Dorado still at Dana Point 9/20/14

Written by Alan Ogata on September 22nd, 2014.

As Ben Hyun and I plan our latest trip, we find that the tuna are heading further out of our 80 to 90 mile range, making it impossible for us to follow on Jet Skis. I know Ben's optimism, however, he's probably anticipating that there must be some tuna stragglers left behind the pack and in our ocean. The weather is cooler and overcast longer now, but water temps remain in the 75* range. We noticed an increase of PBr's at the launch and wow!

Much to our amazement, there must have been 20 boats in line, all the way to the break-wall and then some! Baiting up took in excess of 50 minutes, but we made friends along the way, before we finally made it out to the fishing grounds. No slack for the bait carrier guys though as the line of PBr's still reached to the breakwater... Now, I would be able to test my new bait tank set-up, my last recirculating tank idea was a bust. If I stopped for longer than 5 minutes each time, I'd get a handful of floating dines and if we weren't on the bite in 2 to 3 hours I'd be bait less.

Ben's eagle-eye spotted the first trashcan-lid-sized-paddy near 10 miles out. And worked our short lived dines first, nothing at first, then some intermittent chimes from the FF showing small marks with occasional big boy's coming to the show. Just around my third bait change and with a frisky one on, my reel sounded a few tugs, then a wide open scream, I set the Avet MXJ drag and set the hook, as my reel continued to scream. I yelled over to Ben Fish On! He had just made it back to the paddy for another drift. My reel just continued to scream! I was into my backup braid now and threw the drag into the fighting setting, just in time as I was well into my braid.

Then the fish's momentum started to slow when he jumped near 200 yards out and I glimpsed the familiar blue streak, wow, Bull Dorado again I thought! Several times I worked to reel back line, he turned around and took my 30# Floroclear P-line right back out, jumping and leaping his way back out... When I finally worked him in close to the ski, my Offshore Angler Extreme 50-100 lb rod displayed its backbone, when the Dodo started to circle and turned my sled around with him, strong fish! I hoped that he would soon start to show signs of wear or so I thought, I reached out the gaff and he ducked out of the way and started a short run for the depths.

When I got him to surface again, I knew he'd be mine, he circled twice and met my gaff... Ben continued to work the paddy for some short YT. We stayed out a few more hours paddy hopping catching shorts and keeping one that broke drag. "Over the rail and in the pail" to quote Dave Marciano, captain of the Hard Merchandise in the show Wicked Tuna! YEAH! As I limped back to port with a large Dodo and YT soaking in the footwell, with Ben workin' the paddies back to harbor...