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2018 AOTY/DOTY Entry

Topic: the tsutaoka charter on the marla IV, january 2018  (Read 356 times)

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  • Salmon
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the tsutaoka charter on the marla IV, january 2018

this is trip number two out of three that were scheduled for this short stretch.  got a little carried away here, but somehow i managed to schedule three trips with the osuna's in a 4 month period of time.  a rough summer with zero fishing was part of the reason.  hey, no one lies on their death bed and says "i wish i would have spent more time at the office....".

most of you have read the reports over the last couple of years.  some things were the same.  we teamed up with scotty, roberto, scotty jr., and antonio again on the marla IV out of puerto vallarta.  this was ben's trip, so it was me, ben and james again.  same 3.5 day format, same baits, same makaira boat reels, same seeker boat rods, still brought my own personal maks and uc rods, and same success. 

there were a few things different this time.  joe ponas out of oregon was the new guy.  ben brought some new gear, a pair of penn vsx's, a united  composites rod and a seeker rod.  we used gamakatsu hooks this time.  oh, and i caught a yellowfin that taped out at 273 pounds, but more on that later......

from anywhere on the west coast, you can book with alaska airlines and get a companion fare for cheap if you have an alaska airlines visa card.  it will save you allot of money!  virgin airlines now partners with alaska, so we flew with them this time. 

january 2nd, 2018

caught the early flight out of san francisco with virgin.  when we arrived in puerto vallarta, i found this just sitting all by itself in the middle of the floor.  yup, it was my reel bag, all shredded.

it must have gotten caught in the conveyor belts.  there was no one in the baggage pick up area to talk to and we had a boat to catch, so we left.  i didn't find this until later.  it's my penn 50 vsx.  still functional, but the frame and both side plates ware shredded.  screw it.  it will works and there are fish to catch.  i'll deal with this later. 

scotty picked us up at the "oxxo" and drove us south to the old district of town for some cubans, then north to the mega for some don julio blanco, and then continued north to the boat.  dinner was at oso's. 

these guys don't drink as hard as the last group, so it was only two rounds of don julio's! 

dinner was tasty as ever!

back to the boat. 

ben, james and i each brought a pair of rods.  i had a 5-pack of these 7/0 gamakatsu ringed circle hooks, so i loaded up five of the rods with these.  nothing is more simple than a single san diego.  for ben's last rod, i just grabbed a generic non-ringed circle hook that i found in a tackle box.  remember this.   it will come back to bite us in the ass later. 

january 3rd, 2018

you know, i'll never get tired of this!

actually, i should introduce everyone.  ben is out chartermaster!

james is an old college drinking buddy of ben's.

new guy is joe ponas from oregon.

our skipper is scotty osuna.

deckhand and chef is roberto osuna.

second deckhand is antonio.

and our dishwasher and designated bait assasin is scotty osuna, jr.!

one shark hit the balloon rig and chewed through the line early the first morning.  that was it for action all day.  a long day with nothing to show for it.  we had a couple of hours between sunset and moonrise where there was total darkness.  we used that time to make bait.  we put 25 squid in the tank and bagged and froze another 25. 

january 4th, 2018

joe was first up and hooked into a slug with ben's rod.  it was flat calm and maybe 5am.  that fish literally spun the boat around 3 times.  at deep color, an hour into the fight, the line pulled from the hook.  remember the rod that did NOT get a brand new gamakatsu ringed circle hook?  yeah, that one.  the eye had to have literally opened up and the line pulled out.  the line did not break and the knot was totally intact.  yeah, the eye had to have opened up!

james was next and landed his fish, about 120 to 125.  it was with a jon vadney custom united composites viper and a makaira 20 with 100 pound braid, a 100 pound fluoro topshot, 35 pounds of drag at strike, and a hook that worked. 

ben was next and landed his, about the same weight.  he had an old seeker troller and my penn 50 vsx with all the road rash.

finally, joe picked up a nice dorado. 

it made great tacos, but that was it for the rest of the day. 

more squid!  25 more in the tank and maybe 50 bagged and frozen.

january 5th, 2018

back at it, last day of fishing, so far only two in the box.  i wanted to make sure that joe got a fish, so i told him to go next.  first thing in the morning, joe sticks a small one.  then it's my turn.  mine was a dink.  hell, antonio reeled in half way just trying to make sure the hook was set! at least we have one each.

our afternoon snack was better than the fishing had been, so far.

nearly bored to death, ben gets the idea to start chunking with squid.  and i'll be damed if it didn't work.  we got a double, and on autopsy, both fish had squid chunks in their bellies!

joe got his second fish right away and suddenly our trip is turning around. 

we still have alot of work to do.  the fish have to be cut up, stuffed into bags, then vacuum sealed and dunked in slush ice.

but there's one last fish, and it grabs the boat's kite rig with the old seeker trolling rod and the makaira 50 with the busted clicker that you can't turn off. 

it taped out at 273 pounds and took 25 minutes.  i've got a long way to go before i can beat mike pate!

we still have work to do!

time to break down our gear and settle in for a 10 hour run back to port!

january 6th, 2018

back at the dock!

all packed up and ready to go!  125 pounds of filet, each!

james got rooms for us at the westin.  a nice way to decompress!

january 7th, 2018

hard to believe, but we actually did run into brian and his crew!  they were on a really tough two and a half day trip on the "success."

we had an easy flight home.  got another one of these scheduled in march.  i'm bring down some quarter inch marine grade rope to wrap parts of the bow rails so the rods don't slip.  scotty is interested in the united composite rods, so will see about that. and finally they were very interested in the gamakatsu hooks, so i'll see if i can contact the gamakatsu guy.  hope you enjoyed the report!


  • Sea Lion
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Congrats on the Cow Allen!! Looks like an amazing trip.

Thanks for sharing.



  • Sand Dab
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Looks like another awesome trip! I am very jealous...
2015 Red Hobie Outback


  • Manatee
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Thanks for sharing another great trip report and fish porns Alan  :smt007
"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...it's about learning how to dance in the rain."

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  • Sardine
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Thanks for sharing Alan.


  • Sea Lion
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Amazing as usual Alan, nice slug!  Sorry about the mishap with your bag, luckily it didn't ruin your trip! 

Thanks for report and pics.
If you ain't first, you're last.

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  • Sea Lion
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Always enjoy the reports and fishporn. Tjx

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Down to 1 Hobie Revo...


  • Sea Lion
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  • Salmon
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One day soon I would like to do a trip like that now that I am retired. I was happy this year with two Bluefin over 165 Locally. But would love to try it down there. Just wont bring my own gear. Maybe hooks lures and such but that will be it. Also do they vacume pack the fish for flight? 


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Thresher in avatar and Soupfin Shark in signature both caught and pic taken by me.
3rd place Kayak Connection Derby, 2014
45th place / 423 pts / 3 Species - AOTY 2014 (nowhere to go but up!)
30th place / 1132.25 pts / 7 Species - AOTY 2015 (moving up a little!)

Always looking for new people to fish with!