Capt. Dan gave me a warm greeting when I arrived

I had so much fun on our last trip on the Commander, that I decided to go again.  The hope at the time I booked the trip was that the bluefin would be back in play at Cortez.  As it turned out, conditions didn’t support going out there.  We fished Clemente instead, along with probably a dozen other boats in the sportfishing fleet.

The morning pretty much went as the SCS intern explained it in the previous trip report.  Our conditions might’ve been a little better, which led to a better final result.  Most of the fish were caught again on bait, but instead of the dropper loop, the preferred rig was a heavy slider or Carolina style rig with a 1-2 oz slider.  We were in our first drift and we weren’t marking any yellows.  I noticed some people catching nice reds and a short ling using sardines on dropper.  I figured I’d join them and switched up from fishing the jig.  Rather than go dropper loop though, I followed Capt. Steve’s advice and went with a heavy 2 oz. slider.  First yellow of the day!

We had about 40 for the morning sesh, before conditions went south.  Since we were out there, we wrapped our outside experience with a couple rockfish focused drifts.  I managed to catch the perfect size #thatdamnfish for me and Juj to have with the salt crusted recipe 🙂

From there we went inside to a kelpy spot that Capt. Steve later told me, “Just looked really good, but the first time I fished it.”  This guy has great instincts.  What happened for the next several hours, stretching from the late afternoon and well into dark, was one of the best times I have ever had calico bass fishing.

We rolled into the spot at maybe 3pm and dropped the pick.  We lucked out and the conditions were perfect at the exact time we rolled in.  The spot was ours alone because the most of the rest of the fleet was still outside chasing yellows (or on their way home).  For probably the next hour solid, it was game on.  Half dead baits were getting bit.  Big calicos were the order of the day, but at the same time we had a rush of rat yellows that were the perfect thing to suit the talent level of the several rent rods on the trip.  We had some hearts getting eaten for first time catches which was really fun to see.  New Salty Sean Infante won the jig contest fooling a rat on the Bait Wrap Commander jig that earned him a free upcoming trip aboard the boat!

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Steve and I with a couple of the night toads

Capt. Steve ended up calling in Capt. Bruce Smith on the Fortune to share the spot.  Bruce later told Steve, that the spot was a regular one for him, and shared some dope to return the favor.  The conditions changed in the latter part of the day and switched the bite from wide f’g open to a steady pick.  I could smell Chef Jason preparing dinner, but I was having too much fun to leave the rail.

Jason started his dinner service.  The Fortune had moved on.  It was dark and started to get chilly…leaving only the hardcores (myself included) with Capt. Steve joining us on the stern.  Our devotion was rewarded when the conditions swung the boat back in our favor.  The re-bite was ON.  We kept fishing until we exhausted the last of the bait.  It was epic twilight fishing.  I ended up catching my personal best calico ever.  For the trip, I had 3 fish that were about this big.  It was only the last one in the evening that we bothered to weigh…5.04 lbs on the boat’s digital scale.  And you know what?  It may not have even been the biggest calico on the boat.  I talked to Capt. Bruce later to get his impressions from the other boat and he told me, “That was Cedros-like conditions and it’s right here in our own backyard.”  Wow…it was that good!


Thanks to Capt. Steve and the rest of the Commander crew for a memorable trip.  Final boat count was 90 yellows and 70 calico bass, plus the assorted bottom grabbers.  We released at least the same amount of calicos as we caught.  I easily caught double digits of bass with only 1 or 2 being shorts.  The two I kept were nice 3 lb. fish, but I let everything else go.  (I just have to keep a couple.  They’re too good of eating.)  The yellows from the outside part of the day were the bigger ones, call them 8-13 lbs.  The ones inside were maybe 2-6 lbs.?  Previously mentioned trip winner, Sean Infante, also took JP on a 13.5 lb. yellow.  Everyone onboard, many of them first time riders, had a great time.  Do yourself a favor and book a trip with these guys.  Tight lines!


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