ShogunThe participants in this 5-day adventure slowly assembled in front of the new Fisherman’s Landing tackle shop and we began signing in shortly after 6am. Everyone was onboard by 8 and we left the dock by 8:30 and headed straight for the bait receivers. We quickly loaded up with bait and cleared the point by 10am. Good thing we were heading downhill as the wind and swells were UP. It was a comfortable ride. It would be just travel the rest of the day.
Day 2- We continued to work our way towards the San Benitos Islands in similar weather: Choppy and sloppy, but we were still headed downhill. The water down here looked better & warmer at 62 degrees. The jigs were out in a fast troll and we picked up one bluefin. That was it for the tuna action. We arrived at the middleground area of Benitos around 1pm, joining the American Angler. That is when the first of our real fishing action began. A few flurries of yellowtail here and there for the rest of the afternoon had us ending up with around 60 fish for the day, averaging 18-22 lbs. The fish bit equally well on dropper loop, flylined sardines and yo-yo jigs. Blue/white and scrambled egg 6X jr. was the ticket for those who chose to drop the jig...then wind really fast! After the action subsided and the sky grew dark, we anchored up for the night close to the kelp of the West island where the Qualifier 105 had a few big yellows and WSB a few nights previous to our arrival. One big yellow was caught before midnight, but that was all we would see for a night bite until early the next morning.
Day 3- I got up for the gray bite at 5am. Soaked a bait on the dropper loop and hooked up at 5:30am. Caught my personal best yellow (31lbs) and eventually tied for second place in the jackpot! One other biggie yellowtail and a nice White Sea Bass and that was all for the early morning action. Time to start looking for more school yellows. We fished all around both islands with varying amounts of success and with the sea lions following us at every turn. At the end of the day we added another 200 fish to the hold and I finished out my limit. We anchored up for dinner, then took off for the offshore area to find some tuna the next day. The reports were mixed, but only a handful of boats had been through the zone the past two days and the weather was supposed to be coming down a little. However, it was a bumpy night rolling in the trough all night long.
Day 4- Although the wind was down from the previous few days, it was still quite bumpy and lumpy with a steady 15kts of wind and big swells. We fished a few meter marks for only one bluefin. I caught it on 25lb line, a 25lb fluorocarbon leader and a Penn 140 Squidder reel...old school all the way! The rest of the day we covered a LOT of water for not much. One lonely albacore on the troll and two yellowtail off a paddy, one of which was the biggest anyone can ever remember coming from offshore (measured 47lbs on a hand scale...see the final report below). With offshore conditions still poor and not much action reported by anyone else, we (Bruce) decided to duck in to the beach for a little "junk fishing" the next day. Faced with another day of *maybe* finding the tuna in sloppy weather or pulling on some fish that are great eating, I think everyone welcomed that decision and we were not disappointed. Wherever he decided to go, we have trust in our captain that he is making the best, most informed decision to make sure we catch fish and have an enjoyable time. However, that also meant another night of rolling in the trough.
Day 5- Arrived at Sacramento Reef around 8am and had great action on quality reds, sand bass, lings, calicos, whitefish in about 100' of water. Oh yeah, the water temp was 55-57 degrees! It was cold! But it was fun and we had a much more enjoyable time fishing for some good eating fish rather than pounding the offshore waters for bluefin or albies that may or may not be there. We had to pack it up by noon to head back up the line, this time heading straight into the wind and waves...still finding a steady 15-20kts of wind. Overall, despite the weather challenges, we had a great trip with a great crew on a great boat.
Here is the FishingVideos.com report for the web:
Big Fish Happen Five-Day
Captain Bruce Smith docked Shogun at Fisherman’s Landing June 23 following a Big Fish Happen five-day trip. Unfavorable offshore weather and picky tuna sent them to the inside, where they had exceptional yellowtail fishing.
The boats best fish, a 48.2-pound yellowtail caught on a kelp paddy, was not eligible for the jackpot. “I haven’t seen a yellowtail on a kelp like that in 15 years!” Smith said. “We’d sure like to see more of those.”
Glenn Chen of Homer, Alaska, caught the big yellowtail on a 3/0 Owner hook, 30-pound Izorline, a Daiwa 50 SH reel and a custom-wrapped eight-foot rod.
“That’s the first time in 30 years that I didn’t enter the jackpot,” Chen said.
Duane Sawyer of Lemon Grove won first place with a 32.3-pound yellowtail. Duane used a 1/0 ringed Owner hook, 50-pound line, an Avet Raptor reel and a six-foot rod. “Direct Tackle set up my gear for this trip,” he said.
Jeff Hauser of Corona and Chris Dunn of Phoenix, AZ tied for second and third with 31.6-pound yellowtail.
“We had our best fishing at Benitos,” Dunn said. “Rather than fight the weather offshore, Bruce decided to fish Geronimo Island and Sac Reef. We loaded up on rockfish and big lingcod.
“The water was really cold along the beach,” he added.