Wide Open Dorado Bite on the Sea Watch out of Sea Forth Landing in San Diego 8/22/21

evanluck

Well-Known Member
#1
Went on a full day trip aboard the Sea Watch out of Sea Forth Landing in San Diego. This was my first trip on an unchartered "party" boat and my first trip on this kind of boat targeting Dorado, Yellow Tail and Blue Fin Tuna.

We originally had tickets to go out on the San Diego. This boat change their trip itinerary mid week to the Coronado Islands which required a current U.S. Passport. I hadn't anticipated this type of change and original the trip was going to be offshore off of San Diego. They offered us an option to switch to the Sea Watch so we took it.

The boat baited up beforehand and we boarded and launched by 6:15AM. We road a couple hours out to our first fish spot and the plan was to kelp paddy hop looking for yellow tail, dorado, and blue fin tuna. On our second stop, we immediately got on a wide open Dorado boat. Instant chaos as shoulder to shoulder anglers started hooking up on Dorado. 90% of the anglers (including us) were fly lining live sardines.

I decided to rent a rod and this was my first time fishing on an open faced conventional reel. Tricky and frustrating at times but eventually I got the hang of it. I landed one big bull dorado on the rental rod and then switched to my own "see if I like it" conventional rig which is a KastKing Rover 60 conventional reel paired with a Daiwa Proteus Inshore Rod. I landed another medium sized female dorado on this rod and had more fun fighting the fish as I was used to the rig. My girlfriend also landed a nice sized female dorado and I was proud of her for landing the fish in such challenged conditions.

evan-dorado.jpg

After about an hour of excellent Dorado fishing the bite started slowing down and then people started hooking blue fin. Both my girlfriend and I hooked blue fin. My fish took a huge first run and then broke off almost instantly as I closed my bale. I wonder if fishing straight braid to 20lb flourocarbon leader caused the breakoff because the braid wasn't able to stretch? The captain of the boat helped my girlfriend resolve a bird's nest, baited her hook and casted her bait. Almost instantly he hooked a blue fin and handed it off to her to fight. She bravely fought the fish for 30 minutes trying to hold her ground and make progress. Eventually the fight was too hairy for her to handle with all the other lines in the water and she handed the fish off to a deck hand. He got the fish closer to the boat but it eventually snapped the line. I think he was angrier that she was.

The bite continued to slow dow as we drifted off the kelp bed but the captain was still marking tons of fish and we could see Dorado swimming in schools in the water and jumping around the boat. Eventually the captain made the tough decision to move on after about an hour of seeing fish but no bites. Afterward he said that the Dorado moved from the kelp bed to under the boat. As the boat drifted and the blue fin arrived they were using the boat to shelter and hide from the blue fin and discreetly feeding off of discarded baits while they hid from the blue fin that were around but further away from the boat. I was impressed by the the captain who looked to be in his mid 20s. This was clever insight and explained exactly what we experienced with a wide open bite that slowly dithered into nothing.

I was very impressed with the captain and the crew. They worked their tails off getting 138 Dorado on the boat mostly during that first wide open period. With 4 young deckhands and the cook also doubling as a 5th deckhand, they gaffed so many fish, resolved snags, and kept people calm under crazy conditions. They also set a tone that encouraged the whole boat to work as a team and to be patient with themselves and each other. With all the crazy tangled and line crossing, there were no disputes and everyone went home with at least one fish.

hdorad-eandh.jpg

The final count for the boat was:
138 Dorado
13 Bluefin Tuna
6 Yellowfin Tuna
1 Yellowtail

We enjoyed this trip. I've been out on a hand full of boat trips and other than a charter trip, this one was my favorite. My girlfriend and I liked this style of fishing enough that we are going to buy good quality gear for this type of fishing and improve our techniques with fly lining live baits and throwing top water lures so we can do better on our next trip. Another factor in this trip being the most enjoyable was that I figured out a way to be out on the water while feeling almost completely normal. Almost every other boat trip I had varying troubles with sea sickness. I used a combination of remedies to avoid sea sickness without feeling that drowsy feeling that you get from conventional sea sickness treatments.
 
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evanluck

Well-Known Member
#3
Yeah. Following the numbers from the reports, it seems like we had a lucky trip for sure! So much of this kind of trip seems out of your hands. From an experience standpoint, I guess I prefer pier fishing in Catalina. I feel like that is the most "fishing enjoyment" for the money. You have the time and the space to try lots of things there to try and get the variety of fish that can be caught.

Of course if you want the big sport fish like yellow tail, dorado and tuna I guess you need to roll the dice and bet on your favorite captain to get you to that magical kelp paddy!

Thanks for the Point Loma tip. We'll take a look and maybe try it for next time!

nice. That's a lucky trip. I had one lucky trip on the New Seaforth out of many unlucky trips there. That's like an epic haul. I wish I could get some Dorado.

I prefer Point Loma landing.
 

Rusty

Well-Known Member
#4
Very nice! Dorado are one of my top favorite game fish and favorite eats.

As for your line snapping: what real were you using? How much drag? Where did the line snap? What knots?

If you are using 20lb line, you should be setting drag around 7lbs. Must use heavy duty knots, Sd jam, palomar, etc. I’m assuming you were live baiting? Its fine to use as light a line as you want, (most times you do need light line) but your drag system must be dependable and precise. I am not sure a spinner reel is the best for this job. If none of this was the fault point for line breakage, I would blame the flouro. My experience is when the line is pulled fast and as hard as tuna pull, that combined impact snaps the line even if it is heavily rated. I suggest using mono so you get the stretch and less chance of snap. I dont buy into the flouro hype, totally unnecessary if you have quality mono.
This is all my speculation as I dont know all the details. But fishing for bluefin can be very very frustrating in many ways. But hey, at least they were biting!
 

MisterT

Well-Known Member
#5
That sounds like an awesome experience! I'm sure both you and your girlfriend can learn from this experience.

I have not been on a boat but it seems with the crowds that mono would be a lot easier to deal with than braid.

Anyways if you are looking for a heavier duty spinning reel the Shimano Spheros SW may be something to look at. https://fish.shimano.com/content/fi...page/Shimano_Product_Page.P-SPHEROS_SW_A.html
 

tbae

New member
#6
Sounds like a great trip - what was your remedy for warding off sea sicknesses? I've been wanting to go fishing on a boat but am very sensitive to motion.
 

evanluck

Well-Known Member
#7
I bought one of those reliefbands. I have used it on 3 trips including this one. On the previous two trips it helped prevent me from actually getting sick but I still felt sick.

For this trip I added Bonine Ginger motion sickness pills and the MQ Patch (herbal remedy). It was a calm day out on the water but we were off shore fishing the whole time which for me, even in calm seas, previously would have been difficult to handle. I can say between the three solutions, I felt 98% normal which is a huge improvement. I credit the Bonine Ginger and the MQ Patch for the bulk of the result because the ReliefBand on its own was only nominally helpful. Another thing I did was to start taking the ginger three days before the trip and I took two pills the morning we launched. I also put an MQ Patch on the night before and changed to another one of the morning we launch after my shower.

Big deal for me to figure this out. I only got 45 minutes of sleep the night before which is usually a huge contributing factor to my sensitivity so to feel normal with such little sleep speaks to how effective the solutions were!

I wish you the best of luck in figuring out a solutions for yourself. Don't give up!

Sounds like a great trip - what was your remedy for warding off sea sicknesses? I've been wanting to go fishing on a boat but am very sensitive to motion.
 
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evanluck

Well-Known Member
#8
I was using a KastKing Rover 60 conventional reel. I think my drag was set properly because I caught a smaller Dorado on the same setup and it pull drag a few times. I used 20lb FlouroKote for leader. FlouroKote is a product by KastKing that offers the invisibility of flourocarbon with the flexibility of mono. Yeah I need to practice heavier duty knots. I used improved clinch which I know is not the strongest. The leader snapped closer to the hook. I think the biggest mistake was to not retie after I caught the Dorado. The bite was so hot that I didn't even inspect the line. The Dorado could have easily weakened the leader.

Thanks for your insights! When I buy my setup I think I will put a mono topshot of 50-100 yards on top of the braid.

Appreciate your thoughts and advice!

Very nice! Dorado are one of my top favorite game fish and favorite eats.

As for your line snapping: what real were you using? How much drag? Where did the line snap? What knots?

If you are using 20lb line, you should be setting drag around 7lbs. Must use heavy duty knots, Sd jam, palomar, etc. I’m assuming you were live baiting? Its fine to use as light a line as you want, (most times you do need light line) but your drag system must be dependable and precise. I am not sure a spinner reel is the best for this job. If none of this was the fault point for line breakage, I would blame the flouro. My experience is when the line is pulled fast and as hard as tuna pull, that combined impact snaps the line even if it is heavily rated. I suggest using mono so you get the stretch and less chance of snap. I dont buy into the flouro hype, totally unnecessary if you have quality mono.
This is all my speculation as I dont know all the details. But fishing for bluefin can be very very frustrating in many ways. But hey, at least they were biting!
 
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evanluck

Well-Known Member
#9
Thank you. Yes definitely mono is easier to resolve tangles for sure.

I'll take a look at that Shimano Spinning reel. I think I'm comfortable enough with the conventional that I will probably get at least one. But my girlfriend is still very much on the fence and would like to see if she can make a spinning reel work for this kind of fishing.

Never heard of the Spheros before, so thank you for the recommendation!

That sounds like an awesome experience! I'm sure both you and your girlfriend can learn from this experience.

I have not been on a boat but it seems with the crowds that mono would be a lot easier to deal with than braid.

Anyways if you are looking for a heavier duty spinning reel the Shimano Spheros SW may be something to look at. https://fish.shimano.com/content/fi...page/Shimano_Product_Page.P-SPHEROS_SW_A.html
 

MisterT

Well-Known Member
#10
Thank you. Yes definitely mono is easier to resolve tangles for sure.

I'll take a look at that Shimano Spinning reel. I think I'm comfortable enough with the conventional that I will probably get at least one. But my girlfriend is still very much on the fence and would like to see if she can make a spinning reel work for this kind of fishing.

Never heard of the Spheros before, so thank you for the recommendation!
The Shimano Spheros SW is quite the value for a heavy duty sealed reel. If you and your girlfriend plan to do more offshore trips I'm sure it will be a worthy investment.