|Ok, I'll give it a try...
Pretty decent trip, all said and done. My uncle Mike is the Charter Master, and as he is a Big Hammer distributor and does some work with other companies, he does a lot of giveaways on the trip, including a custom Calstar rod to the first place jackpot winner.
Day One, Saturday: Left the docks around 2:00 P.M. late, trying to wait out the wind that had picked-up considerably since our 4:00 A.M. arrival time in the parking lot. We motored out, and got a good load of sardines and big anchovies. Cleared the point and headed south with the wind and swell at our backs. Whitecaps and chop as we passed the Coronados, heading for points south.
Day Two, Sunday: Travelled all day, arriving at Cedros Island around 5 P.M. As we pulled up to the island, a 60 ft. whale breached several times, coming completely out of the water and crashing back down with a thunderous splash whipped downswell by the wind. We managed to get a few hours of fishing in during the afternoon, fishing between Cedros and Benitos Islands off the Baja coast, adjacent to Guerrero Negro. Very windy, but fishable. We put about 20 yellowtail on the boat from 18 to 35 lbs. before dinner, along with some trophy calico bass that were mixed in with the yellows. My cousin Bryan caught an 8.9 lb. calico--released, of course.
Day Three, Monday: Windy. However, the yellowtail went wide open on the jigs and bait, and my brother Dan and I scored 27 yellowtail between the two of us to 35 lbs. Big schools of yellowtail were free-swimming around the boat, splashing on baits and flashing their bright tails. Afternoon saw us anchor up out of the wind in the lee of the island, near a sandy, kelpy area. I saw a 100 lb. + black sea bass get released, and a 50 lb. + white sea bass break off at the surface. We made bait with sabikis (1-2 lb. mackerel) after dinner, and went to bed with hopes for the morrow.
Day Four, Tuesday: With the offshore conditions still nearly unfishable, we stayed to fish the yellowtail, but moved in towards Baja California to fish an area called Chester's Rock. Our goal was to catch 40 calico bass for lunch. BIG yellowtail were breaking in the area. I dropped in a bait, and hooked up on what I thought was a bass--then the rod went bendo and line started peeling off the reel. On a single straight run, my fish took 300 yards of 30 lb. line. Slow fight back to the boat that took nearly half an hour on the wrong rod, with the wrong hook, tied on with the wrong knot (Grafighter 900M, Palomar, size 1 Owner live bait hook). Somehow, it all worked out and my big fish for the trip was that 40.8 lb. yellowtail that ate a sardine fished on 30 lb. test. About half an hour after I caught my monster, another angler managed to land a 55 lb. yellowtail, dashing my hopes of 1st place jackpot. But, it's always cool when you catch a fish that weighs more than the line test. With cold, dead water upwelling along the coast, we headed offshore after dinner.
Day Five, Wednesday: Very windy, rough seas offshore, clear skies. White caps and white knuckles. Trolled north towards skittish albacore that were biting well...only problem was that they were 290 miles north of us on Wednesday. We still managed to pick up a few yellowfin tuna from 5 to 20 lbs. and a stray bluefin that probably went 30 lbs. All on the troll. A SLOW Day of fishing, but boy what a ride.
Day Six, Thursday: Slightly less windy, but still a good roll to the ocean. Yellowfin tuna fishing was a little better, but not good enough to call "good." The boat managed about 50 of the smaller grade of fish, but still not a lot of fish for a day that started at 4:30 A.M. and ended at 11:00 P.M. after watching THE USUAL SUSPECTS with other drunken insomniacs enjoying the rock and roll of heavy seas, and waves breaking over the wheelhouse. All that after a dinner of Prime Rib with all the trimmings... SON!
Day Seven, Friday: Albacore! Not as large or wide open as last year, but the albacore bit pretty fair all day long from about 9 A.M. until dinner. Our proximity to San Diego allowed us to fish late. Jig strikes were followed by a couple of bait fish, and then the school would move on--we couldn't get them to stay around the boat for more than a few seconds. Rough seas and lots of boats looking for them had them pretty scattered anyway. For dinner, we had the Qualifier 105's famous Thanksgiving Dinner--a turkey per table, with stuffing, yams, veggies, fresh baked bread, cranberries, baked potatoes, and apple pie a la mode for dessert. Slept like a baby.
Day Eight, Saturday: Returned to the dock around 7:00 A.M. Minus low tide of -1.4 made pushing heavy dock carts full of fish and gear up the ramp a real chore. I got 2nd place jackpot, worth $180 and Dan managed 3rd place, worth $120. Which like, totally made up for the thousands I spent on this trip and related gear and attire.
Day Nine, Sunday: Drove out to Chino Hills to my uncle Mike's house, where we had placed the fish on ice overnight to allow them to thaw, and to facilitate cleaning. I finished the trip with 15 yellowtail, 5 albacore, and 2 yellowfin tuna. Six hours later, I had a good amount of fillets, mostly yellowtail, with a smattering of albacore and yellowfin. All were Food-Saver vacuum sealed, and frozen for consumption...mostly as sashimi and maki.
Excellent food, a great group of anglers, and a captain and crew that worked incessantly to ensure we had the time of our lives, despite the weather. No post can capture what it's like being on the water that long, away from the world and those that you love. You truly are unplugged, with nothing to do but eat and fish. Some guys read, others drink. Some folks work on their tans. I do a lot of writing out there, a bit of photography, along with sitting on the stern rail, my feet locked underneath me, enjoying the glory of Creation....singing quietly to myself: The sailors say Brandy...you're a fine girl...what a good wife you would be...but my life, my love, and my lady... is the seaaaa....
--until the ZZZZZZ of the trolling rods breaks me from my day dream, and it's down to business