How To:

Preparing For An Overnight Or 1.5 Day Trip

Author: Colby Uva

Going On Your First Overnight Or 1.5 Day Trip In Southern California?

Dana Point Overnight boat, the "Fury" filled with yellowfin tuna after an overnight trip.

This article covers some things you should know when preparing for an overnight or 1.5 day trip in Southern California. Overnights and 1.5 day trips are great ways to get introduced to the SOCAL long range fleet. These trips give your captain the range to choose where to fish depending on the conditions and give you the chance to experience the basic amenities of long range fishing. Chances at tuna over 150Lbs can't hurt as well.

Getting To Know The Fishing Style On Your Boat

A view of the wheelhouse from the bow of the Pacific Queen. This boat is well known for landing large bluefin tunas on overnight and 1.5 day range trips.

Each boat has a somewhat different fishing style, but most have some similarities. Your boat will most likely load up on bait from the bait barge at the beginning of the trip. A more proactive captain may have done this before you arrive especially if he know that the fish have been biting further away from port.

Each boat has slightly different rules, most of which will be explained by a mate who will stand on top of the bait tank and gather all the fishermen around. This can also be done in the galley, but the bait tank can be more effective especially for new anglers so the mate can show you how to hook the live bait and use the tackle you ate going to be fishing with

Each Boat Is A Bit Different

Anglers aboard a CCA Sponsored 1.5 day on the Tomahawk inspect their catch of bluefin.

Each boat is slightly different in how they arrange their fisherman. I've been on boats that have a large emphasis on always following your bait, and other boats that have made more of an emphasis on changing your bait

Regulars of each boat will have become synced with that boats system and often are the anglers that catch the most fish on the trip. Even though you are not finding the fish, chumming them up, or gaffing them, there is still a level of skill involved in the angling process. Your field of control is the tackle you choose (hook, leaders, rod, and reel) and the way that you fish it. You will notice for this reason that in Southern California, the tackle that has been developed for trips like this is highly customized and focused as anglers have a narrow area to stand out. These innovations however are effective with star players emerging on many trips.

These Boats Are Decked Out With Electronic Equipment 

A view of some of the advanced electronics aboard the Tomahawk.

 Most boats are equipped with expensive electronics that would be found on a commercial fishing vessel

This usually includes a number of monitors. Usually including a monitor with in detail bathymetric information, a monitor with side scanning sonar, and a monitor with a depth sounder.

Some captains will allow anglers to enter their wheelhouse, while others are less willing to do so.

Dining On An Overnight Or 1.5 Day Trip

Anglers enjoy a hot dinner after a long day of fishing aboard the Tomahawk

Most overnight and 1.5 days have a chef aboard. Meals can be purchased for breakfast lunch and dinner. Beverages such as water, beer, and soda can also be purchased. A staple on most boats is also the "all day coffee" which is usually quite inexpensive. The all day coffee not only keeps you awake and aware , but can also keep you warm in the sometime gloomy marine layer that can be found offshore Southern California.

What Fish Can You Expect To Catch On An Overnight Or 1.5 Day Trip?

A boat full of tuna after an overnight trip aboard the "Fury" out of Dana Point

Depending on what has been biting you may find yourself close to the islands targeting bass, yellowtail, sheepshead and barracuda. Or if the offshore bite has been good you may find yourself targeting bluefin, yellowfin, bonita, and yellowtail. You may also find mahi mixed in

The Sleeping Situation

Anglers prepare their bunks aboard the Tomahawk out of San Diego.

Most overnight or 1.5 day trips have bunks instead of state rooms

To get the best chance of choosing your sleeping situation arrive to the landing well before your trip. 

Below Are A Few More Of My Trips And Experiences That Have Introduced Me To Southern California Fishing

My First Impression Of SOCAL Fishing In January - When I first got to Southern California I really didn't know what to expect. My mobility was limited without a car, so I joined fishing clubs and got tips from local anglers and friends that had fished in San Diego. I spent the first few months Airbnbing and that allowed me to be near the action to see what was going on without having to p as a fortune for ubers. (Also see ubering as a fishermen).

Learning About All The Long Range Boats -

Coming from Florida I had always seen pictures of Cow Tuna lining the rails of big long range boats. It seemed so far, and so expensive for a young fisherman, actually out of reach. Before coming over here I did all of my research to learn about all the boats. It still astounds me the scale of the operation at H&M Landing & Fisherman's Landing. It's the most impressive fishing fleet I've ever seen.

Each boat is there own full on hospitallity business. They are basically floating hotels who compete on amenities,  "restaurants" as most have their own chefs and of course the most important "fish counts" which are regularly updated on the landings websites.

Fishing From A Center Console In San Diego

When I first came to San Diego I fell in the love with the marlin club building. It was fricking awesome. There is nothing like it that I ca  think of in Miami. It's a piece of history. Fishing history that is actually preserved, and that's something to speak of especially in 2020.

Anyways I went down there so often that eventually the weighmaster Roger asked me if I wanted to come speak at the club. So I did I gave a speech about the concept of Spend More Time Fishing which after much research I have found is responsible for most of the major innovations of the world from the conquest of much of The Roman Empire to the fricking lightbulb. As a matter of fact I found this out later but one of Andrew Carnegie's biggest scandals was when a fishing club that he was a member of "didn't keep up with" a damn they had bought and it killed thousands of people.

Oh back to fishing on a center console in San Diego. Yea I met Will at the club and he invited me to go fishing on his 18 foot Boston whaler out to the canyons for tuna and that was my first offshore experience in a private boat. Click the link up top to see that report.

First Mexican Rockfish Trip -

Every year from January to February rockfish season in US waters closes for them suckers to spawn. You can still target them, but you will need to head south down into Mexican waters. By getting on a 3/4 day trip out of San Diego you should have plenty of time to get down there. What is nice about the trip is since it's a little specific, most people on the trip are decent fishermen and so you will have a pretty good crew to fish with. My first trip for Mexican rockfish was with JD on the Fisherman III , check it out at the link above.

First Full Day Trip Out Of San Diego

My first full day trip I actually drove down. From Dana Point with my fiance Fiona to fish on the Liberty. We saw a ton of tuna but only one was caught, lucky for Fiona the crew hooked it and handed it to her because she was the only girl on the boat. While it was tough for me to watch her catch a bluefin before me after I cleaned the 40Lber at the house we had Sashimi for us and a ton of family members who visited. I hooked one on and iron on the surface but he pulled the hook.

First Overnight Trip In Southern California

After months of moving , tradeshows, setting up a new warehouse etc, I finally made it out on my first over night trip in Southern California aboard the Fury (I highly recommend this boat and Cpt. Marcus it's new owner). It was some of the most insane fishing I have ever experienced. While I had hoped for bluefin the quantity of yellowfin we caught more than made up for it. It was so wild in fact that at one point I switched to a 12Lb set up just to have fun with the yellowfin. We ended up leaving them biting because our boat full of 30 people had limited out. Take a look at the link above to read about that trip.

Join A Fishing Club In San Diego

Fishing clubs are probably one of the best inventions in the fishing world. Fishing clubs are a great way to warn about a local fishery and its ins and outs. By joining a fishing club, not only will you learn more about that type of fishing, but you also meet new fishing buddies to go fish with, and learn of exclusive deals on tackle, trips and more. The link above is list of all of the fishing clubs in Southern California. If you want to fish out here. Join these clubs and get involved.

Drive South From San Diego To Fish  In Ensenada

In March to take a break from moving Fiona from DC and busting our asses in the warehouse we took a trip down to Ensenada to fish and relax. Click the link above to learn more about that trip.

My article is mostly about the fishing aspect but the goal of Bullbuster is to help you spend more time fishing. If you have a family a lot of time that means getting them involved. Fiona wrote a great article covering this perspective with a Things To Do In Ensenada Mexico article.

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