MDRA’s August 5th to 8th 2022, Anglers Education trip on the Tomahawk
To the select group who were on the trip... Great fishing with you.
To all the rest. You missed it.
Fish Report for the 3 day Charter on the Tomahawk
We gathered up at Fisherman’s Landing in SD Friday evening. Eagerly awaited the boat to arrive. They were still out. Our intrepid captain, David Ibrahim, fishes to the last minute on his boat. Once loaded we got to the bait dock to discover that much of the local fleet was there holding, tied to the docks, waiting to let the winds and high seas subside some before going out. It was an impressive collection of the S.D.’s top sport fishing fleet. We gave it a little rest there ourselves. Most of us anglers used the time to finish rigging up. When we did shove off it was easy going for us as we headed down swell.
The Tomahawk had a fish holding kelp paddy marked and on their mind for an early morning rendezvous. They even had a marker buoy on it. Time and fuel saving to have a radar reflector to key in on. It was game on right away once we got there.
What a good first day of slaying fish Saturday morning became. We suffered through wide open Yellowtail bite with some Dorado mixed in on multiple kelp paddy stops. Easy sunny day warm and bright. This part is where practice and cooperation between the anglers kicked in. A key part of why we were so successful was how well everyone fished together with very few tangles in the “Wide Open” paddy fishing, and especially with the quality of the fish. Fish of size going every which way requires educated and cooperative fishermen to land so many of them.
The Tomahawk crew recovered a beacon from the kelp paddy. Then we continued back up towards the tuna zone in US Waters. Stopping at a few more paddies but mostly moving. As we headed up the line we better appreciated the water conditions.
After we got going uphill and further into the evening, we suffered through some victory at sea waters coming back up from approximately 60 miles south of Point Loma. We had a hard slog. To get some rest and relief for the boat, and crew, and us passengers, we stopped and spent some time on the hook in Pyramid cove. That night Scott Hanly got out there to help the crew with the big net netting up the Flying Fish for the next day’s fishing. Scott said that he had a blast doing it. We were lucky that he did.
Then day two started off in fair waters on the protected inside of San Clemente. It was not long until we found breezers and puddlers on the smooth waters just south of Mackerel bank. We fooled a couple smaller Bluefin tuna that morning with bait and one on the popper. It was nice to break the ice and also put our senior angler, Ron Smothers, on the board with a good Bluefin Tuna.
By late afternoon we had came up the line enough to find the big ones. Still on the inside of San Clemente. We were all alone in a good fishy patch of water. After metering or finding a boil we could get picks here and there on live bait but the big BFT were suckers for the Kite! Both the fresh dead flying fish and the “Double Trouble” rigs worked. We were so thankful that the crew and Scott had made a bunch of fresh flying fish on the anchor the night before. This paid off in spades and as the big ones ate the kite offerings repeatedly.
Actually, it was our boat, the Tomahawk, that called in the fleet to fish for the big dogs! One of the first to show up was the long-range boat the Red Rooster. Captain David Ibrahim said “Yeah, we called them in to our spot.” This will earn him calls to find fish next time. We boated a lot of big quality BFT from the full day of steady action and then the night bite was super cool too. Some landing new personal best catches that night and morning. The knife jigs outperformed most other lures.
We fished a little on Monday morning in that zone then started trolling south for home. As time became an issue we pulled in the trollers and started to make good headway south on perfect conditions and under sunny skys for home port. Then we traveled thru big batches of breezers again! It was a full on national geographic type moment for us to watch fish breaking right and left of us and we were out of time to stop and fish for them. All we could do was enjoy the splendor. (video later)
Note on the Tomahawk Crew… The totality of the talent and tenacity of this group of men and one woman was off the charts. Even the lady cook helped gaff fish. We ate like kings. Tasty and plentiful. The deck hands all were getting along with each other and being charming to us, their customers. The captain and the second captain did their best to load us up with fish. All of them helped to pull so many big fish over the rail, it was impressive to see this teamwork.
Of course there were a few little things. Things that we hope they fix or upgrade before we are back on the boat in 2023. But in the big picture... The Boat is Fishy. The Crew as dedicated and passionate about catching fish as can be hoped for. The fish was well cared for and moved to the RSW and chilled right away. Captain David Ibrahim is to be complemented for keeping such great morale up on his boat.
Frank, the Sr deck hand, gave the opening talk about the boat safety then briefed us on the fishing we should expect... Some of the MDRA club members, who do Long Range trips often, complemented him on his skill and knowledge shared. It turned out to be very spot on for the whole of the trip.
The fish count... 08-08-2022 We returned from our 3 Day Trip with: 150 California Yellowtail, 23 Dorado, 28 Bluefin Tuna. Some in the 170-200 lb range. Many in the 90-150 range. Very few small BTF.
This new high for Bluefin tuna count of the Tomahawk is commendable. And the numbers show it.
On returning to port the interesting thing was, no processing places were available at all, leaving us to get creative on how to deal with the catch. More on that later. We motivated like a Marine and adapted and overcome. Some taking their catch to process at home. Two groups hauled big batches of fish to get cleaned at other locations. Special thanks to Brad Roberts who loaded his pick up truck with about 20 of the big fish and delivered to a back up processor up in Long Beach. We’ll share this contact later.
In the end, success measured by Fun, Good Company, Nice sunny days, Lots of fish coming over the rails, and Big Bluefin Tuna combined to be a stellar experience. If you were not a part of this Epic trip, you shoulda’. Oh and we had too much food on our plates often. We ate well. Two thumbs up to the Tomahawk. I think we need to do this again.
Fish Report submitted by
Keith Lambert <”><