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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I haven't put up a fish report in a while, so here's one of the highlights from my trip this past week. What started out as a seabass/yellowtail hunt looked to be going nowhere after a morning of hard searching in great weather and water conditions. A little squid around and a little finbait, bottom critters on a tear, but no birds working and only one set of real gamefish marks on the sounder left me wondering what to after the morning tide. After running around for a few hours I abandoned the area where we'd marked the big fish at midwater, since I couldn't relocate them or identify any baitfish or structure they might be relating to, and headed back to what I thought was the most promising area that we'd worked over in the morning. The afternoon tide was beginning and while I was a little disappointed over the way things were shaping up, this area had been holding some small baitfish in midwater in about 20 fathoms of warm, 63 degree water. My alternative was fishing the squid spot I'd metered, but I didn't really want to. We had been able to jig enough to fish with, but the seals were working the area hard, so we'd have to fish iron only to make it work. The surface temp was cooler there at 60-61, and the squid was spread thinly over a large area, so it would require some extra work to make sure we covered the area well. In the past when I've had good bites there, the sea lions have been feeding too, and I didn't really see any in the vicinity. My gut feeling was for the first spot, which is also close to some nice structure that has produced great calico fishing for me in the past in similar conditions, so that made my choice easy. Besides that, the bait had been concentrated in a smaller area, which would be easier for me to survey. As I motored over to the spot I saw terns flying a pattern over the dropoff I'd planned to fish and thought maybe things were looking up. I wasn't able to meter any gamefish there, and the bait was less plentiful than in the morning, but we did a couple drifts anyways. We didn't get anything significant, and the birds had settled down on the water. I wanted to be close by in case anything developed since these were the best signs I'd seen all day, but fishing the iron was getting boring and I don't really enjoy soaking bait, so I decided to toss some swimbaits nearby and see if we could luck into a calico bite to kill some time. I was worried about the calico spot, since it used to have a healthy growth of kelp on top of the underlying rock structure, and it hasn't grown back since it vanished over the winter. First cast was a two pounder, and I stopped worrying after that. Over the next hour we got about a dozen fish in the three to five pound range. I topped it off with a nice checkerboard that I think would have been about eight pounds (comparing it to my personal best that was just over eight a couple years ago). I guess it pays to change the batteries in your scale every now and then! I had just been complaining to my dad that the summer of fishing we lost with our repower had cost me what I thought was my developing swimbait talent, but this day it was good enough to get by. Now I guess I just need to get out there and practice as much as I can. Released the fish and on the next cast I hooked what I think was a bigger one and got busted off instantly on 20 lb. I'm sure the fish would have continued to bite for us, but by then it was time to change gears....

This post edited by Steve 05/18/2008
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Appreciate the compliments David and Dave. After an unwelcome year off from fishing (still freediving a lot from friend's boats), playing skipper this year has been hit and miss for me, and when I don't know what to do I can't help but feel I've lost some of the "fish sense" I had been working so hard to develop. I felt that way this trip, and it sure feels good to score some decent fish and not have to come home skunked.
 
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