Hey Guys, Well how do I start.
In this report, I am not going to mention too much on what I caught, because everything was a blur. Other then a few of the fish, It's a nice blur. Love it. The Western Marketing annual January 16 day trip was upon us. Since the Indy was in for a while, they were allowing the passengers to load up the day before and sleep on board. So the adventure begins. My buddy Jeff left his house in Alameda at 12 midnight on the 5th and headed down to LA to pick me up. I was in Vegas working that week and drove home the day before and got home at 8pm. And was to final packing and slept and waiting for Jeff to come and give me a ride. I wake up at 5am and noticed that Jeff hasn't called, so I give him a ring. He's just gotten on the 405 from the 5 and he'll be at my house in about 30 minutes. I drag all the stuff to garage and hope that I got everything. Jeff shows up and we load up his Tundra with all the necessities for the trip. Two duffel bags, one reel bag, one tackle bag and two bundles of rods. Jeff has about the same and some coolers. That truck was full. By the way, I would pay a service to come and pick up my stuff and put it on the boat.
We head on down the 405 to SD and the trip begins. Phew!!!!! We have to make one stop to pick up Rodless in San Diego to give him a ride to the landing. Jim was waiting on the side walk outside of Enterprise and off we go. We find the landing parking lot wide open and Jeff had to find the perfect spot. We load up our cart and wait for the Charter Master to show up and also Judy of the Indy office to show up. Then finally. Rick Ozaki shows up and then shortly after Judy. We take our carts to the boat and we load up. Did I say it was nice to load up the day before? We had our gear on board and rods put into place and then relax and kill time. There was a thread on BD about meeting up for dinner for all the people leaving the next day. Fishybuzz on the Intrepid, Steve K on the AA, Rodless on the Excel and us on the Indy. We all agree to meet up at the Vagabond swimming pool to head out to dinner. What a site, there was 12 pack of beer everywhere. Rooms open with people talking about gear and showing their latest toys. By the way boys, Fishy had more then one Okuma.
We split into two groups and one group heads to PizzaNova and the other group heads to a traditional Italian restaurant. We follow Fishy to the traditional and boy was the food good. Split the pork ham shank with Jeff, was trying hard to keep my calories in check. With all the eating we'll be doing. Eating smaller amounts was a way to taste all the food and keep the belly in check. After dinner, Fishy wanted a tour of the Indy, so we go and give him the grand tour. The Indy and Intrepid are super nice boats and each has it's pluses and minuses. You can't go wrong with either boats. So we go to sleep and wait for dawn. Since the Indy was loaded up with all the passengers the day before, we were going to leave at 7am. Dawn comes and we head up to the Docks to see the AA unload. They had some nice fish and we did a little recon on seeing what worked and what didn't. Seen some nice big tuna come off the AA and we're excited to say the least. Then we walk back to the boat and off we go. We head to the bait dock and proceed to spend the next two hours loading bait. The bait was a mix of nice sardines and nice small mackerels. The bait was so good, we barely lost any during the trip. Also to help with bait, Rick went to a Korean market and bought about 200 pieces of Squid. From the other boat report, seems that the squid was the hot ticket for the bigger tuna. Them being about 18 inches, if the fish wanted squid. We had them. After the long bait loading was completed, we leave harbor and head on down. Captain Jeff doesn't know where we're going. But heading south is the right direction. The four days of travel down is exciting time. You have time to talk fishing, drink, sleep and get ready. The first time I did a trip to Clarion, the 4 day traveling drove me crazy. But, this time, I know to relax and sleep and rest up. Catch up with friends and get the gear ready for what you think will work. We arrive at Clarion in the morning in the Dark. You wake up and head out and start the fishing. Sardines, MAC etc. We're trying everything. Then the fun begins. People start to hook up and then the fishing starts. Dawn breaks and there are so many birds. You name it, they would pick your bait and sooner or later someone would be flying a BIRD KITE. Worse I've ever seen. Any bait that didn't dive for their lives, would be picked by a bird. Diving birds would go deep and get the few that didn't go low enough. We pick away at the fish and try to avoid the birds and pick away. Then after a while, it's time to go check in. AA was there first and the Mexican Navy checks them first and then us. It goes easily and they are checking Visa. They told us to get our passports out, but the Navy never checked them. We trolled around and got a few Wahoo on the Troll and then back. Back we go to picking away at smaller fish and fighting the birds. Oh then the sharks showed up. I've always heard of shark problems, but this was ridiculous. At least half the hookup were sharks. You would know pretty fast if you had a shark. The shark would take your bait and would slowly swim away. You put into gear and it would still slowly swim away, nothing fast like a Tuna. They were annoying as heck. Lost a lot of hook and leaders to those brown buggers. I ended the first day without one bite other then sharks. But at least I got to put a hurt on some of those brown beasts. Oh and flying the Bird Kite was fun. Second day we wake up to same situation as the day before, sharks and birds. Did I tell you that I hate birds? The biting wasn't good, so we go trolling around the island and try to locate the fish. We do a lap around the island and the Captain doesn't see where the fish went. We go back and hope for the evening bite. Frank one of the angler on the trip, comes out and throws a chunk down. He hooks up and is at the bow for a while. The crew had to help with the fish and that was the big fish on the trip. Something like 280ish. Ever hear the the saying? Want a Lunker, be a Chunker. The captain goes, we'll wake up here tomorrow am and if it sucks. We'll leave around noon and head to the Hurricane banks. Seems the awesome fishing at Clarion was going through a turn and only ones around are small ones. Off we go to Hurricane. From Clarion to Hurricane is about 180 miles, which equates to 18 hours. We'd be arriving around 10am and would start the fishing. We wake up next morning and we can see the dots of the two other boats at the bank. Excel and some other boat (can't remember which). We troll around the bank hoping for some Wahoo and we get some. Size varies from Barracuda size to nice ones. We set the Anchor and off we go. Captain Jeff goes, Hurricane Banks, the sportsman paradise. No sharks and no birds. We start to hook fish and some are good size and some are smaller fish to be chunked. But, we're catching them. Kite goes out and that starts to get bite. We make a good day of it and put some decent fish in the hold. The next day, we wake up early. Do some Jigging and Jeff gets a fish on the TNT. Me, I don't get a bite and got a tired of jigging and started to flyline. We start to pick away at some fish and put on some good numbers. In the late afternoon, I go on the kite. Bam I see a explosion, I get bit on the double trouble and fish is on. I'm fishing a Penn 70VS with 200 yards of 200 JB hollow and 1200 yards of 130. Most fish I've ever gotten on the kite have barely gotten into the 130. But this one, takes a run and runs and runs and runs. I'm probably 500 yards of line out. The fight begins. I'm winding and winding and get the 200 JB on the reel and I'm waiting for the big circles to begin. But the fish goes from the port corner to the starboard corner and back and forth. At this point, I'm thinking that the circles should be beginning or I still have tons of line out there. I'm on a 70VS with 1:1 low gear and this shouldn't be this hard. There are three other fish on at the same time, and I'm caught in a four way tangle. I mean not the usual point the tips together and you can unwind, I mean all fish tangled up with loose line wrapping all four of them together. No wonder I never got the big circles. It looks grim, but then Jesus takes my rod and works it good and get my fish right next to the boat, they gaff my fish and it hits the deck and cut my line to save the other three fish. Let's just say the crew of the Indy was awesome and we didn't lose any of them. The fish turned out to be 217.6 at the docks and I swear that it was the hardest I've ever wound on. I've caught 197.5 (was a cow before the gaff and all the blood lose) before on the 70VS and the fish came up fast. This one, I could have swore that it was a whale. Being that I was probably fighting all 4 fish at once. It will be a fish that I will always remember. It whopped my ass good. That night I woke up at the usual 2am for pissing and felt kind of bad. You know the feeling that you know you're coming down with something? Well, I go back to sleep and sleep in a bit. Wake up at 8am and start fishing. Around 11am, I get really cold. Like chills happening. I go and put on my sweat shirt and the chills gets worse. I go to the sunny side of the boat and now my body is shaking none stop. I go to lay down and I'm shivering and cold and can't stop the shaking. My buddy Jeff comes to the room to ask if I'm ok, and I tell him go get Norm. Norm is a retired doctor and I knew something weird was going on. He comes to see me and Jeff gives me some Tylenol and I pass out. I wake up later that evening and I'm in no mood for fishing. But the good news is that I'm not shivering and I'm feeling better. Remember guys, that on these trips. Bring any medication you can think of. Cold meds, Allergy meds etc etc. You never know what you're going to need..... Next day I wake up and I tell myself, you didn't pay all this money to lay in bed sick. You can do that at home way cheaper.
So I head out and start to fish. Thanks to Norm and Jeff for taking care of me. That night, Jeff goes he's caught fish on Jigs, Mac, Sardines and Chunk. All he needs to do is catch one on a Man Bait. Man Bait, being a Skippy or small Tuna. Next morning, I wake up to people fishing in the dark with Skippy. I borrow the Skippy rig and catch a Skipjack. I call for Jeff and he wasn't ready. I hand that Skippy to Alan. Then I catch another one and hand that to Norm, and then another one to Jeff etc etc. I ended up being the Master Baiter. I finally hook the Skippy for me and it's belly hooked and bleeding. So I go, the Skippy are wide open and I'll catch another one. Well next thing you know, all of the anglers go bendo and I can't catch a Skippy for the life of me. The big tuna had moved in and the Skippy have made a run for their lives. Jeff gets a good size fish on the Skippy. Me, I'm fishing the sardine and get a bite. Next morning, I start the same way and I catch a few Skippy. Then I pin mine on. The Skippy is swimming around. And then it takes a short run and then stops. Louie, one of the anglers told us what to expect on the Skippy bite. The big tuna will first bite the bait, then take a small run. Then it'll stop to turn the Skippy in it's mouth and then take off again. This is the time to set the 7691 hard. Break the hook off the Skippy and bury it into the Tuna. We'll my fish does exactly what Louie said. Skippy swimming happily, then It swims faster. I can't stop the the spool with my thumb, so I let it have it and move. Then the fish totally stops, then all of a sudden goes off. Take a few hard swing on the rod and fish is on. I don't know if it's the dark or what. But the fish is on, but not making long runs. It was moving slow and resisting, but definitely not pulling drag. I move to the bow and I see my Skippy on my tight line. I'm thinking maybe it's just sitting funny and just creating resistance. Then it falls off, then I see my Tuna at the edge of the light. I can see it's a good one and it's moving slowly. Then I bring it near the boat and Captain Jeff gaffs the fish. Nice size fish about 180ish. Easiest 180 I've ever caught on the Man Bait. The rest of my fishing exploits is a blur. But, there are some interesting things that were working on the trip. Long Soak on the chunk. Yes, I mean long long soak on the chunk. Some guys were getting the big fish on a 200+ yard soak of the chunk. they would let it out and then put into gear and wait. I'm dead serious, lots of the big fish came that way. Even Rick who is a avid chunker told me it's new to him. Another thing that worked was a 5 foot leader with a worm knot. The hot stick on the trip, he was fishing a 5 foot leader with a worm knot. Jeff was doing that too near the end and he said it was working. Me, I feel more comfortable using a 10 foot leader with the finger trap. Okuma Mak 20. It's a nice reel and with the addition of the longer handle Jeff built. The reel free spool was a tremendous asset and it's smooth. Okuma, it really needs a lower low gear. Please do us a big favor and build them. I personally believe that without Jeff's longer handle, I would have put the reel away and never used again. Wahoodad, please pass that onto Okuma. Small casting reels. Avet HXW Raptor or Accurate 12. When the bite was tough, it was those reels that can cast the bait out worked. Get the bait out and swimming away and you had a chance of getting bit. Every trip is different and things that work one trip may not work another. Note to self, be able to adapt to changing condition. Another interesting thing that worked wonderfully this trip was the Kite fishing. Beside my 217, the JP 243 came on the kite. We went through at least 5 rotations. One day I was on two times. At times the kite fishing was so good. The crew would be letting the bait out and then bam! Next angler up! As condition changes. So must you. When the bite is on the top. Shoulder hooking seems to work. When they're a bit deeper, belly hooking. See where the fish are biting and change your bait hooking location. Well, that's about it for this report. It was another great trip and way way better than working. Ride home was like slow death passed away with lots and lots of movies and sleep.
Pictures will be coming shortly. Thanks, Harddrive
This post edited by harddrive 01/24/2012