What a difference a day makes. I should say one person can make! On Friday night I boarded the Producer for the first of 2 off shore deep sea fishing trips leaving from H and M Landing in San Diego. The boat leaves at 9 pm and comes in typically around 7 pm the next evening. 25 passengers get on and off each night. The vessel drives to where the Captain hopes to catch the most fish for the passengers based on experience and intelligence gathered from the rest of the fleet, probably 40 active fishing vessels each night.
Frank, my Captain hasn’t had a day off in 70 days. Think about it. No days on land, trying each day to bring people to fish in the biggest ocean on the planet, praying when he finds them they will bite, AND he will have anglers that know how to catch fish or at least follow the crew’s instructions. EVERY DAY!
What could go wrong, right? Weather. The first day there were large swells and five seasick passengers. The second day we had PERFECT conditions and one lady who had NEVER been fishing before was sick. If you want to go fishing there are half day boats I recommend trying first before committing to 22 hours of misery.
Fish don’t want to bite. Both days we had this problem. The first day we headed South into Mexican waters and came back with 6 fish. I had one briefly on the troll but it came off. It’s called a short bite.
The boats that fished North had nice bluefin bites. It took 3 more hours to get there, burning an extra $2000 in fuel approximately, and cutting 5 hours off of fishing time to head North to San Clemente Islands. Most one day boats won’t bother. The numbers don’t add up, but when that’s where the fish are what choice do you have? Unfortunately, they wouldn’t bite. We had 5 fish for the day. I caught one very small skipjack tuna.
I’m going to skip a few things and jump to the biggest factor that changes any trip and that’s people! The first day there were a better caliber of anglers all around. Most had a good to excellent equipment, knew what to do, and even though fishing was slow, took the day in stride, and had fun.
One guy, Mike, was so upbeat and just happy to be there that it was infectious. I said to the Captain that on slow days it’s nice to have a positive guy like him. Keeps up everyone’s morale. We tried to find fish until the very end, and not only was it well known by all thanks to Mr. Mike Morale, the passengers were grateful for the effort. Only one guy was a drunk idiot when he got on board and we barely saw him the next day. Highly rare by the way. On a Friday there’s typically a handful of overindulgent weekend warriors.
Day two was a different story. More than a handful had inappropriate equipment, had no idea what they were doing, and hadn’t bothered to learn even the most simplest of tasks like how to tie on a hook, bait said hook, or work their equipment. With all the TV shows, YouTube videos, and podcasts’ available it ASTOUNDS me people would pay $300 just to get on the boat completely ignorant of the activity they were embarking on.
Right off the bat a loud-mouthed know it all started flapping his gums about all he knew and how upset he was that the boat was headed North. I explained that we were heading that direction because it was the best place to catch fish according to the fleet’s numbers. Boats there caught fish, and the three boats South did not, us included. He went on an on about how he couldn’t catch bluefin tuna due to his crones disease. Not sure why he was on an offshore boat, because that’s the FIRST species we’re after. On and on he went throughout the ENTIRE trip complaining to EVERYONE about how unhappy he was. Lucky for him the tuna didn’t bite because his focking bass reel would’ve gotten spooled and smoked the bearings.
He thought we should anchor up at the island even though the U.S. Navy was doing LIVE fire exercises and we were supposed to stay 20 miles away.
For the people who didn’t know any better they listened to his endless negativity and thought the Captain made some grievous error in judgment by going North. I hopped from sheep to sheep trying to undo his lies feeling like I was trying to convince them my politician was doing the right thing. I’ve never in my life met a fishing boat Captain that didn’t do EVERYTHING in his power to catch FISH! This snot nose little fxckhead with the nose ring ruined a damn nice day at sea for a lot of passengers!
As for me, I was sorry for my friend, Captain Frank, who I know was frustrated and tired. The crew who had held heavy gyro binoculars for 16 each day looking for fish and didn’t deserve to hear his shit. I was grateful for the previous day and the great people on board. I wish I could’ve gone back out and wiped today off the books. I told each person that I would be happy to go out again even if I KNEW I wouldn’t catch a fish! Attitude is everything! I LOVE going fishing!