Fishing Report: “Captain Knows Best”
Boat: Aztec (Seaforth Landing)
Trip Type: Overnight
Depart: 8/20/16, 10:00 PM
Return: 8/21/16, 8:30 PM
Weather: 70 degrees
Seas: moderate swell, 73.5-74.9 degrees
Bait: small and medium sardines
*** Summary ***
Shane couldn’t make it out, so I had to go it alone! I arrived at the landing around 9:00 PM and was struck by how busy it was (it’s always busy, and each time I’m surprised) — the Pride, Tribute, Apollo, and Aztec were all headed out.
The yellowfin were on the chew and the crew had just finished a day of “phenomenal” fishing; there was an excited energy amongst the passengers.
At the bait barge, Justin gave the rundown: one setup for 25#, one for 30#, and SET YOUR DRAG properly. He said that these big fish make strong runs and if a fish is lost, it’s almost always due to overly tight drag.
One thing about the Aztec is that they’re extremely careful with their bait; this can mean a longer-than-usual stop at the barge, but it’s worth it!
The plan was to return the the place where they saw fish earlier that day. The ride was rough throughout the night and I nearly went into full seasick mode! (Bonine is amazing)
We started fishing around 5:30 AM and there were boats everywhere. Around 6:00, there were a couple of hookups, including one kids who was fishing dead squid on a lead head (it was Timmy the deckhand’s idea). The battle lasted until 8:00 and they finally landed the fish: an 80# bluefin.
We chased schools, ranging from 20# to 100#+, for most of the day with not much luck. With about two hours left before we had to head home, we finally got a school to come up and stay with us. Within minutes, I hooked and landed a yellowfin on my 50# outfit. Several people were hooked up. The fish were crashing everywhere! After that first wave, no more hookups, but the fish were boiling all around the boat.
A that moment, Cpt. Greg came to the deck, shouting, “everyone change to 20# fluoro with a #2 hook!” Cpt. Greg grabbed a box of #2 j-hooks and a spool of 20# line and started changing our people’s setups! As those with the 20# setup began to fish, the bite picked up again!
I switched to 20# and could not get bit no matter what I did! Frustrated, and superstitious, I switched back to my 50# setup, collar-hooked a sardine, moved to the bow, threw out the bait, and got bit instantly!
I finished with 2 YFT and the boat ended up with 1 BFT and 44 YFT, all from 30#-60#.
*** The Formula ***
Real: Shimano Twin Power 8000
Rod: Shimano Ocea Plugger 8’3” MH
Main Line: 65# Power Pro Maxcuatro
Leader: 5’ of 50# Seaguar Premier fluorocarbon (attached with RP knot)
Hook: 2/0 Owner ringed Offshore (attached with a San Diego Jam)
Bait: Collar-hooked sardine
*** Lessons Learned ***
(1) Fighting a fish straight up and down will kick my butt! I should have been a little more aggressive and got my second fish to the boat sooner. Instead, it went deep down, and the battle was basically a tie for far too long, before I finally started gaining.
(2) Don’t set the drag too tightly and test it frequently. Temperature changes throughout the day can affect the drag, so it’s best to check it often. If it’s too loose when you hook a fish, you can always tighten it!
(3) Don’t just listen to the captain and crew, do what they say! They do this every day and know how to put you in the best position for success.