|Haven't posted here in a while but thought you guys might like to see some pics of a recent charter trip. It was fun because half the group were my surf fishing friends, some of whom have never been on a boat, much less tangled with a pelagic game fish.
The trip started out on a low note as word filtered thru our group of the slow fishing out on the albacore grounds. The Pegasus had just returned from a two-day fish with a total of 30 fish. It was looking grim and we had all steeled ourselves to the dreaded long and expensive "boat ride".
After boarding the boat and stowing our gear, Kirk made an unannounced appearance and distributed the long-awaited Perchfest videos. That really put smiles on everyone's faces. He also showed us fresh pics of his nice spotfin on his digital camera. Congrats on the nice fish and thanks for the DVD's!
After loading up on bait and hearing the mandatory safety/fishing condition spiel, we headed out to the fishing grounds in bumpy conditions.
We awoke to the news that we had a nice school fish under the boat. We soaked baits in the pre-dawn darkness but couldn't get the fish to go. So it was time to put out the feathers and troll, troll, troll. It was tough and rough out there. It looked like the rest of fleet were scratching in the same area as us. We had only three fish by mid-morning, all on the troll. Jason (JScrib) got the first and Reid (Greyhoundfan) followed with the very first albacore of his life.
By noon, it looked really grim. We still only had three fish total and most of us were resigned to the possibility of getting completely blanked. I kept telling people that it took only one stop to make a trip but even I had difficulty in believing it. Some stops were so short that I didn't even have time to put a bait in the water before the engines were fired up and we were off looking again.
And then it happened. Someone threw a switch. Isn't it weird how that happens? We got two bait stops in the late afternoon that saved the trip for us. Not WFO but a good steady pick with some fish boiling on the surface. At one point, after bringing in a fish, I looked down the rail and saw 7 or 8 rods all bent over with fish. A glorious sight and a complete 180 from the morning doldrums. First timers, Reid and John (Ratdog) were the hot sticks, of course. They definitely had the newbie karma working today.
Steve (Mai Tai) got his fish on one of those last bait stops. I know he was itching to get more fish under his belt, especially watching Islandboy and Ratdog go bendo with fish after fish. But that's just how it is sometimes.
Steve's fish was stuck in the gills so I couldn't get a shot of him holding his fish. It made a bloody mess of the deck and anyone within 10 feet so I stayed clear.
Reid busted out the coffee grinder amidst the snickering and proceeded to boat two quality albies.
Not many lost fish today... a few pulled hooks but none lost to tangles that I know of. I have to mention the excellent work of the Pegasus' crew in directing traffic, especially the lead deck, Mark. He walked me through a couple of fish, always looking ahead and getting on the potential tangles BEFORE they happened. Very good deck control!
Those last two hours were FUN! Bloody decks and people running everywhere. I love it. The picture below kinda sums up the bit of mayhem that can occur. It is of Vince's (Red Drum) leg, dripping with albacore blood as he's helping himself to the bait tank since all the deckhands are busy gaffing fish.
After being punished on 20#, I tried getting bit on 40# with no takers and settled on 30#. I ended up with three fish, all on bait. All on FC leaders and ringed hooks. At different times of the day, I tried dropping down a Megabait, a chrome/blue TLC and even a brand new Shimano Butterfly jig on the metered fish but came up empty. Besides the troll fish, all of our fish came on bait, which was straight sardine.
The quality of fish was excellent. 20-30 pounds... nice slugs... just a beautiful grade of fish. You really needed some backbone in your rod to plane them up from their death circles. I saw some people get absolutely WORKED on lighter gear.
Reid got the jackpot with a toad. A handheld scale read 36 pounds. He has this odd habit of winning fishing competitions, doesn't he? Well done, Reid!
As a group, the surf fishermen rocked! Islandboy and Ratdog got four each, which is nice since it was their first albacore ever. It was cool meeting FishingDentist (Ben), Vince and everyone else. I didn't get to see Ben or Alan (WSK) hooked up but I'm sure they caught fish too. We ended up with 42 fish for 17 people. I'm thankful for the afternoon bite and satisfied with my cooler stuffed with albacore fillets and belly strips.