There were many highlights from today's fishing exploits. From my vantage point the best by far was when charter master Tim Marshall was winding his surface jig through an intense swarm of yellowtail that was so charged up that none could manage to get the iron down. To begin with one twenty pound yellow, that was completely over the edge, jumped clear from the water in an attempt to best his numerous competitors. Those who fish for yellowtail regularly know how rare this is, and what the indication of such behavior is.
About 99.9 percent of the time yellowtail, even when biting furiously, crash on the surface and create a phenomenal show by carving out big wedges as they slash and turn while chasing panicked bait fish. But for a rare occasion the are not a surface feeding fish that jumps. When that rare occasion does occur it is almost certainly a result of yellows frenzied to the point of complete abandon. And as it does not happen often it really stands out to one who spends a tremendous amount of time observing.
Back to the original story Tim Marshall was winding his jig through this churning morass of yellowtail when one jumped about a foot clear of the water knocking his jig sideways in the process. Before he could even take a quick couple of winds to straighten out the slack another one jumped on it managing to foul the line in the hooks on the back end. After that Tim continued the retrieve that was rendered useless as the fouled jig grabbed and skipped the remaining way in. Almost unbelievably the frantic yellows continued to pursue and smash the screwed up jig right to the boat. And I have to say that although the whole episode did not result in a fish hooked or landed the show was far better as a result; and he hooked one on the next cast anyway, as did everyone else.
It was a good morning of steady yellowtail action punctuated by a long mid day lull that led well into the early evening. Then from a collective looking effort organized with our colleague, we got on to another area in the evening that led to the above detailed scenario. It was a perfect ending to a full day of good fishing, beautiful weather, and epic scenery.
Regulating production to stretch this paradise into at least one more morning we also accomplished the goal of topping off on "soft bait" preparing for our final westerly leg of the voyage. First things first however we will dedicate a little more effort toward the coastal yellowtail before heading offshore in the afternoon in search of "flats" and tuna. For certain the door for anything to occur is open. At this time of the year, with a wealth of good conditions to choose from, everywhere holds the potential for surprise. Bigeye is what I am thinking. It's a stretch, but still well within reason.
You're probably going to have to use a bit of imagination to interpret today's photos that unfortunately barely capture the action of scooping live day time squid. The balls get chased up by marauding yellowtail and sometimes remain on the surface long enough for us to load up. I can not sufficiently express the joy of such occasions. Everyone on board gets fired up at the sight and prospects a booming load of primo squid represents. It's no guarantee of fish, but it is as close as one can get - if we find 'em. In today's photo Captain Gregg Tanji and Chief Sean Bickel are getting the job well done.