Mothership Trip on the Islander E-mail
Saturday, 15 June 2013 17:22

2013 0609Islander20130006 P6080045

Islander Charters has been running kayak mothership trips for years now. By this point they have every detail well thought out. Twenty two kayaks are loaded on board the 88 foot Islander "because that's how many we can line the deck with," allowing everyone to get ready at the same time whilst optimizing the launch time when everyone is antsy to go fishing. When it's time to launch, your kayak is lowered overboard, you step down on the spacious swim deck, turn around, take two steps down the ladder, and sit down onto your kayak. Two deckhands steady your kayak and hand you your paddle, rods, and other loose gear as you situate yourself. Twenty two anglers is a light load on the Islander. This meant that we were to have 2 anglers per stateroom, which normally hold three. We had room to space out and store our gear.

Kayak anglers from the NorCalKayakAnglers.com club loaded onto the Islander starting at 6PM Friday night. Hope ran high as the weather forecast was for light winds and calm seas. Stopping at the bait barge on the way out of San Diego bay, 4 large bait tanks were filled with 6" sardines, perfect size and in great condition. The captain gave the required safety speech and increased the optimism when he announced that we would be able to fish the "weather side" of San Clemente Island at least one day, a treat not often shared on these trips. We were to run 70 miles all night, arriving at the island at gray light, not to return to San Diego until early Monday morning.

The first day we were to fish the lee side, to get initiated with the fishing on the Island. Our target was calico bass, California sheepshead, and California halibut, with a decent shot at white sea bass and yellowtail. Calico bass are aggressive biters. The plan for the day was for the Islander to drop us off, head down island a couple miles, and we'd fish our way towards it in time for lunch. After lunch the same scenario was repeated, and we'd continue to work our way down island in time for dinner. We'd cover 5+ miles that first day, every bit of it being fishy and productive.

Live sardines and swimbaits are fished at the edge of the kelp with great success on the calicos. However, the bigger models are known to hide out deep in the kelp, ambushing their prey as they swim by. Rigging weedless swimbaits and working them through the kelp is a proven method. Casting on boiler rocks increases your odds at a big one, but also gets your adrenaline pumping as sets of waves come through. Indeed we were warned of a story of an angler on the last trip that was left high and dry on a boiler rock, taken through the "cheese grater", ending in the loss of a couple of rods and little bit of pride. Exciting fishing indeed. We launched near a large kelp bed and proceeded to hook up on these exciting gamefish.

RaptorCalico Islander Trip 2013 025 Dustin. Sheepshead.SCI

Sandy channels and veins of cobblestone run both through,and at the edge of, the kelp bed. These areas hold California halibut. Again, working live bait and swimbaits work on these flatties, some running in excess of 40 pounds. Working pocket coves while drifting down island also proves productive. Indeed, I pulled into one of these coves on the first day and immediately hooked up and landed a small 8 pound model. On my next drop, I hooked into a larger one, the kind that just clamps down on the bottom and taunts you to pull them up. In my excitement, I pulled too hard and this butt chewed right through my 40# fluorocarbon leader. Dustin Sneed was to land big butt honors for the day with a nice 25 pound model.

At the end of the first long day, as dinner was being prepared, kayak anglers were leisurely calling it a day and loading back up on the Islander. Pat Kuhl decided to troll back to the boat. For years Pat has kept a large rapala type lure from Storm in his plano box, finishing off fishing sessions by trolling it back in. While he had never hit success with this, today was the day that would all change. Pat took a viscious strike and proceeded to get towed into deeper water. KFM editor Allen Bushnell was right there and proceeded to give chase, offering moral support and safety.

"Next glance at the trio and I see Pat is pulling away from his partners, being towed out. I look two minutes later, now he's much farther away from the kelpline and the other kayaks, and he's moving offshore fast. I thought to myself "OK, reel 'em up, Bushy, time for some wingman action!" Obviously this was a big powerful fish and Pat might need some help securing it. Plus, it's just nice to have some company when being towed into the unknown. Safety first."

IMGP3369 zpsc8da6bb4 And thus began a long fight, never seeing the fish except some deep color a coupe times, only to have the fish strip off line and dissappear back into the depths. The call went out on the radio and those of us on the boat received regular updates. What was this fish?  An hour into it and we were still guessing. Was it a large white sea bass?  Or perhaps it was a giant black seabass, a species known to run many hundreds of pounds. Pat had hooked whatever this fish was on a light rod, with an Abu Revo low profile baitcaster reel. Luckily he was running 50# braid, tied directly to the lure. There was no breaking off this fish.

The fight approached the 2 hour mark. By this time the fish had sounded deep and was just dead weight. Allen Bushnell had the following to say:

"The skipper solved the riddle when we contacted him ont he radio asking how much time he'd allow us to spend on this fish, as darkness was approaching. He figured it was a tail-hooked thresher, and he was right. Experience counts. The skipper suggested he bring out his Zodiac skiff for more leverage and safer securing of a big thresher. We were all for that, because the fight was now into its second hour, and it was a stalemate. Pat kept saying, 'I just want to get my Rapala back!'"

I was right by the skippers side as he was preparing the skiff. I heard him enthusiastically say, "I'm going to go out there and we're going to kill this fish!". Got to love it!  Allen contines the story.

"Once Pat hopped into the skiff, things went quickly. The skipper backed up the skiff, which scoped out the line, and Pat would reel in the slack as the Skipper came forward again. Three or four repeats, and the fish had been planed to the surface. They tail-roped the shark that of course went ballistic. That tail was whapping back and forth, almost catching the skipper in the face. The Rapala went flying off the tail. Even with his head turned away, the skipper somehow managed to keep a grip and heaved up with all his strength. We thought for a moment the fish was lost, but no. He said, 'We got it,' Pat also got his lure back."

Back at the boat, this thresher taped out a 104 inches and was estimated at more than 100 pounds. It took 3 deckhands to sink gaffs into the beast and heave it onto the boat. By now the sun had set and it was dark. A fitting end to the first day.

BBWSB

The next day was more of the same, except this day we hit the weather side of the island. The structure was different on this side, with the kelp beds stretching hundreds of yards away from shore. The calico were on the chew with Allen Bushnell taking big calico of the trip today, with a fish pushing 8 pounds pulled from the deep recesses of the kelp. Many more sheepshead were caught this day too as well as smattering of of decent sized halibut. And Joe Flores managed an early morning 30# white sea bass, the only one caught on the trip. Pods of roving yellowtail were also popping up every now and then, although no one managed to connect. After a full 2 days of fishing, many still didn't get enough, with some staying out until the sun went down. Needless to say, we'll be back next year.

2013 0609Islander20130025

 

 

 

You must be registered to post a comment.


Login

Newsletter

Subscribe here to receive FREE email issues of Kayak Fishing Magazine.

Most Popular

Shane Davies – Brazos River Kayak Fishing Guide Interview
Every now and then we meet people who really get it. We meet them in all walks of life. For our purpose here at KFM we’re interested in fishing and specifically kayak fishing....
Kayak Angler of the Month - Terry Wilson
I first met Terry when she purchased a kayak from me when I was a retailer.  I got to know her on the Florida forums and we fished together when I hooked up with the...
Interview with Steve Komarinetz from Bassyaks
Steve Komarinetz is the Dr. Frankenstein of the operation. He is doing some terrific installations in quite an array of kayaks. He also sells complete kits for the do it...

Random

Angler of the Month - Philip Ruckart aka “Yak4Fish”
Philip Ruckart, also known as “Yak4Fish” on all the kayak fishing forums is a Heritage Endorsed Kayak Fishing Guide, a member of St. Croix Rods Pro Staff, Quantum Fishing VIF...
Interview for with Jim Sammons
Jim Sammons Exclusive Interview for KFM   KFM: Jim, can you tell our readers a bit about you and what you do? JS: I am a San Diego CA native, and have been fishing these waters...
Angler of the Month - John Oast aka “Toast”
John “Toast” Oast, a member of the Emotion Kayaks Fishing Team   "Toast" has been an avid fisherman and outdoorsman since growing up in Portsmouth, Virginia.  Having...

Latest Kayak Reviews

Lifetime Sport Fisher
 
5.0
Cobra Kayaks Tandem
 
3.0
Perception Sport Pescador 10.0 Angler
 
4.0
Hobie Mirage Outback
 
4.0
Current Designs Tailfin
 
5.0
Hobie Mirage Outback
 
2.0
NuCanoe Frontier 12
 
5.0
Native Watercraft Mariner 12.5 Propel Anglers
 
4.0
Hobie Mirage Outback
 
5.0
Pelican Castaway 100
 
2.0
Stealth Pro Fisha 575
 
3.0
Field and Stream Eagle Talon
 
5.0

Latest Equipment Reviews

Body Glove 3T Barefoot Max
 
5.0
Body Glove 3T Barefoot Warrior
 
5.0
Body Glove 3T Barefoot Warrior
 
3.0
Columbia Drainmaker
 
5.0
Sperry SON-R Sounder Shandal
 
4.0
Garmin VIRB Elite
 
4.0
Polaroid XS100
 
4.0
Backwater Paddles Assault Hand Paddle
 
5.0
Backwater Paddles Assault Hand Paddle
 
5.0
Stohlquist Piseas
 
4.0
Wheeleez Tuff Tire Kayak Cart
 
5.0
Boga Grip
 
4.0