This season was dominated by La Nina induced cooler water temperatures all year. Not only was the water cool the normal fish migration up the coast was hampered by a cold water upwelling along the mexican coast (nicknamed the Ensenada Tongue ) which we are told essentially blocked the normal fish migation up the coast.Our first trip in late june spent the day cruising the rockple for a few bottom fish. The next two trips one to the Dumping grounds and the other to the 295 spot produced the seasons first (and only) Albacore. Ten large fish between the two trips.With one exception all the fish were caught on troll Erv Wheeller Troll fish For the first time ever in August on our next trip With no Tuna on the horizon we headed for the flats off South Island to look for Sand Bass. Lots of Boats many Sand Dabs but no Sand Bass. Next we tried the Middle Grounds and found all the small Skulpin we wanted. Then as a last resort we tried the bottom spots on the Mexican side of the 9 mile bank. These spots are usually fished out by March. Surprise Surprise we found a school of hungry Red Rock Cod Bruce Ito Arno Chrispeels and despite the wind and current enjoyed some of the best Rock Cod fishing of the season. We returned with several pounds of fillets and a few whole fish for Bruce. Red Rock Cod
We cancelled three of the next four runs because nobody was catching fish in any waters we could get to in a day and one half trip. Indeed we should have cancelled the fourth trip ( The Make A Wish) but felt obligated to run around the ocean for 30 hours and not catch fish. This year we did not even win at the raffle. Only two weeks later The last trip in early October was clearly the high light of the year.
We left for the Hidden bank in the wee hours of Sunday morning on a calm, overcast, moonless night. Our first and only stop was at a pair of kelp paddies that after a long drift finally produced a couple of fish. We stayed with this drift for over 4 hours and and had steady hookups on nice 20 to 40 pound Bluefin and the occasional Yellowfin hooked up . Light line and small hooks were the key. Indeed Grant Larson's old reel, 15 lb test, and #4 hooks produced a hookup nearly every time the Sardine hit the water. grant Larson With the light line and pretty angry Bluefin most hookups entailed a lap around the boat. Bow Fish With 3 and 4 people hooked up at one time this was often an adventure. Some adventures worked out well. Bruce managed to salvage one 40 lb Yellowfin who had wrapped the line around a prop by snaring the line leaving the prop and hand lining the fish until he could cut and splice the line.We boated the fish some 25 minutes later. Bruce Yellowfin Other adventures didn't have such a nice ending. Grant Larson fought what looked like a large Yellowfin for nearly an hour with roughly 20 trips around the boat. We finally got the fish to the surface by motoring to keep the fish behind the boat but in the final moments with the boat drifting again the line clipped a prop and broke. The move had an unanticipated side effect. The bait ball which we didn't realize was under the boat left and was destroyed by the waiting Tuna. This effectively ended the bite and the day. 20 fish All but 2 were Bluefin.We all met at Inverness a few days later to enjoy fresh Bluefin califoria rolls, and Bruce's shusi artistry party
We made 4 bottom fishing trips this year mostly to the finger bank area. We often caught limits of smaller rockcod. The 9 mile bank often provided better fishing with each trip yield several nice red rock cod.
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