Pair O’ Flats
Bill Leinhart of Phoenix teamed up with buddy Scott Joanou of the same town to take the first two places in the Vagabond jackpot for the three-day trip that arrived September 3, as the pair scored with dorado only one-tenth of a pound apart in weight.
Skipper Mike Lackey weighed the fish at Point Loma Sportfishing, and Leinhart’s “flat” came in at 23 pounds, to Joanou’s 22.9-pounder. John Pescke of Visalia was third, for a 21/5-pound yellowtail.
Leinhart said he fished with a sardine on a 4/0 hook, 40-pound Soft Steel line, a Penn 4/0 reel and an unknown make of rod.
Skins Are In!
Billy Santiago Jr. docked Royal Polaris September 3 after a five-day trip that visited “offshore Baja,” and returned with an unprecedented catch (for such a short trip) of wahoo. There was also a good catch of tuna and yellowtail from the trip southward. Many of the anglers were first-timers, and the double hump of ‘hoos forced them to learn fast.
“I lost $150 worth of jigs,” said one angler, “but I finally learned not to set the hook on ‘em.”
Skipper Santiago said, “We sold every jig and bomb on the boat. We tried using treble hook jigs on ‘em but they straightened out the hooks.
“They were jumping out of the water all around the boat. We were lucky none of ‘em jumped aboard.”
He described it this way: “…after steaming south all night, we arrived at our target destination around 07:00 hours. Rested, anxious, and anticipating some action, we slowed the boat and dropped our Wahoo jigs back into the propwash. It wasn't long before the water erupted into a frenzy of feeding Wahoo, and a quadruple jigstrike was reported from the lower deck. The bite was on. At times we had as many as 15 going at once. With that many hookups on Wahoo you can imagine the chaos that ensued.
“When all was said and done, we caught 140 Wahoo for the day. We will be looking along the Baja coast tomorrow for some more gamefish. On a separate account, even though we were truly blessed with a great day of fishing, we could not help but think of how fortunate we were to be out here fishing, laughing, and having a good time, and as Katrina left so much destruction in her wake, our hearts, prayers and thoughts go out to all those affected.”
Frank Termine of San Diego won first place for the best ‘hoo, a 54.6-pounder that ate his gold Raider with red tape.
Charles King of Scarsdale, NY was second for a 50/9-pounder, and Robert Ramirez of Costa Mesa was third for a 48.9-pound wahoo.
None of the winning fish were available for photos, so Bob Williams of San Pedro (with a 45.6 and a 44.3-pounder) and Clyde Smith of Scottsdale posed, Smith with his 43.9-pound ‘skin. Williams said he got his best one on a silver Tady jig and Smith said he used a knife jig.
Santiago said he started fishing the skins at first light, and left for home before four in the afternoon. Anglers aboard said the skipper never put the hook down, and they only fished in the northwest quadrant. The first couple of bingo stops had some tremendous losses.
Excel Gets Limits
Justin Fleck took the four-day Geno Vent open charter to the mother of all kelp paddies, he said, and came away with limits of yellowfin and near-limits of yellowtail. The trip returned to Fisherman’s Landing September 3, with 32 passengers.
“We had another outstanding day of fishing down at the islands,” he wrote September 1. “Most of the fish were 14-18 pounds and they were biting everything: surface irons, yo yo irons, fish traps, flylined sardines, and dropper loops. If you have an upcoming trip from 4-6 days, make sure you stock up on a couple yo yo's and surface irons. We recommend 6X Jr's and 7X 's . Watching a yellowtail eat a surface iron is one of the most exciting bites you will ever get. After loading up on yellows, we decided to end our trip tomorrow in on the beach and try to catch a halibut or two.”
Andrew Morton of San Diego won first place for a 23.4-pound dorado, and third place for a 28.5-pound halibut. The halibut is a bottom fish and on the Excel cannot win a higher position that third.
Mark Lohrbach of Dana Point was second, for a 22-pound yellowtail. Harper Bishop of Santa Rosa, a rookie not in the jackpot, hooked a 73.9-pound bigeye tuna on 30-pound line, and was forced to ask for help to finish the tubby tuna off, so he stood in with the winners as an honorable mention.