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  1. #1

    Dana Point Bait Barge 7/3 - Not skunked but.......ugh

    Getting time to do some fishing is tough for a father of 3 kids ages 11, 10, and 3. So when I got the green light to fish until noon on the 3rd I was super stoked, and started setting a plan. Should I fish the surf? A Pier? Which pier? Take the kayaks out? Where to launch? Etc. Since I can grab a bit if surf or pier fishing with less time I decided on the Kayak. My plan was to launch at the DP harbor boat launch, just because it’s easier to get to the mouth of the harbor. Then the plan was to paddle north around the harbor to Dana Strand, and fish the kelp of one of my favorite surf breaks. I figured to start I would paddle out to sea a couple miles and then jig for Yellowtail until the wind blew me back in to the kelp. The swell was forecast at .5 – 1 foot with a 5 mph wind, tide was super low and would be incoming the entire time we fished, so it was going to be a beautiful day on the water. I had my gear all set up for a larger fish, a box all set up with the 1 oz Krocodiles and some 2-4 oz heavy jigs. And was going to drag some squid on the bottom while I was at it. I also had the smaller Krocs and swim baits for the kelp. A plan was made, but fishing 2 miles off shore by myself had me a bit nervous. I am a former rescue swimmer and certified rescue diver, and know the buddy system is much safer, so I called a buddy and offered my other yak. By this point I am so geeked out to fish I could barely sleep.

    I wake up at 5am, my buddy should be here by 5:30. I called him at 5:15 to see if he was on his way and he hadn’t even left for the 45 minute drive. Dang, already later than I wanted to be. Bout 6 am we got all yaks loaded up and headed to the harbor, only about 10 minutes away. On the way my buddy tells me that he does not want to fish in the ocean but wants to fish the bait barge, in the harbor. He assured me all the fish in the ocean would be right there by the barge waiting for us to cast the Kroc. I told him we would see how it goes. He also said since we weren’t going out of the harbor we could just park at the north end of the harbor and paddle to the bait barge (more wasted time).

    We got to the barge, he tossed out his Kroc and BAM, 2nd cast, FISH ON. A quick fight yielded a 15 inch barracuda, or so he called it. I have only seen Barracuda in the Virgin Islands and all were 3-5 feet long. I am not positive this was a barracuda, but it looked close enough. Either way it did not look like an eater and since I did not know the keeper size, we released it. A few casts into it, using a varied retrieve, and right as I slowed, I felt a bump and a second later set the hook. The fight seemed odd, and when it got to the boat I realized why. I had snagged a “barracuda” right under the dorsal fin. He must have just missed the strike, when I slowed, and gone in front of the lure. He swam off, but his back was pretty messed up after pulling the 2 hooks out. We did that for another half hour and landed 3-4 more of these each. Ok so it was fun, but I want to catch some food. I told him we needed to at least go out of the harbor to some rocks that are close by.

    When we got to the ocean, the swell was very small, and with no wind couldn’t have been better conditions for yakking. Now my tells me he gets super sea sick really easily and he wants to go back in the harbor. Here I am looking at the best conditions, I could hope for and I am stuck fishing the bait barge watching all the boats leave to fish the deeper water. So back to the harbor we went. 2-3 more of those same fish and we called it quits.

    As we were getting out of the water an older couple, who was heading out the same time we got to the bait barge, was coming back in. They each had sweet fishing kayaks. Like super sweet setups. He said they paddled about a mile off, set one line on the bottom with a live sardine and then started jigging 3 oz iron. He said they must have been on a juvenile school of Yellow tail because they caught more 12 inch yellowtail in the first half hour than he could count. They paddled out a bit further and in the next hour and a half ended up with 3 yellow tail, about 15 – 20 lbs each. He said he had a Dorado about 8 feet from the boat, when it spit the jig out, and swam off. Yeah so this guys is going home with 40 lbs ($600 retail) worth of Yellow Tail, and all I got was a trip to the friggin bait barge.

    I hate to be a grump, but my buddy was all happy to have caught a handful of trash fish, and I was still thinking about what could have been. I am sorry to say, but next time I want to knit myself some potholders or play scrabble, I will call this guy. But when I want to fish, I will be going solo, or inviting someone who still has his cojones attached.

    If anyone knows what we could have been catching, if it wasn’t barracuda, I would like to know. Sorry for the rant, but figured you might like the story.

  2. #2
    Beach Brother
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    PB Fish Species
    14" BSP, 29" Halibut, 26" Corbina, 16" Sargo, 20" Calico, 22" YF Croaker, 22" Striped Bass
    I fish with my wife alot. She loves to fish but doesn't have much patience. Every since the Corbina started showing up and I brought home some pics of a few of the nicer ones, she's been wanting to get out and try her hand at the beans. I told her its not like fishing for surfperch and we would most likely have to put in some time and mileage to score a few beans. We get out to the beach Sunday morning and the water is really brown and there is so much salad in the water, its making the fishing really hard. She starts losing patience after about a 1/2 hour and wants to leave. I knew this might happen but i'm not having fun either so we start heading back to the car. She makes one last cast and Bam! she's on. 10 minutes later she brings up her first SNGF. And then we leave. Me with the skunk.

    The point I'm trying to make is, know who you're fishing with and make sure they know what your plan is and what to expect. Otherwise, you may not be following the plan you set out with.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Rod Combos
    Rainshadow crank bait 7'6" 8-14 lbs with Curado 200E7, Curado 200E7, Clarus CRCD70M
    PB Fish Species
    20" Corbina, YFC 14.5", 13" BSP, 14" Spotfin, Sandbass 20" 21.5" Halibut on the surrf.
    Amazing reports ! minus the "fishing buddies" that don't like to fish !

    I wish I have some fishing buddies that can stay out as long as I want ... Last time I went out with my fishing buddy ... I had to leave the fish still biting because my fishing buddy had to go to work ! Ay yi yi !! ...

  4. #4
    I am learning so much tuff fro you guys. I never thought I would be taught how to pick my friends, but your advice is golden. By the way, if any one is in South Orange county and isn't too scared of being a mile or 2 off shore, I have an extra yak. PM Me



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