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tunaslam 12-22-2008 09:26 PM

Rpt 2 Day 12-20&21 WFO Smorgasbord Reef!
Fishing for the first time with Louie Prieto, on his 2320 Parker “Its for Reels”. I drove down from my work in San Bernardino at 3pm, arriving in Ensenada around 6:30 pm. Checked into the Motel California, just south of the Traileros, and North of the Hotel Corral. Louie keeps his boat next door in a trailer park where he rents a trailer. Met Louie at his trailer, had a couple of cold Tecate’s and being quite hungry from the long drive, we headed over to the Traileros for some tasty tacos. Decided to start the day at 3:30 am, so an early evening to retire was in the works.

Day 1 of fishing, Sat. 12-20-08

After fueling up with 120 gallons at the Pemex station across the street, a hot coffee and some donuts later, we launched out of the Corral at 5:00 am on a breezy Sat. morning. Our destination being Colonett. Second time in two weeks we suffered from a poor weather report by both NOAA and Buoy Weather. The 6-8 knots of wind and 3 foot seas at 14 seconds forecasted for Sat. morning were actually 12-15 knots of wind, and 4-6 foot seas at 6 seconds. Had we not been going down hill, the trip would have been cancelled. We elected to rely on Sunday’s forecast of very calm seas, all day, to hold up?

The trek down was onerous, and very fuel consuming, as any kind of build up in speed required numerous stops and starts to manage the haszardess conditions of rough seas. Some sixty miles later, we arrived at the bank at 8:30am, all alone, no other boats. It was totally blown out, 59 degrees and off color. We had counted on finding the yellowtail based on the sporties location, knowing we would probably have the bank to ourselves Sunday morning. Unfortunately that was not in the cards. I dropped a 10oz Jax jig on some good meter marks, and as the jig went down it went sideways faster. By the time I reached the bottom in 200’ I probably had 350’ of line out, no bueno! Scrap that plan, just unfishable, and none the less, not very safe either, as the winds were now 20 knots, with an occasional 10’ swells crashing down upon us. We ran into shallow water, worse case being just setting up in some safe anchorage, and wait it out, if we could not fish.

Years ago a good friend gave me some numbers for what he called fabulous Sand Bass fishing in Colonet. These numbers were roughly 4 miles below the bank, inshore, and about the same distance from where we planned on anchoring up for the night. We actually never made it to the numbers; well we did after a few long drifts of nearly a mile or more in about 120’ of water. As we were running to the numbers and about 1.5 miles away, the meter lit up like a Christmas tree, with very hard bottom, and numerous pinnacles. Louie suggested we call this Smorgasbord Reef! This was because of the incredible variety of fish we caught there: Bonito, Barracuda, Calico and Sand Bass, Johnny Bass, Sheep head, Whitefish, Reds, Coppers, Starries, Barber Poles, Blue Bass, Chocolates, a few short lingcod, and no Bocaccio?

I started fishing with a 20’ combo plastics outfit, with a teaser plastic above the main plastic containing the lead head. My first drop resulted in a Calico Bass and Chocolate rockfish combo. Then a sand bass, a couple of reds, a Copper, more Reds, more sand bass and more Calicos, etc. It was just awesome fishing. Louie was fishing with a medium size Butterfly jig, and was slammed often before he reached bottom.

Louie with a large Sheephead.

Here I am with a Calico Bass.

Louie with a Calico Bass.

Here I am with a big Sand Bass.

Here I am with a Calico and Sand Bass.

Then the huge Barracuda moved in. My plastic rig was thrashed, as both got hit and bit off. Louie was again hammered on the drop, the fish came off and another log Barracuda slammed the iron after a few cranks on the reel. I grabbed a Braid slammer lure, and casted out, was bit instantly on the drop. These Barracuda were 6 to 8 lbs, and we released some even bigger.

Louie with a log Barracuda.

Myself with a log Barracuda.

After an half -hour drift, we ran back up to start over again. We were able to fish only several hours to 11:30 am, as the wind was now up to 25 knots, with gusts to 30+. The seas even in the shallows were getting treacherous, several waves crashing over the engine, and into the stern of the boat, both of us jumping back to avoid getting soaked. It was time to find a safe harbor. Gad it was difficult to leave the fish biting. Don’t think this matched the afternoon weather forecast of 10-15 knots of wind, and 4’ seas?

Louie with our morning fish.

We anchored up in about 30’ of water, close to a cliff, which provided some wind protection, near a beach where the town fisherman launch their pangas, several of which had passed us coming uphill, and getting pounded. We made lunch, sipped on some beer, and kicked back, hoping for better weather. Each of us took a siesta, and at 3pm, Louie decided it was somewhat calming down, and decided we would take a look again at Smorgasbord Reef. It was still blowing 15-20, but the swells were down some, and the fish were still hungry. We fished another hour before calling it a day, and re-anchoring up for the night.

For only a few hours in the morning and one hour in the afternoon, not a bad day’s catch?

Things calmed down for the evening, we were joined by four other commercial boats. Safety in numbers? Louie chatted with one of them, some nice fellas. They had spent the day trolling for bonito in the bay, and were also hoping for better weather on Sunday to fish the rockfish. We passed them over some beer and made there day. I brought down some thick Rib Eye steaks, but someone forgot the barbecue, so we settled for cold ham and cheese sandwiches, well I heated mine up in the microwave, so it was warm. Add some coleslaw, chips and potato salad, some merlot, more beer and dinner was just right.

Louie with a big Red.

It was early to bed, but not before admiring the zillion stars in the sky, it was so clear out, and pitch dark, no moon yet! We noticed the Big Dipper very low on the horizon, very strange, didn’t know the constellations could change location that much, then again, how many times do I star watch?

Day 2 of fishing, Sun. 12-21-08

Awoke to a stiff breeze, about 8-10 knots, and a beautiful sunrise.

The game plan was to fish the shallows, and evaluate whether it was worth running the 10-12 miles offshore to the bank, and how quickly we might get out of Dodge. The swells were definitely down, but still annoying, making for a bumpy ride. At 7am white caps began appearing, not a good sign. We reached the shallow reef, and the Barracuda were thick as flies! Had to of released several dozen of them, lots of fun. This huge stovepipe, which swallowed my lure, was 41 inches, and pushed 10 lbs.

The barracuda finally drifted away, and we caught more bottom critters, and a few big bonito to 8 lbs.

By 8am the white caps had vanished, the wind was definitely under 10 knots, and the seas were beginning to grease up. So we headed off to the banks. Still no other boats in sight, don’t know where our commercial guys went? Looked around for about an hour, dropped numerous times on some good marks, but few takers. The fish seemed to have lockjaw, or storm withdrawals? Enough of this, so we decided to run north towards Castro’s camp. Ross “ “ and I had found some great shallow water spots there on a trip several years ago.

Now I think Louie is a frustrated Pilot, or just learning the routine? I told him that getting air at the speed of 25 knots wasn’t likely to keep us in flight, after agreeing, he kicked it up to 28-30 knots. Sure enough we got more air, trouble is, now not to say Louie won’t someday become a good pilot, yet he really needs to work on his crash landings, they were extremely harsh. I hurt so bad this morning, I never did find out how many cracked ribs I had, after visiting the doc today, he stopped counting when he got to 10, and also told me I would certainly be needing some new kidneys!

Anyhow we arrived at my numbers, and they were right on, fishing between 90 and 120’, once again the bite was full on, for a variety of critters. More and bigger Reds, Coppers, and a few decent size Lingcod, and many shorts. I asked Louie how many fish we released this weekend, thinking something like 50 or more, Louie said 100, he might have been closer to the count? It was just WFO!

Louie with a nice Lingcod.

Here I am with a Red and Copper.

Here I am with a big Red.

Called it a day at 1:30 pm, with 28 miles to Punta Banda, then another 6-8 to the Corral. I cleaned fish while Louie cleaned the boat. It was dark when we both finished.

The Weekend’s catch, minus the barracuda, which we filleted up on the water, knowing if we didn’t, we might as well throw them away, as they would of turned to mush!

An unbelievable first time trip together Louie, despite the weather. So what do we do for an encore? Oh yeah, plan another trip in January. Had a blast, was fantastic sharing the rail with you Louie. Can’t wait until we do it again.

I packed up, and thought twice about heading north for a five hour ride at 6:30 pm, however, I was not too tired, had 10 hours of sleep, just sore. Made Tecate by 8:05 pm, across the border on a Sunday night in 21 minutes. Back in the good ole USA safely, arrived Diamond Bar just short of 11pm. A word of caution, the first 8 miles to Tecate out of Ensenada was under construction, and it was a slow ride all on dirt. I asked myself what a crazy decision it was to go this direction, but alls well that ends well!

Hook up!


scubapro5 12-24-2008 12:40 AM

Cory your a animal!!

Good to hear it laid down for you the 2nd day.

Thanks for the report!

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