July 2000

Fish Sunday, July 2. Reports showed Albacore scattered and sea surface temperature charts obscured by persistent cloud cover. There were a lot of Yellowtail in the counts, so I figured we'd head to the islands and check it out. One of our goals was to try to find some porpoise, which are usually present somewhere in the middle grounds, so that was where we headed first.

Since I got my boat back late Friday from routine maintenance on the engine and outdrive, as well as have a 'through-hull' transducer installed, the bait 'through-hull' replaced and the bottom painted, I still needed to install the Furuno-667, which I did on Saturday. The installation took longer than I planned, I didn't have time to really test it other than right in the slip, but it seemed to be fine. At the bait receiver, I could meter the bottom and 'bait' or something. On the way to the middle grounds, I could meter the bottom, and occasionally some small spots of bait, so I know the unit was working. When we got to the Coronados, there were only a couple of boats in sight. We put out Rapalas and trolled through the middle grounds, around Pukey Point, outside of North Island all the way to South Island without one hit. The was no bait registering on the meter. We kept hearing that the place to go was the 'stacks', so we trolled our way there to find the 'fleet'.

I picked an open spot in the middle of the fleet, and headed for it at a slow troll pace. As we approached, bait showed up on the meter. We saw some boils ahead of us and a Grady White, 100 yards to our right picked up speed and charged the spot, sending the fish down. We move off out into an open space and started to fish. Frank got bit and pulled in a legal sand bass. Then another and another. You could see them swimming on his side of the boat. I checked his rig, just an Anchovy on a hook, no weights. I eventually got bit. Before we knew it we had 8 fish. We started to be selective to make sure the 9th and 10th fish were big. I even used a spoon I picked up in Bimidgi, Minnesota for Northern Pike... We did get one Barracuda and one Mackerel. After catching about 30 Sand Bass, I decided to move, slow trolling Rapalas out side of the area. We trolled back to the Islands and on back to point Loma without incident.... The Fish finder works fine....

Fished July 4th with Mark on my boat. He had to take his wife to the airport, so we got a late start. Left the slip at 11:00am. Shot out to the 9 mile bank and trolled West for Marlin. Water was 70 at the bank...dropped to 67.3 due   North of the 302...When we hit the 67.3 we put out Tuna jigs.....managed to get about 3 miles West. Time constraints prevented us from getting to 10 miles west of the 302 where we heard reports of Albacore.... We turned around, heading to the point, switched the gear a couple mile from the 9. We saw a fish jump in front of us that looked like a Wahoo or King Mackerel. Too skinny to be a Yellowtail and too fat to be a Barracuda.... Hmmmmm... When we got to the bank, birds were working and we managed to pick up one big Mackerel on the stinger.... It was great to get out, even if it was only a half day. Not many boats out. I tried radio checks, but no answers..... I thought it was my radio, but when we were near Point Loma, I got a quick come back.... Probably still replace the radio (already replaced the antenna).

Planned to fish Saturday, July 8, but it seemed like the bite was really up in the air. It was too scratchy to make the run for Albacore, so I decided to stay local. I called 976-BITE and Bob Vanion said check out 32-20/117-08&09. Met John at the boat at 4:00am, I was there at 3:00am, getting things ready. We stopped for bait; some confusion because there was only one side open and the line was coming from the opposite direction. As the line started to back up, they opened the other side, some boats move out of line to the other side. We took a scoop of nice sardines and we were off. I headed straight of the numbers. As we passed the Coronados, we could see the fleet was parked there. We got to our numbers at gray light and started to troll Rapalas to the south. In a short period of time, we hooked 3 fish, lost one due to the drag not being set tight enough. I got one more on live bait. We also picked up 2 Barracuda. Bob Vanion and 976-Bite continues to be a great resource for fish reports and worth the $2, A small flotilla of private boaters had begun to accumulate after seeing us catch fish, some catching a fish here and there. We didn’t get any more bites, so I decided to troll out of the area. We headed to the kelp at South Island. The signs were good, but to bites.

I have a new fish finder and have been dying to try it out on my deeper Rock Cod spots… It worked great. I did the dropping and John just fly-lined a sardine. 3 drops – 10 fish, nice ones too.

Then we headed to the middle grounds where we found the fleet. We played there for a while, but nothing happened. We moved to another one of my shallower rock cod spots. I let John use a jig on 50# Spectra. I used a heavy Kicker jig on a TLD15. We both got to the bottom and both pulled up 2 nice Reds. I switched to a ganion and on the next drop, John got another nice fish and I got 3 more…. Great day.

I cleaned fish on the way back in as we motored at 15 knots. I finished just outside of Point Loma and took over the wheel, kicked it up to 22 knots.

Inside Buoy 5, the Coast Guard stopped me. Asked me how many people were on board, if I had weapons, and where we came from. Nest they asked for my registration and drivers license. Then they did an inspection from their boat…. ‘Show me 2 life preservers, a fire extinguisher, a signaling device and flares’. In each case, I had to duck into the cuddy cabin, my ‘boat tackle box’ and locate the requested items. I threw the life jackets from below, had to bring up the fire extinguisher from below so he could check the date/pressure, blew the air horn from below and had to bring the flares up so they could check the dates. He finished the paperwork and handed me a copy saying I came out ‘Gold’, in other words, passed with no discrepancies.

On into the Harbor Island Fuel dock…. Ouch. We finished up at the slip, cleaned up the boat and divied up the fish.

July 15, seas were a little rough so we went to the middle grounds for Yellowtail, etc. It was happening there. We caught Bass, Barracuda and Yellowtail. Mark Thoreson (fishing by himself) on the Catcherman, started a little late, screwed around at the south end of the 9 mile bank for mackerel, then decided to head for the 302. About 5 miles before, he stopped at a paddy and got a yellowtail. Close to the 302 he got an Albacore jig strike at roughly 8am. He went past the 302 and back through the 302 to get another fish on the NE side. We heard others at the 302 getting Dorado.  Did not hear anything from 425/371/220/1010 etc. On Marks way back to the 9, he picked up another yellow at a paddy. The seas were a little tough in the morning, but seemed to calm down later in the day. I think Saturday morning  and day will be great.

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Turns out the first marlin of the year was caught on this day somewhere out past where Mark was. It was a charter boat out of H&M Landing. They hooked it while they were trolling tuna  feathers....

I had the pleasure of meeting and fishing with Dennis Hytinen - Aluminator. We were to meet at 2:00am Saturday morning, but since I'm in the habit of getting my boat ready before the fishermen arrive, I figured I'd meet Dennis to give him a hand as he was putting the boat in the water at 1:30am. I was running a little ahead of schedule and got there at 1:10 am. As I looked around, I see a boat already docked at the launch ramp and a guy walking up from the boat. I said 'Dennis?'. There he was, already there AND, he had already gotten bait! About 1:30, Earl from the Pizaz showed up next. At that point, I thought maybe we would get an early start, but as it turns out, FLOMAR and KEPDAWG, who I was also looking forward to meeting were a 'no show' by 2:30.

Dennis has done all the work on this craft. The hull was manufactured in 1962. Aluminum has it's advantages and disadvantages. Electrolysis is always a potential problem and caused the boat to sink in Oceanside Harbor in the slip before Dennis owned it. It has been called many things, but I liked it as a fishing platform.

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We headed out to the 390, going over the 371. Water temperature was as high as 70 in some spots on the way down and finally got down to 65.5. We were still running at grey light but we put out the jigs. Eventually we run across a kelp paddy and get a couple of yellows. and then another paddy and another. Somewhere near the 390, we pick up our first troll fish on a B/P Melton Jet Head. A while later, we got a second fish on the troll. Although the recommendations were for 64.5-65.5 water, this fish was in 67 degree water.

We trolled and trolled heading south then west then back to the 390 for nada. So we decided to try the paddies again. We find one with a yellow. and get that aboard. The out of nowhere, I get hooked up on bait and it turned out to be a nice Albacore. We ended the day with 3 Albies and 7 yellowtail.

Best part of the trip was the company. If you ever get the chance to fish with Dennis Hytinen - Aluminator, you should do it.......but don't sleep in!

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My son John also fished this weekend and ended up with a couple of nice bass.....

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Fished Thursday, July 27 on the Dolphin II out of Islandia, 50+miles SW of MB. @ 32.08/117.58 to 32.12.260/117.54.90. in 65 degree water. Seas were calm. Most of the party boat fleet was there, very few private boaters. We had 19 anglers, who got 32 fish and 15lb test. Bait was poor, since we had to replace a starter the night before and were the last ones to leave the landing at 1:30am. Very few anchovies and the Sardines were weak. In spite of the starter problem, we got to the grounds at gray light, and the usual black./purple and green/black got the morning troll fish.

I took Frank and John on Saturday July 29th.  Frank has been out with me about 5 times and has never seen Porpoise, which has become his goal. Neither he nor John had ever caught an Albacore. So I figured I'd go outside for Albacore and possibly Marlin.. I had them flip for who got the first fish and Frank won, but I told them if it was a Marlin, it was mine. We left the bait receiver at 4:15am, motored in the dark at 20mph, started trolling at 5:45, to about 45 miles and no bites. The temperature kept dropping from over 70.0 to 65.9 degrees as we headed Southwest. I could hear guys on the radio at 50 miles and farther, but I was at my turnaround point as far as fuel. At about 5 miles on the way back, we got a jig strike for one Albacore. Frank would have lost the fish because he wanted to stay back away from the rail and Tuna are notorious for circling. This one was no exception and kept rubbing the line against the boat. I kept pulling Frank to the rail and pushing the line out. We did get the fish.

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I'm not sure how John would have handled the situation, since he had a tough time with a smaller Yellowtail. We stopped at the shallow water Rock Fish hole and they both hung the bottom. My bait tank went out while we were still trolling (which I had to replace). The water wasn't too bad and oh, I forgot, we did see the porpoise, so Frank had a banner day... porpoise and the only Albacore.

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