It may seem like hyperbole to say it, but I rode on a historic trip on Monday. C’mon Salty, get over yourself! No really, let me elaborate…

IMG_5268

 

It’s been a crazy year. We’ve seen wahoo caught off Dana Point, an opah in Santa Monica Bay…even a bluefin tuna caught barehanded on the beach in Malibu! Scientists still don’t want to officially call it El Nino, so let’s just call it El Loco. In this context, it’s not what we caught on Monday that made the trip historic.  But consider this…Capt. Jeremy Maltz told me that the boat had only caught 1 yellowfin ever in it’s time on the water.  It was caught on a jig thrown into a school of jumping fish off Malibu in 1996…one fish, 18 years ago. We caught 58 on Monday.  I’d say that’s historic 🙂

IMG_5227

Jackpot Dave and Judy were in the mix

Sunday morning I was sitting in my living room…having coffee, watching Sportscenter, lamenting the fact I wasn’t on a boat. The kids just started school and are still getting adjusted to their schedule. I wanted to get them out there. We tried the previous weekend and it turned out to be an inshore trip. It was fun and it was cool seeing both of them catching fish on a flylined bait. They were both really tired though and I let them sleep. As I was reading through my timeline on Facebook, I noticed Capt. John “Couch” Corzel say that the Spitfire was going to head offshore Monday morning. Monday was going to be my only opportunity to fish this week with a full week of work lined up. They had just caught yellowtail and even a few dorado paddy hopping on Friday’s and Saturday’s trips. I’m in.

When I got to Dock 52, it was looking dicey we’d even get off the dock. I only counted 8 anglers. Luckily though, by the time Capt. Jeremy came up to open the gate, there were 14 of us ready to go out. When we got on, there were live anchovies with a few large macks mixed in for bait. Jeremy was driving. Couch was working deck with Axel. Derek was on the grill. Deckhand Chris was onboard, but it was his day off. Capt. Black from the bait dock was on vacation and fishing with us too. Mostly regulars were riding…only 2 rent rods. I ordered a burrito, prepared a couple rods and took a nap for the long ride out.

Felt weird

Felt weird

About 3 hours later we slowed down and started trolling. I had signed in #3, so I was in the first rotation. It felt really odd to be trolling on this boat. It turned out to be a theme we all joked about throughout the day. “I’m getting bit…feels like a sculpin.” “It’s pulling hard, probably a big salmon grouper.” 🙂 We came across a nice kelp and decided to give it a go. We reeled in the trollers. I’ve been hearing that the dodos have been on the mackerel, so I flylined a mack on a 2/0 circle, on straight 20. No love and we moved on.

We happened on another kelp and this one Jeremy just decided to troll by it. Again…nada.

A little while later, one of the guys noticed a jumping fish and we slid into the spot. I stuck with the macks and wasn’t getting bit. One of the regulars, Terry Sawa, was fishing the chove on a 1/8 oz. slider and hooked up. Oh yeah, yellowfin tuna!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I’d never fished for tuna with chovies before. I have to admit I was a little intimidated. I remembered Capt. Brian telling me on the New Seaforth though that chovies are the best yellowfin bait. I tried flylining one on the same setup, but the hook was too big and it just killed the fish. Capt. Jeremy was recommending a slider as he was marking fish down below, so I added one (1/8) and got back in using a 1/0 ringed flyliner. I got bit and converted my opportunity. Yeah baby!

As it turned out, we didn’t move the rest of the day. The fish stuck with us and eventually a couple private boats joined us. Jeremy even called in the Native Sun. I didn’t catch anymore fish using the first setup. After noon, I got tangled up on a line with a hooked fish. Jeremy had to cut my line. I had a popper rigged on another rod and gave that a go, but at that point the fish were marking even lower and I didn’t get any love. I went back to my bait stick, but this time added about 30″ of 20lb fluoro. That was the ticket. I got 5 bites and converted 3 (2 bitten too deep and line sawed off).

Wow! Four yellowfin, all weighing in between 20-24 lbs. The jackpot winner was probably just shy of 30. It was getting late and we had to leave them biting. What a day. High fives and hugs all around. It was truly an epic day and I was proud to be a part of it. Thanks so much and congratulations to Capt. Jeremy and his crew. A lot of boats are fishing the same general area (including several of the long range boats!). If you get a chance to go, do it. It might be 20 years or so before something like this happens again. Tight lines!

Props to the crew: (L-R) Derek, Couch, Jeremy, Chris, and Axel

Props to the crew: (L-R) Derek, Couch, Jeremy, Chris, and Axel

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: , , , , , ,