the year on the Mission Belle in March, we got 3 for the whole trip. So from that point of reference, we were doing ok. That said, I also knew that a lot of the time this year, all or most of the fish caught for the day were caught by lunchtime. Vance already had 2…a fat one maybe 25+ and then a smaller one around 10 lbs. At this point, I had a calico and a cuda to my credit, but I hadn’t gotten the “right” bite yet.

I took a lunch break and gathered my thoughts. When I finished up, I went back out to the rail. Vance could tell I was bumming. “Hey man, you want take a little of my yellowtail home?” Appreciate it man, thanks. I needed to change something up. Time to bust out some fluoro. Still haven’t learned a good mono to fluoro knot, so I had Rene help me tie on about a 2-1/2 foot leader of 25 lb fluorocarbon. On the business end, I took it one step further and tied a loose eye knot to my hook. Not as strong, but it gives your bait a little more freedom to swim freely. At this point, I was willing to tradeoff the risk of breaking off on the loop for a bite.

Rene brailing some choves

Rene brailing some choves

We settled into a spot between 2 of the islands. Ray said he was metering fish and Rene was on top of the bait tank aggressively tossing bait to hold them next to the boat. I got bit 3x in the spot with my new setup, but each time it was a short pull and then a release. My hooks were coming back empty, so I don’t think they were sea lion bites. One of my baits came back and was crushed, but it was midway down the body of the sardine…short bite 😦

It was getting late. I figured we had maybe an hour to an hour and half left in the day. All of the fish on the boat had been caught on bait. It was typical of how it’s been going for the fleet of late. That said, it wasn’t working for me, so I decided I’d throw the jig to end the day. At least I’d get the practice time in on the water.

We made our last move and settled into a spot off the lee side of the south island. As soon as we got there, you could tell it was fishy. Lots of bird activity going on. Matt saw a boil just off the starboard side of the bow and ran to the bow with his jig stick to throw on it. I was about 3 steps behind him and threw just after him. 1…2…whomp! I’m bit! Matt put down his stick and we followed the fish down the starboard rail. It took me across the stern and through the majority of the anglers on the boat. At one point, I had about 3 lines gummed up on mine (including some white spectra) and Matt had to cut them. I followed the fish back across the stern to the starboard corner and I had him up and down at that point before Matt stuck him. Wow…my first yellow on the surface iron!

1st yellow on the plug...Extra Salty!

1st yellow on the plug…Extra Salty!

The spot ended up being huge. The school stuck to the boat for a good hour and we got the majority of our fish there before having to call it a day. All the fish, but 2 were a nice 20-30 lb. grade. Vance got one more fat one. After my first fish, I got a blind jig strike on the port side, and then picked up 2 more on bait. Just goes to show…you got to have faith in what you’re doing and just keep plugging (pun intended) away at it.

As usual, very impressed with the boat and crew. It’s a real testament to Capt. Ryan’s influence that the boat is run just as well when he isn’t there as when he is. Thank you Capt. Ray and crew for a great day on the water. Tight lines!

VIDEO: Unloading The Hold


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