We hit the bait barges in San Diego Bay to load up with Anchovies and Sardines, and then made an eighteen hour run to the first stop. We sat through fishing and rigging classes on the way, along with a "safety while casting on deck" course. We started fishing at first light, fly lining sardines with medium tackle. Medium tackle was a six-foot rod, a Penn Super 4/0 reel with 30 pound test line, and bronze tuna hooks.
We started picking up yellowtails right away in the 20 to 35 pound class. We fished until noon when the skipper came on the MC-1 and gave us the option of fishing some more here or making a 2.5 hour run to catch bait. John says the secret to catching tuna and yellowtail is good, fresh, lively bait. The secret to getting the most pick-ups on that live bait is picking out the best of the good bait.
"Ya gotta get one that's smilin'," John was told by his mentor on this trip, a nice gentleman he happened to fish next to on the first stop. It turns out this guy's name is Billy Casper. I talked to him and said, "Haven't I heard of you?". He says ,"Maybe, I play some golf once in a while." The Saturday after we got back he won the Seniors tournament in Jacksonville, Florida.
At any rate we decided to make the bait run and sacrifice the fishing for the rest of the day. We made the run and put about 500 brown mackerel in the bait tanks; it took us until 8:00 P.M. that evening. We caught the bait with a Sabiki rig, six flies on a leader, two leaders for twelve hooks, and a sinker on the bottom. Jig this rig up and down, keeping it in the water when you get a bite until it feels like it's filling up. Crank it up, swing it over to one of the mates. He unhooks the fish with the back side of a knife dropping them into the bait tank, and then you do it again!
We made the run back to the fishing spot and anchored up for the night around midnight. It was black bass and shark fishing time for those who could lift their arms higher than their waist. As for John and I, we went to bed.
We awoke to the sound of fish flopping around on the aluminum deck at first light. Up and at 'em at 5:30 A.M., we were jigging up bonito, slicing them up and having sushi for breakfast right at the bait board.
Some people are sicker than others in a lot of ways. We didn't even have any wasabi, but we did have soy!
Then we got into the yellowtails again. John tried a Sampson rig on the bottom and got a hard bite. He was amid-ship and got pinned to the rail and dragged to the stern with no recourse but to follow. He got rocked by that one; it's a trick yellowtail like to do. They put their head down and scream for the closest rock. Unless you have a nice Penn International two speed, they generally make it. Put one of those Penn's in low gear and with 60 to 80 pound line, and you can turn them.
Next drop John got my trolling rod broken. Never buy a bargain trolling rod! We switched back to fly lining and had a better success rate. John had had twelve fish by noon, and hooked up one more around 12:30. He ended up giving his rod to one of the Captains, can't remember which one, who cranked it in and thanked him after he finished laughing. He said it was nice to get to fish for a change instead of driving the boat.
We went to catch bait again around 2:00 P.M., another 3 hour run back to the bait flats. We fished for bait until midnight. Had a hard time getting what we needed but stuck with it. And so ended a very long fishing day two.