The day of the maiden voyage is finally here! Maiden voyage may be a little misleading ... kind of analogous to a honeymoon of a third marriage but I digress. While not 100% finished, I like the progress made on this boat and she is looking good! The work I have done is by no means perfect but it was fun to do and there is a tremendous amount of satisfaction in doing the work and seeing other people respond to it. The experience has been a positive one so far.
I called John earlier in the week and let him know that the boat is ready enough to go fishing. He called Garrett and the trip was inked into the calendar. We all met at the storage yard and picked up the boat. We launched at Dana Point around 7:15AM. I saw my friend Ben by his jet ski and I went over to say hi. His battery was dead and he was getting ready to return back home. I showed him the boat and invited him to come along as we had at least one extra space. He grabbed his gear and off we went.
I thought it would be a good idea if John took the helm today so that I could watch and learn. We launched the boat and went directly to the bait barge where we picked up 2 scoops of sardines. The new 75 gallon Blue Water Bait Tank was looking good and worked perfectly throughout the day - Thanks again Randy! We headed out to the 279 and set up the trolling rods and began fishing. We stopped and fished the floating kelp that we found but the bite was not happening. This went on for about 5 hours. Suddenly like someone flipped a switch the wind began to howl and ocean got really nasty in a short amount of time - less than 5 minutes. We decided to begin heading back seeing that the fishing was slow and the weather was getting nasty. We were about 7-8 miles out from San Onofre when we spotted a bunch of terns diving into the water and there were lots of porpoise obviously feeding on a big bait ball. As we got closer we could see the fish crashing the bait. John did a masterful job of positioning the boat in the path of the oncoming action. We all dropped our live bait and Ben got picked up immediately. My bait found the prop taking me out of the game for the next 30 minutes. After about 40 minutes of battle, Ben prevailed and we had meat on the deck - a 75lb Bluefin tuna! Wow ... what a great way to start the year! We searched for the school again after landing the BFT but it was long gone. We headed back to the docks and arrived around 2:30PM give or take. We cleaned the boat up and began making plans for the next trip. I have a list of things that I need to pick up to dial things in a little better. All in all it was a fantastic start to the season and all signs point to an absolutely epic year of fishing in SoCal! I hope to have some video from the next upcoming trip.
Until next time - Tight lines!