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DIY sabiki

I’m probably sounding like a broken record at this point, but if you haven’t been out this year, you are missing out.  If you are reading this blog, then you probably aren’t part of the “wishing instead of fishing” set, but just in case…GO!

Case in point, I went out Monday on Enterprise Sportfishing out of Long Beach Marina.  I haven’t been on this boat all year.  I wasn’t chasing a count.  No expectations…I just wanted to fish with Capt. Andrew Siratt.  I texted Andy on Saturday.  He was in Vegas with his wife.  He wasn’t sure if he’d be working on Monday, but he encouraged me to go ahead and come out.  OK cool.

I showed up Monday and it was a light load of only 15 anglers that boarded the boat.  Andy was off.  Relief captain, Jeff Patrick, was at the helm.  James was working the deck and Sean (aka Smoky) was on the grill.  Out of the gate, James was instructing us to put on our sabikis if we had them.  He cut up a bonito and we were trying to catch mackerel to fill the tank.  I didn’t have a sabiki with me, so I just tied a double dropper on my light setup (Shimano Teramar 711MH / Calcutta 400D).  It was strung with 40 braid to a short topshot of 25.  I looked for small shiny hooks.  I didn’t have any so I put a glow bead on each loop and terminated each with size 6 bait hooks.

The bait making was slow at the dock and we moved on quickly to the bait receiver.  While the boys were loading up a tank of sardines, the anglers made mackerel.  I wasn’t even using bait and it was wide open on the glow beads!  We left with a tank of dines and a tank of macks in search of yellowtail.

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Tranx 500PG / Teramar 90H

We were quickly at our destination, the Horseshoe Kelp.  James said to fish the macks.  I started off the day fishing my new Seeker 909 matched up with my Abu Revo Toro 50.  The Abu is lined up with 50 lb Power Pro braid, and I added short a topshot of 30 fluoro.  I put on a 4/0 ringed circle and grabbed a mack.  Right away, the bite was hot.  Four of us got bit, including me.  Two of 4 were landed, but I wasn’t one of them.  Get back in and I was immediately bit again.  That one stuck.  The combo handled the load well enough.  I got in again, got bit, but this time the fish busted me off clean on 30.  Just snapped it.  Time to size up.

Last week, Shimano sent me a review sample of the Tranx 500PG.  Over the weekend, I filled it with 65lb. Power Pro, topped it with a short leader of 40 mono and planned to use it on my jig stick to throw iron.  I put on a 5/0 hook, found the biggest mack in the hand wells and got back in the game.  That was the ticket.  By about 11, I had gotten 2 more bites and converted both.  I took a lunch break with 3 in the sack.

I thought things might slow down at this point.  The day had started off foggy, but it had burned off by now and it was full sun.  Boat traffic was heavy with several of the local sportboats from 22nd to Newport, along with a gang of private boaters in the mix.  I was right…for a minute.  We lost the school that had so willingly bit in the morning, but another boat reacquired them and called us in.  Game on again.  For about an hour it was even better than the morning bite.  I went 3 for 3.

We looked around for a bit, tried a couple drifts, but not a lot happened.  Bait was getting really low.  For the macks we had left, we were told to soak long and put back in the bait tank to re-use.  They were getting tired.  It was getting late.  Capt. Jeff decided to head back to the spot where we originally anchored up.  When we got there, he said we had 20 minutes before we needed to head in.  I fished one bait, didn’t get bit and decided to try something else.  The sardines were still pretty lively.  I grabbed the setup I had made mackerel with and changed out to 2/0 hooks for the dines.  I left the glow beads on.  I figured I’d try the bottom and see if I could score a ling.

On the first drop, my bottom bait got raked.  Not a ling bite, looked sculpin-y, but worth another try.  I re-baited and dropped in again.  Before my sinker hits bottom, line starts taking out really fast.  What?  I dropped it into gear and the rod loads up.  Oh sh*t.  I was on the starboard side by the house when I got bit.  The fish takes me around the stern and up the port side.  I got dangerously close to the anchor line a couple times, but somehow managed to keep it off.  James and Jeff took turns standing by me, but I told them I’d call them when I got close.  I wasn’t making much headway on it.  The rod was bent over pretty hard.  It’s only rated 15-30, so I couldn’t pull on it too hard or button down the drag too much.  I just had to play it out.  Luckily, Capt. Jeff was patient.  It took maybe 30 minutes.  I was stressed the whole time.  I noticed a fray in the braid.  I only had a basic dropper loop.  The line wasn’t fresh.  Dogs were everywhere.  Somehow it all held together.  When the leader finally came up, I could breathe again.  A couple minutes later, James stuck it and it was on the deck.  It was a slug of a fish and turned out to win the jackpot.

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What a day!  Then to top it off with the last fish the way it went down…EPIC.  The boat ended up with 73 for 15 anglers.  Thank you to Capt. Jeff, James and Smoky for a memorable trip in what has already been an amazing year.  Special thanks to Kevin “T-Bone” Tombleson at Shimano for recently servicing my Calcutta.  Tight lines!

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