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Ocean Odyssey



Return to the Red Rooster III


     After driving through desert thunderstorms in the middle of the night (it was pretty cool, actually), I arrived in Escondido and left my car with my cousins of the Grangetto family (in North County, shop at Grangetto's if you need farm or garden supplies). Met up with a buddy from college...we hadn't really hung out in more than 20 years...and made our way to the docks.

      Loading went smoothly and we were underway around the anticipated departure time of 1pm. Stopped at the bait receiver for some sluggish sardines. We'd been hearing bait was a problem, so we were hoping for the best. After loading bait, we cleared the point and were headed south in great weather. It has been 26 years since I worked on this boat as a deckhand...and it was good to be back out on the bird.

      Started fishing the morning of Day 1. Pick here and there, couple of kelps for a few good swipes at yellowfin, bluefin and dorado (most of our dodos and BFT came on the first day) along with some rat yellows. Then, late in the afternoon, Andy shouts out "This is it, grab your heavy stuff. 40# or heavier." It was the bite we all wait for. Nice grade YFT 30-50# fish blowing up all around the boat. I hooked up immediately on 40#, looked around and the entire boat was bendo! Got my fish in, grabbed a 50# rig and got bit right away. My biggest fish of the trip (only 35#) was on this stop. Excellent bite on the quality YFT. The plan from here was to head to a yellowtail area to mix things up and see if we couldn't find some bait that wanted to bite, as our sardines were looking a little sad. We'd be there in the morning.

      Day 2: Yellowtail fishing started with the yo yo iron. I couldn't get bit to save my life! I think the boat already had 50 fish (compared to my 5 whitefish) by the time I finally hooked a yellow. Mostly 12-20# fish. Steady through the morning with a lull later in the day. There were two dorado hooked and landed while we were on anchor....and from a distance that sure did look like a jumping/crashing swordfish. Time to make bait that night. Hook a few here and there...and by 11pm we started catching squid on the bait rigs. Steady catching on the squish to supplement the 'dines.

      Day 3: Bait (macks) biting pretty well in the morning, so we add to our supply of squid made the night before. Same style of fishing as the day before, but a little slower. Still, pretty decent fishing on the yellows. Biggest fish I saw come aboard weighed 35# back at the dock. A slug! The plan for the evening was to run back up to the 150-mile tuna zone, where it had been somewhat scratchy fishing that day. Oh well, we may be one of the lucky ones tomorrow.

      Day 4: On the tuna grounds where we picked up about 6 fish before 10am. No real strong sign until we hit a kelp that was a little more full of life! We got the fish going for a bit with some flashes of excitement here and there. At the end of the day, not bad. I think we picked up another 40 YFT by the time we had to head back up the line for home. Fishing 4 out of 5 days with 3 100+ fish days? Yes!

      Day 5: Arrive back in San Diego at 8:30am with a boat load of fish and new friends. What an adventure and mix of personalities. One thing I forgot to take pics of was the food. Chapman served up EXCELLENT meals and didn't miss once. I didn't feel stuffed full after every meal and they were healthy, great-tasting dishes that everyone seemed to rave about, including me. In fact, the entire crew (Andy, Joe, Derrick, Tom, Nick, Trevor and Chapman) worked together very well, were very professional, friendly and made the trip that much more enjoyable. Way to go RRIII!



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