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Friday, May 22nd

I made a promise to myself a few years ago….”I’m never going offshore again in June.”  The trip that prompted me to make that declaration was on the Islander in 2012.  We were in the midst of a cold water cycle and offshore in general ended up being kinda crappy that year.

This year is different though.  Last year we saw wahoo in local waters and a striped marlin off Malibu in December.  This year?  It’s going to be last year…just kicked up a notch.  I had already caught bluefin on a 5am to 5pm just 2 weeks before.  With 2.5 days on the water, what riches could we reap from the ocean?

Eclipse 2.5 Day Sponsored by Costa Sunglasses 

Day 1

We departed from Seaforth Landing at 8pm on Friday, June 12th.  We had 26 anglers onboard for the weekend.  The crew consisted of Capt. Adam Williams, 2nd Capt. Steve, Chewy & Sean on deck, and Amy in the galley.  Before loading the boat, the crew had already picked up bait…decent 3-4 inch anchovies and smallish 4-5 inch sardines.  It looked good.

Capt. Adam was undecided about where to go immediately leading up to our departure.  The fleet had come up pretty empty in the days prior to the trip.  The weather hadn’t been good.  It was supposed to get better for the weekend, but the days prior left everyone guessing.  Adam connected with Capt. Jake Hensley of the Tribute and they came up with a plan to buddy boat headed due west.  Jake would go a little north and outside of us and stay in communication throughout the day.

The next morning, I got up and trolling lines were already out.  The morning of our first day was gray, drizzly and a little chilly.  Dang, I was glad I brought “just in case clothes.”  Bluefin weather?  We’d find out.  Despite the weather, conditions on the water weren’t bad.  It wasn’t too bumpy, the water was clean, and the surface temp was a tick over 65.  It looked good.

It wasn’t long before we happened upon the first paddy of the trip.  We stopped and drifted on it.  Empty.  Unfortunately, it was only the first in a string of empty paddies.  At the end of the day, we had hit about 15 of them for a big O-fer.  Ugh.  I’d never seen anything like it before.  At this point we were over 130 miles southwest of Mission Bay.  We were far away from our buddy boat, the Tribute, who had stayed up north.  They found a few yellows on paddies up there, but overall the fishing hadn’t been much better for them either.

IMG_7865The day was drawing to a close and not even a rat yellow on a paddy to show for it.  I was up in the wheelhouse with Capt. Adam and Sean.  All 3 of us were glassing…looking, hoping for a sign of life.  “Dolphin!”  Sean exclaimed, pointing ahead.  “Yup, got em.” Adam replied.  Adam gunned the boat forward and I made my way down to the deck.

I grabbed my Flatfall setup and waited by the outside trolling setup on the port side.  We caught up with the pod and Adam slowed down to trolling speed.  C’mon baby, bite…Hookup!  I dropped in on the slide.  As I looked back, I saw a couple fish break the surface.  This could be it.  Angler John Beaman got in his troll fish.  I didn’t get bit and switched to a flylined bait.  We gave it a few minutes, but the troll fish was the only fish caught.  We tried to catch up to the pod and replicate the result, but it wasn’t to be.  That was Day 1.

JohnBeaman1

 

That was brutal, but at least we had Amy’s dinner to look forward to.  She made an amazing spinach and cheese stuffed chicken breast.  For dessert, warm cheesecake swirled brownies a la mode with a drizzle of caramel sauce.  It took the edge off.  Hopefully, Day 2 would offer more fishing action.

AndyYonce_hh

Way to go Andy!

Day 2

Day 2 started off with a bang.  We were about 65 miles east (so nearer to the coast) than where we had finished up Day 1.

Most of us were in the galley having breakfast.  Trolling lines were out and guess who was on deck on the open troll?  Yep, John Beaman again.  John scored another troll fish on a blind strike to kick off the day.  Since I was late and stumbling to pile out of the galley, I grabbed my Flatfall setup.  I heard Adam say that they were holding with the boat about 120 feet down, found an open spot up the starboard side and dropped in.  An angler just to my left had the same idea.  He was using the Colt Sniper in the blue sardine color.  He got bit and handed off to newbie Andy Yonce who took care of business and boated his first tuna.  Andy was a sport and ate the heart to keep the good times rolling.

That first stop set off a pattern that lasted most of the day…jig strike, pick off one more fish, yellowfin sink out, and we’d start over.  Everything looked so good, but things just didn’t play out the way you normally expect them to offshore.  We found more kelps.  Finding them wasn’t the problem, they were just empty.  Our bait was good and plentiful.  The crew wasn’t shy about chumming it either.  Typically, if you have those two things, yellowfin tuna will lick the paint off the boat and the killbox gets full.  Unfortunately for us, it wasn’t playing out that way.

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If there was any explanation they weren’t biting, you would think it was because they were full of pelagic red crab.  However, that wasn’t the case either.  Brian Le who got one on the troll and one on a Flatfall, donated one of his fish to the boat for an afternoon snack.  When we cut the fish, it was full of very small fin bait.  Our anchovies should’ve been ideal.  What was even crazier, was that none of our fish were caught on bait AT ALL!?!?!

We kept pressing on.  Late in the afternoon, we actually ran into a patch of jumping fish.  Surely, this would be the school that would bite and stick with the boat.  No go.

The day ended with a smile on everyone’s face watching Lori Craw catch the only paddy yellow of the trip.  Lori had never fished before…no lake, no pier, nothing.  She latched into the yellow that bit as we trolled by a paddy.  It was pretty hilarious.  She was screaming her head off the whole time.  The fish was having its way with her.  It was all she could do not to get pulled overboard.  She got it though and everyone enjoyed the moment.

LoriCraw

Lori’s first fish…EVER

That was the trip.  It was a real head scratcher.  Despite the fact that most of us blanked, it was an enjoyable time on the water.  The Eclipse crew was up to their typical high standard of service.  Amy’s food was great.  Capt. Adam pushed tirelessly to find fish.  We covered over 400 miles in our quest.  Chewy, Sean and Steve took great care of us on the rare occasion a fish was ready to die.  Thank you Eclipse Sportfishing.  Thanks again to Costa Sunglasses.  We looked, unfortunately, not a lot to #seewhatsoutthere 🙁  It’s ok.  I’ll be back.  Tight lines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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