It was a shake down
Spring is upon us and the weather for the past week has been about as nice as it gets. Cool evenings, warm days and seas as flat as a pancake.
The big issue the last few days has been finding live bait. A school of bottlenosed dolphin moved in and have been scattering all the mackerel and caballitos making it impossible for the East Cape bait pangeros to produce.
Ballyhoo have been plentiful and working well on dorado and striped marlin but for the yellowtail not so much. Jigging iron has produced a few fish but live bait is the ticket for real success. Without bait the forktail bite at the East Cape has become tough but there has been reports of a hot bite off Ceralvo Island.
A few days ago we launched Jen Wren III for the 2013 season. I have been antsing to get in on the yellows while the getting is good and decided to do an over nighter to the Island for our shakedown. The hot spot has been 38 miles away and I figured we could fish late, spend the night and be on the spot in the morning.
Cruising down the East side of Ceralvo the 40 some pangas all fishing in a small area was a dead giveaway that we were in the right spot. Metering a depth of 270 feet we dropped our ballyhoo and started fishing. One by one we could see the pangas around us hanging fish but we couldn't get them to go with our offerings. We tried to get a few different pangeros to sell us a few live bait but nobody was willing. The morning was pretty frustrating watching the other boats action until about 11:30 when Diego finally hung one. Shortly after I got lucky. We had finally broken the ice and things were looking up.
There was a second group of pangas about a mile from us and we decided to move and check them out. Just underway for a few hundred yards our Simrad sounder went off and we could see a huge school of bait at depth. A couple drops of the sabikis and we were in business with live mackerel and sardinetta. We pinned on the fresh bait and dropped them down on the same spot. Kazam! It was an instant triple hook up. We boated the fish and went looking for the bait again. Every time we dropped on meter marks it was an instant bite.
With limits we decided to just meter around and make bait for the following day. The bait always seemed to be ganged up just a few hundred yards away from the grouped up pangas. Making bait was easy except that the yellowtail kept hitting the bait we had just hooked on our sabikis. We tore up several bait rigs and lost a few sinkers but soon our tank was plugged.
It was a wonderful evening anchored up tight to the island listening to our music, preparing out of this world fresh hamachi sashimi and then dinner. There is nothing like having a limit under your belt. I thought star gazing at home was good but on a clear night out on the water it is spectacular.
In the morning we were on the spot in time to watch the sun rise over the Sea of Cortez. I thought we would slay them at first light and could meter bait but the yellowtail didn't seem to be with them. It was about 8AM when someone must have rung the breakfast bell and the bite was on. Before noon we had our second day of limits and with both of Jen Wren III's fish boxes plugged we headed for home.
It was the best shakedown trip the Jen Wren crew including myself has ever had.
Finally back in the saddle! It has been a long winter
Quality forktails in the 25 to 35 pound range
Accurate reels rock!
I'm in the game! (is my forehead getting bigger?)
Chuy hangs a fish
Our Simrad was key to our success
When we finally figured it out the bite got silly
Limits of quality grade fish
It's hamachi time!
Nothing like it.
I never get tired of the sunrise over the Sea of Cortez
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